Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #73 -- March 2006


1. Why So Late? Why Do You Care?
2. Attack on Wet T-shirts All Wet
3. Alito Sends Dobson Ominous Valentine
4. UK Tears Off American Gag
5. Heckler's Veto Strikes Buses
6. Paranoia Or Religious Clarity?

1. Why So Late? Why Do You Care?

The bad news: We had not one, but two dramatic computer crashes in the last three weeks. We lost a lot of data, and tons of time. And did some thinking.
The good news: I completed the manuscript for my new book, America's War on Sex. (That also took tons of time.)

Why you care:

1) Sexual Intelligence is going to an RSS Feed starting May 1. You'll be able to read the summer issues in either format--the old familiar one, or the new RSS one. Starting September 1 it will be available via RSS or the website only. Please download the simple RSS software as soon as we send it to you. And please be patient with the reminder coming up in every issue of SI till then.
2) My new book will be out in October. If you like Sexual Intelligence, you'll love America's War on Sex. In fact, for SI readers it comes with a money-back guarantee. Details this fall.

As a bonus, we're launching the new SI website on May 1 as well. It will have the search feature so many readers have requested.

2. Attack on Wet T-shirts All Wet

The Peoria City Council has approved a $163,000 settlement agreement with former bar owner John Balaco. A federal judge ruled that the city's liquor ordinance was overly broad in requiring an adult business license to have wet T-shirt contests or male dancers. Balaco sued the city in 2003 after the ordinance effectively banned wet T-shirt contests at his bar.

Cities and states have been misusing alcohol control commissions and ordinances as a weapon against sexually oriented entertainment for decades. In 1996, for example, California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control attempted to eliminate swingers' events throughout the state by threatening to revoke the liquor licenses of any hotel hosting such an event, even if no alcohol was served there. Taking the threat seriously, hotels throughout Southern California cancelled Lifestyles event contracts involving thousands of couples.

Peoria city attorney Randy Ray decided "to cut our losses" and settle the case rather than risk a jury deciding the damages. At-large Councilman Gary Sandberg noted that the settled amount is close to the salaries of three city firefighters. Peoria would do well to spend its money putting out external fires people don't want, instead of internal fires that people do want. Guess it all depends on which you think is more dangerous.

3. Alito Sends Dobson Ominous Valentine

Focus on the Family president James Dobson loves to present his morality crusade as both the voice of the American people and a beleaguered, victimized Christian minority. Confused? So are we. Feeling flush last month, however, he predicted that "the pendulum is swinging back" (presumably from the liberal President, Congress, and Supreme Court). His evidence was the following thank-you note from new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito:

Dear Dr. Dobson:
This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period. As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.

As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me. I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.

Sincerely yours,  
Samuel Alito

It is simply unethical for a Supreme Court justice to send a thank-you note to an interest group. Alito admits he owes his job to a man who prays "that by the time the prohibition on abortion reaches the Supreme Court, there will be one more conservative justice sitting there" (A polite way of saying he's looking forward to Justice John Paul Stevens' death). Thus, participants in all cases involving sexuality or religion (e.g., gay adoption or school prayer), much less abortion itself, should demand that Alito recuse himself. Alito appears to be in bed with the Christian Right publicly--and in matters judicial, the willing appearance of impropriety is as problematic as impropriety itself.

4. UK Tears Off American Gag

As we discussed years ago (#12), in 2001 President George W. Bush instituted America's Global Gag Rule. This cut off family planning assistance to any international group that even discusses abortion using their non-U.S. funds. That's like saying you won't give your child a textbook if he talks about reading comic books with his friends, or reads a comic book his friend buys.

The United Kingdom is giving $5 million to a new Global Safe Abortion Program. This fund will increase access to safe abortion services in countries that have lost or cannot accept family planning funding from the United States because of new American restrictions.

"We work very closely with the Americans but we have a very different view from them on abortion," UK Minister Gareth Thomas said. "We know from experience that the absence of sexual and reproductive health services results in an increase in unintended pregnancies and, inevitably, a greater number of unsafe abortions."

This is not secret knowledge, nor does it challenge anyone's common sense: as every country except ours understands, the leading cause of abortion is unintended pregnancy. When the Religious Right refuses to reduce unintended pregnancy (except to tell people "don't have sex," which doesn't work), it shows that its opposition to abortion is political and psychological far more than ethical.
The Bush Administration says you're either in favor of unlimited government surveillance or you support terrorism. With the same tortured logic, they also feel you're either against sex or you're immoral.

We say you're either in favor of contraception and comprehensive sexuality education, or you support unintended pregnancy. Which means you're in favor of abortion.

5. Heckler's Veto Strikes Buses

"Liberal California" is almost one word to some people, but the phrase rung hollow a few weeks ago in Silicon Valley, 40 miles south of San Francisco. Pioneer sex toy company Good Vibrations put ads in dozens of buses in Santa Clara County--pretty subtle, simply directing people to their website. But within days, the ads were yanked off the buses.

The press releases are pretty clear--the company agreed to remove the ads following complaints from "some riders" and "some drivers" on buses belonging to the Valley Transportation Authority. SI verified it was two of each. The ads were also run on buses belonging to the neighboring Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District without any complaints.

The shocking thing isn't that a few people complained. It's that less than 5 people could keep legal, tasteful ads off an entire county's bus system. In, arguably, the most liberal place in the U.S.  Exactly how many people does it now take to veto human sexuality someplace--one?

The Constitution does not guarantee people the right to be comfortable when they leave their homes, and it's time we stopped taking discomfort about sex more seriously than other kinds of discomfort. Sure, if 200 people complain that an ad is racist, it comes down, but only 4? I doubt it.

It's come to this: Every sex-related display in public--classical nude statues, public employees showing cleavage, a gay couple on TV, condom machines in nightclubs, a double entendre in a restaurant menu--is going to draw complaints. Whenever we run across one of these things, we need to call or email those in charge and say "yes, this is fine with me."

Only this will prevent a few sex-obsessed people from stripping the eroticism from every public space in America.

6. Paranoia Or Religious Clarity?

23-year-old Corporal Andrew Kemple was buried recently in Anoka, Minnesota. He was killed in Iraq after his Humvee was attacked by small arms fire.

Everyone agrees he was heterosexual. But that didn't stop Shirley Phelps and members of her Kansas church from demonstrating at his funeral. She says she has disrupted and profaned (OK, our words, not hers) over 100 military funerals--because soldiers represent America, and God is killing them because America tolerates homosexuality, and God hates gays. 

Phelps says we are all responsible for tolerating homosexuality, and that the war in Iraq is one of God's punishments. She doesn't want us to stop the war, she wants us to stop homosexuality. That's right, don't stop the killing--stop the loving.

Her group is completely unmoved by suggestions that the families of dead young men and women are miserable enough without her chanting at the kids' funerals. The signs her supporters carry are ruthless. One reads "thank God for dead soldiers." According to video from CNN, when Andrew's mother came over and asked the group to leave, they lashed out at her. Here's part of Phelps' on-screen exchange with correspondent Ed Lavandera:

PHELPS (to grieving family): You made that child the tormented child he was because you taught him that God was a liar.
LAVANDERA (on camera): You don't think you've crossed the line of indecency at all?
PHELPS: They sent the child to hell.
LAVANDERA: The question was, have you crossed the line of indecency?
PHELPS: Hon, they crossed the line of indecency. America is doomed and you're talking to me about decency? God says they'll be buried with the burial of a jackass and don't you mourn them.

Who would want to worship a God this cruel? What kind of sick mind would imagine a God that wants to torment innocent people like this? Phelps is so deranged she can't even complain that Col. Kemple was in Iraq killing people. Instead, she complains that innocent Americans are loving other innocent Americans who happen to be the same gender.

If Phelps said that Napoleon or Michael Jackson instructed her to disturb strangers' funerals in order to change public policy, she'd be gently escorted away and put someplace where she couldn't harm either herself or others. Instead, she says God talks to her, and she's considered sane. CNN interviews her.

Hiding behind God's skirts is not only cowardly, it's bad governance. It's time America stopped privileging hostility and paranoia just because it's supposedly instructed by a loving God.

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