The Big Lie: Hotel Rooms "Lure" Hapless Men (into Porn)

A dozen "we know what you shouldn't be allowed to do" groups recently spent over $100,000 for a full-page ad in USA Today--urging the FBI to investigate whether the pay-per-view adult films offered in hotel rooms are "obscene" and illegal.

This isn't completely new: in 2000 we reported that Omni Hotels no longer wanted to profit from adult movies, although they continue to enjoy the profits from violent movies. In 2002 we reported Phil Burress' success in getting 15 Ohio and Kentucky hotels to drop in-room porn. His group CCV then petitioned John Ashcroft to eliminate adult films in hotels nationwide. A year later, Donald Wildmon's American Family Association went after Brigham Young University, insisting they refuse future million-dollar donations from the Marriott family because most of their hotels give adult guests the option of paying to see adult films.

Last week's newspaper ad is full of lies, innuendo, and threats to democracy--sort of a print version of Fox News. When Hilton and Marriott refused to be embarrassed by the ad, Burress, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, and others continued on the offensive.

Their lies include:

* "Men are lured into viewing in the privacy of their hotel rooms, which has been responsible for sexual crimes and for the breakdown of countless marriages, families and careers."
* "Adult hardcore pornography can tragically lead to sex crimes against women and children."
* "The Department of Justice's own statistics make the connection between sexual offenders and exposure to hardcore pornography."
* "We're going to have sexual abuse cases coming out of the hotels. Hotels are [becoming] just as dangerous as environments around strip joints and porn stores."

If such scurrilous, unproven, inflammatory rant was directed toward an individual, corporation, or ethnic group, outrage and legal action would follow. You know that Burress and his gang are making the stuff up--if neighborhoods with in-room porn or strip clubs were really dangerous, they'd have data from police departments and hospitals, cramming it in our faces daily. They don't, which shows the danger doesn't exist.

Burress, Tony Perkins, and other "decency" warriors know they can't simply complain that porn is disgusting--because that isn't against the law. So they continually repeat their Big Lie: porn ruins every life it touches. This public health claim justifies their demand to make it illegal--restricted far more than tobacco, alcohol, and guns. All three have been proven harmful, yet they are still available to all non-felon adults. So even if porn were proven dangerous--which it hasn't been--the public health model doesn't make sense.

Hotels "are places that you take your family -- these are respectable institutions," objects Tony Perkins. But "families" don't rent porn films, right? He might as well say "families use the highways, and porn films and magazines are trucked on highways, so we have to eliminate porn from the highways." Is there any limit to how far they will expand this "family" shield?

Pay-per-view adult films generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year for hotels. That's not the appetite of 12 perverts, it's 50 million requests. You decide how many millions of people that is.

The Religious Right's inability to ignore porn watched in private by others looks exactly like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), borderline personality, or some other emotional problem that needs clinical attention. They're like paranoids who insist they hear things a mile away. When people want a baby and see babies everywhere and it drives them crazy, we say those people need to deal with it--instead of agreeing that everyone else should stop having babies.

It's time for grownups to stand up and claim the right to do things others find disgusting, and even to do things that ruin their "marriages, families, and careers"--if that's what they choose. Why should Congressmembers and Hollywood stars have such choices, but not the rest of us?

Taken from Sexual Intelligence, Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexualIntelligence.org).