A Justice Department decision to fold a controversial DOJ anti-pornography task force has reignighted the battle over exactly what type of material and prosecutions the department should focus its attention on.
On one side are the senators and anti-pornography activists who say the DOJ needs to target pornography that features adults.
On the other side are DOJ officials who contend that they should focus their limited resources on the most egregious type of material - pornography involving children. ...
A San Francisco man who paid $621,000 for a condo to share with his 10-year old son is fighting to rescind the deal after learning the other unit in the two-unit building is home to a sadomasochism enthusiast who engages in loud “leather sex.”
Jack Hagerty closed April 25th on the 2-bedroom unit at 32-34 Natick St. in San Francisco’s quiet Glen Park village. Hagerty said he put down more than $300,000 — all his savings — in order to create a home for his son. Recently divorced, Hagerty has 50 percent custody of the boy.
Hagerty said that after closing on the unit he received a surprising email from Edward Gibbons, the owner of the other unit. In the email, which Hagerty made available to the Business Times, Gibbons explained that he is “a sexual enthusiast and enjoys leather sex.”
“If you don’t know what that means I have a brochure I can lend you so that you can learn about it,” the email stated. “I am currently not working so I don’t need to keep a regular schedule as a result week nights can be late for me. At times, it is possible and even likely that the sounds of leather sex will be coming from my bedrooms to your bedrooms without an effective sound barrier. While it is not my issue, you may find you need to explain things to your son as it could be confusing to him since it frequently doesn’t sound as pleasurable as it is.”
Hagerty said he has no problem with sadomasochism but he does not want to subject his 10-year-old to the screams of ecstasy and agony likely to emanate from the neighboring condo. He said the potential noise issues should have been disclosed during the sales process.
“I should make it clear I have no beef with Mr. Gibbons at all — Mr, Gibbons is welcome to his lifestyle,” said Hagerty. “We met in person and my son and I both said ‘what a nice guy.’” ...
...Having BDSM “depathologized” is one of the many projects on which the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is working. According to its website (www.ncsfreedom.org), “NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions. The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.” Susan Wright, the coalition’s spokesperson, explained that even the change to paraphilia doesn’t provide protection.
“Right now, paraphilias (unusual sexual interests) are often diagnosable as mental illness. One of the criteria is: is the behavior ‘obligatory’?” Wright said. “Many people who do BDSM believe it is their sexual orientation and can no more stop doing BDSM in their sex than homosexuals can stop having sex with same-sex partners.”
She noted that the group is seeing progress, fostered in part by a petition drive and survey of more than 3,000 BDSM practitioners to prove to the American Psychological Assciation that the DSM is being used against Americans in ways the association never intended.
“The proposed changes in the DSM from the paraphilias subworkgroup now differentiate between sexual behaviors and mental illness so that paraphilias – sexual sadism, sexual masochism, cross-dressing and fetishes – are considered sexual behaviors and not mental illness,” Wright said. “The final result won’t be announced until 2013, but NCSF is very hopeful that the APA has now seen the light. We are already using the proposed changes successfully in family and criminal court to help BDSM practitioners.”
Wright said that the group is seeing a change simply in the way the current U.S. presidential administration approaches the subject and prosecutions. Conservatives seem more focused on issues of socialism instead of alt sex.
“The Obama administration is also instructing the Justice Department to not pursue obscenity charges the way the Bush administration did,” Wright said. “That means that businesses that deal in sexual images and text have some breathing room, just as they did under the Clinton administration. That allows the alt sex community to grow stronger when businesses can grow.”
One business sector who feel particularly persecuted are pro-Dommes. As Wright noted, for pro-Dommes in the United States, the danger comes more from local enforcement agencies than federal ones, where, depending on the opinion of local officials, domination for pay could be treated as prostitution. ...
To the list of social issues such as abortion once thought to be off the 2011 political agenda and now making a comeback, add a hot-button one from the days of Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese — pornography.
The catalyst for a renewed fight over pornography is a recent, little-noticed move by Attorney General Eric Holder to shutter the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, a special Justice Department unit set up during the Bush administration under pressure from conservatives upset about the proliferation of obscene material on the Internet.
Critics say the decision reflects a lack of interest in prosecuting such cases. The dissolution of the task force has touched off an angry reaction in Congress as well as from conservative activists pressing for a crackdown on hard-core adult pornography, and threatens to embroil Holder and the Obama administration in another culture-war confrontation.
Department officials say the administration is not giving up on prosecuting obscenity but that such violations are better handled by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. Even some who support such prosecutions concede that they are increasingly difficult to pursue at a time when pornography is a multibillion dollar industry whose products are readily available to anyone with a computer — and when the lines between pop culture and X-rated entertainment are seriously blurred.
“Attorney General Holder told the Judiciary Committee last year that this task force was the centerpiece of the strategy to combat adult obscenity,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told POLITICO in a statement Friday. “Rather than initiate a single new case since President Obama took office, however, the only development in this area has been the dismantling of the task force. As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight.” ...
The man pulled up in a blue Taurus station wagon and said his name was John. He told the 24-year-old working Aurora Avenue North that he wanted to take her to his Tacoma home, tie her to the bedposts and use a sex toy, police say
Investigators say the woman agreed, as long as the man didn't tie her too tightly.
But as she drove with him, something seemed off.
The young woman said she wanted to stop for cigarettes, and when the man let her out at the 76 station a few blocks away, she texted his license plate to her boyfriend, according to court documents.
Call the cops if you don't hear from me by midnight, her message said.
Hours later at what prosecutors describe as the man's torture room – one with walls roughly 8-inches thick to allegedly muffle screams – she asked if he was going to kill her.
We all know that pornography is offensive and destructive, so we can guess that wherever X-rated fare gains popularity, social decay will follow. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn which state has the highest rate of online subscriptions to adult websites. Not New York or California, but Utah. Yes, Utah.
Some members of Congress are up in arms at the news that the Justice Department has dismantled a Bush-era Obscenity Prosecution Task Force to go after hard-core material on the Internet. No fewer than 42 senators, most of them Republicans, have written Attorney General Eric Holder to urge tougher enforcement of obscenity laws.
Their argument is that pornography causes sexual violence, molestation of children, sex trafficking and other maladies. "This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse," wrote the group, led by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of — you guessed it — Utah. You will wait in vain to hear of other senators joining together to say this is all nonsense, though that happens to be the case.
The past two decades have been to electronic erotica what Thanksgiving is to gluttony. Never in history have more people had easier access to sexually explicit material in such vast abundance and such low cost. More than one out of every three Americans with Internet access regularly visit porn sites.
By the logic of the puritans, we should be coping with an avalanche of collateral damage. But we're not.
Sexual violence? Rape has dropped by 86 percent in the United States since 1991. Harm to families? Divorce rates are down 25 percent during the same period. ...
Approximately 10,000 pieces of leather, fetish and S&M history will be visiting Chicago next week courtesy of the Carter-Johnson Leather Library. Organized by Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, LRA and Trident International Windy City ( TIWC ) , the library will let people view books, magazines, photos, art, posters and more dating from the 1700s until the present.
"It's a phenomenal resource," said Larry Glantz, vice-president of LRA and TIWC member. "It gives people a chance to see what was around before the Internet."
RACK, the University of Chicago's BDSM club, came up with the idea to host the library. Glantz said there is a "pretty significant student interest" in the BDSM community, adding that LRA recently changed its age requirement from 21 to 19 to accommodate younger members.
The younger generation is "wanting to connect to the history" of the BDSM community according to Glantz, and he said the library visit is a perfect chance for them to do so.
All of the leather clubs in Chicago have been invited to the event's opening gala, and Glantz would "like to see some younger people get a chance to connect to people who've been involved in the leather community for a long time." ...