‘sex and the media’

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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The Myth of “Racist Pornography”

In our continuing commitment to being timely, today we honor Black History Month—by discussing the question of racism in pornography. The criticism that pornography is racist comes from the Left—from publications like Ms., university departments of Women’s Studies, and groups who believe that all sex work is male violence against women. Their current champion is author Gail Dines, whose recent book “Pornland” blames every one of America’s evils (except the Social Security mess) on pornography. In the chapter titled “Racy Sex, Sexy Racism!” she makes the nonsensical assertion that porn “racializes the bodies and sexual behavior of the performer” by…

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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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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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(very funny) Movie Review: A Dirty Shame

I just saw the stupidest—and funniest—sex film of the decade. John Waters made A Dirty Shame in 2004. Perhaps you’ve seen one of his 11 other films—Hairspray (made into a Tony-winning Broadway musical in 2003), the brilliant Cecil B. Demented, Pink Flamingos (one of 6 that he made with the cross-dressing, 300-pound actor Divine), or his first, Mondo Trasho (best movie title of the century, no?). A Dirty Shame stars Tracy Ullman, our era’s classic comedienne (think Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy, Lucille Ball, Rosalind Russell) and pop singer Chris Isaak (our era’s um, Chris Isaak) as Sylvia & Vaughn Stickles,…

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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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