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 #85 -- March 2007


  • Annual Awards Issue


Each year, SI celebrates people and institutions which challenge the sexual fear, unrealistic expectations, and government hypocrisy that undermine love, sex, and relationships--and political freedom.

Past recipients have included novelist Philip Roth, musician Candye Kane, sex educators Bill Taverner and Susie Wilson, and Catholics For A Free Choice. This year's recipients of Sexual Intelligence Awards™ are equally deserving:


Religious Institute for Sexual Morality, Justice, & Healing

Comedian Alan King used to say that if you want to talk about sex and you want to talk about marriage, you need to have two conversations. Some people feel that way about sex and religion: that they require two separate conversations.

The Religious Institute, founded in 2001, challenges that belief by advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities. As we said in 2002, "their founding declaration is a gorgeous document which affirms that sexuality is a life-fulfilling, divine gift."

The Religious Institute provides education and training for clergy and congregations, and their staff (led by Director Reverend Debra Haffner) regularly appears on major media outlets such as NPR. Their message is consistent: faith requires justice, and justice requires sexual justice.

The Religious Institute issues periodic Open Letters, which creatively define how faith communities can address issues of the day about which there is conflict. They've done these about sex education, abortion, and other topics, most recently adolescent sexuality.

Most importantly, they take back sex from the more conservative, sex-phobic wing of the religious community. They're developing a network of religious leaders committed to sexual justice, and they're helping to create sexually healthy congregations. They help men and women conceptualize sexuality in harmony with faith values--stressing godliness, compassion, truth, integrity, and moral decision-making. By encouraging people of faith to speak out progressively on sexual issues as people of faith, the Religious Institute is bringing sexual intelligence and healing to our world.


Robert Francoeur & Ray Noonan, Encyclopedia Editors

Imagine an encyclopedia of sex. An international encyclopedia of sex. Imagine all the work it would require to create it.

Now imagine that the people who did that have given it away for free. That's what editors Robert Francoeur and Ray Noonan have done. Honorable mention goes to Continuum International Publishing Group, which licensed the free access, and the Kinsey Institute, which provides the institutional home for the massive project.

You can, of course, buy your own copy. But now everyone can use it, free, online. You get 200 contributors, countries from A to Z, and new ideas about what people do sexually, why, and how that fits into their unique culture.

This award honors all the hardworking contributors, of course. But the real heroes, delivering the original 3-pound book and supervising its transformation and revisions, are Dr. Robert Francoeur--author of 22 books and editor-in-chief of The Complete Dictionary of Sexology, and Dr. Ray Noonan--sexuality professor and web editor of  SexQuest.

When it comes to sexual intelligence, you could say they wrote the book.


Raymond Lawrence Jr., Pastoral Supervisor and Historian

Reverend Lawrence has spent a very long career involved in Church affairs.

The Church has not always been pleased about this.

Lawrence recently retired as Director of Pastoral Care at both New York Presbyterian Hospital and the New York Council of Churches. He has supervised the training of tens of thousands of pastoral counselors--and he feels that sexuality needs much, much more positive attention than it's typically been given.

Lawrence has navigated this tricky situation--how to train professionals to counsel people about problems they're not supposed to have, helping them to help others envision and embrace a sexual world that they've been taught is dangerous--with grace and dignity for decades.

In 1988 Lawrence wrote The Poisoning of Eros, an exquisite demonstration of the persisting conflict of sexual values set into motion by power struggles in the early Christian Church. Lawrence even argued that Paul's epistles were ultimately mistranslated to make him appear far more sex-negative than he really was.

Lawrence expands on this theme with his brand-new book Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom. In it he describes how sexual pleasure has been devalued and demonized in the West by the historical forces of Christendom. Since Christianity has been the West's principal bearer of public values for 17 centuries, this is a subject that affects every part of our lives, from international family planning policies all the way down to local school board elections.

The book caps a life's work of Episcopal parish work, theological essays, and teaching. Lawrence's moral courage and scholarly research have enhanced the sexual intelligence of millions of souls.


Robert McGinley, Non-monogamy activist

By 1966 the U.S. military had some 50,000 swingers under investigation, intending to court martial and discharge all of them. When civilian aerospace engineer Robert McGinley was identified as one of these "sexual deviants," he lost his Air Force security clearance (and therefore his job). In 1975 McGinley founded the Lifestyle Organization (LSO); in less than five years, LSO was hosting weekend conventions attended by 500 or more couples. An industry was born, and LSO now hosts the largest "lifestyles" conventions in the world. Each year, tens of thousands of couples from around the world vacation and play together. It's a new kind of Woodstock, with similar cultural and political possibilities.

It didn't happen easily. McGinley has been in court time and again, fighting government discrimination against sponsoring hotels and even bribery by state officials attempting to discredit him. Before the ACLU became involved, he spent $100,000 of his own money. In 1998 he won an enormous victory court over California's Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, which was chastised for practicing "State Gestapo-ism."

Even if you don't swing, go on nude cruises, or attend lifestyles seminars, McGinley has helped protect your right to express your sexual preferences in private--and hotels' right to host events that might challenge the "morality" of those who disapprove of the events. This includes events involving S/M, tattooing, same-gender relationships, and contraceptive education.

Not content with merely creating a socio-cultural movement for millions of swingers, McGinley has recently gone south of the border. LSO now sponsors an annual Erotic Art Walk and Fiesta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the world's largest public exhibit of sensual and erotic art. This is of historical importance in an overwhelmingly Catholic country. McGinley is bringing sexual intelligence everywhere.


Charles Moser & Peggy Kleinplatz, Sex Researchers

Caution: what your physician, psychologist, or attorney think they know about sex could be hazardous to your well-being.

Moser and Kleinplatz take this threat seriously. Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz is Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Charles Moser chairs the Department of Sexual Medicine at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.

Together, they are one of the most important and prolific team of sex researchers working today.

For 10 years, they have been calling attention to the various ways in which professional psychology, medicine, and the justice system undermine sexual and emotional health. They have eloquently challenged the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association), showing that its classifications of sexual pathology are not based on science or evidence. Instead, the DSM typically mirrors and reinforces America's cultural biases, seeing dysfunction and mental illness where they don't exist.

Another career highlight is the recent publication of Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures. In it, as in much of their work, they show how various forms of sexual transgression are pathologized, criminalized, and marginalized by professions trusted by the public to understand such things. The practical consequences of society's misconceptions about alternative sexualities range from the loss of jobs, child custody, and security clearances to long jail sentences for consensual behavior.

Moser and Kleinplatz have published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals. The APA's 2003 symposium about whether gender identity disorders and sexual sadism should remain classed as mental illness remains a historical watershed in professional psychology. So do the new treatment guidelines for sadomasochism published in 2005 by AASECT.

The two dedicated researchers have endured not just professional misunderstanding, but censure and threats of violence. They have even been accused of supporting pedophilia--a perfect example of the negative, irrational environment they have so eloquently described in their work. In broadening our concepts of sexuality, Kleinplatz & Moser have increased the sexual intelligence of clinicians and our justice system.


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