Sodomy Illegal until 2003?

I found our discussion of Sodomy to be very interesting. To be honest, I have never heard of this word really except in passing and I knew that it was particularly negative but I had no idea that it just simply meant oral or anal sex. Although I understand that sodomy relates to non-reproductive sex which ended up being associated with gay sex, I can’t help but feel like it is a ridiculous term. To think that heterosexual couples didn’t practice oral or anal sex (though maybe it wasn’t as common, there were definitely people who did it) is a very naive assumption. I can assure you that heterosexual couples in the past 3 decades have been having oral and anal sex and were not punished. Also, to say it is not natural is also laughable. There are examples in the natural world of sodomy. There are bats that practice oral sex, regardless of gender. Therefore, how can it be unnatural? It amazes me that sodomy was still illegal and punishable by prison in some states in the United States until 2003. It is wild that I lived during a time where private same-sex sex was a crime only 14 years ago and now same-sex marriage is nationally recognized and legal. We have come far in LGBT acceptance but I also think that we can’t say that LGBT people need to stop pushing for their rights. Same-sex marriage was not the end of the battle and seeing as just 14 years ago sodomy was illegal, it is guaranteed that there are states and people who don’t accept LGBT individuals and think they should be punished.


4 thoughts on “Sodomy Illegal until 2003?

  1. I agree with you that to believe that sodomy with heterosexual sex was not much of a thing and that oral/ anal sex going on within that community and to think otherwise is ridiculous. To define homosexual sex as sodomy in our society is based off of hate and is hypocritical, i believe. I also thought the fact about bats was very interesting and I do agree that our society goes against nature a lot. I also did not know sodomy was illegal till 2003 and it blows my mind to think our society is that ass backwards when it comes to our human instincts.


  2. I’m so shocked to hear that it was punishable until 2003. That’s crazy. I don’t understand how/why sodomy even became illegal. In ancient times when there was nothing else to do, I’m sure everyone was committing sodomy and I’m 99.9% positive that the people who engage in sexual activity, have done the same. The fact that the word has become stigmatized is so weird to me for people who strictly engage in homosexual relations when clearly everyone has sex that doesn’t reproduce. Although even hearing about how sodomy wasn’t legal in some states till 2003, I can kind of understand it too. Only because it took so long for gay marriage to be legal even though everyone was ok with it and even now some states are trying to back to gay marriage being illegal and even worse planned parenthood being gone.


  3. While sodomy officially simply means oral or anal sex, more often it is used as a euphemism for any homosexual acts between two men. When sodomy was still illegal, this fact allowed for useful ambiguity within the legal system: while sodomy was technically outlawed for all people, thus establishing technical equality under the law, only those practicing homosexual sodomy would be brought to court in the first place due to the colloquial definition. The fact that certain types of private sexual acts between two consenting partners were illegal for so long shows how ingrained the revulsion towards non-heterosexual sex is in our society. Homosexual individuals’ private acts were considered a danger to public society and thus had to be legally curtailed, a purpose which anti-sodomy laws served well. I agree that the existence of anti-sodomy laws so recently in our society’s past highlights how, even though non-heterosexual sexualities have become better recognized and supported in recent years, there is still a long way to go.


  4. I was also unaware of what the word sodomy truly meant before this class. During class I googled it to make sure I wasn’t missing out in a part of the conversation and was just as surprised as you were. I thought I must have been missing a part of the definition, as I didn’t see any trace of the word homosexual, as it was presented in class. I was even more surprised to learn how recently it was considered illegal, but I believe the true definition and the association of homosexual sex is misconstrued. If it was heterosexual sex it was assumed to not be sodomy (which is completely wrong). This has made me more aware of the ridiculous laws that are still in place and the work we have to do as a whole to make an inclusive community.


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