Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blanket Statements Offer Little in the Way of Cover

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Marty Klein, a published author and therapist. From his blog:

Dr. Marty Klein is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapist, and sociologist with a special interest in public policy and sexuality. He has written 6 books and over 100 articles about sexuality. Each year he trains thousands of professionals in North America and abroad in clinical skills, human sexuality, and policy issues.

You can read more from Dr. Klein at Sexual Intelligence, where he discusses America’s actions and attitudes toward sex.

Dr. Klein has spent thirty years helping men and women with relationships. He’s a proponent of adult entertainment, and an even greater proponent of good sex. His insight into the minds of those seeking help adds a dimension of practicality to his views which a theorist or lab-researcher might lack.

As we spoke, I gradually became aware of a trend in his opinions: that the more people focus on pornography, the more they fail to recognize their inter-personal problems. I began to wonder, Can we go so far to say that porn is a replacement issue for our sexual insecurities? Dr. Klein (wisely) refused to make such a claim. However, we did manage to address some of the myths behind porn, the various problems that drive it’s controversy, and the definite danger of painting blanket opinions as empirical fact.

The Grand Experiment: the Porn/Rape Myth

Let’s start with the big issue: does pornography lead to an increased likelihood of rape? Hard to say. Understanding motivation in human behaviour is complicated, at best. When examining the effects of pornography, we can’t isolate from pre-existing conditions, such as a predilection toward violence or a history of emotional trauma. It’s the classic causality/correlation dilemma: how far does suggestion actually equate to action?

One of the most common methodologies is to place college students in a room, profile them, show them pornography, and then reprofile them. Dr. Klein remarked on the artificial nature of the experiment, and I am inclined to agree: any extreme imagery is likely to produce extreme attitudes. Yes, a college-kid is going to express more sexually aggression after exposure to porn. That’s just called being horny. The greater question, which requires far deeper analysis, is whether extreme imagery produces shifts in psychology. Does repeated exposure to pornography lead to sexual violence? How can we know without a long-term study?

Actually, we have just that. A decade ago, the doors to pornography were unhinged by the web, making it free, accessible, and multifarious. If we want evidence of the effects of porn, to where else should we turn but to ourselves? And it turns out, Dr. Klein informed me, that rates of suicide, divorce, and rape have declined since Internet porn became available. My personal research confirmed his assertion: suicide has steadily decreased, divorce has declined (per capita) by 21% from 1994 to 2004, and rape has dropped (per capita) by more than 85% since the 1970s.

What does this tell us? That porn is the reason for these trends? Not necessarily. But if the concern is that porn leads to rape, then it would appear that the data doesn’t match.

Healthy Sexuality: the “Good” Porn Myth

There’s two ways we can look at this: either rape is decreasing, or it’s report is. It is possible that women have accepted force as a natural part of sex because of a wide-spread “rape-myth.” Depictions of sexual violence as commonplace, or even enjoyable for the victims, may have turned force into an accepted practice. In this case, we have to condemn certain sexual practices as psychologically debilitating to society, lest women are trained into submission.

But the question then becomes whether women are actually being abused? How are we able to condemn one act as debasing, and then point to another act as uplifting? Dr. Klein wonders, what exactly is a healthy depiction of a woman enjoying sex? Or, for that matter, when exactly doesn’t sex involve sexual objectification? Should we be making that distinction for other people? What happens when we start labeling certain sex-acts as ‘too extreme’?

Dr. Klein breaks down a healthy sexual relationship to three factors: honesty, consent, and responsibility. Notice that these values address the relationships between people, not the actions they participate in. More importantly, note that these values can never be consistent between one act and another. It’s entirely possible for the same act to mean different things to different people. So when judging pornography, how are we going to judge sex-crime? By the feelings of the pornographers, who have been paid after signing contracts? Or perhaps by the sentiments of the consumers, in case their choice of material isn’t enough of a system of regulation?

For pornography to have reached a consumer’s hands (through legal channels) consent must have occurred at multiple stages. If we consider the pornographers to be economically exploited, then let’s make sure they’re aware of their alternatives, such as working grave-yard shifts at Seven Eleven. If we find them emotionally exploited, then perhaps we should watch-dog everybody’s sexual encounters. And if the consumer is emotionally exploited (as the industry might prey on loneliness) then perhaps we should regulate how often he or she gets out into the dating world. If you remove the capacity for consent from the participants, then you condescend to remove their ability to choose. Pornography is popular, for providers and consumers alike, because it’s what they want. You aren’t going to police that, are you?

But perhaps people aren’t being honest with themselves. Perhaps people are submitting to acts that they dislike because they think it is what they should do, or what they have to do. Frankly, who is to blame here? If sexual participants are dishonest about their desires, then they will be unable to set boundaries for themselves and their partners. People have to assert their will far enough to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Even if they are incapable of protecting themselves in the moment, the decision will exist which can then hold repercussions. Honesty won’t fix the problem; it will merely illuminate the fact that there is one. If we can’t be certain of a problem, then how do we go about fixing it?

And therein follows responsibility. When we notice violations of trust, it is our duty to bring justice to the situation. This is not as simple as banning a channel for potential abuse, such as pornography, or certain sex acts, or sex in its entirety. It requires a case-by-case analysis of neglect. We will only foster healthy sex-lives when we stop actual abuse, not what we perceive as potential abuse.

Inherent Errants: the Real Problems of Porn

If we can establish that porn doesn’t lead to rape, or perhaps even leads to healthier attitudes to sex, then might we go so far to say that porn is a good thing? After all, if we enjoy it, what more can we ask?

But Dr. Klein points out that our goal is a healthy sex-life, not a healthy alternative to it. Given the option to play a game of touch-football or to watch a college-game from the comfort of your couch, which do you think is the healthier choice? Porn may not be damaging to us (maybe) but it isn’t doing wonders for us either. If we begin to accept stadium seats, then we risk spending our lives paying other people to have our fun for us. Is that the way we want to live?

Again, we can’t put a broad-tipped brush to the issue. If porn is used as a substitute to relationships, or, furthermore, as a tool of neglect or unkindness toward others, then a deep problem exists — but not with the porn. This is where a great deal of domestic controversy can originate. Porn is not responsible for our actions; we are. An example Dr. Klein gave was particularly illuminative. “If a woman comes to me and says that her husband spends time with porn instead of her, my response is, ‘would it be okay if he spent the time playing golf?’ Her answer is, of course, no. The problem isn’t that her husband is watching porn. The problem is that he’s being a jerk.”

Covers Over the Head

If we lay the responsibility of porn’s misuses on the back of the porn industry, then we take the responsibility of the consumers away from them. Sexual inequality and violence are tangible, persistent problems that we must work to correct. The solution, however, can not be found in policing each others’ sexualities. This is the domain where opinion invades practice. Our desires are far too complex and personal to be treated in absolute definitions. Doing so only results in guilt, and suppression, and other psychological sicknesses that are far more likely to breed abuses we currently fight. Do we really want to risk poisoning our own sex lives out of fear, especially when it does not actually secure our safety?

I’m not suggesting that we throw our hands in the air and accept the damages for what they are. I merely believe that we must hold responsibility to people, not to sex, and certainly not to pornography. If we continue archaic and ill-informed judgements about various sex-acts based on our own presumptions, then we will continue to shame healthy desires, and if people are told that their natural proclivities are wrong, then how can we expect them to know what’s right?

My deepest gratitude to Dr. Klein for spending time out of his busy schedule to discuss the topic with me. I’ve done my best to exemplify his views as I best understood them, but please note that this blog reflects my opinions of his words, and is not direct quotation. You can read more of Dr. Klein’s actual words at Sexual Intelligence.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Pet me!

The last few days have been frustrating.  I want love and affection.  The ginger-haired dog wants love and affection.  And guess who wins the love and affection from my boyfriend…….the dog!

I’ve observed them closely the last few days.  We usually all sit down on the sofa like a family.  Jim, reclined on the sofa with myself at one end and the dog close by.  Even with me physically closer to his actual body, he still strains to reach and pet the dog.  On most occassions he even goes out of his way to avoid touching any part of me. 

He’s always touches her at night since her bed is on the floor below his side of the bed.  He hardly ever touches me.  Not a night passes where he gives her a loving stroke on the belly before he goes to sleep.  At night he never holds me or tries to get close.  He’s always turned away and hugging his pillow. 

What am I supposed to do?  I’m angry, frustrated and in need to some sort of release. 

About a year ago, I got angry and told him, “You touch the dog more than you touch me!”  And he seemed to respond to that remark.  But 1 year later, it’s back to the same routine of me watching the couple cuddle and touch. 

I’m hungry for attention.  Wanting of physical touch, not in the sexual tense but just everyday guestures that would eminate from a man who loves his woman.  I once was tempted to keep a running tally of instances of petting but I deceided against it because already I knew the dog would out number me 4-fold!  I’m already depressed, I don’t need actual data to prove it. 

I’ve tried everything to catch his attention: sleeping nude, sexy underware, semi-nude household chores, even porn…..yet still I’m left untouched.

I’m really unsure what else I can do…..

The dog just sits at his feet, wags her tail, barks longingly and Jim runs to her.  There were several instances when I wait for him, try to make conservation and I get no response. 

The last few days have left me lost, bitter and in need of companionship.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gate keepers of academia

In Canada, the Bachelor of Education degree is one of the easiest to get. In my 4th year, I came into my Language and Culture class (?) a few minutes late and found all my fellow students sitting on the floor while the professor read out of a picture book. Virtually all the projects were group work, or had the option to be group work and in some of my classes, we were asked to submit our desired mark for our final projects.

And then today I read this:

EDMONTON — A Spruce Grove junior high school teacher has admitted having sexual encounters with a 14-year-old student who was smitten with him, including having sex in a classroom.

The disgraced teacher has also confessed to making child pornography by giving the girl his video camera and asking her to make a video of herself naked in the shower. (#)

Probably one has nothing to do with the other…

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday 28th July 2009


I’m away in Ibiza at the moment – which probably comes as no surprise as it’s like my second home in the summer – and my good friend Dale is with me. The shaven-headed lothario grabbed a last minute flight because he couldn’t stand seeing my shameless Facebook status updates talking about the White Isle and we flew out on Sunday night.
As ever, we got right royally stuck into the booze as soon as we arrived and did the usual dash around the bars and clubs to see the familiar faces before ending up at Judgement Sunday at Eden. We managed to get VIP courtesy of my good friend Alex, the resident DJ and such an incredibly awesome person, and we headed for the back room where Telford legend Micky Slim was ripping the place apart.
We were chatting to his brother and his mates and we went into the DJ box for a photo. I’d only met Micky once before (here in Ibiza funnily enough) but he said “Hello Geoff” while I was expecting he wouldn’t know who the fuck I was – why would he know? At best, I might have expected him to shout: Wanker!
Judge Jules then came and followed Micky in the back room and this lady took photos of us with him in between mixing. We had a bit of a drunken random chat, as you do in Ibiza, and fortunately I wasn’t trying to chat her up as she subsequently revealed she was Mrs Judge Jules! I didn’t recognise her because she’s changed a bit from when she was making records with Angelic back a decade or so ago.
I also bumped into the midget from my last trip but didn’t tell him I made a poor taste joke at his expense on the previous blog.
There’ll be more Ibiza-related nonsense in the blog next week I imagine as I haven’t got the time nor the inclination now. Photos from this trip will be in the gallery at at some point – you can also head there to see the latest ones from Pussycats.
My car is being fixed while I’m away so I’ve had to hire a car to get me to and from Telford. The cheap option was a Ford Ka – a motor designed for women or blokes under five foot – not for a guy my shape and size. It was a nightmare journey over with the traffic as it was and being sat in a cramped little vehicle does nothing to keep you calm in mile after mile of slow-moving cars.
I probably look like Mr Bean in that damn motor.
I’ve not been stopped by a police car for a long time – probably due to the fine nature of my driving – but I got pulled over as I was driving home to the crib from Pussycats last Friday. I noticed I was being followed as I headed up from Ketley Brook roundabout and they eventually whacked on the flashing lights.
Being the law-abiding citizen I am, I found a safe place to pull in and got out of the car and the officer and I shared the following dialogue.
Nice copper: “Is this your car, sir?”
Now obviously I wasn’t driving my own car, being sat in this poxy hire car, so I replied: “No, this is a rented car.”
Nice copper: “Have you any idea why we pulled you over?”
All kind of sarcastic answers flashed through my mind. “Was it because you wanted to applaud me on my fine driving and that I was putting the rest of the motoring community in Telford, including your good selves, to utter shame?”
Some people reckon they give it the large one with policemen when they get stopped. I don’t see the point. It’s only likely to antagonise them and politeness gets you much further in life. I know that may sound a bit rich given some of my trademark rude foul-mouthed behaviour but when it comes to the long arm of the law, it’s always best to act dumb. Or if you’re going to say something cheeky, make it amusing. So back to the story…
Nice copper: “Have you any idea why we pulled you over?”
Me: “No I haven’t, sir.”
At this point I took a risk and added: “Is it because you can’t believe a man of my size is driving a car so small?”
Fortunately he smiled at that and continued: “You were driving excessively above the speed limit. You were doing 50 in a 40. Have you been drinking?” I said: “No” which was true as I don’t drink at work and he took me at my word and sent me on my way, reminding me to take it steady.
I could’ve debated the point about doing 50 in a 40 on a single carriageway at 4am with nothing else on the road and said: “It’s hardly excessive” but when you’re trying to avoid getting a ticket, it’s a good idea to agree and look forlorn.
There’s an old joke about a man driving and seeing the blue flashing lights in his rear view mirror. He puts his foot down and a chase ensues. The coppers eventually pull him over and ask him why he didn’t stop.
The driver replies: “Well my wife ran off with a policeman and I was worried you were bringing her back!”
That, my friend, is the size of it for this week – just a short one by my own usual waffling standards – as there is alcohol to drink, sun to worship, Dale’s farts to avoid and parties to attend. It’s Ibiza 2009 part four and we’re having fun. Back in time for the weekend, of course.
Cheers for now,
Geoff / DJ Wanker

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Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Patrick Swayze Week!'re welcome.

No he didn’t die yet you horrible awful shit sniffing vulture.

This isn’t a deathwatch.

I’m taking a week out of my otherwise busy schedule to honor the man while he’s alive because I’m a saint but hey, if he happens to die during Patrick Swayze week my stats will shoot through the roof.

Just sayin’.

On to Patrick Swayze!

Patrick Swayze got his big screen start in 1979’s Skatetown USA.

The Rock and Roller Disco Movie of the Year!  

Check out this killer cast:

Swayze, Scot Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormick, Ron Palillo, Ruth Buzzi, Murray Langston!, Mellissa Sue Anderson (full pint/blindy), Judy Landers, the doomed Dorothy Stratten, and last and best of all…Billy Barty!

Why would anyone ever do a movie without a midget in it?

A Swayze demand?  Bet on it!

Ummmm, I gotta be honest.  I’ve never seen this movie and its out of print (OOP).

I imagine that perhaps Scot Baio plays a good guy who roller skates and likes Maureen McCormick and needs to raise money for his sick nana, and maybe Swayze is a bully who also skates and likes Maureen McCormick and in the …..

You know what? FUCK IT!!!

It’s got Patrick Swayze and a midget!   Sign me up.

Not to mention the fucking soundtrack rocks and Marcia Brady wears pink silky shorts! 

Someone find me this DVD.  There will be a reward! *





Sunday, July 26, 2009

Event: Feminism in London Conference, 10/10/09

Date: Saturday 10th October
Time: 9.30am – 5pm
Location: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London
Cost: £4.50 waged, £2.50 unwaged (£1 discount if you register in advance)

Registration has now opened for the 2009 Feminism in London Conference.

Speakers include
Susie Orbach, Beatrix Campbell, Gunilla S. Ekberg, Marai Larasi, Claudia da Silva, Sabrina Qureshi, Denise Marshall, Rebecca Mott, Kate Smurthwaite, Finn Mackay, Southall Black Sisters, and more.

Workshops include
Activism training,
What’s wrong with prostitution?,
It’s easy out here for a pimp: How the mainstreaming of pornography is harming our children, Raising children in the age of porn,
What are the issues for pro-feminist men?,
Racism and sexism,
Poverty and motherhood: How society undervalues women’s work,
Feminist self defence,
Media training with camera, and more.

This is a child-friendly event, with a creche organised by the London Pro-Feminist Men’s Group.

“Feminism in London 08 was a huge success – so many people came which was great. Fantastic selection of workshops and speakers. Excellently organised. A day to be proud of.“

Find out more and register at:
Email: .uk

Saturday, July 25, 2009

IGP now wants to "suspend licenses" of porn websites in Sri Lanka

An order by the Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka, the same chowderhead who once said women could record themselves getting raped through mobile phones, now wants to the Director General of Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to suspend the licenses of 12 websites which were exhibiting nude photographs.

Firstly, none of the websites the IGP has got all hot and bothered about are registered in Sri Lanka, but a simple whois search would be as alien to the Police in Sri Lanka as peacebuilding is to the incumbent government.

Secondly, why this sudden love for the rule of law? Websites in Sri Lanka are arbitrarily banned and blocked without warning or any due process, despite flat denials by government when asked about their censorship regime in place for web media. Tamilnet remains blocked on all ISPs in Sri Lanka. Recently, another website was blocked in Sri Lanka for showing images of the President’s son, which was very conveniently on the same day the site reported the egregious public statement of a highly placed goon in government and close friend of the President. Subsequent reports circulated over email that these photos were doctored and the report on the President’s son was false is reason to hold the journalists accountable for libel or conduct investigations into their false reporting, not shutdown an entire site.

The Island notes the CID started the investigation into the pornographic sites following a written complaint lodged by the IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne. While it’s heartening the IGP is concerned about our morals, I would much rather judge for myself the content I view on the web. There’s a real danger here of setting a precedent of blocking and banning website for website defined and seen as unsuitable by the incumbent regime’s set of puritan values, as noted by Foreign Policy with examples from China and Bahrain. In August 2008, there were news reports of an even wider, more intrusive net filtering regime proposed by the President. A the time, it was reported that the TRC had gone to the extent of demanding ISPs to ”filter the websites featuring Obscene/phonographic (sic) /sexually explicit materials”.

As Lirneasia notes tongue in the cheek,

Criminal Investigation Department, working on a complaint by the IGP revealed these sites contain pornographic images and video clips of men and women, possibly Sri Lankan. They also suspected an international conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country, reported, Divaina. One may term the act anti-protectionist, because while the local production is blocked the vast majority of international porn sites still remain open.

Post-war Sri Lanka needs to worry more, at the very least, about the abysmal freedom of expression in the country than strengthening, widening and worsening existing informal and formal censorship of media. Honestly, shouldn’t the Police be far more concerned about the dozens of dormant investigations into acts of murderous violence against journalists since this President took office?

But if the IGP really is serious about eradicating pornography on the web like dengue, he should ban Google too. A simple search brings up over 800,000 pages and a couple of hundred sites in addition to those above that if the Divaina is to be believed, is are all part of an international conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country.