‘First Amendment’

America’s War On Sex: Second Edition?

You may have read my most recent book, America’s War On Sex. It’s won a couple of awards, and I’ve lectured on the subject in dozens of cities. I’m pretty proud of it. The publisher (Praeger) has asked me about doing a second edition—updating it and perhaps adding other material. In some ways, it would be more complicated than just writing a whole new book. So I’ve been thinking about how to do it. How’s the War on Sex been going since the book was published? My initial answer is: “mixed.” Here’s the initial scorecard for the four years since…

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States Use “Sex” & “Children” To Create & Damn Criminals

Two states show just how far legislators and police will go to use categories like “sex offender” and “obscene” to ruin someone’s life. Of course, throw in “protecting the children” for maximum effect. WISCONSIN James Smith—a minor—forced, through physical threats, another minor X to ride with him to collect a drug debt from X’s friend. There is no allegation that the coercion involved anything sexual. Smith was arrested and convicted. But despite the fact that no sexual activity took place, Smith must now register as a sex offender because he committed a crime “comparable to a sex offense” (“false imprisonment…

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Giving Thanks for Sex…With a Bit of Melancholy

It’s Thanksgiving, so let’s give thanks for sex. Not just the huffing and puffing, the in-ing and out-ing, the sloshing around and drying off. Let’s give thanks for all the sexual rights we enjoy here in the U.S.—which billions of people in Russia, the Arab world, and many parts of Asia and Africa will never enjoy in their lifetimes. Most of these rights have to do with privacy and autonomy. These always look dangerous to repressive or religiously-driven regimes. Science and technology look pretty frightening to such regimes when they can be applied for sexual purposes—which they inevitably are, throughout…

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Science Shows What Sexual Repression Actually Looks Like

With the recent election still echoing in everyone’s ears, and pundits pundificating about how conservative the country really is, this is a good time to remember the major study done about online pornography subscriptions just 18 months ago. As reported in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, * The rates at which people buy pornography are not wildly different from state to state; * States where people vote for conservative candidates buy more porn than states in which people vote for progressive candidates. And yes, this is after adjusting for factors including broadband access, income, and population. According to credit card…

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Judge Criminalizes Strip Club, Patronizes Stripper

A 67-year-old guy is arrested by the FBI for illegally using marijuana, cocaine, and prescription painkillers with a stripper over many months. In addition to purchasing lap dances and sex with her at a strip club, he had a sexual relationship with her outside lasting many months. Nothing unusual about this. A lot of victimless crimes, but crimes nevertheless. It turns out that the guy is a longtime federal judge, appointed by Ronald Reagan. That’s certainly uncommon—most people aren’t federal judges—but judges are human, subject to the same impulses and narcissistic sense of invulnerability as the rest of us. So…

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CraigsList, Sex Trafficking, & The Next Moral Panic

Ladies & gentlemen, get ready for America’s new moral panic—sex trafficking! Yes, CraigsList has bowed to pressure from law enforcement, non-profits, and CNN, and has blocked access to its “adult services” section. They’ve replaced the link with a black bar stamped “censored.” CraigsList has been pummeled with criticism for allegedly facilitating prostitution and “sex trafficking” in the U.S.. Some of the CraigsList adult classifieds are used for coyly-disguised adult prostitution—a predictable development in an age when all commerce has taken to the internet. OK, prostitution is illegal in 49 states, and so some of these ads promote an illegal activity.…

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