Oprah Still Promoting Sexual Anxiety

For almost twenty years, Oprah Winfrey has been promoting sexual anxiety, showcasing victimhood, exploitation, and a dark vision of sexual relationships. Sometimes she does it herself, and sometimes she hires others to do it.

Oprah's latest surrogate is "Dr. Phil" McGraw, a forensic psychologist who helped her out when she was sued by Texas beef growers three years ago for criticizing beef on the air. McGraw's now on the show every Tuesday, and has a column in her monthly magazine. His latest pronouncement is that men who look at internet porn are "addicts" who are "cheating on their partners." ALL men, regardless of circumstance? Absolutely: "This behavior is not OK, it's not even almost OK," he says. "This habit is a perverse and ridiculous intrusion into your relationship."

But don't 20 million Americans look at internet porn each month? Surely they can't all be perverts. "Addicts give lame justifications for their behavior like 'It's harmless', or 'Everybody's doing it'," says McGraw. And in a final swipe at the humanity of men, he says, "Guys just don't understand the pain, hurt and devastation they can cause with their unfaithfulness."

So Dr. Phil, with Oprah's blessing, pathologizes millions of men for looking at porn. And supports millions of women in attacking, rather than understanding, their mates.

I suppose we should expect this from the doc selected as Oprah's top guru. He perfectly reflects the messages on which Oprah has built an empire: male sexuality is a problem; female sensitivity leaves women vulnerable to male manipulation. Oprah's the one, after all, who said on a show a few years ago, "We all know that, sooner or later, all men cheat if they have the chance." Hmm, does Oprah have issues with men or sexuality?

Her recent interview with Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, author of "What your mother never told you about sex," offers more clues. On an episode broadcast last week, the middle-aged African-American psychologist was straightforward about female sexuality: use a vibrator. Love your clitoris. Talk to your mate about what you want. And to counteract media pressures about youth and beauty, walk around the house naked when alone. Yup, let those breasts breathe free, and get some air between those legs. Hardly radical stuff, and yet La Winfrey could hardly bear it: "Walk around naked? not me!" she said, obviously embarrassed about her body. And using a sex toy or a vaginal muscle exerciser was clearly out: "Hell, I ain't puttin' that thing inside me," she said, wide-eyed.

Perhaps most revealing, Oprah had terrible trouble saying the words "vagina" and "clitoris." The problem wasn't network censors, who didn't try to silence Hutcherson.

Oprah is America's most influential sex educator. With her sexual conservatism hiding as embarrassment, and her victimology disguised as compassion, Oprah is betraying the eroticism of the women she claims to empower. Too bad she's leaving part of each woman behind. And too bad so many women don't seem to notice.

You may quote anything herein, with the following attribution:
"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, ©Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org)."

Dave notes: Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Counselor and Sex Therapist for over 20 years. He also lectures extensively to other counselors and social worker audiences around the country. He is especially brave with his many good sexuality writings since I understand the position of most family counselors and within their professional organization is the same sex negative view of Dr Phil.

I note from his speaking schedule he often presents for example to the Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy/Counseling for Ontario as an example of many professional groups he speaks to. It is wonderful to have such a professional with such a positive sexual attitude.