Sex toys, obscenity laws, pornography, the Bible Belt & America

31 Dec

Huntsville, Alabama is undoubtedly located in prime Bible Belt territory.  Alabama isn’t noted for its liberal outlook on sexual behavior either.  In fact, I’m not sure it’s got much positive to say about anything too terribly liberal.  When I think of “Liberal”, the last state to come to mind is Alabama, even though I live almost on the Alabama state line in coastal Mississippi.  Mississippi isn’t exactly prime liberal territory either, I suppose.

But today, I read an interesting article about a store called Pleasures, located in Huntsville, that has managed to find a way around the Alabama state laws that forbid the sale of sex toys, marital aids, or whatever name you want to give those types of items.  Yeah, in this day and age…an entire state forbids the sale of a dildo, while the rest of America is concerned about child pornography and drug trafficking.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled with these types of items being sold in the check out lane at Walmart.  But at the same time, they are pretty harmless items that can greatly enhance someone’s sex life too.  I’ve bought a lot of them over the years for bridal showers, birthday gifts, and other occasions where a gag gift of that type is entirely appropriate.  No, I don’t think that every girl should be given one as a birthday gift, nor should they be sold in broad view of children…but neither should Hustler magazine.

I honestly think that most porn is pretty stupid, and I have read articles about people suffering from internet porn addictions.  I know that it can cause problems in relationships, and I have to admit…if I suddenly discovered that GM was a secret porn addict, I’d be upset.  The reason I would be upset would be more about the deceit than the porn itself, though.

I agree that most porn puts women down, puts them in situations that are degrading.  But if I have to choose between someone merely fantasizing about putting down a woman or becoming a sexual predator and actually doing so, it’s really a no brainer that the fantasy, which probably will never be acted on, is far less risky than someone who skips the fantasy and goes for real life action.  In addition, most people don’t realize that rape is not so much a sex crime as a crime of violence–it’s the ultimate assault.

But pornography, when it features professional adult actors, is not in itself doing anyone harm.  The actors have chosen to participate in the filming, without duress.  It’s their choice, and so is it the choice of those who choose to buy or watch such films.  If there was no market for pornography, it wouldn’t be produced, and face it…pornography has existed since the beginning of time, and really flowered with the invention of photography and film.

When pornography features actors forced to perform or children who are also forced to perform, the crime is already committed.  Forcing anyone to do such a thing is wrong, morally and legally.  That isn’t pornography, it’s a criminal act caught on film.  Buying or watching such films is also morally and legally wrong.  These are not the same as professionally filmed videos.

Neither are the films that are sneak attacks on people, filming them without their knowledge or consent during sex acts.  That is also a crime, and watching them makes the viewer just as guilty as the criminal who taped it.  Equally wrong is when a couple films themselves for their own private purposes, and one or the other decides, without the others’ consent, to sell or share that video.  That’s also wrong.

I’m not a huge advocate of our government, as Big Brother, sticking their nose into private portions of our lives unnecessarily.  I don’t want anyone’s nose stuck into my sex life, in any way, shape or form.  It isn’t anyone’s business as long as I am not committing a crime against someone else.  I certainly do not regard it as Big Brother’s business if I have a sex toy in the bedroom, and telling me that I cannot legally buy such a thing is ridiculous.  Surely, government has much more important business to tend to than my sex life????

And what about these people who go around policing everyone else’s sex life and whether or not they are trying to buy a sex toy?  What business is it of theirs?  What harm does a sex toy do to a consenting adult?  (Okay, I’ve heard the stories too, about someone having to go have one extracted after inserting it somewhere they shouldn’t, but let’s not go there, okay?)

Seriously, a sex toy store is not that big of a deal.  If I have to choose between living beside a sex toy store, a convenience store, a liquor store, a gas station, a petroleum plant, a chemical refinery, or any of the other kinds of places we find around here…hey, that sex store is going to win hands down.  Convenience stores around here are always getting raided for their illegal substances such as synthetic marijuana or getting robbed, as are liquor stores.  Gas stations are always full of noisy traffic and are subject to chemical spills.  Petroleum plants and refineries aren’t exactly odorless neighbors, and their shift traffic is nightmarish to deal with even miles from the plants too.  A sex toy store looks like a pretty innocuous neighbor.

Are these people who object to them afraid their spouse might become enthralled with a blow up doll and divorce them for the air head?  Are they worried that someone else might be enjoying their own spouse in the privacy of their own bedroom?  What exactly are sex toys going to do to society, except perhaps save a few marriages and maybe even prevent a bit of the frequent infidelity that seems to be rampant in these small, Southern, fundamentalist church-going towns.  Maybe…just maybe…if some of these people spent less time worrying about someone else having a great, satisfying, enjoyable sex life…and took a look at their own sex life…there wouldn’t be silly laws like ones that prevent Alabama citizens from easily purchasing innocuous items like vibrators and blow up dolls.

Besides, as I recall, with a lot of people, a huge part of the thrill of getting something…is getting it when it is illegal.

All of this sexual repression of adults is foolish.  We really do have bigger things to worry about, things that have far longer reaching effects than whether Billy Bob Johnson next door was looking at buying a blow up doll, or whether his wife wanted a purple vibrator for Christmas.  Maybe we could spend a bit of time working on improving educational opportunities, increasing job opportunities, maybe even taking a look at some real crime like murder, rape, theft, burglary, and so forth.  I’m sure the police department isn’t filled with officers who have entered the police force intending to police people’s bedrooms for illegal sex toys.  At the same time, I bet most of those people who ARE buying sex toys would be very interested in donating towards purchasing more equipment for the local police department to crack down on those who traffic in child pornography, because guess what?

The ones buying the sex toys are often going to be responsible citizens who are also great parents, and just maybe part of the reason is that they are willing to work to have a satisfying sex life with their partner instead of worrying about their neighbors’ sex lives.

If you would like to read that article, which features a store selling marital aids and utilizing a drive-through window in Huntsville, Alabama, just click here.

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One Response to “Sex toys, obscenity laws, pornography, the Bible Belt & America”

  1. Sex Toys Suzy April 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Agreed! Sex toys -in some form or another- have also been around for hundreds if not thousands of years I think Dr. Berman’s approach toward this has helped a lot of women -and couples -in particular remove some of the taboo around the topic. Of course the whole topic is of a personal nature so there is a time and a place -but the laws in Alabama are archaic.

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