Tag Archives: Law

Iceland May Ban Porn

The Icelandic government is trying to pass a law that will ban online pornography in the country. They are trying to specifically target porn that is “violent” and “hateful.” This isn’t a particularly surprising move from the country that has already outlawed strip clubs and is ranked number 1 in the Global Gender Gap report, meaning that they have the highest rate of gender equality of any nation in the world. They also have the first openly lesbian head of state in the world, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. But banning internet pornography is creating a heated debate about censorship and the slippery slope that banning porn could lead to, not to mention the fact that, logistically, it may be an impossible achievement.

“Web filters, blocked addresses and making it a crime to use Icelandic credit cards to access pay-per-view pornography, are among the plans being devised by internet and legal experts,” writes The Guardian. The only reason why this is even a conversation being had is that Iceland has a population of only 322,000 people. In a country with a bigger population it would be logistically impossible and Iceland may be the same. The debate about censorship that this has sparked has made the likelihood of this actually happening quite low but it also raises an interesting debate about pornography.

In Iceland, the average boy is 11 when he is first exposed to internet porn and the kind of porn he’s seeing isn’t your airbrushed Playboy centerfold either. The kinds of porn available to people of all ages these days is more graphic, sometimes more violent and as men become desensitized to hard core porn they may ‘graduate’ to more and more extreme types of porn to fulfill their erotic tastes. There have been studies on both sides of the debate about wether porn is negatively affecting society but those studies are getting harder and harder to conduct as it becomes nearly impossible to find large enough groups of men who haven’t watched porn.

I don’t believe in censorship but I’m glad that Iceland has opened up the debate around pornography, violence, and what we should deem to be acceptable. I hope that, if nothing else, this news from Iceland will get us to think more critically about what we’re watching, how it portrays violence against women, and wether or not it is helping, hurting, or remaining neutral in terms of gender equality.

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HIV Disclosure Laws, Not Necessarily A Good Thing?

I was reading Dr. Justin Lehmiller’s most recent blog post oh The Psychology of Human Sexuality entitled “Are Laws Criminalizing HIV Transmission Making Us Safer?” The laws that he’s referring to are the ones that make it a legal requirement to disclose one’s HIV status to all of your partners. Now, to me, that sound’s like a no brainer; HIV is a deadly and highly contagious disease that has caused widespread damage across the globe. People who have it should have an obligation to disclose their status, right?

Well there are a couple of problems with making disclosure a legal thing. As Lehmiller states, “research has found that the sexual behaviors of HIV-positive individuals are no different in states with criminal transmission laws than they are in states without such laws.1,2Thus, there is no evidence that these laws even achieve the goal of promoting greater disclosure and safer sex.” So, first off, these laws just don’t seem to work. I mean that’s the hope for laws, right? That they’ll create an incentive for people to behave in a way that they might not if the law wasn’t in place. Well, that’s not happening with disclosure laws.

Another, more serious problem with disclosure laws is,

they could potentially reduce STI testing and treatment for some individuals by worsening the stigma associated with sexual infections. Some people may steer clear of testing because they know that a positive diagnosis would fundamentally alter their sex life and make it more difficult to find partners in the future. These persons may think that by remaining in the dark, they can carry on with their lives however they want, and if they end up infecting someone else, they can always claim ignorance as their defense. Beyond that, these laws may give HIV-negative individuals a false sense of security by placing responsibility for stopping the spread of the disease of those who are HIV-positive. To the extent that these laws lead people to falsely assume that their partners are negative unless they say otherwise, we may actually be undermining public safety. Instead, shouldn’t we be giving people the message that sexual communication is a two-way street and that it is not wise to make assumptions about other people’s sexual history?

Now, boy oh boy is this a sticky subject. I would highly recommend reading the article, it’s not that long. I’m not educated on the subject enough to have a meaningful opinion about it but Lehmiller raises some arguments that I just wouldn’t have thought of previously. It’s funny when something you think is completely uncontroversial is shown to you in a new light. Something to think on. I’ll leave you with his final sentence which echoes the sentiment that I often leave you with:

Going forward, it is important that the laws catch up with the science and that we do a better job of educating the public about the nature of STIs and the value of open and honest sexual communication.

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It Took Germany Until 2012 To Realize That Zoophilia Maybe Shouldn’t Be Legal


1969 was a time of sexual freedom across the western world. It was the year of Woodstock and free love. The pill had recently come out and AIDS had yet to rear it’s ugly head. It was also the year that Germany decided to legalize Zoophilia.

Zoophilia is a paraphilia characterized by the engaging of sexual intercourse with animals. It almost exclusively involves domesticated animals like dogs and farm animals and though it is not a common paraphilia there most certainly is a cohort of people with this paraphilia. Many who engage in this kind of sex make claims that the animals are equal participants who are enjoying themselves and even consenting. Those who are against it state that domesticated animals are by definition under our control and therefore, even if they could consent verbally, are incapable of consenting to sex with their human owners.

Germany has a thriving animal sex trade consisting of “erotic petting zoos,” in wich paying customers can have sex with an array of animals in bestiary brothels and it is perfectly legal. As of December 14th, however, if a new law passes, it will no longer be legal and will be punishable by a steep fine of €250,000.

Zoophilia is a controversial topic amongst some and very black and white for others. Most people see zoophilia in a similar way to incest and child molestation. The lopsided power dynamics and the general ‘ich’ factor makes it a fairly unpopular paraphilia for most. It is believed that there are roughly 100,000 active zoophiles in Germany and they are likely to push hard against this movement. They truly love their animals and for many of them it is a sexual orientation, opting not to engage in human-human relationships, perfectly happy in their human-animal relationships.

I don’t really know what the answer is but as with most questions about sexual partnerships, if consent can’t be reliably attained from all parties then what is occurring is not sex but sexual assault. If a party can not consent to sex with a human then the human should not be legally allowed to have sex with that party. I’m pretty sure that’s how that works, and so are most governments it would seem.

Read more about this story here and here.

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Illinois Strip Club Tax to Fund Rape Crisis Centers


Click here or image for link to article

Illinois has passed a new law that will tax strip clubs to make up for budget cuts to rape crisis centers. Now, we’re all about rape crisis centers getting funding but this raises some questions about strip clubs, causation and law. Should strip clubs be the only businesses that are taxed in this way? Is there any science linking strip clubs and rape?

The measure establishes a new tax on the clubs that will raise up to $1 million a year, helping to reverse several years of funding cuts for rape crisis centers. The legislation has also sparked debate over how strong of a link can be drawn between strip clubs and violent crime, and whether those businesses should pay out to fight the problems.

Via St. Louis Today

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