An Immodest Proposal

Recently, a fundamental unfairness has been getting to me. Why should females have to wade through rows of anti-Roe v. Wade picket lines at family planning clinics, while men who visit urologists for vasectomies basically slip in and out, with no one screaming in their faces about having nipped themselves in the bud? As Monty Python knows too well, sperms are people too! Since men and boys have as much technical responsibility in the area of human sexuality as women and girls do, it’s about time they bear an equal amount of the brunt from the right-wing radical-Christian morality police.

Doubt my assertion that sperms make babies? Unless you’re the Virgin Mary, you just try getting pregnant without it.

Therefore, I propose we take the heat off women for awhile and “sic” the radical fringe on men, just to give the pro-choice clinics a break.

Of course, any remaining anti-abortion folks would have an advantage over the pro-sperm demonstrators because of the graphic (and often faux) signs they carry outside of clinics. You know, the ones that have aborted fetuses with tiny smiles. In contrast, the pro-sperm placards would look like a gooey mess. But that could work to their advantage. “Yes, this may look like spilled seed but it’s LIFE!” they can scream at the potential vasectomy patients. “While you just wantonly waste gallons of ‘life,’ in your lifetime you could have populated the earth!”

Oh yes, the pro-fertilization-fluid movement would have all sorts of new ground to cover. It is, after all, a sin to masturbate. And apparently, it’s a sin to talk about masturbation. Just ask former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, the top U.S. physician who dared–dared!–suggest that masturbation was a safe release for teens, instead of unprotected sex and unplanned parenthood. That got her Jezebel butt fired.-

Why there’s never been any public focus on the sinful aspect of self-love by fundamentalists is mysterious. Hands-down, masturbation is the most popular form of sex ever invented. No stress, no complicated relationship or courtship rituals, a fella can have a very cheap date, no dinner and still get some action. And you thought “joy stick” was a harmless video game accessory.

Nope, for strict fundamentalists, masturbation is a serious waste of precious “life” so important that there’s even a name for it! Onanism. Masturbation is named for Onan, one of Judah’s sons. Take a look at Genesis 38:9. The “family values” of the time dictated a brother should marry his brother’s widow. Onan was so upstanding that he did not sow his seed, he spilled it. Of course, Onanism, literally speaking–as fundamentalists are often prone to–also includes recreational, as opposed to “creational” sex. Right now Onanism is rampant and unpoliced. But that can change when this country is officially taken over by the people who stand guard outside of clinics and hospices. So, folks, when this country is a theocracy, you can look forward to having illegal sex practically all the time: sex with birth control, sex with yourself, sex during infertile times, all is Onanism, and very, very naughty.

Oh, no, it’s not fair that only abortion and female-oriented birth control has drawn the ire of fundies. After all what is good for the goose is just as good for the gander: and face it, we cannot have more geese without the gandering and the goosing.

This too brings up the other area that fundamentalists let the ganders get away with! Masturbation by its very nature is–gasp–a same sex relationship! Where’s the outrage? Where are the pickets?!

That’s right boys; you are loosey-goosey queer if you’ve ever had a date with yourself. I wonder if your sweethearts know. It’s time to come out of the water closet and take your rightful lumps from the religious. I’m now looking for enrollees in Manic Onanists Reach Out Now (MORON) to help whip up indignant passion among the pious. Brothers committed to sexual liberty, step up, and take your places, join hands–or rather, hmm, link arms–with your sisters. Stand tall, you Onan the Masturbarian types. We need some decoys.

It wouldn’t hurt to have the urologists get a little taste of what it’s like to be an OB-GYN physician in these times either. MORON will provide bullet-proof vests to those who can show proof of a urology practice.

Quick! Forward this before the ultra-religious try to ban humor too.

Ellen Snortland is the author of “Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls,” and has a weekly column in the Pasadena Weekly. Contact her at

Reprinted from The Pasadena Weekly with author’s permission.

Photo from the Open Clip Art Library.


  1. Ms. Snortland, you rock! Nobody says it better than you.

  2. Alaine Lowell says:

    This is not only hilarious but so true. I will join MORON and encourage any fundamentalist to take up the banner. Thanks Ellen for pointing out the hypocrisy.

  3. Onan was Judah’s son, not his brother.

  4. I think we can take care of this if we mandate contraception to go along with every Viagra prescription and proof that they provided it to their partner. Then, as long as it’s men receiving these medications, nobody will have a problem with it.

  5. rockerbabe says:

    Absolutely, the bomb! This is one sister with a great sense of humor!

  6. I feel ardently inspired after reading this. I am pumped for an upcoming confrontation that will allow me to proclaim that masturbation is a same-sex-relationship!

    These are the kinds of articles I read to stay motivated in the fight against patriarchy and hypocrisy (especially from religious individuals).

  7. Anonymous says:

    Actually, this entire article is completely full of falsehoods.

    Let’s have a little (very simple) anatomy lesson shall we? An egg has how many chromosomes? 23. A sperm has how many chromosomes? 23. Were you or I ever an egg? No. Were you or I ever a sperm? No. ONLY when the two combine do the 46 chromosomes come together is there a life. This is simple biology always taught, and will not change. At that time when that one single sperm fertilizes that one single egg, there is a single cell with 46 chromosomes and ALL of the DNA contained right there for that life to fully develop from one cell into all of the cells contained in what YOU consider to be a human person. Therefore, based on pure biology (no religion at all, let’s not pretend this is a religion-based argument), once the fertilization of the egg occurs, a completely separate life with its own blueprints mapping out every.single.last.detail down to the color eyes, the height, and hair color exists.

    So the entire premise of this article is amiss based on pure basic biology, and therefore sounds completely absurd. No pro-life person (or doctor for that matter) in this world would try to argue that an egg alone or a sperm alone is a human person. That is simply ludicrous. Any person fighting against abortion or chemical contraception (including the Morning After Pill) is doing so based on the basic biological argument that a unique, identifiable person exists who, once destroyed, will never exist again.

  8. Ken Gruberman says:

    At the risk of sounding like a … jerk, it’s nice to know that Ellen has a firm grasp on this subject! If I’d had to wade through anti-choice zealots on the way to my urologist’s office in 1974 when I got my vasectomy, I’m sure it would have been an experience I’d remember for a long time. But of course they weren’t there, and never have been. I guess you could say the radical right are real… dicks, when it comes to reproductive rights and gender bias.

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