Sexual Intelligence
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Each month, Sexual IntelligenceTM examines the sexual implications of current events, politics, technology, popular culture, and the media.

Dr. Marty Klein is a Certified Sex Therapist and sociologist with a special interest in public policy and sexuality. He has written 6 books and 100 articles. Each year he trains thousands of professionals in North America and abroad in clinical skills, human sexuality, and policy issues.

Issue #83 -- January 2007


1. Miss USA: Alcohol Trumps Sex

Tara Conner retained her Miss USA crown when pageant co-owner Donald Trump "forgave her" for drinking in public while underage. The question came up because Miss USA is supposed to be morally pure (that's why Trump is in charge, see).

In contrast, a few weeks later Katie Rees lost her Miss Nevada crown--after the internet featured photos of her exposing her breasts, passionately kissing other young women and simulating oral sex with some friends. It all took place when she was over 21. But Miss USA contestants are supposed to be morally pure, and hot sex isn't.

So if you're keeping score at home, breaking the law is acceptable, while having too much fun--legally--isn't.

One hesitates to point out the obvious, but Miss Nevada--morally pure? The world capital of prostitution, gambling, and tasteless gold jewelry can't abide a little girl-girl action, a little boob flashing? Presumably the problem is that she's an amateur. When there's money involved, it's commerce. Without money, it's just sin.

The Miss USA program isn't outdated at all. It still reflects American values--moralism, hypocrisy, and salacious disrespect for sexuality.

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Teaching Kids Respect By Destroying Them

Actually, it's worse.

A young male was recently busted for pinching a girl's butt in a Maryland school. Across the country, a guy in Texas was suspended for hugging a teacher way too enthusiastically, rubbing his face in her chest.

The Maryland kid is 5. The Texas kid is 4. They were each disciplined for "sexual harassment."

Officials in both schools acknowledge that neither boy might have been acting with sexual intent--"but if [a behavior] fits under the definition, then it is, under the state's guidelines, sexual harassment," said Maryland school spokesperson Carol Mowen. That helps explain why 28 kindergarten students in the state were suspended last year for "sex offenses," fifteen for sexual harassment. Kindergarten kids. Five-year-olds.

Conservative columnists like Nicholas Jackson blame it on pornography--he actually says the average age of first exposure to porn in America is now five. He obviously sees sex everywhere--what a pervert. The Religious Right, of course, blames the media: Jerry Falwell famously complained about a gay Teletubby, while James Dobson says Spongebob Squarepants is advancing the insidious gay agenda. Other people blame sex education: then-Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was accused of saying kids should be taught to masturbate (she didn't), and Educator Sol Gordon was accused by Phyllis Schlafley of promoting bestiality (oh, c'mon). 

The real problem is the definition of "sexual harassment." Well-meaning adults are projecting their feelings onto 5-year-olds, the same way 19th century missionaries did with native peoples. Missionaries knew that going bare-breasted would have enormous sexual implications for them, so they imputed licentiousness to the islanders they met, and demanded they stop. The Puritans did the same with the Indians they met who had institutionalized wholesome non-monogamy. The Puritans claimed it simply couldn't be wholesome.

Only modern people terrified of sex would apply adult categories like "sexual harassment" to little children. They'd pathologize kids' life-affirming impulse to rub their face in the massive chest of a grown-up lady. And they'd teach kids that getting your butt pinched is bad because of sex--not because it's annoying, disrespectful, or painful.

Oprah-blessed "addiction therapists" like Doug Weiss say that 9-year-olds can be porn addicts. Again, assuming that children make decisions like adults is a fundamental mistake. And when adults make this mistake about sex, it says more about them then it does about sex or children. Of course, Doug Weiss boasts that one of his professional credentials is "15 years' recovery from sex addiction," so his vision of reasonable decision-making is badly skewed.

Traumatizing kids around their erotic impulses is the most common form of sex abuse in America today. How does this help kids? What does the "pinch her butt once and you're outta here" rule tell kids about sex, relationships, and feelings? That they're wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not that we're in favor of aggression...but since a 4- or 5-year old can't understand why breasts or butts need special protection (there's no good reason) and the impulse to touch them is dirty and bad (ditto), what do they learn? That they themselves are bad. They also learn that some people are really, really uptight about sex. That would be a valuable lesson--if they were empowered to accept and nourish their own sexuality at the same time.

America's schools: scanning vigilantly for 5-year-old perverts.

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No Womb Left Behind

It's a script rejected by both Saturday Night Live and the Bizarre Fantasy Caucus of the Democratic Party: the Vice-President, from the political party that wins elections by saying homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism, has a gay daughter. And she gets pregnant!

But it's true: whether the intervention was scientific or divine, Mary Cheney is expecting. She and partner Heather Poe have been together 15 years--longer than most marriages. They also have a more stable environment for their child than most families--a planned conception, and parents with lots of money, above-average intelligence and education, and plenty of child care.

Nevertheless, the Right threw Mary and Heather a cold, cold baby shower. Concerned Women of America said "They're deliberately bringing a child into the world without a father, leaving a gaping hole. Father absence is the biggest problem we're facing in this country." And the Family Research Institute warned of a life of "privation and disruption: By this selfish action, Cheney is not merely disrupting society, she is being cruel to her child."

We used to say a conservative is someone who wants to shrink government small enough to fit under your bedroom door. Turns out they want it even smaller--small enough to fit into Mary Cheney's womb.

Although Cheney and Poe recently attended a White House dinner (honoring Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles) as a couple, their rights ended on their drive home. That's because last month, Virginia voters passed a constitutional amendment banning both gay marriage and civil unions. In a nightmare-in-the-making, state law is unclear as to whether Poe can legally acquire parental rights to her own child. Where are the so-called "pro-family" people when you need them?

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Mary Cheney, II

In 2004, Fox TV's Undersecretary of Ignorance Bill O'Reilly criticized Presidential candidate John Kerry for disrespecting Mary Cheney's private life by mentioning her lesbianism in a TV debate. Last month, however, O'Reilly did an entire segment on Cheney's pregnancy and same-sex parenting. He speculated that the child would "suffer a deficit" being raised by two women, and suggested perhaps it should be mandatory for lesbian couples to bring in a male presence to help the child. Yes, the "male presence" of O'Reilly, or Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, or Jack Abramoff will certainly help the tyke learn about manliness.

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Consumer Alert: Covered Nipples

What you can take off when you strip, and do once you're naked, depends on where you live.

Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law banning full nudity in strip clubs. At the same time, Alabama's law--requiring that nipples, lower breast, and buttocks be covered--was reaffirmed.

Does that mean that Missouri's strippers are less dangerous than Alabama's? Or that men in Missouri are better at resisting these she-devils?

Alabama's law says the taboo areas can be covered with opaque substances such as cosmetic latex, body paint, or foundation. Exactly what does this accomplish? It isn't as if the audience forgets that women have these body parts--or that the parts are any less compelling. State legislators must imagine Bubba saying, "I get so hot from looking at strippers' nipples I go right out and disrespect my wife and rape strange women, but once those nips are covered with opaque tape, well, I just lose half my lust and remember all of my manners."

Another point of contention is how far dancers need to be from customers. Various states require 4, 6, even 8 feet; Missouri wanted ten, plus an on-stage railing (in case some man has 11-foot arms). Is this to protect dancers from all those men who insist on giving them money and appreciation, or to protect men from cheap perfume, toxic hair dyes, and lipstick on their collars? Is forbidding lapdances a helpful ploy to keep men from going home with embarrassing stains on their boxers?

Besides, if you're ten feet away from a stripper, can you actually tell if her nipples are covered with body paint? If men think they're seeing uncovered nipples when they're actually seeing paint or tape, aren't the nipples just as dangerous as if they were uncovered? If so, protecting society requires that men get closer to the strippers, not further.

In striking down the law, Judge Richard Callahan said that "like it or not, nude dancing qualifying as expressive conduct is constitutionally protected within the First Amendment of the United States Constitution." To put it another way, if a city or state wants the privileges of belonging to the United States, it doesn't get to vote on whether or not people have the right to express themselves without hurting others. There's a Constitution already in place that covers such situations.

It was a radical idea 200 years ago, and apparently still is.

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Yes, They Really Said That In 2006

We're going to run this feature periodically, so if you see something worth repeating (3 sentences or less, please), send it in. Here's a roundup from 2006:

* "The Internet: Where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents."

* "Americans swept the Nobels this year in medicine and science. What good does it do us if we withhold medical and sexual information from people?"
--David Satcher, Former U.S. Surgeon General

* "I'm treating more and more kids as young as nine who are porn addicts."
--Sex therapist Doug Weiss

* "You don't defend what she's writing, you defend her right to write it."
--Warner Mariani, attorney in the Karen Fletcher "Red Rose" obscenity case

* "How's my favorite young stud doing? Strip down and get relaxed. Good, so you're getting horny? Cute butt bouncing in the air. Get a ruler and measure it for me."
--Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), chairman of the Congressional Missing & Exploited Children's Caucus, to a 16-year-old

* "If you're not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. The separation of church and state is a lie...because God is the one who chooses our rulers."
--Katherine Harris, supervisor of the 2000 Presidential recount as Florida's secretary of state.

* [I introduced a bill to ban sex toys in South Carolina because] "some constituents had asked for it...if someone is caught kidnapping someone and using these devices on an unwilling victim, this would be another offense with which they could be charged."
--Rep. Ralph Davenport

* "Millions of men and boys are falling for the destructive myth that looking at 'adult' porn is normal, healthy and harmless for 'regular guys.'"
--Jan LaRue, Concerned Women For America

* "Treating sex as dangerous is dangerous."
--Joycelyn Elders, Former U.S. Surgeon General

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Our Favorite Review (so far)

Our favorite review (so far) of America's War On Sex was written by Mark Kernes for Adult Video News. He says:

"Dr. Marty Klein's recently published America's War On Sex is quite simply the best book yet written dealing with the collision between the adult industry, sex-positive activism and the religious right."

To see the rest of the review, click here.

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RSS Returns

To make SI even more timely, I'm planning to write one or two articles every week instead of doing 6 or 7 at the end of each month. You can go to the SI website each week (we'll remind you), or wait for each month's issue to be emailed to you as usual.

To get a message each time a new article is published, just use the system called an "RSS Feed." It's easy to set this up if you use the latest version of Internet Explorer or Mozilla/Firefox:

1. Open your web browser and go to .
2. Click on the orange RSS icon on the right of your screen.
3. Click "Subscribe now" and "OK" (for Mozilla/Firefox), or "Subscribe to this feed" and "Subscribe" (for Internet Explorer).

(For more detailed information, click here.)

Then just wait to be notified of a new SI article. Of course, you can just ignore this system and wait for your monthly email. Either way, thanks for reading SI--and do let your friends know how much you enjoy it.

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