“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” said Pierre Trudeau more than 50 years ago. Rarely has such a memorable comment been so thoroughly forgotten. September headlines showed that the current federal government is happy to make sex its jurisdiction and even reach into taxpayers’ pockets to do so.
The latest headline-grabbing example of misplaced pubic, er, public spending was an art project entitled, “Whose Jizz is This?” The answer could be the Prime Minister, federal bureaucrats, or Canadian taxpayers, depending on how you look at it.
In 2019, the Mission Cultural Fund, an invention of the current federal government, decided that Toronto visual artist Peaches needed some taxpayer cream. Peaches received $8,813.70 from Canadian taxpayers to take her message of “sex, feminism, queerness, gender and new millennium politics” to Hamburg, Germany. Peaches’ first solo art show included sculptures, prints, videos and giant sex toys called “the Fleshies.”
Peaches says her lascivious display “is based on a double sex toy called the double masturbator which has a mouth on one side with teeth and tongue and on the other side there is a vagina. They can actually pleasure themselves, they can rewrite the narrative and they don’t need humans.”
If machines were having all the sex, why were taxpayers still getting screwed? When Peaches was asked how her art represented Canada, she said, “Canadians have a sense of humour and absurdity and a special intellect, humour and point of view.”
If “humour and absurdity” are quintessential Canadian values, it might explain the coital counsel of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. On September 2, she socially distanced herself from reporters’ questions by offering sex advice in a statement instead of a press conference.
Ironies abound in the Chief Public Health Officer’s advice from start to finish. She says to reduce the risks from “an in-person sexual encounter with someone outside of your household or close contacts bubble . . . [t]he most important step is to establish a trusting relationship.”
This sounded like grooming advice for predators. Besides, how many close-contact “bubbles” would people have to have before diseases became rampant?
The Chief Public Health Officer says would-be-lovers should avoid sex with obese people, since “people living with obesity” could be “at a higher risk for more severe outcomes of COVID-19.” She also recommends “skipping kissing and avoiding face-to-face contact or closeness; consider using a mask that covers the nose and mouth.”
Breathe heavily–but not moistly, of course. The government prescribes orgasms without intimacy, the approached long preferred by sex-sellers such as Vivian Ward in the movie Pretty Woman. “That’s why no kissing. It’s too personal,” she said.
The Chief Public Health Officer shows at least a little consistency when she recommends condoms. Still, how can anyone take no kissing as a legitimate risk reduction in the context of sexual intercourse?
Consider, a study released in 2004 showed the original “SARS-CoV was found in lung, trachea/bronchus, stomach, small intestine, distal convoluted renal tubule, sweat gland, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, adrenal gland, liver and cerebrum.” Does the Chief Public Health Officer think lovers don’t sweat?
The Chief Public Health Officer’s explanation is this: “Current evidence indicates there is a very low likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids.” If that is true, it is mostly because even the most promiscuous person encounters far more coronavirus carriers socially than they would sexually.
It’s true that vaginal swabs of women with SARS-CoV-2 showed no evidence of coronavirus in three clinical examinations, one with 35 women, another with 10, and another with 13. But semen can carry SARS-CoV-2, a confirmed fact since May.
Chinese researchers examined the semen of 38 men known to have SARS-CoV-2 and found the virus in 6 samples. They note that the testes have privileged immunity, which means the immune system doesn’t work as well there. That’s partly why Ebola and Zika spread in semen months after a patient has recovered.
The researchers concluded, “to avoid contact with the patient’s saliva and blood may not be enough, since the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in a recovering patient’s semen maintains the likelihood to infect others.”
A study published in June in Chinese Medicine drew similar conclusions. “It is thus predictable that the exposure to human body fluids such as bronchoalveolar-lavage, saliva, blood, urine, faeces, sputum, tears, and semen . . . may represent a risk factor for the invasion of the virus into the human body.”
But Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, still fixated on the lips, says, “sexual activity with new partners does increase your risk of getting or passing COVID-19 through close contact, like kissing. Remember as with all social interactions, try to keep your number of close contacts low if possible.”
If possible? Anyone can limit the number of people they kiss or have sex with, and to suggest anyone cannot is to absolve them of all responsibility as a moral agent. No one like that would heed the government’s advice anyway, which means they only wasted more time and taxpayer money. That’s precisely what happens when the government forgets to stay out of the bedroom.
Lee Harding is a Research Fellow for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
Photo by choreograph.