Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sexual Repression vs. Autonomy - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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Sexual Repression vs. Autonomy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Sexual Repression vs. Autonomy
“Sex and Confinement.” Civil Liberties Review 5 (July/August 1978): 6–16.
When, if ever, does the state have the right to intervene in the noncriminal sexual activities of its citizens? This question touches on an intimate area of personal autonomy and choice.
One of the least discussed issues of institutionalization involves controlling the sex lives of the confined. The magnitude of the problem becomes alarming when we realize that about 2.5 million Americans are confined in jails, prisons, mental hospitals, institutions for the retarded, and nursing homes. Of the 2.5 million, fewer than 400,000 are confined as punishment for wrongdoing. These institutions are typically “total institutions”; that is, they attempt to manage all aspects of the lives of those confined. Since these institutions strive to totally control their inmates' lives, privacy for inmates is virtually impossible. The lack of privacy and institutional policies intended to prevent sexual activity by the inmates make sex largely unavailable. Within those institutions designed for individuals in their sexually active years, institutional separation of the sexes is the rule.
In addition to concerns over institutionally imposed celibacy are many issues raised by laws which permit the state or guardians of the handicapped and the retarded to have such “deficient” persons sterilized. Also noteworthy is the fact that the government has frequently used the threat of withholding various kinds of benefits in order to encourage sterilization.
Since most of the institutions the author discusses are government institutions, and the overwhelming majority of those confined have done nothing more serious than perhaps being a nuisance, there is a clear question of the state's right to impose celibacy or encourage (or force) sterilization.