Sexual Intelligence, written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.
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Each month, Sexual Intelligence® examines the sexual implications of current events, politics, technology, popular culture, and the media.

Dr. Marty Klein is a Certified Sex Therapist and sociologist with a special interest in public policy and sexuality. He has written 6 books and 100 articles. Each year he trains thousands of professionals in North America and abroad in clinical skills, human sexuality, and policy issues.

Issue #214 – December 2017


Roy Moore is NOT a Pedophile. He's a Traitor.

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I've been writing about Roy Moore for almost fifteen years.

Roy Moore has a 35-year record of political activity and belief that disqualifies him from public office in America.

This has very little to do with his taste for teenage females. And, contrary to what some breathless headlines say, Roy Moore is not a pedophile.

Pedophiles are sexually attracted to PRE-pubescent males and/or females. Every expert in this complex field agrees that a large percentage of pedophiles (probably half or more) NEVER touch a single child inappropriately. As a group, pedophiles are no more powerless over their sexual desires than any other non-psychotic group. Which is to say that some pedophiles, like some non-pedophiles, act out their desires even though they know they shouldn't. And that most don't.

Roy Moore's neighbors and colleagues apparently knew of his fondness for young teen women. Of course any coercion—which has yet to be proven—is against the law, and should be punished harshly. Invitations or suggestions that various teens felt were creepy? That isn't illegal, and while I wouldn't want Moore dating my daughter, that wouldn't disqualify him from public office.

What does disqualify Roy Moore is his traitorous views of our Constitution and legal system.

When Moore was first appointed a local judge in 1982, he put up a plaque of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom "to establish the moral foundation of our law." He would begin sessions by praying for jurors' wisdom, and sometimes asked a clergyman to lead the jury pool in prayer.

By the time he was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, Moore said that he had "come to realize the real meaning of the First Amendment and its relationship to the God on whom the oath was based. My mind had been opened to the spiritual war occurring in our state and our nation that was slowly removing the knowledge of that relationship between God and law."

Continued Moore, "I pledged to support not only the U.S. Constitution, but the Alabama Constitution as well, which provided in its preamble that the state established justice by 'invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God.' The connection between God and our law could not be more clear."

Six months later, this Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court installed a 5,000-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the state Supreme Court building. For two years America's legal process methodically tried to get him to move the monument, and he steadfastly refused. When he refused a federal court order to do so, he was removed from the bench—and vowed he had done nothing wrong.

That's right—the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court refused to obey a federal court order. Since he continues to believe he did the right thing, he is unfit for public office. From my 2005 book America's War On Sex, here are his own words while on trial in 2003:

State Attorney General Pryor: And your understanding is that the federal court ordered that you could not acknowledge God [in the courtroom], isn't that right?
Roy Moore: Yes.
Pryor: And if you resume your duties as Chief Justice after this proceeding, you will continue to acknowledge God as you have testified that you would today?
Moore: That's right
Pryor: No matter what any other official says?
Moore: Absolutely. Let me clarify that. Without an acknowledgement of God, I cannot do my duties. I must acknowledge God…
Pryor: If you do resume your duties as Chief Justice, you will continue to do that without regard to what any other official says. Isn't that right?
Moore: …I must.

Moore says God is the basis of American government, which he envisions as a theocracy. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers," he says. "Separation of church and state does not mean separation of God and government! We must return God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law."

This is exactly what the Ayatollahs of Iran say.

After a series of appeals, Moore was removed from the bench in 2004.

He ran again for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 2012, and won. Some two years later, Judge Roy Moore was charged with ethical violations for publicly encouraging state officials and judges to ignore federal court rulings overturning bans on same-sex marriage, including Alabama's.

In 2016 after the U.S. Supreme Court (in Obergefell v. Hodges) overturned all state bans on same-sex marriage, Judge Moore ordered lower court judges to ignore the federal ruling, citing their "ministerial duty not to issue any [same-sex] marriage license."

Later that year Moore was found guilty of gross violations of judicial ethics as he continued to claim a moral justification for violating the law and instructing state officials to do the same. He appealed his removal from the bench, and after a series of legal maneuvers failed, on April 26, 2017 he announced he was running for U.S. Senate.

And that's why Roy Moore is unqualified to run for U.S. Senator, state judge, or town dogcatcher. He is a traitor—he wants to overturn the American system of government, and he has knowingly acted in defiance of the law in order to do so. Ten years ago he was one of the first to publicly question Barack Obama's citizenship. He affirmed his "birther" conspiracy theory as recently as a year ago, attempting to delegitimize America's electoral process.

While his behavior toward young women long ago was creepy, probably predatory, and possibly even criminal, it's too bad that this is what has people distancing themselves from him.

He has damaged our democracy for decades—right up to the current year—and only a few defenders of secular democracy make a fuss. He messed with the psyches of a half-dozen women thirty years ago—certainly a bad thing—and people are salivating over the ancient scandal.

If only screwing with our secular democracy were as salacious as trying to screw high school girls.

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"Is that infidelity?" Why that's the wrong question

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As a therapist, I deal with couples in conflict every week. Frequently, two partners want different things: another child versus a vasectomy; saving versus spending; how much sex to have.

Of course, there's no "right" answer to questions like these—just two people with different values that may or may not be reconcilable.

But couples also ask me to arbitrate questions that, they claim, have objective answers. These often come down to language. Two people will point to the same thing and disagree on what it actually is, or on what it means. And they want me to tell them who's right: "I define X this way, Doc. Don't you agree?"

It's vital that therapists stay out of these disagreements about definitions. Otherwise we run the risk of injecting our own values into a conflict, inevitably siding with one partner or another. After all, language is political. And when couples quarrel, mates are typically pushing and shoving for power.

Here are some common questions that I generally don't answer:

~ "Is that infidelity?" "He did [fill in the blank]. Isn't that an emotional affair?"
~ "How do you separate erotica from pornography?" "Isn't porn disrespectful to women?"
~ "Don't you think [fill in the blank] is kinky?" Or "too kinky?"
~ "Do you agree that [fill in the blank] is sexist or even misogynist?"
~ "Doesn't that qualify as verbal abuse?" Or "emotional abuse?"

When I decline to give a simple yes or no, some patients find this aggravating, even accusing me of not caring—which isn't true. Or of not having an opinion—which is definitely not true.

But rather than telling people how to define things, I encourage them to talk more. About themselves: I feel left out. I feel embarrassed. I feel betrayed. I feel misunderstood.

That's the opposite of what many people do when they can't agree on the meaning of each others' words or behavior: they typically devolve into arguing about what things mean–instead of how people feel.

Is slow dancing with a non-spouse an acceptable form of flirtation? Is it a slippery slope to infidelity? What if a gentleman has an erection during the dance—and she can feel it? People can disagree about this until the end of time. If they do, the fact that one partner feels jealous or unattractive or left out may never get addressed. And that guarantees long-term unresolved conflict.

So what I tell patients is "Let's not focus on whether or not X constitutes infidelity (or verbal abuse or lateness or stinginess or immaturity). What I hear is that your partner feels pushed away, or unimportant, or misunderstood. Surely you care about that—even if you don't understand how she could possibly feel that way, right?"

This allows a person to feel understood. And their partner doesn't have to admit they did anything wrong in order to express empathy: "I hear that you were uncomfortable watching me slow dancing with Jose," which is not an apology. This really helps people communicate rather than argue over who's right. Or who's a bad person.

Most couples would be better off if they accepted each other's feelings rather than trying to talk the other person out of feeling the way they do. Similarly, most couples would be better off if they didn't distract themselves by attacking and defending definitions.

That particularly applies to the granddaddy of bad questions: what is "normal." Sex is a favorite topic of this pointless question.

People sometimes play the normal card as a way of saying no to their mate. Instead of "no, I don't want oral sex with you," some people say it's disgusting. Or instead of "no, I don't want to go to a strip club," some people say that's just too kinky. Some people feel they have to justify not wanting to do something. Others try it in the other direction: "you don't like oral sex? Everybody likes that. What's wrong with you?"

So which of the following are infidelity?
~ masturbating to pornography
~ following an ex on Facebook
~ flirting with a person who finds you attractive
~ passionately kissing someone
~ making someone orgasm while you're both mostly clothed
~ phone sex with someone while masturbating

"Infidelity" isn't like water or a table—it has endless meanings, all subjective. What's crucial is that both people in a couple agree on what it is and isn't. Sometimes it's clear: A catches B having sex with C—and they both agree that this is a betrayal. Other times people disagree—and they don't realize it until A finds out that B is doing something that they define differently.

At that point, a popular—but fruitless—activity is arguing about whether or not the activity is infidelity—meaning A has the right to be angry with B.

A far better approach is "Whether you call it infidelity or not, I'm really angry and hurt that you did that." Or "Let's not argue about whether it's infidelity. I can see you feel really hurt and angry, and I care about that."

Now that's intimacy. Which, of course, is crucial to healing infidelity—or perceived infidelity.

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Moral Outrage Is a Poor Substitute for Debate

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In America, sex is always in the news. (Note: it's actually not like that in most other countries.)

That news provides a chance for sincere, well-informed people to disagree. But these days, unfortunately, people are using the day's sex news more as a chance to choose up sides—to define what your opinion means about you and all your other opinions.

~ "I disagree" has been replaced by "You're misogynist."
~ "No, you're wrong" has been replaced by "You're a rape apologist."
~"I don't get your logic" has been replaced by "You're blaming the victim."
~ "I don't agree with that assumption" has been replaced by "You're transphobic."

Increasingly, Americans are more interested in finding out what tribe you belong to than in what you actually think. And once they decide you're in the wrong tribe, they feel free to ignore what you say. Or to attack you for what they imagine you believe.

This makes secular democracy impossible. It's how phony "democracy" works in Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Afghanistan: Voters don't ask what a candidate knows or wants or believes. They ask what his religion is, what his ethnicity is, what tribe he's from. Then they vote for their guy—and demonize the other guys.

So these days writers and speakers are being labelled for what their opinions supposedly mean, instead of having their ideas dissected and discussed. And too much of this is a purity measurement—are you 100% with us, or are you the enemy?

Here are a few recent examples with which you may be familiar:

~ Last year, a Stanford University student was convicted of having sex with an unconscious woman. The judge punished him with lifetime sex offender registration and six months in jail (the judge simply followed the Probation Department recommendation.)

Some people think the sentence is shockingly light, so they organized a recall campaign.

Other people—including dozens of California judges—are against the recall, primarily because it undermines judicial independence, making judges think twice about following the law. Many anti-recall people also believe that lifetime sex offender registration (and a jail record, not to mention jail time) is an enormous (and appropriate, even if imperfect) punishment.

Supporters of the recall are framing the upcoming recall election as "Are you against rape or not?" and "Do you believe women deserve to be safe or not?" This simplistic narrative can't possibly do justice to the subtleties or sophistication of the anti-recall position.

How dare you accuse me of being pro-rape just because I believe in judicial autonomy? This does NOT help rape victims.

~ There's a lot of concern about women who are sexually assaulted on college campuses. Many uninformed people have irresponsibly repeated the bizarre claim that 20 or even 25% of women in college have been raped—a figure higher than reported during the brutal wartime chaos in failed states like Congo or Yugoslavia.

This is demonstrably false. The "1 in 4" and "1 in 5" figures were generated by a researcher who did NOT ask respondents if they'd been assaulted; rather, she asked respondents if they'd had various sexual experiences (such as unwanted kissing), which the researcher then coded as sexual assault.

Challenging this impossibly high figure hasn't been popular—anyone referring to more reliable data (from the FBI, CDC, etc.) has been attacked as being part of "rape culture." In fact, social justice leaders have said that "quibbling" over numbers trivializes the awful experience of being raped.

I say the opposite—redefining sexual assault so that it includes things like unwanted kissing or groping (as unpleasant as they are), trivializes real rape. It also erases distinctions that are crucial to serious efforts to reduce all kinds of sexual misconduct. Just as strategies for reducing drunk driving will not much reduce car theft, strategies for reducing rape will not much reduce the far more common sexual disrespect.

~ If my college-age daughter and her friends plan to drive to a frat party, I would advise her to wear a seatbelt, and to pull off the road if she wants to text. If the frat is in a dangerous neighborhood, I'd advise her to take a cab or use Uber rather than walk.

Is that kind of thinking about safety "blaming the victim?" No, it's encouraging someone to take responsibility for themselves. Similarly, it's a message of self-care and adult caution to advise her "do not get drunk before you go to a party. In fact, don't get drunk at the party."

And yet this reasonable position—encouraging women to take care of themselves, recognizing the reality of the world in which they wish to be autonomous—is fiercely attacked as "blaming the victim" and "letting predatory men off the hook." I've even been attacked as supporting rape—with the twisted logic that since women have a right to be safe when they're drunk (which they do), they shouldn't have to be thoughtful about whether to get drunk in a given situation.

* * *

People who spend years studying issues often come up with contrasting analyses, leading to contrasting policy ideas. At the same time, only fanatics are 100% ideologically pure. Caricaturing someone else's ideas with words or slogans like "rape apologist" or "micro-aggression" may help define a small, dedicated in-group—but it prevents communication and limits the size of progressive communities.

It also keeps ideas simple, free from the nourishment of cross-pollination with other ideas. Simple ideas (like perfect moral clarity) may be attractive, but they seldom work in the real world.

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"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence , copyright © Marty Klein, Ph.D. ("
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