Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #46 -- December 2003


1. Off-Duty Nude Not Rude
2. Michael Jackson Freak-a-thon
3. Romeo + Juliet + Doctor = Jail
4. Finally--"No Secondary Effects"
5. "60 Minutes" Gives Porn A Handjob
6. Letters About Issue 45
7. Holiday Sale: Discount on All Books, Tapes, CDs
8. 2004 Sexie Awards: Nominations Open


1. Off-Duty Nude Not Rude

Marcie Ann Betts was fired as a guard at Maryland's Roxbury Correctional Institution in January after prison officials discovered that nude photos of her had been published--before she was hired. There were about 80 photos of her on, and one in Tabu Tattoo magazine.

Judge Harrison Pratt noted that Betts' activities took place before she was hired, and that her activities were clearly protected by the First Amendment. He said that her employer failed to show why her rights should be eclipsed by security concerns. Judge Pratt concluded that Ms. Betts' "right to publish photographs of herself far outweighs the minimal impact that such activities 'might' have on the [prison's] ability to protect staff and inmates and to operate efficiently."

The problem is sex again, of course. The government wouldn't claim it had the right to control its employees' previous lives in any other arena. Would Betts have been fired for having run a gun club before she was hired?

On the other hand, the judge's reasoning is troubling. The idea that Betts couldn't be nude off the job today means she has to trade her right to free expression for her job. If she can't be an effective prison guard while there are nude pics of her on the web, she can't be very good at it without the pics. The judge left the state with way too much power to dictate what Betts could do in her free time. Ironically, when it comes to sex, Betts is still something of a prisoner. Apparently, when it comes to sex, we all work in a company town.

2. Michael Jackson Freak-a-thon

For those bored with Laci's murder trial and impatient with Kobe's rape trial, Michael Jackson's recent arrest for sexually exploiting a minor occurred just in time (issues #39, 42).

Jackson, who hasn't toured the U.S. in 10 years, and whose last decent album is older than most of his friends, has done the one thing guaranteed to electrify the media--get caught in a sex scandal. The reason the media loves this is because it gets to talk about sex and to censure it at the same time. It gets to use words like masturbation and actually repeat the quote "he put his penis in my mouth" (Fox News, of course) while pretending to cringe. It's the perfect guilt-free eroticism: and by now, most of America can't tell where the shudder of pleasure leaves off and the shudder of disgust begins.

We depend on the media to serve us transgressive sex in just this way. Hugh Grant, Heidi Fleiss, Rob Lowe, Pamela Anderson, Pee Wee Herman, Woody Allen, Brittany & Madonna, Pete Townsend, Marv Albert--if entertainers didn't regularly get into this kind of legal trouble, we'd have to invent some other excuse to leer at sex that we damn. It just might be the next reality show: bribing celebrities to get into sexual trouble so we can watch, disapprove, giggle, feel superior. There's America's ideal sexual experience: the ecstasy of orgasm indistinguishable from the ecstasy of self-righteousness.

3. Romeo + Juliet + Doctor = Jail

Kansas Judge J. Thomas Marten has a few more weeks to decide how much health care professionals will be required to report the sexual behavior of people under 16.

Under current state law, any sexual contact by someone younger than 16--consensual or not--is criminal. State Attorney General Phill Kline sparked the current legal argument last summer in his controversial opinion that doctors, psychologists, nurses and other health care providers are required to report all suspected sexual activity in that age group.

Unfortunately, implementing the law will put not only teens at risk, but health care professionals as well. Well-meaning providers can now go to jail if they fail to disclose even consensual sex among those under 16. And the issue isn't just Kansas'. The Iowa legislature recently passed a law increasing the age for mandatory reporting of suspected "sexual abuse" from under age 12 to under age 16.

That's America's approach to teen sexuality: criminalize teens' behavior, deprive them of the information and equipment with which to do it safely, and complain when they don't act wisely. A sexually oppressed minority, there isn't a state in the union that allows teens to have sex legally. And since all states have mandatory reporting laws for health care providers, anyone who provides sexual health care to teens and doesn't report each one puts their own career in jeopardy. All this in a nation whose overwhelming majority has both intercourse and oral sex by age 18.

A sinister twist makes this story even bigger: the national movement to discredit the clinics that serve teens’ health needs. The site, for example, says that:

"Seeking an abortion, pregnancy test, birth control or STD treatment is evidence of sexual activity. Therefore, evidence that any of these services is being sought by a girl too young to legally consent to sex creates a reasonable suspicion of child sexual abuse. For a mandated reporter, the only relevant questions are (a) is this girl younger than the state's age of consent, and (b) is there a reasonable suspicion that she is sexually active? If the answer to both questions is yes, a report is legally required. In the case of healthcare workers, patient confidentiality is irrelevant."

Furthermore, accuses Planned Parenthood (by name) and similar providers for facilitating pedophilia, sex abuse, and statutory rape--all in reference to consensual sex. Calling 18-year-olds who have sex with 16-year-olds "pedophiles" is a corrupt political tactic. Calling such a relationship "sex abuse" reveals this movement to be cynically abusive itself.

This is another desperate attempt to control the sexuality of young people. The goal is to punish them for needing sexual healthcare services by making those services unavailable. The cold-hearted (and terribly naïve) strategy is to make sex so emotionally, financially, and medically costly for young people that they'll give it up.

It makes you wonder if the adults involved were ever horny teens themselves. If they were, they've either forgotten all about it, or they feel so guilty that they're trying to atone for it by destroying other teens’ sexuality. Their lack of compassion--for themselves at a younger age, and for young people today--is the thing they should really feel ashamed about.

4. Finally--"No Secondary Effects"

First amendment attorneys challenging changes to the New York City zoning code have won a major victory for all Americans.

The amendments would have made it almost impossible to operate an adult business in the City. Fortunately, a judge ruled that the onerous revisions wouldn't increase the safety of New Yorkers. A trial highlight was the revelation that City Police Department figures showed virtually no crime attributable to adult businesses. The City then shifted its position (again without statistical support) to the pathetic argument that such businesses nevertheless lead to "seedy neighborhoods" which then lead to increased crime.

This "secondary effects" argument has been used for a century by American cities and states as an excuse for both segregating and eliminating adult businesses. This convenient disqualification of these businesses' commercial rights has never been based on data--because the data has never existed. But time after time, the assumption of secondary effects has been sufficient excuse for local city councils, judges, and legislatures to discriminate against adult businesses and their many patrons.

Enemies of others' freedoms should at least be honest: let them say "we don't want this in our town because it disgusts us and scares us, and we hate thinking it interests our neighbors." Then we could be sympathetic and comfort them, rather than having to go through a lot of exhausting legal work just to give people their rights to operate or patronize adult businesses.

5. "60 Minutes" Gives Porn A Handjob

Last week 60 Minutes gave us porn: pole dancing, threesomes, anal sex, you name it, segment after segment. It did so while ostensibly reporting on a government crackdown of porn, and so the sleazy stuff was re-labelled OK For Prime Time. Everyone got to watch and to condemn, and so viewers, producers, and sponsors were pleased.

I watched as a government mouthpiece told lies about porn, omitting words like sexual pleasure, masturbation, and relationship. She announced that there were limits to what adults could watch in the privacy of their own homes--as if this is the most obvious truth in the world--and that the Justice Department was planning to define those limits and enforce them. Your tax dollars at work.

Of course the government chose to go after the distributors of the most outrageous legal porn now available. You have to really love the First Amendment to defend the availability of "Extreme Gangbang" and "1001 Ways to Eat My Jizz;" love the First Amendment we do here at SI, and so we defend your access to stuff even if we can't stand it. The government has proven over and over that when it decides to set limits on what adults can do in private, it doesn't stop where it said it would. Today it's "Extreme Gangbang," tomorrow it's Quills, Lolita, Clockwork Orange; hell, it's The Color Purple (widely banned in school libraries around the country) and bathtub photos of your grandchildren (issue #36).

So the government we hired to protect us from polio, bank robbers, price-gouging and terrorism has degenerated into a self-righteous posse obsessed with protecting us from our own bad taste.

And 60 Minutes is the posse's hypocritical pimp, calling for a lynching. Just as media like Newsweek exploited little Danielle Van Dam's kidnapping last year by slobbering over her parents' open marriage (issue #25), 60 Minutes gets to show porn while criticizing it. It doesn't criticize its audience for being titillated, because after all we're watching a "news" show. The audience can't criticize 60 Minutes for running porn because, after all, we're watching it. It's a symbiosis worthy of bread-and-circuses Rome.

Sooner or later, we'll see a "news" show about people who watch 60 Minutes for the titillation. While Mike Wallace earnestly describes this "trend," the background will feature the requisite soft-core porn. Presumably, the show will run in February, May or November, which are Sweeps months.

6. Letters About Issue 45

We received plenty of mail about the piece criticizing the anti-choice Right for exploiting the drama of Terri Schiavo's life support. Interestingly, all of it accused us of dishonoring the rights of the disabled.

Wendy Wicks from New Zealand suggested I was using the same tactics as the Right--using Schiavo's situation to make my own political points. Wendy, you're absolutely correct. The difference is that I don't claim my motivation is sympathy for some poor woman, her husband, or her family.

The law gives the husband, Michael, legal responsibility for Schiavo's health care decisions. If he wanted to maintain his wife's life and her family wanted to end it, I would support his right, even if I thought his decision regrettable. But I believe the Right would switch their allegiance to Michael. They say they're interested in Terri (which, even if true, is disingenuous); I'm interested in the law. I want the law to acknowledge our personal freedoms, including the freedom to dictate the circumstances of our own deaths when extremely ill.

That includes assigning this right to a caretaker. In our culture, the default caretaker is one's spouse (there's that recurring argument for gay marriage, by the way). Anti-choice groups don't care about Terri's life, they care about taking away her choice (which has been delegated to her husband, if only by her prior default).

Along with Wendy, Maggie Lodge of the UK and Rosemary Amey accused me of devaluing the lives of the disabled. All three cited "the popular idea that death is preferable to disability." Yes, some people feel that way about others or themselves. I wasn't taking a position either way; each of us should have a chance to make that decision before we become unable to articulate it to others. That's why all adults should have a simple document on file dictating their wishes, giving someone they trust the power to carry out those wishes.

"No doubt you will welcome the opportunity to let the world know which of us disabled human beings meet your criteria for life," said Lodge. No, this isn't about who deserves to live. It's about who chooses to live, and whether we own that choice or the government steals that choice from us. Sexual Intelligence is proudly pro-choice.

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8. 2004 Sexie Awards: Nominations Open

Each February, Sexual Intelligence announces the Sexie AwardsTM, presented to groups and individuals who have enhanced the world's sexual intelligence. You can see past winners at, including:

Your nominations are hereby solicited: a person or group; local, national, or international; you can even nominate yourself. Just send a few sentences (or more) about why your nominee should be honored. The deadline is January 10.


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