How This Sex Scientist is Putting His Post-Election Emotions to Work

November 11, 2016 by Justin Lehmiller

The morning after this week’s U.S. Presidential election, I awoke feeling a range of emotions—none of them positive. I was sad. I was angry. I was scared.

I spent the entire day feeling helpless and pessimistic about the future, which I documented in an early morning blog post about seeing this election through the eyes of a sex researcher and educator.

A few days have passed now and, although I don’t feel any better about the election results, those feelings of helplessness have gone away. I know that the next four years will pose immense challenges, both personal and professional, but I also know that I don’t just have to sit by idly while so many of the people and things that I care about are threatened. I can do something to defend them—and, in fact, I’ve already gotten started.

One of my worries is that funding for sex research will be in peril. For instance, as I wrote on Wednesday, my Governor-Elect has previously made his disdain for the Kinsey Institute and government-funded sex research known. I don’t know how things will ultimately play out when he takes office, but I do know that I can support sex science in several ways, such as by donating directly to the Kinsey Institute (which I just did—and you can, too, by clicking here—if you live in the area, you can even consider filling out a volunteer application). Another way to support sex science is by donating to the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (I’ll be attending their fundraising dinner next week).

It’s not just attacks on sex research that worry me, though—I’m also concerned that, over the next Presidential term, the federal government will restrict or stop funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides a number of vital sexual health services for women and men. These include, but aren’t limited to, HIV and STI testing, cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive access, and sex education programs. You can support them by donating money (which I just did through this link) or by volunteering your time (learn more about current opportunities here).

In addition, I worry that a lot of the policies espoused by our President-Elect during the course of his recent campaign would infringe on people’s civil rights and liberties if enacted. He has suggested that women who seek abortions should be punished, that libel laws should be changed (in a way that could potentially undermine freedom of speech—an issue near and dear to bloggers like yours truly), that certain minority groups should be the targets of aggressive surveillance, and so on. One way I plan to stand up to this is by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union, a group that has worked for nearly a century to protect and defend Americans’ Constitutional rights.

And that’s just the beginning. In the days and months ahead, I will use my platform to call attention to policy changes that pose a threat to sex research and education, women’s rights, and the rights of sexual and gender minorities. I will also donate, volunteer my time, and—above all else—vote in 2018 for checks and balances in the government. I will do the same in 2020 with the hope of changing leadership.

This election doesn’t have to leave you feeling powerless. I know the next election is painfully far away, but I hope you see that there is much you can do between now and then to help and defend the people, professions, and organizations that you care about.

Image Source: Patrimonio

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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