Republicans are back in power (well, partly) and so of course it's time for all the conservative religious and religious conservative groups to begin beating the drum for more obscenity prosecutions—never mind that the government's last attempt to do so met with less-than-sterling results.
Even as rumors have been flying around First Amendment legal circles for weeks that Attorney General Eric Holder has abolished the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force—it was one of four main topics discussed at the recent legal seminar at the XbizLA conference—and even as the two Task Force attorneys assigned to prosecute John Stagliano—Pamela Stever Satterfield and Bonnie Hannum—appear to have left the unit, former DOJ prosecutor Patrick Trueman, recently tapped to become CEO of Morality In Media, orchestrated letters to be sent to both Holder and several well-known anti-porn senators calling for stepped-up scrutiny of sexual commerce.
The "bipartisan" letters, one from Reps. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), a well-known anti-porn activist, and "Blue Dog" Mike McIntyre (D-NC)—he voted against TARP, healthcare reform; was the only Democrat to vote against repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell"; and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act—and the other from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who unfailingly questions and browbeats judicial nominees regarding their views on porn, push the lie that "research continues to show that hardcore adult pornography is increasingly harmful, addictive ... and linked to other crimes such as domestic violence and sex trafficking."
Hatch's letter urges his fellow senators (and possibly House members as well) to sign onto a letter, likely written by Trueman, urging the Justice Department to "vigorously... enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography," reminding Holder that in 1998, as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he authored a memo to all of the U.S. attorneys around the country urging them to give prosecutorial priority to "large-scale [adult video] distributors who realize substantial income from multistate operations and cases in which there is evidence of organized crime involvement."
Rihanna's latest video for her song "S&M" hasn't even been out for a week, and it's already stirring up a controversy. Due to the sexual nature of the video and its subject, "S&M" has been banned in 11 countries, restricted on YouTube (it's only available if you log-in with an account that proves you're over 18), and pulled from play on some radio-stations until after 7pm. Some radio stations have even changed the name from "S&M" to "Come On."
But seriously, come on! While some critics and fans are outraged by her sexual lyrics and fetish-filled video, I can't help but wonder where the boundaries of entertainment actually stand.
Women are seen as sexual beings, but when they express that sexuality in any way that would make someone uncomfortable, it's not okay. Even recently, the indie film Blue Valentine with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling came under fire for the scene where Ryan's character performs oral sex on Michelle. We live in a world where it's OK to fellate a man in a movie, but it's not accepted for a woman to receive cunnilingus. Although the NC-17 rating was eventually dropped (thanks to Ryan Gosling fighting for it in the press), it shows that double standards still exist in movies and in music. This isn't 1950!
Rihanna's "S&M" video plays with two concepts: Rihanna's public/private life being slung through the mud (thanks to the press) and Rihanna exploring her playful, sexual side that is turned on by sadomasochism (also known as S&M). Scenes include members of the press with ball-gags in their mouth, Rihanna walking celebrity blogger Perez Hilton on a leash, Rihanna wearing latex while holding a riding crop, and a Japanese bondage scene where Rihanna is tied up. It's a fluffy world of pop art - sexually inspired. The video is colorful and jam-packed with jaw-dropping entertainment.
On the other end of the boundary spectrum is the idea of exploration and expanding your boundaries. If you have known what you enjoy for a while and are ready to try new things, there are many different activities to try to expand your sexual boundaries. Ingram and Grosser suggested the idea of BDSM (Bondage Discipline Dominant Submission Sadomasochism), an umbrella term for a lot of different techniques and activities. Perhaps you would not self-identify or be afraid of BDSM, but, in fact, many people actually perform it or fantasize about it. For instance, using handcuffs or spanking your partner are both forms of BDSM. Intrigued yet? All types of people have been known to enjoy BDSM, whether they’re gay, straight, queer, young or middle-aged women. For people who have too many responsibilities in their lives and want somebody else to take the reins, or for people who feel like they have lost control of everything around them and want to regain a dominant position, BDSM with a consenting partner could be for you.
Project PARTY, a controversial group sex study funded by Massachusetts taxpayers, was abruptly halted on December 31, 2010, after two years of state funding. Project PARTY was shut down after House Minority Leader Bradley Jones [R-North Reading] called for its immediate halt following his learning about the Department of Public Health orgy study.
Governor Deval Patrick has not commented on Project PARTY, although the administration official responsible for approval and funding of the group sex research, Kevin Cranston, has been vocal in support of Project PARTY.
Kevin Cranston heads the Infectious Diseases office of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and has been active in collaboration as a co-author with a Department vendor, Fenway Institute in Boston. When sex behavior researchers at Fenway approached Cranston about their interest in group sex parties--with more writing credits for Cranston--a focus group was convened.
A leaked copy of the November 6, 2008 Project PARTY focus group minutes shows how the group sex study was hatched. A dozen people gathered, all MDPH employees or staff of MDPH vendors, for a candid discussion of who knew what about Massachusetts gay sex parties.
Bill Holder was looking through a kitchen drawer searching for his barbecue tools. He was about to cook dinner for his wife, Melissa, and their boyfriend, Jeremy, following an afternoon at the park.
Holder and his wife, Melissa, have been married 14 years and have two teens and a six-year old child. They live a polyamorous lifestyle, not to be confused with polygamy, which means marrying more than one person, or even swinging, because, they explain, polyamory is about love.
An HIV positive US Air Force sergeant who engaged in spouse-swapping swingers parties was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in military prison for failing to tell those partners about his condition.
Sergeant David Gutierrez, 43, also will be dishonourably discharged after serving his prison term, which strips him of benefits he'll need to pay for medication when released.
Gutierrez, found guilty of a slew of charges earlier on Wednesday, begged the presiding judge at the court-martial, Lieutenant Colonel William Muldoon, for mercy, saying he would rather spend additional time behind bars than lose his medical benefits.
Sobbing into a tissue, Gutierrez apologised to his family, his victims and the Air Force.
"I hope they understand I never intended to hurt them," Gutierrez said of his victims, addressing the court before being sentenced. "I thank God every day that no one has contracted HIV" because of contact with him.
"All one has to do is Google my name and my life is before them," he said. "That, I know, is my fault."
He was convicted of seven counts each of aggravated assault and adultery, and one count each of committing an indecent act and disobeying a superior officer's order. Gutierrez could have been sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.
Military prosecutors asked that he receive no less than 18 years and lose his medical benefits, which Gutierrez said would mean a death sentence for him.
Gutierrez "repeatedly played Russian Roulette with the lives of the people of this community", prosecutor Captain Sam Kidd said.