Pat Califia's 42 things

An excerpt from Pat Califia's book "Public Sex", Cleis Press, 1994:

Forty-two Things that You Can Do to Make the Future Safe for Sex

  1. Defend an abortion clinic. Help women get through right-wing pickets and into the building.

  2. Write a sex ad.

  3. When your newspaper says police are cracking down on prostitution, call the police and tell them you don't like them spending your money to bust hookers. Then write a letter to the paper saying the same thing. Urge the government to decriminalize prostitution. Nobody should have to go to jail for trying to make a living.

  4. Write a weekly letter to your congresspeople. Ask them to repeal RICO laws, vote against mandatory sentencing for drug offenses, allocate more money for addiction-treatment services and family planning, fund more research on breast cancer and AIDS, and shut down the Justice Department's antiporn campaign. Remind these rich enemies of the asshole that being poor is not a crime. The money we now spend on building new prisions should be spent to bring jobs to the inner city and to build better schools. The League of Women Voters can tell you who your representatives are and give you their addresses. Be sure to send a copy of your letter to the Presidential Bubba.

  5. Study sex.

  6. Write a weekly letter to your mayor, officials in city government, state representatives, and governor. Tell them you oppose sodomy lws, laws which make solicitation illegal, and laws that force sex offenders to register with the cops. Tell them you vote.

  7. Vote.

  8. Oppose attempts to get states to adopt a lower standard of obscenity (often known as the Miller standard).

  9. Give away some pleasure.

  10. Join a group like These groups are fighting for your sexual freedom. Be sure to enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request for information.

  11. Find a new fantasy.

  12. If a convenience store is being picketed for carrying adult magazines, walk in and buy one. Tell the manager you support her or his decision to carry the materials the customers want.

  13. Make art about how sex feels.

  14. If an antiporn group is photographing the customers of an adult bookstore, turn up with a Polaroid and take pictures of them.

  15. Write a love letter to an unlovable part of your body.

  16. Organize a benefit for the Little Sister's Defense Fund and send the money to 1221 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6E 1X4.

  17. Do regular self-examinations for breast or testicular cancer.

  18. Teach somebody how to come with a rubber barrier.

  19. If your city initiates a crackdown on baths or sex clubs, write your elected representatives and send a copy of your letter to your local newspapers. Tell the powers that be that you want a clean, well-lighted place for random encounters with randy strangers. Don't forget to mention that having safe sex in a public place is much more healthy than having unsafe sex at home in the privacy of your own bedroom.

  20. Seize the moral high ground. Be righteous in your indignation.

  21. If somebody tries to ban a book at a school or public library, go to the hearing. You wouldn't believe how easy it is to win these battles if you just show up and speak up. Keeping books about sex in the libraries is even more important than keeping them in bookstores because they are free and more people see them (especially young people).

  22. Look at a cervix. (Hint: Annie Sprinkle is not the only woman who has one!)

  23. Find out what the sex education curriculum is like in your local schools. If you think it is inadequate, express your concerns to school officials. You don't have to be a parent to do this. Everybody gets taxed to pay for free public education, so we all have a right to shape public policy. Young people need to know about birth control, safer sex, and homosexuality.

  24. Look at your genitals.

  25. Tell record stores that you don't want labels on your music. Tell your state representative you don't want laws that limit what kind of music young people can buy.

  26. Do not be shamed. Do not be stampeded by fear.

  27. If your pharmacy keeps condoms behind the counter, ask that they be displayed where people can buy them without having to ask for them. Tell the manager that she or he will sell more of these items if the customer can avoid embarrassment. Ask for latex gloves. Ask for dental dams. Ask for water-based personal lubricants. Ask for leaflets about AIDS and safer sex.

  28. Write to a prisoner.

  29. Call ABC, NBC, and CBS (both the national offices and your local affiliates). Tell them you want to see condom ads during prime time.

  30. Tell gay organizations that you want them to support the First Amendment and start tracking obscenity cases. Tell them you want to see them supporting needle-exchange volunteers. Tell them you want them to defend sex workers who get arrested. Tell them it's time to put the sex back into homosexuality.

  31. Keep your eyes open the whole time.

  32. Organize a benefit for the Spanner defendants, gay men who were sentenced to prison in England for practicing consensual S/M; write a check payable to The NLA Spanner Defense and Education Fund, Account No. 01-7008237800, Central West End Bank, and mail it to Woody Bebout, Treasurer, P.O. Box 8224 St. Louis, MO 63108

  33. Crossdress.

  34. Talk to a sex worker, a transgendered person, a celibate, a sadomasochist, a heterosexual -- anybody whose sexual identity or practices are different from yours.

  35. Masturbate, and don't hurry.

  36. Tell video stores that you enjoy being able to rent X-rated videos.

  37. Give up the concept of trying to control other people's sexual tastes. It will give you more time to develop your own.

  38. Make or buy a sex toy.

  39. Volunteer for a rape crisis center, a shelter for battered women, or an AIDS hotline.

  40. Hand out clean needles and free condoms. If you can't do this, give money to the people who are doing it for you.

  41. Organize a neighborhood patrol. Let bashers know they can't get away with hate and violence in your little part of the world.

  42. Live a long time and make waves. The name of this ride is "Rock the Boat," not "Pretend You're Dead Already."

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