This much everyone agrees on: The president of Chick-Fil-A restaurants, Dan Cathy, actively opposes same-gender marriage. He says it goes against the bible, and that proponents of gay marriage are inviting God's judgment. Sure Dan, whatever.
Another fact: the mayors of Boston and Chicago have each declared the restaurant chain unwelcome in their city because of Cathy's values (discrimination and prejudice). Local franchise owners are understandably unhappy—some actively support gay rights—but the corporation's owner is steadfast. He's dealing with Eternity, after all.
The important thing here is that the anti-gay position is Cathy's personal feelings, NOT corporate policy. No one has accused Chick-Fil-A of discrimination in hiring, promotion, or other activities.
While I have no sympathy for the company president or his delusions (using a 2,000-year-old book as a modern public policy manual?), I'm not comfortable with the idea of cities excluding legal companies from the marketplace. Cities and counties have been doing that with sexually oriented businesses for years.
Their typical line is, "Our community doesn't want that kind of business." And so through zoning, punitive regulations, restrictions on hours or advertising, or just endlessly stalling license applications, city after American city has prevented perfectly legal businesses from opening or continuing.
The Phoenix City Council decided "we're not the kind of city that wants swing clubs" (clearly inaccurate, because of the large number of clubs it shut down). Huntingburg, Indiana believed it shouldn't have to tolerate the Love Boutique that had so many customers. Even past and present New York mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, who don't agree on much, both said that neighborhoods had a "right" to exclude (legal) porn shops.
U.S. cities are no longer allowed to tolerate discrimination in housing, education, or employment. Excluding, ghettoizing, and damaging sexually oriented businesses is one of the last forms of discrimination in which municipalities can engage.
It's totally unfair.
So I don't want Chick-fil-A excluded by the same vigilante mentality—"we don't want your kind around here." Instead, let's get rid of them the slower, old-fashioned way—by patronizing the competition. We shouldn't throw rocks through their windows, either, to demonstrate our moral superiority. Perhaps Dan Savage can start a campaign to name a body fluid after their secret sauce. Something like, "we know what puts the A in Chick-fil-A."
The good news here, the really lovely news, is that the mayors of two of America's most important (and most Catholic) cities have said that mere religious belief does not somehow transform discrimination into something noble or acceptable. The mayors have emphasized that gay people are, um, people, "endowed with inalienable rights" and all that stuff.
So let's celebrate this affirmation of secularism, and let's celebrate that during the current plague of political conservatism and play-it-safe-ism, two mayors have said, simply and clearly, "discrimination against gay people is no better than all the other discrimination that's outlawed."
Let's just not go too far and say these people can't locate in our town. You know, love (or tolerate) the sinner, hate the sin. And hate their chicken, of course.
Fred Willard is a tremendously gifted TV and film actor (Everybody Loves Raymond, Modern Family, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind).
His career is now abruptly over because he was arrested by L.A. vice cops at an adult movie theater. Not convicted, not sentenced. Arrested. For "lewd behavior" in a porn theater.
(Why doesn't Fred watch porn at home? Maybe he likes company. In any case, that's not really our business, is it?)
In the face of the Republican determination to defund and thereby destroy public television and public radio, PBS announced that it would fire the actor from his job as narrator of its new "Market Warriors" series, a show produced by public TV station WGBH. They can't afford the bad publicity.
Puh-leese. Will firing Willard make much difference? Congressmembers suspicious of "subversive" public TV won't distinguish between "their shows feature guys arrested in porn theaters!" and "they once even hired a guy who was arrested in a porn theater!" Memo to PBS: caving in to bullies never works. (Once again, let's honor Dennis Barrie and Cinncinnati's Contemporary Arts Center for standing up to the Jesse Helms gang and exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe's erotic works in 1990.)
In the past 35 weeks, L.A. police have apparently "inspected" the adult theater 40 times, arresting 23 people.
One can speculate as to how many of those "inspections" involved cops getting blow jobs. One can wonder how much tax money was spent on these "inspections." And one can wonder, in a city where 300 people are murdered and several thousand are raped every year, how the city can possibly justify spending millions on "inspecting" porn theaters. How many murders are those inspections and arrests worth preventing—299? 199? one?
If convicted, the State could require Fred Willard to register as a sex offender. Depending on where he lives, he might have to move. No producer or casting director would ever look at his photo ever again.
California has 106,000 registered sex offenders. The country has three-quarters of a million.
While many sex offenders are dangerous anti-social criminals, most people don't realize that dozens of trivial offenses can also get you registered: age-play in an adult chatroom. Sending a nude photo of yourself to the wrong person. Talking about sex to an unrelated minor (yes, really). Inviting someone to have sex in a public bathroom. Wanking into an adult theater. Going to an adults-only swinger's club.
What have you done lately to get you fired from your job, dismissed as a Little League coach, or even arrested?
Pornography is not meant to be sex education. It's fiction, period.
Nevertheless, with the enforced ignorance of abstinence-only sex "education," most families' and couples' discomfort discussing sex seriously, and mainstream Christianity's taboos about sexual reality, most people find themselves needing more information about sexuality.
If they're fortunate, they manage to find a smart book or two, a reliable website or two, and maybe even an enlightened, open-minded, communicative sex partner. Anyone lacking all three who wants sex information inevitably turns to porn, whether intentionally or unconsciously.
Unfortunately, many young people don't realize that porn is not a documentary. Lacking porn literacy or media literacy, they're ignorant about editing, off-camera preparation, and other normal features of film-making. While some people assume that sex is—or should be—
like what they see in porn, every good sex educator cautions against this. The most recent set of caveats comes from my good friend, journalist and sex educator Michael Castleman.
While I agree with most of his excellent article (I've said similar things myself over and over), let's not forget the helpful things consumers can learn from porn.
This is NOT, NOT, NOT to say that everything people learn from porn is good. Puh-leeze—any 17-year-old who thinks his next girlfriend is dying for anal sex or a chance to blow the pizza delivery guy is in for a shock. And it's always too bad when men think most women climax from 90 seconds of intercourse (although the antidote is pretty straightforward: simply telling a guy 'that's not me,' no apology necessary).
That said, here's a reminder of helpful things that porn can teach us about sex.
WAIT, ONE MORE TIME: I know, I know—porn also contains many inaccurate, even egregious lessons. But if we take them seriously—and, fortunately, not every porn consumer believes the fantasies of porn—let's also take the following positive helpful lessons seriously. Many of these are positive lessons sex educators have been teaching for years:
- Men can touch their penises during sex
- Women can touch their vulvas during sex
- Sex needs lube
- Spit works for lube
- Some women sometimes desire sex without romance
- Telling each other stories can make sex hotter
- Men can climax using their own hand
- Some women think about sex in advance
- Women sometimes insert the penis into their vagina
- Men sometimes insert their penis into a vagina
- If the penis comes out during intercourse, you can simply put it back in
- Some women like fellatio
- Some women like cunnilingus
- Some men like fellatio
- Some men like cunnilingus
- Some women like anal sex
- Some men like anal sex
- Some women use and enjoy vibrators and dildos
- Some men like their balls squeezed during sex
- Pregnant women can be sexual
- Whether during intercourse, oral, or manual sex, the clitoris can be important
- The volume of ejaculate is not related to penis size (or anything else)
- Sex is more than penis-vagina intercourse
- Some women have orgasms
- Some older women are sexual
- Older women can be attractive to younger men (and vice versa)
- People can have sex with people of different races
- People can smile and talk to each other during sex
- People can indicate to each other what they like during sex
- Some women shave/wax, others don't
- You can happily ejaculate outside a vagina (onto a leg, chest, butt, belly, lower-back tattoo, or your own hand)
WHATEVER your sexual fantasy, you're not the only one who has it.
On September 20, 2012 I'll be broadcasting two seminars over the Internet. Attend live, so you can email questions (maybe about your most frustrating case?), or download the seminars and watch/listen on your own schedule.
10:30-Noon PDT: Working with Couples When Pornography is an Issue
1:00-2:30 PDT: Sexual Intelligence: 10 Things Every Therapist Needs to Know About Sex
For registration and information, click here. Save money by registering for both--you can even attend one live, one later.
CEs for MFTs, social workers, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and those working for the TSA.
For 18 days I'll be traveling in Warsaw, Crakow, Lublin, and various small towns. I'll even be lecturing about my new book Sexual Intelligence, which debuts in Polish on September 1. Go to Marty's Travels for the first entry, and if you like, subscribe so you get pinged with each new post. You can also see the blogs from my trips to India, China, and elsewhere.
If Sexual Intelligence is one of your favorite sexuality blogs, it's time to nominate it! Last year we were voted #21, and this year we aim to do even better. Competition is fierce, as we're up against erotic stories, daily journals, videos, and sex advice. But surely there's room for Sexual Intelligence among all that sexy stuff.
If you'd like to help put Sexual Intelligence on the cyber-map, go to Between The Sheets and enter the following:
- My name (Marty Klein's Sexual Intelligence)
- My URL (http://sexualintelligence.wordpress.com/)
- A sentence on why you love this blog.