What counts as sex for Florida lawmakers?

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In 1997, it became a felony for a person who was knowingly HIV positive to have sex without informing his or her partner. The same law already existed for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. The problem is that the law only defined intercourse as vaginal sex between a man and woman. As a consequence, Florida's 2nd District Court of appeals overturned the conviction of a Bradenton woman who had sex with another woman without revealing her HIV positive status.


If lawmakers wish to uphold the integrity of this law, they will have to sit down and redefine what counts as sexual intercourse. They will also have to strike a balance between a person's right to privacy and what constitutes unnecessary exposure to HIV. For instance, although the only way HIV can be transmitted between two people through kissing is if both parties have open mouth soars, does this present enough of a risk that HIV positive people should be required to reveal their status before kissing? While some researches believe the risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is quite low, should this sex act also require a person to inform a partner of his status? Others may even argue that a condom or dental damn negates the need to reveal their HIV status.


On the other side of the debate are those who believe that this law is actually doing more harm than good. These people argue that the law discourages people from getting tested for deadly STDs. In such cases, ignorance does translate to innocence.


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Everyone has there own definition of sex. For some, oral sex is like the handshake of sexual relations and doesn't count as real sex. In college I heard prophecy of sorority girls at a nearby Catholic college who didn't count anal sex as sex, because the act did not compromise the physical integrity of their holy virginity. Some women do not count all the unprotected sex they had with their ex toward their cumulative sex score as he turned out to be a jerk, and sex with a jerk does not count.

The definition of sex can become increasingly difficult to nail down in the hands of lawyers and politicians. Just remember how convincing Bill Clinton was when he swore he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky; for him, using a cigar as a prosthetic penis clearly did not count as sex. In Clinton's case, this argument over the definition of sex nearly led to his impeachment. Now the debate over what constitutes sex may raise serious concerns for the Florida legislature.

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