Media Update – May 8, 2003

1. No Sex Please
2. Skin Flicks 101: What porn studies profs don't get about sex

1. No Sex Please
2. Skin Flicks 101: What porn studies profs don't get about sex

No Sex Please

by Dan Reines
April 29, 2003

At some low level, your heart's gotta go out to Rick Santorum. Not because the left hates him; that's to be expected, really. The third-ranking Republican in the United States Senate, Santorum earned an avalanche of criticism after the Associated Press published a profile of him in which he weighed in on Lawrence v. Texas. That's the case pending before the Supreme Court in which two men were arrested on sodomy charges after Houston police responded to a false complaint and found them having sex in a private home. "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home," the Pennsylvania Senator reportedly fumed, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything." Santorum went on to group gay marriage with bestiality and pedophilia.

All of which brings us to the heart of the matter. Santorum has been vilified by the left and abandoned by some on the right for turning a legal case into a platform for his bigoted views, and rightly so. But in reality, Lawrence v. Texas isn't about gay sex at all. Well, okay, it is the sodomy practiced by the couple in question would have been legal if one of them had been a woman (or a horse gay sex may be illegal in Texas, but bestiality isn't). But what Lawrence v. Texas is really about is privacy. In Texas and in more than a quarter of all states, it's worth noting it remains illegal for consenting adults to express their sexuality, even in private, unless their sexuality meets standards laid out by the state legislature.

You think this doesn't concern you? Think again. Because Santorum's right it is a slippery slope. Seen as a privacy issue rather than a sex issue, the high court's decision in Texas impacts your right to oral sex, it impacts your right to masturbation, it impacts your right to contraception hell, it impacts your right to everything but the missionary position, man on top, and it may just impact that too. In short, it impacts your right to any kind of sexual autonomy, particularly if you happen to be part of a "second-class" relationship. [cont.]

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Skin Flicks 101: What porn studies profs don't get about sex

by Cathy Young
May 2003

Last year's news reports about a course at the University of California at Berkeley called "Male Sexuality" seemed like a cultural conservative's worst nightmare — or fondest dream, depending on how you look at it. The story had everything from lurid tales of sexual depravity (including a field trip to a gay strip club) to damning evidence of academic decline (class work included such intellectual exercises as photographing your genitalia and then trying to match other students' genitals to their faces). And it was set in no less a bastion of academic radicalism than Berkeley.

Indeed, the academy may have edged out the art world as the center of the debate about graphic sexual content and cultural value. Unfortunately but perhaps not surprisingly, this debate often pits those who seem opposed to any explicit discussion of sex — particularly sexual activities other than heterosexual intercourse — against those who seem to confuse exhibitionism with intellectual discourse.

Take the outcry over a 1997 conference at the New Paltz campus of the State University of New York. The gathering, organized by the Women's Studies Department, was creatively titled "Revolting Behavior: The Challenges of Women's Sexual Freedom," and eventually led to an attempt to oust the college president, Roger W. Bowen.

The critiques of the conference by New Criterion Editor Roger Kimball and SUNY Trustee Candace de Russy dripped with disgust at the perversities celebrated there; de Russy's list of the horribles, in a March 1998 article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, included not only sadomasochism but anal sex, lesbianism, bisexuality, and female masturbation. Kimball's Wall Street Journal article, succinctly titled "A Syllabus for Sickos," lamented "a vision of sexuality totally emancipated from nature." [cont.]

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