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Rights to sexual pleasure for women?

Published: 11:44PM Monday June 23, 2008 Source: Reuters

Should women have the legal right to demand sexual pleasure?

An Ecuadorean politician thinks so and offered to include a woman's right to good sex in the country's next constitution, which faces a referendum on its approval later this year.

Though Maria Soledad Vela's proposal was eventually scrapped, it sparked an outcry in the deeply religious Andean nation and overshadowed the work of the government-controlled assembly rewriting the constitution.

Pollsters say such proposals reinforce the idea among Ecuadoreans that the assembly is bogged down in idle debate and not solving everyday problems like unemployment.

But the 45-year-old mother of two says Ecuador's male-dominated society has forced women to serve as sexual objects, and her proposal aimed to bring gender equality and fight sexual violence even if that meant women suing their husbands.

Some of Vela's colleagues ridiculed her proposal.

"The right for sexual pleasure is valid, but not in the constitution," said Leonardo Viteri, a gynaecologist and opposition member.