Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #64 -- June 2005


1. Laura Bush: Obscene?
2. Correspondence: Dworkin & the Pope
3. Porn on Phones
4. Quote of the Century
5. "Victims of Porn" Month: Puh-leeze
6. Spain Approves Same-Sex Marriage


1. Laura Bush: Obscene?

Perhaps you've heard about the First Lady upstaging President Bush at the recent Washington Correspondents' Association Dinner. Interestingly, her jokes were mostly at the President's expense. One involved his lack of sexual interest ("9 PM and I'm heading for "Desperate Housewives"), another him masturbating a horse ("milking a male horse").

It was good for plenty of laughs and a standing ovation. But how would these references have gone over with Mr. Bush's constituency?

According to the American Decency Association, Laura Bush's comments reflect "serious moral decay." Their website says "The success of Desperate Housewives--and shows like it--demonstrate that America is, in fact, a desperate nation." And jacking off a horse is the kind of thing you simply can't discuss on network TV, even late at night.

For years SI has been talking about how the morality police want it both ways--decrying the media's trashy products, and conveniently forgetting that Blue America is spending huge amounts of conservative dollars to enjoy the stuff.

But, some object, the Washington dinner was private, not public like TV, and so the rules should be different. OK, then how about people who want private entertainment like porn videos or strip clubs? No, communities across America are working overtime eliminating adults' opportunities to enjoy these in private. And the Department of Justice is helping with money, advice, and guns.

Apparently if you wear a tuxedo and pay a small fortune, sexy stuff is political humor, but if you wear a t-shirt and only pay $20, it's obscene.

2. Correspondence: Dworkin & the Pope

Many readers responded to our joint obituary of two anti-sex giants, Andrea Dworkin and Pope John Paul II (#63). Although most praised the piece, two readers (Steve Sandman and Kate Orman) separately challenged our basic idea. Each quoted passages--with which I confess I wasn't familiar--that described the glory of love and dignity of women (by John Paul II) and the erotic passion of lesbian love (by Dworkin).

Of course, we love hearing from readers, and appreciate Steve's and Kate's diligence. These quotations, however, don't change the reality of Dworkin's or John Paul's deeds.

After all, Concerned Women of America says they honor women by giving them relief from the stress of being breadwinners. Wahhabi Muslims and Orthodox Jews honor the power of female sexuality by covering women's hair and limbs, protecting them from men going mad with passion. Conservative Christians like James Dobson and Bill Frist are so convinced of the centrality of sexuality that they've made controlling it the centerpiece of their moral system.

So, memo to all those in positions of influence: don't tell us what's important or what you respect. Demonstrate it. It isn't enough to say you honor sex or authentic female eroticism--help create a world in which we can safely and enthusiastically experience sex or authentic female eroticism.

So rather than quoting Dworkin and John Paul II, let's look at what they accomplished.

Dworkin spent years attempting to pass legislation limiting what adults could read and view (in a delicious yet sad irony, her own books were once seized by Canadian Customs officials using a law she'd helped write). She spent enormous energy trying to persuade women they are endangered by male sexuality--not by individual men, but by the eroticism of half the human race. She helped change American psychotherapy by stretching the definitions of sexual exploitation until they were almost useless--legitimizing victimization as a source of power in relationships, undermining both women and adult sexuality.

John Paul II single-handedly made sex more dangerous by discouraging condom use throughout the world as best he could. This man told hundreds of millions of people that God weeps when we welcome a loving penis into our mouth or anus. He energetically put the reputation, money, and political power of the Church into a relentless drive to constrain sexual choices and punish people for their mistakes.

Maybe SI shouldn't have been so glib about what Dworkin or the Pope actually felt. But we stand by what we said about the effects of their lifelong work--hurting and frightening people, and making life more painful and dangerous.

What a shameful legacy.

3. Porn on Phones

The American Family Association (AFA) has sent out an "Action Alert" to its membership entitled "Pornographers Set to Go After Children With Cell Phones," a classic piece of propaganda filled with lies and innuendo designed to terrify people.

AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon says that "Soon pornography will be available to our children over their cell phones. Playboy hopes to make their porn available to the 170 million cell phone subscribers throughout North America. No doubt scores of other pornographers will follow.

"...33.2% of cell phone users in America, more than 55 million, are between the ages of 5 and 19...Playboy says their new venture will allow more people to experience 'the sexiness of the classic Playboy lifestyle.' Unfortunately many of these people will be our children…Pornographers are going after our children at a younger and younger age." Note how Wildman implies that five-year-olds will be sent porn unsolicited. He also includes 18- and 19-year-old "children" needing protection along with five-year-olds, dishonestly expanding the pool of innocent "victims."

It's well-known that the adult industry is going out of its way to not send their stuff to kids. They've even created the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection. They're already working with cell phone providers on this issue--something AFA could have ascertained with a single phone call. But of course then AFA would be foregoing another opportunity to frighten their members and raise money.

As legal analyst Mark Kernes notes, "Whatever Playboy does will be by subscription only, and if kids are subscribing to Playboy in any format, it suggests that their parents are being derelict in their duties." If only AFA genuinely cared as much about children as most children's parents do. And if only they were as honest as we hope most children's parents are.

4. Quote of the Century

"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself."

--Potter Stewart, Justice of the Supreme Court 1958-1981
Appointed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower

5. "Victims of Porn" Month: Puh-leeze

On May 19 the U.S. government held yet another hearing about the effects of sexually explicit material. This one was focused on "victims of pornography," sponsored by Citizens for Community Values.

According to their website, the "victims of pornography" include:

The government hearing accepted these claims as fact--even though these claims are demonstrably inaccurate. They have been repeated so often they have achieved the status of ultra-truth--stories that sound so true, and fill so many cultural and emotional needs, that their truth is not only no longer examined, it's considered irrelevant. The actual truth is that no one has ever shown that adult use of adult pornography has ever resulted in poor interpersonal adjustment, anti-social behavior, or increased crime. But no one in authority seems to feel the need to respond to these facts.

The "victims of porn" hearing, as with all other porn hearings this decade, meticulously excluded anyone from the adult entertainment industry, and all credentialed sex therapists and sex researchers. There was instead an orgy of consensus between politicians who "know" that porn causes problems and lay people horrified by the problems porn supposedly causes. This wasn't a hearing, it was a love-in. Actually, it was a hate-in.

In the hearing's hallway, Ricci Levy, Executive Director of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation challenged Senator Sam Brownback on how a democratic government could exclude its own constituents at a hearing. "If you're so confident of your viewpoint and facts," she said, "there's no reason to be afraid of hearing others'. Why won't you let people with other data speak?" Brownback could only slink away. "We're certainly not letting any other side speak," hissed one Victim, proving she lacked faith in the beliefs she holds so dear.

When, oh when, oh when is the everyday, ordinary face of pornography going to get acknowledged? When are the non-criminal granddads, non-molesting aunts, soccer moms, PTA dads, and NASCAR enthusiasts going to speak up?

Two thousand years ago, a Roman Senator suggested that all slaves wear white armbands to better identify them. "No," said a wiser Senator. "If they see how many of them there are, they may revolt." If all the porn-users who don't molest kids, don't abuse their wives, don't lose their jobs, and don't destroy their health would simply wear a white armband for one day--that's 30,000,000 white armbands--they might see how many of them there are, and revolt.

Until then, our government will continue abusing, molesting, and destroying the truth about sexuality.

6. Spain Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Spain recently became the third European country to legalize same-sex marriage. This historic event happened in an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Similarly, overwhelmingly Catholic Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe--which means there's some serious contraception going on there. So you can get something done in Catholic countries. There are obviously many ways of honoring a Catholic God. (In case you missed it, see the Sexual Intelligence Award given to Catholics For a Free Choice, issue #62.)

In a related story, the Brazilian city of Esperantina has approved an annual Orgasm Day. Its 35,000 people will be asked to focus on sexual satisfaction each May 9. Presumably, a city that agrees to do that will be practicing all year long.

Brazil's dominant religion? Why, Catholic of course.


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