Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #66 -- August 2005


1. Brazil Reduces HIV; U.S. Reduces Rights
2. Violence Is Safe--Just Don't Add Sex
3. Book Review: Sex Camp
4. Kiss Your Baby, Take Photo, Go To Jail
5. Correspondence: South Pole Topless


1. Brazil Reduces HIV; U.S. Reduces Rights

The U.S. government has worked to confront human trafficking for years. This is good. But it has recently passed a law saying there's exactly one way to do so--by withholding money from groups who don't condemn consensual, adult prostitution. This is bad.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA.), who wrote the Congressional report exposing distortions in federally-subsidized abstinence-only sex "education" (issues #59, 60), recently wrote to Attorney General Gonzales. He questioned the wisdom of a Bush administration policy requiring foreign groups working with AIDS or human trafficking to explicitly oppose prostitution before getting federal grants. He echoed the concerns of many in the health world that such a policy will make it harder to work with vulnerable populations.

Brazil's condom campaign is a perfect example. Until recently, it had been partly financed through the United States Agency for International Development. But rather than comply with the new U.S. demand, Brazil has decided to forgo up to $40 million in funding.

"Our feeling was that the manner in which the USAID funds were consigned would bring harm to our program's scientific credibility, its ethical values and its social commitment," said Pedro Chequer, director of the Brazilian government's AIDS program. "We must remain faithful to the established principles of the scientific method and not allow theological beliefs and dogma to interfere."

Brazil, which spends more than $400 million annually on the most successful AIDS program in the developing world, takes a pragmatic approach in combating the global epidemic, while increasingly, the United States does not.

One gauge of Brazil's success is to compare its HIV situation with other developing countries'. In 1990, for example, Brazil and South Africa had roughly the same rate of HIV prevalence among their adult populations, just over 1 percent. Today, 20% of South African adults of reproductive age have HIV or AIDS, some 5 million of the country's 44 million people. In Brazil, the rate has dropped by almost half, with the number of patients being treated holding steady at about 600,000, out of a total population of 180 million.

How much are the new American regulations designed for the good of the foreign women involved, and how much are they designed to score points with the Administration's conservative constituency here at home?

In fact, federal legislation has already been introduced to combat a range of commercial sexual activities in the U.S.. The End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act provides money ostensibly to protect women, but it's really about harassing people engaged in consensual sex. And, of course, it was developed without the input of prostitutes or their advocacy groups.

If the bill passes it will further marginalize prostitutes, making them more likely to engage in risky behavior. It allocates $45 million to prosecute domestic sex traffickers and purchasers of commercial sex acts--including the Omaha businessman hiring a Las Vegas hooker, and the cabbie who drives one of them across town to meet the other. Once again, the Bush administration sees the evils of sex everywhere.


2. Violence Is Safe--Just Don't Add Sex

By now you know about the Grand Theft Auto videogame fuss. Some playful engineers implanted the possibility that players (your older teens) could modify the game to see the (mostly clothed) video characters going through sexual motions. That's the entire fuss: that a game that allows players to beat a cop to death, decapitate an elderly woman, and fly a plane into a skyscraper has suddenly become dangerous because players can see cartoon characters mimicking sex. The flap over this game perfectly captures the hysteria that has captured America: psychotic violence is acceptable; consensual lovemaking is dangerous.

Regarding sexuality, the Right keeps moving the threshold of "danger" further and further away. First it was "kids shouldn't have sex," then it was "kids shouldn't see sex," then "kids shouldn't see films showing sex," and now it's "kids shouldn't see cartoon characters imitating sex." Of course, there's already "kids shouldn't read words that describe sex" and "kids shouldn't learn information about sex." I suppose the next one will be "kids shouldn't listen to cartoon characters complain that they're not allowed to have sex or use sexy words."

In yet another attempt to prove that she's as politically savvy and opportunistic as a Republican (issue #62), Senator Hillary Clinton has called for a $90 million study of the effects of video games on kids. Presumably, this will be as scientific and objective as Congressional studies of the effects of pornography--that is, studies by ideologically-driven "experts" whose beliefs are well-known and whose "facts" are predetermined. Just as Senator Brownback called no sex therapists as witnesses in his porn hearings (issue #64), we can expect Senator Clinton to exclude sociologist Steven Johnson. He notes that since 1992 video games have become increasingly violent--while teen crime has gone down and SAT scores have gone up.

We suggest Senator Clinton investigate another violent game wildly popular with teens, some of whose ardent fans and players commit actual violence after playing--football.


3. Book Review: Sex Camp

Way, way back in the mid-'70s, my first big break as a sexologist was coming to the attention of pioneer sex educator Sol Gordon. Having founded Syracuse University's Institute for Family Research & Education, Sol (issue #6) also created the Annual Workshop on Sexuality at Thornfield--the most magical, meaningful, life-changing summer week in which a rookie sex educator could ever hope to find himself.

While there I met many of the leaders of the Golden Age of American sex education, including Michael Carrera (issue #18), Lynn Leight, Mary Lee Tatum, and Brian McNaught. Brian wasn't the first gay man I ever met, but he was the first to help me understand two things: the pain of growing up gay in a culture that hated homosexuality, and why homophobia mattered fully as much to straights as to gays. (Many years later I'd write about one of those reasons for Playboy, titled To Anti-Sexuals, We're ALL Gay.)

Brian went on to become a corporate and university trainer on policy issues relating to sexual orientation, and is, according to The New York Times, "the godfather of gay sensitivity training." I still use an excerpt of Brian's video "On Being Gay" when I train social workers, and it always, always touches the hearts of those who see it.

Now Brian has written about the Thornfield experience in a wonderful book called Sex Camp. Please buy ( and read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn about sex--and you'll learn about learning about sex, which is even funnier and more moving. The book describes the Workshop just a few summers ago, with a fascinating cast of characters and a breezy, familiar style that perfectly matches the informality and unpredictable nature of the place.

This is also a wonderful book for high school and college students, who will identify with the curiosity, secrecy, concerns about self-image, and thrill of self-discovery that most of the participants wrestle with during the Workshop.

I'm proud to say that several dozen of my readers have attended or staffed a Thornfield Workshop. For those of you who weren't quite so lucky, this book is the next best thing.


4. Kiss Your Baby, Take Photo, Go To Jail

We run one of these every year because it's important to keep reminding ourselves that these things happen right here in the U.S.A.

Another family has been torn apart after a photo developing clerk called police. Raleigh, North Carolina authorities saw the pictures of Charlie Hamaty kissing his newborn's navel, arrested Hamaty and his wife (she for creating child porn), and confiscated both their children.

Dozens of supporters showed up for court appearances, and raised some $140,000 for their legal and living expenses. Nevertheless, Charlie spent six months in jail, while Teresa spent months fighting to regain custody of their children. The charges were recently dropped when a report submitted by an expert said there was no criminal intent in the pictures.

Is there a better example to prove that our country is suffering a child-molesting hysteria? Can anyone calculate the extraordinary suffering of a newborn infant ripped from both of his parents--in the name of protecting him?

If photo developing clerks are going to have this much power, they must be licensed and bonded, which of course requires professional education. And if police and social workers are expected to play amateur psychologists, crusading to save America's children from parental caresses, they must have the benefit of better training as well. Their terror of sexuality makes them dangerous to everyone. Finally, every city needs a special judge who would be required to sign off on these ambiguous cases of alleged child molestation before they can move forward.

These bizarre arrests and child removals reveal that our society and criminal justice system are obsessed with their demonic fantasies about sexuality. We call on the U.S. Surgeon General to challenge this horrifying, barbaric practice--a public health epidemic, unique in the civilized world, that gets worse every year.


5. Correspondence: South Pole Topless

Last issue (#65) we discussed how topless beaches had essentially been a world-wide experiment into the question, "does seeing breasts really damage children?" We'd wondered if there is a nude beach at the South Pole. And according to reader Matt Newcomb, there is, of an odd sort. He reports on life at one of the Antarctic Ice Stations:

"While there isn't any liquid water outside, there is a mid-winter tradition called the '300 Club'. You wait until it's -100° F outside, sit in a +200° F sauna until you can't stand it anymore, and then run out of the station, around the South Pole marker and back inside again. You're allowed to wear boots; that's it.

I joined back in 1998. You can't really see anything but a cloud of steam as '300 Clubbers' run past. Afterwards your skin wriggles around like it's trying to get off, but not bad in all. There is even an official patch, which you can see at I'm not exactly sure, though, what you would sew it to."

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