Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #69 -- November 2005


1. Perjury "Technicality"?
2. Science & Sex Ed--In Our Lifetime?
3. Sex? Do As I Say...
4. Kansas Must Apply Bad Law Equally
5. Can't Ignore Sexy Picture? Sue.
6. Alaska Lifts Chill on Plan B

1. Perjury "Technicality"?

Vice-President Dick Cheney's top aide, Scooter Libby, will be tried for perjury and obstruction of justice. The felony charges stem from his involvement in revealing the secret identity of a working spy, Valerie Plame.

On October 23, as Washington held its collective breath awaiting news of who would be indicted in the matter, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas revealed her deep respect for our system of government on NBC's Meet The Press: "I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality...just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."

Tell that to Bill Clinton. In 1999 the President was impeached for allegedly lying about whether or not he had had sex with a consenting adult. Libby is accused of lying about whether or not he compromised the integrity of the CIA.

Those Christian conservatives really are consistent: nothing is more destructive than sex, and so no lie is more destructive than lying about sex--even if it's treason.

2. Science & Sex Ed--In Our Lifetime?

Last week, the Senate accepted an amendment offered by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to the Health and Human Services spending bill. It would require that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs receiving federal funding be medically accurate.

Readers will recall (#59) our coverage of Congressmember Henry Waxman's (D-CA) report, documenting 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."

So the good news is that abstinence programs will be required (at least nominally) to be medically accurate. No more ridiculous assertions that "condoms fail to prevent HIV 31% of the time," or that "following abortion, women are more prone to suicide," or that "premarital sex causes depression."

The bad news is the recognition that abstinence-only programs are here to stay.

And the depressing news is that, in the most technologically advanced society on Earth, we need a law (which may not even pass) to force federally-funded programs to be scientifically accurate. Calling passage of this amended bill a "victory" (if it passes) shows just how low secular power in government has sunk. It's pathetic.

By the way, would this law require the government's own website ( to be medically accurate? When introduced in March it was filled with biased, inaccurate statements presented as fact. It was modified following a public outcry, but it still uses the word "unborn" dozens of times and still discusses contraception only with regard to failure rates. It still glorifies abstaining--without mentioning that the majority of Americans who "abstain" eventually have sex before marriage. This means that "abstinence" has a higher failure rate than condoms or any other recognized method.

3. Sex? Do As I Say...

A new Harris Poll of 2,242 Americans shows widespread support for comprehensive sex education in U.S. schools and for condom use to prevent HIV and other STDs.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they supported sex education in high school, and ninety-two percent said they strongly or somewhat favor condom use to prevent disease. A large majority of Catholics and Evangelicals said the same thing.

Great. However...

At the same time, 2/3 of respondents also said they strongly or somewhat support urging young people to abstain from sex until marriage. Why, why, why?

The overwhelming majority of the men and women who said this had sex before they married. Are they all saying they wish they hadn't? No. They're saying they're frightened for their kids. This concern is noble. But these adults must know their kids won't abstain. So are they protecting their kids by insisting on comprehensive school sex ed, contraceptive availability, and confidential sexual health services? No. They're protecting their own emotions instead.

That's just not responsible parenting.

And when parents use the government to reduce their own anxiety, it's absolutely un-American.

4. Kansas Must Apply Bad Law Equally

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that sex with a minor cannot be punished more severely if both parties are the same gender.

The case involved an 18-year-old male, Matthew Limon, who was found guilty in 2000 of sex with a 14-year-old male--and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Had one of them been female, state law would have dictated a maximum sentence of 15 months.

A lower court had ruled that the state could justify the harsher punishment as a way of protecting children's "normal" development, fighting disease, or strengthening traditional values. But the state Supreme Court said that "Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest."

The court ordered that Limon be re-sentenced as if the law treated illegal same-gender sex and illegal other-gender sex the same. He has already served more than five years. "The statute inflicts immediate, continuing and real injuries that belie any legitimate justification claimed for it," Justice Marla Luckert wrote. The law "suggests animus toward teenagers who engage in homosexual sex."

Which is almost everyone.

Which is why we shouldn't call it "homosexual sex." Most minors who have same-gender sex go on to live their lives as straight adults. That includes, of course, adults who become conservatives or legislators (or both).

Gay rights groups celebrated this decision. But straight people should rejoice even more. They're the ones who do most of the same-gender experimenting as youths. That's what their straight children will do, too. This supposed "gay sex" case makes those straight kids much safer.

Kansas law prohibits anyone under 16 from participating in sexual activity. Now that the state can no longer discriminate in the way it punishes adolescent sex, they should change the law altogether. 250,000 Kansas teens shouldn't start their erotic lives as criminals.

5. Can't Ignore Sexy Picture? Sue.

The charcoal drawing Hermaphrodite hanging in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center at the University of Michigan at Flint portrays a naked female body, with wings and a penis. The drawing has been on display for two years, but University officials ordered the drawing removed last week, saying it was creating "a hostile work environment" for an employee who complained about it.

University spokesperson Julie Peterson said that after the complaint, university lawyers reviewed the artwork and said it had to come down. "The rules for the workplace are somewhat different than the rules for an art exhibit," Peterson said. "You have to make the workplace comfortable for all employees. Our attorneys reviewed it and determined it was not an appropriate display in order to create a comfortable workplace for all employees."

Students have protested the decision in various ways. Students with the LGBT Center claim the university action attacks their identity, and attempts to marginalize them. But they're missing the larger point.

Every reference to sexuality--even one--is now considered the creation of a "hostile work environment." Given the breadth of sexual influences and expression in human life, this interpretation means that any individual can exercise a veto over a huge range of workplace issues: dress, language, decor, personal memorabilia, charitable policies, even after-hours recreation.

The federal government obliges employers to create workplaces in which people can do their jobs. "The university faces a conflict between two important principles, freedom of artistic expression and quality of the workplace," said UM-Flint Chancellor Juan Mestas.

But the federal government has, at least on paper, clearly recognized the limits of its non-"harassment" policies. In schools, for example, "The offensiveness of a particular expression, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a hostile environment," says Assistant Secretary of Education Gerald Reynolds. "Harassment, to be prohibited, must include something beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive. The conduct must also be considered sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program." The same principle would apply in other kinds of institutions and environments.

Nevertheless, as we noted last year (issue #55), employees and patrons of public facilities have acquired the phony "right" to never be uncomfortable about sexuality--no matter how repressed they are about it. This is a key argument used to justify mandatory internet filtering in public libraries. So whose standard of "discomfort" shall we use--the person whose threshold of discomfort is lowest? No one says, to an employer or city government, "By the way, I'm cool with the challenging artwork around here." No one says "by the way, I'm fine that the person at the next desk, or the clerk who processed my forms, wears a little silver vulva charm around her neck."

The standards and feelings of those not obsessed with sex never get considered. Those not offended by sexual words or images are rarely considered in any continuum of the public's values.

We need a law protecting the sensibilities of people offended by the neurotic stripping of human eroticism from workplaces and civic spaces across America.

6. Alaska Lifts Chill on Plan B

The Alaska State Medical Board has rejected a proposal that would have required women to have a doctor's examination before receiving emergency contraceptive pills.

Plan B has been available without a prescription in Alaska since 2001. Although the drug has been proven safe, and does not cause an abortion, groups have been trying to limit the drug's availability ever since (issues #52, #63).

Plan B is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken with 24 hours of intercourse. Its effectiveness declines as time passes, to 89% if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. Thus, it's critical that fertile women have immediate access to the drug if they need it.

Exactly fourteen pharmacies in Alaska (population 660,000) dispense Plan B directly to patients. In the state's rugged terrain, a physician may be days away--if the weather's good. And few physicians are available on weekends, of course.

This is why Wal-Mart's refusal to carry emergency contraception is so significant. For many rural women, Wal-Mart is their only pharmacy option--and as Wal-Mart continues to destroy mom-and-pop stores throughout America (including Alaska), they will increasingly control everyone's access to Plan B. No matter how cheaply they sell baby food or strollers, that kind of unregulated power is not good for Americans.

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