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Censorship and the Fear of Sexuality

By Dr. Marty Klein Expert
 
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Censorship is frequently discussed as a civil liberties issue. As the title of this talk suggests, I want to discuss it in another way, on a more psycho-social level.

Most Americans do not want to discuss sexual issues rationally. Their sexuality poisoned by the culture, they just want their emotional pain taken away. To people afraid of sexuality, censorship looks attractive. It appears to be a solution to the pain. This pain, this fear of sexuality, leads people to support censorship.

Talk of censorship typically leads to thoughts of "pornography." But that's only one aspect of sexual censorship. Other targets include sex education, contraceptive advertising, fiction, sex surveys, the Internet, and public nudity. The Color Purple, Our Bodies Ourselves, and Ms. Magazine, for example, have all been banned from various high school libraries in supposedly liberal California. I think it's important to talk about the availability and restriction of all these aspects of sexuality, not just of pornography. This will help us understand censorship on a deeper level.

I think of "censorship" as a strategy people use to eliminate certain kinds of sexuality-related displays or opportunities from their lives. The forms of sexuality typically censored include one or more of the following:

1) Sex not bounded by love. In our culture, love is supposed to make sex sane and wholesome and controlled. That's "good" sex. In contrast, "bad" sex gives people "too many" choices--inappropriate partners, hedonistic activities, etc.

2) Sex strictly for pleasure. American culture mistrusts pleasure as a motivation for sex; in fact, many people consider it to be dangerous.

3) Sex that isn't bounded by arbitrary social rules. The values of honesty, responsibility, and consent are the foundation of democratic, civilized society, and are deemed sufficient criteria for most activities. Many people, however, feel that sex requires additional rules.

4) Sex that honors losing control (within a secure environment).

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's true that many people just lump in many positive influences in sex when they hear anything to do with the adult industry. I was speaking with a representative at HolisticWisdom.com (a very positive, upscale sex education and nontoxic, green sex toy company for women and couples) and she was telling me that often times they deal with things people would think ridiculous. Like the time that PayPal refused to stop taking their business for a couple years (they took them back along with other adult sites very quietly after they changed their policies). Then in another instance, Kinkos would not print some of their literature for an article on female ejaculation. They also said that in many cases, they cannot even advertsie because they are banned as an adult site. They are lumped right in with porn when they sell sex positive things that have nothing to do with porn and in fact focus on sexual health. It is time for us as a society to learn that there are many shades of gray when it comes to sexuality and black and white thinking only ends up hurting us. After all, while we may seemingly be more exposed to sexuality, currently our society seems overly focused on superficial sexuality and it is about time we start trying to give the sex positive companies and a chance.

October 12, 2009 - 8:05am
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