Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #59 -- January 2005


1. Would Jesus Refuse The Ads?
2. Government Report: Abstinence Programs Lie
3. Not Change I-69? Why Not?
4. Addicted to Porn "Addiction"
5. Covering Strippers With Permits

1. Would Jesus Refuse The Ads?

With all the hysteria about alleged "filth" on the airwaves, CBS and NBC have finally provided clear examples of broadcast indecency. They refused to run 30-second ads from the United Church of Christ showing that they welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

The networks gave a succession of bogus reasons, starting with advertising policy, then saying tolerance was "too controversial", and finally telling the truth--that they were responding to government pressure regarding the upcoming fight over same-sex marriage. Said CBS, "...[because] the Executive Branch has recently proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Here's a chance for the FCC to pay attention to something that actually matters: federally-licensed broadcasters limiting the messages American viewers can see because of a government position on its content. This smells exactly like the government preventing news organizations from videotaping coffins coming home from Iraq.

As interviewer Terry Gross and others have said, the rules for TV and radio are now so unclear that self-censorship is the most rational policy for broadcast corporations. And ultimately, self-censorship is the most dangerous kind, because it's far less visible, and the government can't be held accountable for it.

Another ugly example of this is the sudden withdrawal of "Saving Private Ryan" from TV in many cities. Its realistic language--if someone were trying to kill you, you might say "fuck" also--has attracted the interest of obsessive curso-phobes, who apparently believe that hearing a special combination of letters actually destroys brain cells and civilizations.

Ironically, stations around the country were set to broadcast "Saving Private Ryan" last month as a tribute to our soldiers abroad. Apparently, the freedom they're fighting to give the Iraqis doesn't apply to their families back here. They'll have to settle for beer commercials to feel appreciated.

If ads declaring that a church accepts everyone regardless of circumstances is too controversial, does that mean an ad declaring that a church discriminates is acceptable?

If only the FCC were chaired by someone who really understood the mandate of "public good"--someone like Jesus.


2. Government Report: Abstinence Programs Lie

Last week, Congressmember Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a superb, readable report, "The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs." It's a concise evaluation of the thirteen most popular abstinence-only sex ed programs.

So it's now official; a government agency documents that "over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula used by 2/3 of [federally funded programs] contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health." Especially common were:

Here are actual quotes from these federally-funded programs that actual children in actual American schools are now reading and hearing:

The Religious Right's response (e.g., Morality in Media, Focus on the Family, Agape Press) was predictable: they trashed Waxman. They link him to same-sex marriage. They attack him for quoting Planned Parenthood data. They criticize his acceptance of campaign contributions from "groups that financially benefit from abortion," like the American Medical Association. They complain that he didn't mention all the funding for safer sex programs. They say he's being picky.

But they couldn't attack the science--because it's clear as an Iowa day after a summer thundershower.

How did the Bush Administration, obsessed with whether or not kids are doing it, respond? With thunderous silence--except for one delicious, if terrifying, moment.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist happened to be on ABC-TV News' "This Week" after the report's release. Asked whether tears and sweat can transmit HIV (as falsely claimed in some abstinence curricula), physician Frist (who insists on being addressed as Doctor) first said, "I don't know;" when pressed several times, he finally said, "You can get the virus in tears and sweat. But in terms of infecting somebody, it would be very hard." The federal CDC website is absolutely clear: "Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV." Frist also repeated the abstinence-education lie that condoms fail 15% of the time, when the actual rate is less than 3%.

Ironically, Frist's website boasts that he is "particularly passionate about confronting the global AIDS pandemic, frequently taking medical mission trips to Africa" and continuing "to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS crisis throughout the world." Frist is a disgrace to the MD that follows his name. And he is in clear violation of the AMA's Code of Medical Ethics requiring doctors to "be honest in all professional interactions" and to "make relevant information available to the public."

Waxman's historic report may help undercut the federal crusade that has lavished hundreds of millions of dollars on the fantasy of sexless kids. Contempt for science should have no place in public policy.

To read Waxman's exciting report, click here.


3. Not Change I-69? Why Not?

Republican Congressmember John Hostettler of Indiana recently voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment to the Constitution because it didn't protect marriage from homos enough.

Now, true or false: Hostettler is campaigning to change the name of interstate highway I-69 to I-63 because its name is offensive to many Indiana families.

Actually, it's false--but the satirical published the story, it was picked up nationally, and before you know it, Hostettler was deluged with responses, both scathing and congratulatory.

Aside from proving the obvious--that the Web's full of gossip, parody, and lies--there's something else to observe here: The religiousRight takes on such senseless, gratuitous crusades that we believe they'll do anything.

And when you think about it, why don't they take this on? If they can attack a teletubby as gay, criminalize breast-feeding in public, denounce tolerance in church as "controversial," and censure university research on sexual arousal as "pornographic," what won't they do?

Why not go further--for example, change the birthday of everyone born in 1969? Or renumber the latitude and longitude system so no place on earth is identified with oral sex? Maybe we should change the dictionary and eliminate the word "but," which sounds too much like "butt" to toss around in everyday speech.

True or not, the story of the need to change I-69 reminds us that the religious Right needs to get its mind out of the gutter.


4. Addicted to Porn "Addiction"

As long as there are Americans who hate and fear sex, there will be Congress members trying to prove that they hate and fear sex more than anyone else. And that's Senator Sam Brownback's (R-KS) specialty: designing media events and investigations highlighting how sex is destroying America.

For years, Brownback has been using the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space as a bully pulpit to warn about America's moral decay (ignoring, unfortunately, the decay in America's scientific education). As he prepares to leave, Brownback has directed the final act in his terror-riddled morality play: a hearing entitled "The Science Behind Pornography Addiction."

A Congressional hearing: not to discern whether there is such a thing, or whether it is harmful, or how to put "porn addiction" into context with the 50 million Americans who use it peacefully, but on how porn use leads to porn addiction, which leads to personal and family harm, making porn use a massive public health problem.

And so he called his allies, a veritable 4 Stooges. Instead of Curly, Larry, Moe, and Shemp, we got the four horsemen of the sexual apocalypse: fear of fantasy, fear of "promiscuity", fear of masturbation, and fear of female lust.

The ringleader, of course, was Judith Reisman, who says that:

Reisman testified that "Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the 'high' from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub 'erotoxins'--mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer's own brain." She added, "A basic science research team should study 'erotoxins' and the brain/body"--which, as legal writer Mark Kernes points out, is both admission that her presentation lacked any scientific evidence, and yet another plea for federal grant money for her consistently discredited studies.

The three other witnesses testified that:

Wild accusations about the effects of porn are nothing new, of course; Presidents Nixon and Reagan convened hearings on pornography that made the Salem Witch Trials look thoughtful and sober. Similarly, Andrea Dworkin, who famously proclaimed that intercourse is always rape, and Catherine MacKinnon, who says that depictions of fellatio always involve coercion, drafted model laws to restrict porn based on its alleged effects--effects which they could never prove.

But these Brownback hearings are leading us in a dangerous new direction. Witnesses testified that pornography is actually a harmful, addictive product, which should put it in a different legal category than expression or speech. This conceptualization seeks to deprive pornography of decades of First Amendment protection from government censorship.

This new direction comes at a time when the courts, conservative though they frequently are, are giving increasing protection to private sexual expression. In its recent Lawrence v. Texas decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws that are based on moral grounds. As attorney Larry Walters notes, this challenges the continued validity of any legitimate governmental interest in regulating private sexual activity. If "morality" is no longer a sufficient legal basis for regulating sexuality, conceptualizing porn as a dangerous product rather than a form of expression may be the best way to strip it of its protection. Thus, scientific "proof" will become increasingly crucial. These hearings appear to be the opening shot in the next phase of this battle.

And so junk "science" was invited into the halls of Congress. Tired old mass murderer Ted Bundy was even quoted. For years, his initial self-diagnosis--"porn made me kill those women"--has been used to "prove" that porn drives people nuts and makes America dangerous for women. Presumably, if he had said that M & Ms, or the violent stories of Genesis and Exodus, had led him to kill, he would be dismissed as the deranged madman that he is rather than extolled as a prophet of social science.

If Brownback's Committee on Science spent more time improving America's scientific education, there would be fewer people mistaking association with causality. All rapists started on milk; milk does not cause rape. Many rapists look at porn; a huge number of non-rapists look at porn, too.

As Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science says, "The plural of anecdote isn't data."


5. Covering Strippers With Permits

San Antonio's city council has ordered topless dancers to carry permits while performing.

The Council wants to curb the number of private strip clubs in the city, which is unconstitutional if attempted honestly. So it also banned nude dancing and lap dancing, and ordered performers to stay at least three feet from club patrons.

The permits are more than just another annoying part of the business. What happens when the city starts limiting the number of permits it issues per year? Or when they raise the fee to $1,000? Or when it takes 18 months to process an application?

Licensing physicians and psychologists clearly serves the public interest, especially when applicants have to demonstrate expertise in their profession. These strippers' permits do not claim to regulate the quality of the booty-shaking; besides, a boring pole-dance doesn't threaten the public health. Requiring these permits perverts a legitimate governmental function--just to serve the moral beliefs of some local residents.

Americans rightly criticize countries that require permits to publish newspapers and produce films. Governments invariably use these requirements to control activities and the flow of information they don't like. It is hypocritical for the United States to attempt to instill democracy elsewhere while so many Americans are working hard to undermine it right here.

Presently, the driver's license-sized permits may be worn on dancers' G-strings or around their ankles. Obviously, the next step is requiring that permits cover dancers' nipples, vulva, and rear end.


You may quote anything herein, with the following attribution:
"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, copyright © Marty Klein, Ph.D. ("