Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #74 -- April 2006


1. Fox: More Sex in the "Liberal" Media
2. States' Rights vs. People's Rights
3. Sue J Vibrates on Conan
4. Divesting Porn--and Integrity
5. U.S. News & World Report Doesn't

1. Fox: More Sex in the "Liberal" Media

This is funny, with a dark side. Or vice versa.

Morality groups and conservative religious leaders have done a brilliant job creating a Liberal Media Conspiracy. You know, the leftwing-homosexual-jewish-aclu entertainment industry that's forcing Americans to watch "smut burgers," "lewdness," and "indecency" on TV (see Back in 1992 Republican Party chair Rich Bond even acknowledged that their frequent denunciations of "liberal bias" in the media were part of their strategy. Thousands of groups and churches now raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fight this horrifying liberal trash.

Except this liberal Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist. Fox TV, for example, has the top four programs on the Parents Television Council's list of 2005's "worst TV shows for family viewing on primetime broadcast TV." You know, the Fox network of "liberals" Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, and Trent Lott ("If it hadn't been for Fox, I don't know what I'd have done for the news," Lott said in 2001). Somehow, conservative viewers insist they're being fed immoral crap by a liberal media conspiracy. Sorry, wrong conspiracy.

Now let's talk news.

Since Christmas, three women in Daytona Beach, FL have been killed in unsolved murders. So on March 23, Fox News did what it often does: it talked about murder for no reason, and used a news peg involving sex--in this case, Spring Break. Several news personnel took turns talking in a corner of the screen, while salacious cameras gave us generous heaps of girl-flesh: drinking, dancing, stripping, cavorting young things. Listening to tut-tutting about murder was the admission price for watching lovely coeds dressed in the full range of female garb, everything from thongs to bikinis to one-pieces.
Fox committed dozens of media crimes in the three-minute segment. They flashed gratuitous sex while trivializing murder. They paired the two. They told people to worry, as if worrying would protect them. They discussed irrational violence while filling the screen with irrational pleasure. And, of course, intoned their concern with Really Serious voices and frowns.

Along with other mainstream news organizations, Fox rarely misses an opportunity to titillate us, even resorting to the lame excuse of "didja hear about that awful sexual thing over there?" They showed the Janet Jackson nipple moment 4.3 jillion times.

True liberals? Sure we want to see sex on TV. We just don't think you need the excuse of murder.

Thanks to the Daily Show for bringing this to everyone's attention. To see the clip, with Jon Stewart's hilarious commentary, go to

2. States' Rights vs. People's Rights

Mitt Romney is the Republican governor of Massachusetts, typically a Democratic state. Romney has been positioning himself for a 2008 presidential run by desperately counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin--if those angels have opinions about gay marriage or abortion. He has been attempting to take positions about government intrusion into private life while alienating no one, torturously splitting hairs when our society needs the clarity of a crewcut.

His state's highest court recently upheld a 1913 law, ruling that same-gender couples from states that prohibit gay marriage cannot marry in Massachusetts. Governor Romney welcomed the decision, saying he did not want Massachusetts to become "the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.'' Maybe he could simply pass an excise tax on Elvis impersonators and leave the American tradition of tasteless heterosexual marriage intact.

Out-of-state gay activists had been strategizing about marrying in Massachusetts and returning to their home states to fight for legal recognition of those marriages. But, said the governor, "It's important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on.''

Does Romney mean that if Georgia again prohibits marriage between whites and blacks, he won't let mixed-race Georgian couples marry in his state either? Or that if Utah criminalizes marriage between Mormons and non-Mormons, he won't let such Utah couples marry in Massachusetts?

"States' Rights" was once code for racism. Now it's becoming code for conservatism that intends to evade constitutional protections.

3. Sue J Vibrates on Conan

Last week my friend Sue Johanson was on Conan O'Brien for the second time. She's already been on Letterman, Leno, and other shows many, many times.

Sue discussed sex toys with Conan and guest Ray Romano. As usual, the host's faux horror, audience's giggling, and Sue's complete disregard for propriety and euphemisms made it a complete howl. Millions of viewers did get some education, mostly about who uses toys (almost everyone), why (typically clitoral stimulation), and how (make it up, folks). Most importantly, they saw a normal-looking woman being comfortable about sex, heard words like orgasm, and saw men being uncomfortable about sex--and staying in the conversation anyway.

Like other late night talk shows, Conan does comedy, and so neither he nor Sue mentioned the six states where it's illegal to purchase the products they all played with. Of course, had they done so, the audience might have thought it was just more joking. That's part of the problem--America's increasing legal restrictions on sexual expression are so extreme they're hard to actually believe. They sound more like something from Uzbekistan.

4. Divesting Porn--and Integrity

This one's so hypocritical it's difficult to find a sufficiently nasty analogy.

The Texas Teacher Retirement System is going to divest its $100 billion investment portfolio of any companies receiving 10% or more of their income from topless bars, porn films, and other sexually-oriented businesses.

Board member Greg Poole told the American Family Association that the Retirement System has a professional interest in the welfare of women and youth, and therefore can't, in good conscience, invest in pornography: "To think that we are in some way, by the use of our money, promoting something that is so degrading to women and children--it just seems irresponsible," he says.   

Yes, if you're going to demonize sex, trot out those women and children. Since Poole asserts that part of responsible fund management includes verifying that investments do not exploit women and children, we can assume the system will also disinvest in companies that:

* Make or advertise high-fat junk food aimed at kids
* Publish magazines that make women feel bad about themselves
* Create fashions that make women resent their bodies
* Make or promote violent movies
* Operate hospitals that withhold reproductive health care services
* Operate pharmacies that withhold reproductive health care products
* Sell handguns (a major source of death & injury in domestic violence and childhood accidents)

If the Board is serious, it must also divest from any company that depends on Visa or MasterCard, because these credit card giants are essential for the porn industry's operation. Or is that taking Poole's phony idealism too far?

By the way, why the 10% cutoff? Why not divest from all companies with any relationship to sexuality? Two simple reasons:

* Sexuality-related commerce is so common, that would be virtually impossible;
* The Texas System and its members are in it for the money. Offer all these shareholders 100% no-porn investments--at half of last year's return. You wouldn't be able to field a football team with those who agree.

5. U.S. News & World Report Doesn't

The April 3, 2006 issue of the venerable magazine ran a cover story on breakthroughs in cancer vaccines. Unfortunately, it misled readers with wrong information about the vaccine against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. The vaccine needs to be taken by girls years before they become sexually active.

A sidebar asked what happened to the projected political battle over the vaccine which morality groups had already demonized as "encouraging promiscuity." The conclusion is that conservatives are not challenging the HPV vaccine, which is simply wrong. Here are just two mainstream examples:

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be harmful because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex." --Bridget Maher, Family Research Council.

"I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100% preventable with proper sexual behavior."--Leslie Unruh, Director, National Abstinence Clearinghouse

"We support the vaccine," says Focus on the Family health analyst Linda Klepacki--but the story reports her also warning that once kids feel safe from the sexually transmitted infection HPV, they will indeed have more sex. Exactly what kind of support is this?

Morality groups like these say they oppose the vaccine's availability because they believe it will encourage "promiscuity" by making sex safer. But the data (including the National Survey of Family Growth the article itself cites) are clear: teens do not refuse sex just because they think it's dangerous. They're teens.

In 2005, Susan Wood resigned as head of the FDA's Office of Women's Health when conservatives succeeded in blocking over-the-counter availability of Emergency Contraception (issues #23, 52, 67). Weeks later, she said she was "very worried" that political pressure from the same conservative groups would also delay availability of a new vaccine that protects against HPV, and for the same reason--that reducing one of the risks involved in sexual contact could lead to promiscuity among young women. She turned out to be absolutely right.

The American public deserves to know about the powerful lobbying against a medicine that will save their daughters' lives. U.S. News & World Report let everyone down by not reporting this crucial story accurately.

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