OPINION: Be open to sexual openness

Sharing sexual experiences removes stigmatization, inspires conversation



Samuel Brinton serves as a member of the Biden administration. Interestingly enough, their lifestyle is more of a discussion than what they bring to the the position.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

Sam Brinton is a non-binary nuclear engineer who serves in the Biden-Harris administration as the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy. However, people are more concerned with their personal life than their position in the administration.

On top of their duties, Brinton is heavily involved in the drag queen community and has a persona named Sister Ray Dee O’Active. 

Brinton is also involved in the kink community as a “pup handler.” A pup handler is someone who roleplays with someone — oftentimes a queer male — that dresses and acts like a dog.

Brinton’s lifestyle, while certainly not uncommon, sparks a huge discussion in the political community about whether it is acceptable for a person in a position of power to be open about their sex life.

So far, there is extreme opposition from the conservative side of the sociopolitical spectrum. Rod Dreher, senior editor at the American Conservative, wrote in a column about how America is being run by freaks and blames the progressive politics of the Democratic party for allowing this to happen. 

“This is what it means to have Democratic Party governance now: a freak show. None of those people recognize it as a freak show,” Dreher wrote. “Appointing to the federal government’s nuclear management agency a weirdo who puts his wing-wang up the rear end of men who pretend to be dogs … is just another day of celebrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.™”

Critics have also taken to social media sites to address their frustrations over Brinton and their lifestyle. 

“Whatever you think about this person’s private lifestyle, publicizing it is harming America’s image abroad,” one tweet reads.

People are either unaware — or ignorant of — the fact that American culture is becoming more sex-positive. In comparison to even a few decades ago, Americans are becoming more open to the idea and discussion of sex.

I think it is harmless. For many years, people have felt ashamed to open up about their experiences with sex, which lead people to feel like their urges or desires are the result of mental illness.

Kinks and sexual experiences are completely normal, and being open about them removes the stigmatization surrounding them. It is not a crime that Brinton dresses in drag and has an involvement in the kink community, especially since “pup handling” is not intended to cause any harm to another person.

One look at Brinton’s educational background – graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in nuclear engineering – proves they have the qualifications for the position they hold. That needs to matter much more than what they do during their free time.

Sophomore marketing major Cameron McSweeney said being open about sexual experiences and lifestyles helps people to be more informed and feel more comfortable in their own skin. He said he does not believe it is inappropriate for Brinton to hold a position of power while being involved in the kink community.

“I feel like it should be okay to be open,” McSweeney said. “I feel like you should be able to express what makes you the most comfortable.”

Junior finance major Andrea Sanchez said she thinks it is great the Biden-Harris Administration is focusing on inclusivity and representing a broader scope of lifestyles and cultures.

“It is a free country, so [people] have the right to do whatever they want and to be as open as they want,” Sanchez said.

Even with widespread support for one member of the administration, this discussion spans more than just Brinton. 

Many people have shown discomfort and disgust over people sharing their sexual experiences in public. Whether it is a matter of not wanting to accept new societal norms or because they are insecure about their own lifestyle, sex positivity has received a lot of pushback.

One of the most important things about sex is education – informing people about sex helps them to know what is safe and what is not.

Especially since kinks can be unsafe if practiced improperly, would it not be better for people to know how to be open about them to prevent injury?

Brinton’s openness about their sex life is something everyone could benefit from. If someone serving in a government position can start the conversation about sexual experience, that could very well remove people’s inherent shame they feel whenever they find themselves wanting to try something.

Like Sanchez, I embrace the principle of America being a free country. We are home to many lifestyles and cultures, making us one of the most diverse countries in this world. 

Rather than shaming people who want to promote that, we should instead celebrate that we live in a country where people can share their lives openly, as opposed to a country that would murder us for sharing those same experiences.