Sex toys as a protest of campus carry at the University of Texas

The “Cocks not Glocks” protesters are at it again in Texas, bringing sex toys with them to class to express their outrage against the fact that people who hold carry licenses are now allowed to bring their handguns to class with them.  These demonstrations have been going off and on for a while now, a more visceral complement to complaints made by faculty.

Regarding the change in the law, Ana Lopez, vice-president of Students Against Campus Carry asked, “Do you expect a bunch of frat boys to defend us against an armed gunman?”  In fact, if they’re freshmen, no, I don’t expect them to be carrying, since the minimum age for a carry license is twenty-one.  Some sixty percent of college students as a whole are under twenty-five years of age.  If we’re going to work with stereotypes here such as the drunken frat boy, we also have to point out that the pledges that we worry about aren’t allowed by the law to carry or even own handguns.  As I’ve pointed out again and again, the person who is likely to be legally armed would be an employee of the college—faculty or staff.

But the use of dildos brings in a more interesting question.  We live in an age of sexual freedom.  The Victorians were as human as we are and were as interested in sex, but we’re far more open about it in the twenty-first century.  We’ve reached the point at which fifty-five percent of Americans support marriage equality—the idea that same-sex couples deserve the same blessings and otherwise of marriage.  And the idea of women deserving the same control over their own sexuality as men is not only not controversial, but is the law.

Just as with guns, sex has consequences.  I’m often told that gun rights differ from all others because of the greater potential for harm that comes from the possession of weapons over what speech and other rights can do.  And yet, sexuality in general and marriage in specific come at a cost.

The protests in Texas presents a curious opposition, harkening back to the calls to make love, not war in the Vietnam era.  And in the Age of Aquarius, perhaps love in the state of nature holds greater appeal than the mechanical exercise of power.  In both cases—the rights of owning and carrying firearms and the right to engage in sexual acts—we have the intersection of personal liberty and the rights of others.  If you’re exercising your rights alone, as the toys brought to campus in protest illustrate, you should be free to do as you please.  If you involve others, in a free society, you have to seek cooperation.

And if you’re going to exercise a favorite right, it only makes sense to protect the rights of others.  That’s the real problem with the “Cocks not Glocks” demonstrations.  It’s not one or the other.  If we allow rights to be treated as things in opposition, we’ll lose them all.  The impression may be that sex rights are more popular now, but public opinion is mercurial, and basing our freedoms on opinion polls is like construction in quicksand.  I’ll gladly support the right of people to enter into voluntary sexual relationships, but I’ll insist on having my right to protect myself respected at the same time.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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