‘online safety’

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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Pathetic Political Posturing: Attacking MTV’s “Skins” As Child Porn

Calling it “the most dangerous show on television,” the Parents Television Council has asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether MTV’s “Skins” violates federal child pornography statutes. The show’s sins are that they (1) show teens having and enjoying sexual activity, and (2) employ teen actors to portray these teens. For years, the Parents Television Council has staked its claim to Ozzie & Harriet paranoid nostalgia territory. They say that shows including Hawaii Five-O and the NFL Playoffs are unsuitable for family viewing. Maybe they mean families that don’t have TVs—or cell phones, the internet, or friends. Their vision…

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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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Is There Such A Thing As Kinky Sex?

Last week I keynoted the annual conference of CARAS (Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities). I presented “Clinical, cultural, and personal narratives about alternative sexualities.” My goal was to examine the common ways people think about “alternative” (or “kinky”) sexuality—and how that affects everyone, no matter what kind of sex they’re into. The general attitude about kinky sex and its practitioners among the media, civic organizations, and medical-psychological professions is pretty negative. They accept or even promote horrible misinformation (“Perverts want to recruit teens into their lifestyle”). They use glamorous but bizarre cases to condemn ordinary choices (“S/M scene…

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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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Congress Requiring Internet Filtering—Through the Back Door

Last week, the House agreed to a Senate amendment to a bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the next-to-last page, it casually states: “None of the funds made available in this act may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading and exchanging of pornography.” Yes, buried in a bill (HR4899) that allocates $75,000,000,000 for the military, as well as for border security, veterans’ health, state education, and Haiti, Congress is preparing to require that all companies doing business with the federal government require internet filtering software. “Pornography”…

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