Open Letter to Mr. Murphy
Dear Mr. Murphy
Although I didn’t agree with much that you said in council on Wednesday, I would like to thank you for having the courage to stand before a very liberal body and speak your dissenting opinion in an environment that emphasizes unanimous agreement on everything.
Please consider that an apology, since my letter breaks down what I remember of your speech point by point. I really do admire that you spoke when everyone wanted you to remain silent.
1. Premarital sex is wrong.
Premarital sex is not wrong. Bad sex – whether it be abusive or unprotected or any other way sex could be bad – is. Some logic to accompany this:
Studies show that people who have sex are happier. About as much happier as making another $50,000 a year. And it’s good for your health.
More data shows that relationships with feminist values, ones of equality in the relationship and life at large, are the most successful. Feminism advocates sexual liberty, and that includes premarital sex.
Marriage doesn’t make something wrong right. Especially with couples who waited until marriage to have sex, sex is viewed as something bad. The change is that they feel it doesn’t apply within their marriage.
There’s something disgusting with the notion of sexual purity. Purity means freedom from contamination. By using purity to describe someone’s lack of sexual contact, people unconsciously equate abstinence with morality, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. The issue is that purity is almost exclusively a concept aimed at women. This leads to thinking that their morals are based on how well they keep their shame-cave shut. There’s really no equivalent for men, so that’s why the idea of “saving yourself for marriage” is bad. It’s really misogynistic.
Perhaps most importantly, people have different sexual desires and needs. With 50 Shades of Gray a national blockbuster, BDSM comes quickly to mind. Some men and women like it rough, and if they don’t have sex before marriage they don’t get an opportunity to experiment and find a sexual partner that satisfies them.
I don’t want to suggest sexual incompatibility is only for kinky stuff. Even the most vanilla sexual tastes aren’t necessarily compatible if one partner wants more intercourse than another. I’ve read stories of couples where it was found out that one partner was having an extramarital relationship because they weren’t able to have as much sex as they wanted with the one they loved. In these stories, it ended in divorce because the faithful party felt too lied to to continue the marriage.
2. Extramarital sex is wrong.
I actually agree with this. Both parties entered into a legally binding contract that stated that they would be exclusive sexual partners together, and breaking that contract isn’t okay. Much worse though is betraying the trust of someone who loves you enough to enter that contract with you. However, if one has asked and their partner has consented to having an extramarital relationship, then it’s fine.
3. The school distributing condoms amounts to an endorsement, or at least acceptance of, premarital sex.
While distributing condoms amounts to accepting premarital sex, and I’m sure many school and community members feel the same way you do, it’s important to remember that premarital sex isn’t bad. Really, distributing condoms is a health concern. The kids are going to be having sex anyway, and if we as a community can remove as many barriers as possible between those sexually active students and appropriate sexual protection, it is our duty to do so.
4. The age of consent in New Hampshire is 16 and having sex with someone less that 16 is a felonious sexual assault.
The age of consent in New Hampshire is 16. A 16 year old can legally have sex with anyone older than them. Having sex with someone under the age of consent is indeed a sexual assault, with one glaring exception. Colloquially, it’s a Romeo and Juliet law. Legally, it’s RSA 632-A:3 II. If a person has sex with someone between the ages of 13 and 16, it is not assault unless they are more than four years older than the other person.
5. In the past, HHS decided to put a smoking room in the school because they recognized that the students were going to smoke anyway. Students heavily used the room before the community decided that they should have to smoke on the back steps, which were then heavily trafficked by smokers. The school also looked the other way when they knew students were having keg parties for graduation. Now, there’s no smoking anywhere on school grounds and the school hosts its own substance-free graduation party. Providing condoms at school would be analogous to the smoking room.
The school is not looking the other way while students do something illegal like the keg parties, or enabling them to have sex like the smoking room condoned student tobacco use. No one is suggesting that it’s okay to have sex at school, and no amount of free condoms will help a student have sex if they weren’t otherwise active.
6. Title 9 might require the school to supply female condoms since they’re distributing penile condoms.
As far as I have understood it, because the condoms are not only being supplied to male students, it does not constitute unequal treatment of the sexes. Besides, the condoms are supplied by Planned Parenthood, so the issue of the school distributing money unequally is void.
7. HHS is trying to recruit tuition students and having the headlines report on us distributing free condoms, or attempting to distribute free condoms to students will harm those efforts.
I doubt it. Since approximately 80% of the parents surveyed were in favor of the school distributing condoms to students, I imagine about 80% of parents considering sending their child to Hanover would be in favor of it too, and I’ll wager that even the minority opposed to distributing condoms wouldn’t be so grievously offended that they wouldn’t send their child here. It’s also said that there is no such thing as bad press, so that’s something to keep in mind.
8. The survey was biased to get positive responses.
I’m sure it was. I also don’t think that’s an issue. People like to be positive anyway, so I assume that a neutrally worded survey will have only marginally fewer positive responses. I also assume that most of the responses, positive or otherwise, were carefully considered. The large number of non-responses means that only interested parties willing to consider the question and its response responded.
9. The council brought in pro-condom speakers but no anti-condom speakers. This violates their policy of examining both sides of an issue.
The pro-condom speakers were medical professionals. If one could produce a medical professional against distributing condoms, I’m sure council would listen, since they are basically required to.
10. A student who is too embarrassed to buy condoms is not emotionally mature enough for sex.
Sure thing. The same goes for talking to the school nurse. Since we’ve established sex isn’t a bad thing, one should be able to ask the nurse for condoms.
Thank you for reading through to the end, and please understand nothing here is meant to offend. My goal is to educate, not harass. Remember, there is a need for logical argument around what is essentially a health discussion. Antiquated morals have no place in a health issue.
Respectfully, Caleb Winberry