Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #6 -- August 2000


1. Victory for Sexual Sanity
2. Queen For a Day?
3. Carpal Tunnel Censorship?
4. Infertility Treatments Creating Tiny Babies
5. Bastards Out of Carolina
6. That's Omni Without the X
7. More Motel Sex
8. Entrapment du Jour
9. Great New Old Book
10. Calendar

* * * * * * * * * * * *

1. Victory for Sexual Sanity

You probably know it's illegal to own a photograph of a child having sex. Last year, the government attempted to criminalize photographs of adults who "appear to be" underage. That's right: it was a crime to own a photograph of adults doing something legal, simply because it appeared to be illegal.

Take a moment now, therefore, to celebrate that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sustained the Free Speech Coalition's successful challenge to this part of the Child Pornography Protection Act (CPPA).

Those who try to limit our sexual freedoms tell us that "it's a slippery slope"--and that Americans should worry about perverts having too many rights. Well, they're half right--it is a slippery slope, and every little freedom we lose simply makes the next one easier to lose. There's an absolutely straight line, for example, between the CPPA law and laws that limit what you can access on the Internet.

So take a moment to celebrate--not that you can buy photos of 21-year-olds who look like 17-year-olds, but that whatever sexual rights you value are just a little bit safer today.

2. Queen For a Day?

The British Journal of General Practice recently reported a Royal London Hospital study of 606 patients of lesbian health clinics. While 20 percent said they were "exclusively lesbian" 80% of the women reported a history of heterosexual activity. This supports a study done by the Kinsey Institute several years ago, in which fully half of a group of self-identified gays and lesbians reported heterosexual activity in the previous 12 months.

In 1948, Dr. Alfred Kinsey said, "the world is not so neatly divided into sheeps and goats." His Kinsey Scale conceptualized a range of sexual orientations between exclusively hetero-erotic and exclusively homo-erotic. While this was an enormous breakthrough, it is now clear we need to go further. Sexual orientation is highly fluid throughout many people's lives, resembling a movie far more than a photograph.

We could simply call everyone "bisexual," but once the term applies to everyone, it loses its value. Sexologists such as Charles Moser and Jim Weinrich are working on alternative concepts of sexual orientation.

Perhaps one day kids on the playground will insult each other with, "fag for right now!"

3. Carpal Tunnel Censorship?

It would seem that the difference between prostitution and naked women gyrating is pretty clear. San Bernardino, CA officials, however, are attempting to blur this distinction in a transparent attempt to eradicate local strip clubs.

The local DA alleges that women dancers are having sex with each other in front of men who pay to watch--which he says is prostitution. Since the California Penal Code describes prostitution as "any lewd act between persons for monies or other considerations," this legal strategy could actually succeed.

As usual, the case involves underpaid, overworked police officers going to strip clubs and carefully, professionally, observing activity there--over and over again. I'm worried about those guys: if these clubs really are dangerous, the cops who go there to bust dancers are being exposed to harm, the same as workers cleaning up a radioactive mess, or nurses walking into a contagious epidemic.

We taxpayers deserve to know exactly what Employee Assistance Programs help debrief the cops after their shifts at these toxic clubs, restoring their health so they can function the next day. The officers' union should demand such programs for those who pull this hazardous duty. Perhaps cops who are regularly exposed to the dangerous lewdness of strip clubs should have those little lapel badges like x-ray technicians do, which would monitor the accumulation of erotic radiation. Research would establish levels of danger (using a unit of measurement called the Flynt), beyond which vice cops could not work.

Given the massive levels of sadism, repression, and corruption among the country's vice police, the level of exposure they can safely tolerate is apparently no more than five minutes--unlike the rest of us.

4. Infertility Treatments Creating Tiny Babies

The proportion of low birthweight babies (under 5.5 pounds at birth) has been growing steadily since 1984. These babies are far more likely to have sight, hearing, and cognitive problems, creating an enormous emotional drain on their families and a huge financial drain on their communities.

The primary reason for the increase in these births--primarily to older, middle-class, white mothers--is the assisted-reproduction technologies that produce huge numbers of twins, triplets, and quadruplets. The number of twin births has doubled in less than 20 years, while the number of triplets has quadrupled.

The infertility industry is now an enormous part of the American health-care system. In vitro fertilization, fertility drugs, surrogacy, and other techniques are big business--which is interesting, since they drive so many of their customers crazy. Fertility drugs create terrible emotional swings in women who take them, while ejaculating on demand in a doctor's office ruins sex for many men. The mental roller coaster can last as long as six or eight years, disrupting marriages and preventing people from coming to terms with their fate--not to mention postponing and even losing the chance for adoption. It can take a family decades to pay off the bills for these procedures, and even if they get a bouncing baby, many families are never the same.

In a cruel twist of fate, many of these couples find out they have 3 or 4 embryos (or one extremely damaged one) growing inside the woman. Unprepared, they have only a few weeks to decide what to do--and can't possibly think clearly about how triplets (or a retarded child) will change their lives forever, given that they've hungered for a child for so long. Wouldn't couples be best served by being required to watch videos or read books about this possibility in advance and making their decision while under less pressure?

In fact, the lack of attention to the psychological needs of fertility patients is staggering. They are rarely warned that the drugs will make them feel crazy; rarely told that sex will lose virtually all its appeal; and rarely encouraged to acquire new conflict management skills--which they will surely need during the bio-spiritual-financial hell upon which they are embarking. Physicians' inattention to this side of things is, consciously or not, smart business. Pointing out the problems a customer can expect from your product may be good ethics, but it's poor marketing.

5. Bastards Out of Carolina

The Carolina Family Alliance has announced its plans to continue harassing patrons of Spartanburg strip clubs. Volunteers will photograph license plates in strip club parking lots and post them on the group's website. They then plan to trace the vehicles' owners, urge them to seek professional help, and notify patrons' family and friends of their activity.

For the first time in my life, I actually wish I lived in South Carolina. I would organize a "strip club drive-in"--encouraging everyone in town to park in the clubs' parking lots, inviting photos of our license plates. Or maybe a group of us could join the Alliance, and volunteer to take such photos--which we could do all over town, in church parking lots and peoples' driveways. At the very least, someone should be taking photos of Alliance volunteers' license plates--and posting them all over town with the caption, "do you trust this person to run your life?"

6. That's Omni Without the X

Omni Hotels has decided to remove adult movies from the in-room entertainment system at its 30 hotels. It's part of the upscale chain's becoming more "family friendly"; hotel officials say that owner Bob Rowling "doesn't feel it's right to profit from adult movies."

Sure--it's OK to profit from violent in-room movies, not to mention charging for toll-free phone calls and getting three bucks for a mini-bar coke.

Here's what's family friendly: letting grown-ups who finally have a night away from the kids enjoy a little sexual stimulation. Doesn't Mr. Rowling know what goes on in hotels? Or does he think that "families," toward which he wants to be so "friendly," are created without adult activity? Maybe instead of smoking and non-smoking rooms, Mr. Rowling wants to offer adult and non-adult rooms. It appears that Mr. Rowling has forgotten that safety gadget that comes free with every Omni room: the TV's on-off switch.

7. More Motel Sex

Scientists recently conducted a study in Nicaragua, providing free condoms in motels to promote safe sex. Nineteen motels, including 11 used mainly by prostitutes, participated in the study. During the month, 6500 couples visited the 19 motels, and at least one condom was used on nearly half the occasions. Howard Johnson, are you listening? Imagine a motel promoting itself as socially conscious and sex-positive in this way: "soundproof walls, cleanser for your sex toys, and condoms for everyone." Instead of asking customers if they prefer smoking or nonsmoking rooms, clerks would ask if you prefer lubricated or non-lubricated. "Any allergies to latex or nonoxynol-9, sir?"

The researchers said that condoms were used less often during commercial sex if they came with educational material. This provides a clue for designing programs that encourage condom use. Part of what makes the "let's use a condom" conversation awkward is that we've positioned it as "you're a dirty, unethical person who might kill me with a disease just to get laid. Therefore, let's use a condom." This would be difficult for anyone. Instead, we should think of condoms as something to make sex better. Therefore, the conversation should be: "I want to have really great sex with you. I need to be completely relaxed to make this happen--and what really relaxes me is feeling like we have the disease and birth control thing covered. So let's use a condom so I can have really great sex with you." Now that's an invitation.

8. Entrapment du Jour

Yet another entrapment case gone awry has surfaced in California. Money that could have been used to build nuclear weapons has been wasted attempting to seduce a lonely middle-aged man into having sex with children. Or, more exactly, into talking about having sex with children.

According to court documents, Mark Poehlman was identified as a likely child molester because he visits an Internet site for people with "alternative" sexual identities. Poehlman is a compulsive cross-dresser--known to be the most harmless fetish of all. He was approached online in 1995 by a federal agent posing as "Sharon," a woman with three children looking for a husband. For more than six months, they corresponded, and he eventually proposed. Meanwhile, "Sharon" was encouraging him to think about "educating" her girls about sex, urging him to describe in graphic language what he would do. Eventually, Poehlman was imprisoned. This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals freed him.

For years, police and judges have confiscated pornography and kept it for their own enjoyment. Now, the FBI is apparently allowed to talk online in ways that the rest of us can't. If I spend six months e-mailing you about sexualizing children, I can be busted. If you're an agent, you get paid.

It's dirty work, the agents' logic surely goes, but someone has to do it. Yeah, right--they hate their jobs. Thousands of federal agents across the country are posing as "Sharon" and other characters, attempting to lure people into talking about their illicit sexual fantasies. Like the government recruiters say, it takes a certain kind of person to be a federal agent. Once again, we know exactly what kind.

9. Great New Old Book

Sol Gordon has been a towering figure in sex education since he founded Syracuse University's Institute for Family Research and Education in 1970. Many of the 20 books he has written are classics--none any better than "Raising a child conservatively in a sexually permissive world" (1989, Simon & Schuster). Co-authored with his late wife Judith, the book has now been revised and re-published by Adams Media. Even the wonderful title has been improved a bit. If you're a parent, or love someone who is, run--don't walk--buy this practical, wise guide to helping children develop healthy sexual attitudes and values. The new title is "Raising a child responsibly in a sexually permissive world." In fact, the link to follows. It's an honor to recommend Sol's work.

10. CALENDAR: Marty Klein's speaking schedule

September 15, 2000
Power, Anger, & Trust Dynamics in Couples Work

  Family Service Agency
  Aptos, CA

September 22-23, 2000
Human Sexuality

  National Association of Social Workers
  San Francisco, CA

October 7-8, 2000
Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexual Issues

  The Behavioral Medicine Research & Training Foundation
  Seattle, WA

November 2-3, 2000
Human Sexuality

  National Association of Social Workers
  San Francisco, CA

November 4, 2000
Sexual Feelings on Both Sides of the Couch

  Lifespan Learning Institute
  Los Angeles, CA

November 9, 2000
Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexual Issues

  Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
  Orlando, FL

November 10, 2000
Unresolved Challenges in Sex Therapy & Sex Counseling

  Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
  Orlando, FL

December 9, 2000
Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexual Issues

  Vistacare, Inc.
  Bakersfield, CA

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