Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #70 -- December 2005


1. Same-Sex Marriage Anniversary
2. Correspondence: Kim Cattrall, SI Thief?
3. Human Rights Day--How About Sex?
4. FDA Bad-Mouths Condoms
5. Indecent Congressional Hearings
6. New CD Set & Other Holiday Gifts

1. Same-Sex Marriage Anniversary

November 18 was the two-year anniversary of the court ruling that same-gender Massachusetts couples could not be excluded from the protections of civil marriage. These Americans now have the same bedside hospital rights as straight married couples, and the same parenting rights that straight moms and dads have.

Nearly 6,500 Massachusetts couples have married since it became legal. Contrary to the nightmare predictions of anti-gay forces, "traditional" marriage has not suffered. In fact, Massachusetts boasts the lowest divorce rate in the country. Nevertheless, even though state voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage this year, opponents have crafted a second marriage ban for the 2008 ballot.

The bizarre claim that same-gender marriage undermines straight marriage does have one advantage--a new excuse for heterosexual infidelity. You can just hear the explanation when straight people get caught having affairs now: "Honest honey, I didn't really want to, but with all that gay marriage weakening straight marriage, well, you know, how could I say no?"

2. Correspondence: Kim Cattrall, SI Thief?

Thanks to the many, many SI readers who wrote in about Kim Cattrall using our name. You really are paying attention. Someone even assumed she had bought the name from us and that I was now rich. No.

But yes, in late November (better known as Sweeps Month, when TV advertising rates are recalibrated to current viewership rates) HBO started running a show called "Sexual Intelligence," which claimed to "Explore the mysterious logic of sexual desire with an actress who has famously broadened our notions of modern sexuality while making us laugh." It was produced and hosted by Kim Cattrall, star of "Sex and the City."

If you saw it, you know the show had nothing in common with our publication, nor did it break any new ground. Except, of course, for completing Cattrall's transformation into a self-styled sex expert (she titled her book Sexual Intelligence several years after we published ours). She did, after all, play a sexy woman on TV for years. It reminds us of actor Robert Young, who played Marcus Welby, MD on TV for most of the 1970s. He received thousands of letters asking him medical questions. At least he knew he wasn't a medical expert.

To answer the question dozens of readers asked, yes, we trademarked Sexual Intelligence years ago--for annual awards, workshops, lectures, counseling, and a newsletter. But no, who thought to do it for a TV show?

When you google "sexual intelligence," we're the first two entries that come up, so we're not hard to find. And we would have been perfectly willing to discuss consulting on the HBO program (we've done others, thank you very much). But HBO was uninterested in asking about our name or inviting our expertise. After all, they had an actress who has actually played a TV character interested in sex.

3. Human Rights Day--How About Sex?

December 12 is International Human Rights Day, and organizations and governments around the world are issuing statements and resolutions. I'm in favor of just about all of them.

What we won't hear much about that week is sexual rights. I don't just mean freedom from rape and an end to clitoridectomies, although those goals are laudable.

I mean the concept that the expression of consensual sexuality is a fundamental human right--and that every one of us deserves that right without government interference or social hysteria.

We wrote the following for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the national organization devoted to comprehensive sexual liberty for adults.

Let it be resolved in honor of International Human Rights Day:

Whereas between 2002-2005, the Bush Administration urged that:

In this same spirit, all Americans should call on our governments, from the White House down to the smallest locale, to repeal laws and reject tactics restricting our human sexual rights. We should:

Like Western Civilization, Sexual Rights is an idea worth trying. Let's start in America.

4. FDA Bad-Mouths Condoms

Expressing its well-known concern for Americans' sexual health, the FDA has proposed requiring labels on condom packages that will discourage condom use.

Yes, with the twisted logic produced by the government's fear of people having sex it doesn't approve of, the FDA is concerned that people are over-confident about condoms.

Apparently the FDA hasn't heard about the 1.5 million annual unintended pregnancies in America, almost none of them the result of too much faith in condoms.

Under the proposed FDA rules, condom packages would warn that they are probably less effective against certain STDs, including herpes and HPV, than others. This, despite studies showing that condom use reduces the chances of getting any STD, and of suffering some of the worst effects of HPV, including vulnerability to cervical cancer.

Nevertheless, the FDA lamely announced that "More accurate information about the risks and benefits of condom use with respect to STD transmission can lead to better choices by individuals who seek to protect themselves against these infections." Clearly, the government imagines an aroused couple reaching for a condom, reading the proposed warning, and saying, "Oh, since rubbers won't protect us 100%, we should forego both the rubber and the sex." Which planet are these FDA commissioners living on?

The proposed rules are the result of a review mandated by Congress in 2000, authored by then-Congressmember (now Senator) Tom Coburn, R-OK, an advocate of everyone abstaining from sex until they marry. Last year we wrote about President Bush's personal request (#50) that the FDA require warnings on condom packages.

Skipping the bureaucratic language that pretends to be reasonable, Coburn spoke more frankly, revealing his well-known agenda:

"While I am encouraged that the FDA has finally recognized the exaggerated claims of condom protection against sexually transmitted diseases, the agency continues to promote inconclusive assurances that put women unknowingly at risk for cervical cancer, or worse," he said. He didn't say what might be "worse" than cervical cancer. Perhaps the shame of herpes, which of course means you're dirty.

According to the National Institutes of Health, condoms are impermeable to even the smallest viruses, which is what makes condoms so effective.

But Coburn, a physician (whose degree is apparently from Fact-Free University), dismissed the medically-accepted idea that condoms protect against cervical cancer: "The scientific consensus has long recognized that condoms do not provide effective protection" against certain STDs. Does Coburn require "effective" to mean 100%? Would he rather his daughter use a condom or not use a condom during the sex she's not supposed to have?

"The FDA," said Coburn, "should stop playing political games with the health and lives of Americans, and immediately comply with the law by ensuring only medically accurate information that is irrefutable on condom labels." Too bad he doesn't demand the same scientific accuracy from the government's own sexual health website (busted in 2002), HIV programs (issue #54) or abstinence education programs (issue #59). All of them contain substantial inaccuracies as they attempt to dissuade Americans from having unauthorized consensual sex.

Every public policy discussion involving sexuality in America ultimately degenerates from a rational discussion on how to better protect people from disease and pregnancy into an attempt to coerce people to abstain from non-marital sex. Despite clear scientific evidence to the contrary, social conservatives maintain that products that protect people from unwanted pregnancy encourage "promiscuous" behavior and the spread of disease.

Shepherd Smith, president of the anti-sex ed Institute for Youth Development, said condoms "have been hyped as offering protection. That isn't the truth. 'Be safe, use a condom,' we don't think that's an honest message." And Dr. Tom Fitch, chair of the abstinence lobby Medical Institute for Sexual Health, said the FDA's new language was important because condoms used consistently could prevent HIV in most cases, but for other STDs, condoms "may not help."

The availability of a new vaccine has revealed, once again, that these people who claim to care about women's health care far more about ideology. Given to girls about 10-12 years old, the vaccine could prevent virtually all cervical cancer resulting from HPV. But predictably, these self-described "women's health advocates" oppose vaccinating young women against cervical cancer, because it might increase their willingness to have sex before marriage. Sure, since fear of getting AIDS and cervical cancer has stopped all unmarried people from having sex, let's not make them less afraid with a vaccine.

With the condom labeling almost a done deal, perhaps Senator Coburn wants warnings on other health-related products, including:

There are Americans in powerful positions who believe that if you make sex scary and dangerous enough, people won't do it. That's the rationale behind withholding Emergency Contraception (issue #67) and now the new cervical cancer vaccine.

If these politicians and morality groups figure out that college is full of unmarried people having sex (including the majority of high school students who have made virginity pledges), their next move will be to close down America's universities.

5. Indecent Congressional Hearings

Being upset about indecency and porn is now a good career move for elected officials. Like Jenna Jameson, senators and congressmembers are building their careers on Americans' affection for images of nudity, naughty words, and discussions of sex.

And so Congress held yet another hearing on "Indecency in the Media," this one sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). Besides proving that Stevens is really tough on porn, there were two goals.

The first goal was warning the TV industry of the danger they face if they don't "voluntarily" regulate their content to make it more "family friendly." "Those who represent the families of America," said Stevens, believe the media does not provide "the kind of moral compass that our country should have for our young people." It's hard to know which is more destructive of democracy: the idea that only anti-sex "morality" groups represent America's families, or the idea that the government should be providing us with a "moral compass."

The hearing's second goal was discussing the FCC's idea of censoring cable stations as much as they now censor broadcast TV. The idea is that the lighter censorship that cable TV "enjoys" makes it harder for broadcast TV to attract viewers--since American viewers gravitate toward shows with raunchy language, sexual themes, and exposed skin.

So let me get this straight: cable TV has an advantage because they're allowed to show stuff people want, which broadcast TV isn't allowed to show. So Congress and the FCC have to protect Americans by restricting our access to what we want--supposedly to be fair to broadcast TV.

But if sexually-oriented material is cable's competitive advantage, that means people want it--so why does the government give itself the right to judge it as bad, and decide it needs to be shut down? And why does it empower one group of citizens who wants to eliminate it, over the rest of us who want access to it?

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) explained: "The cable industry is complicit in promoting pornography and sexually explicit material in our homes." "Complicit in promoting" makes it sound like your cable provider is shoving stuff into your house while you're handcuffed to your barcalounger, channel-changer frustratingly out of reach. It hardly describes a situation in which people are paying for the privilege of inviting the stuff into their homes--at fifty, sixty, ninety bucks a month, at that.

Once again, "conservative" politicians and morality groups want to steal parents' rights to decide what comes into their homes. And these moralists talk out of both sides of their mouths. They say sexualized media is everywhere, it generates enormous profits--so why won't they admit that it's an amazingly successful product in huge demand, rather than a problem being foisted on our country that needs to be eliminated?

According to conservatives, there's a profoundly accurate and perceptive mechanism to discern whether people want "The Sopranos" and Comedy Central, or "Touched By An Angel" and "Home Makeover." It's called the market. And there's another venerable institution that's supposed to shape the government's policies about controlling what Americans can see and hear. It's called the U.S. Constitution.

6. New CD Set & Other Holiday Gifts

I'm pleased to announce the publication of my latest CD set, Working With Couples: Successful Approaches to Challenging Cases. It's an all-day clinical seminar edited down to 4 hours on 4 CDs. It's thought-provoking, funny, and practical. I'm honored to have an endorsement from the one-and-only Sue Johanson, host of TV's "Talk Sex" and recipient of Canada's highest civilian award for her lifelong dedication as a sex educator.

The price is $39.95--and this month Sexual Intelligence readers get a 10% discount. If you order three of them, you get an additional 10% discount.

They're great for a peer supervision group, in-service workshop, graduate seminar, and for your personal and professional growth. As usual, California MFTs & LCSWs can earn CEUs by listening. For more information, see

And while we're on the subject of great gifts, do see all the books and audios for sale at and All three of my books are great for both singles and couples. The Q-&-A format of Ask Me Anything makes it great to share with a teen (or new partner), and my tape Talking With Your Kids About Sex can make life a lot easier for any parent.

You can return anything you buy for a full refund, no questions asked, within seven days. Your purchase is a great way to support Sexual Intelligence, too.

In fact, take 10% off anything you buy from us in December. Use discount code NL70. If you're buying three of the same item, get the extra 10% discount with code 3NL70.

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