Monthly Archives: February 2014

Gay Marriage Across America

(2/24/14)  Fewer trends involving sexuality have garnered as much attention in recent years as the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States.  As with most matters involving cultural values, it may just be that the old guard of legislative dinosaurs simply hasn’t caught up with the prevailing social reality yet, but the tipping point may finally be right around the corner.

As of 2013, 17 states have legalized gay marriage, leaving 33 who have not.  Most of these are due to a combination of existing state constitutional bans and other prohibiting laws, so removing the remaining barriers is likely to be an agonizingly slow process if left to each individual state to decide.  That said, there is now a sustained–and growing–majority of Americans who believe that same-sex marriages should be legally recognized with the same rights as opposite-sex marriages.  According to Gallup polling trends, that number was at 42% ten years ago, but has been at or over 50% since May 2012–and is rising.

While states’ rights are certainly a key factor on the legal side of the issue, the preeminent twist is that the U.S. Constitution provides for equal protection under the law from state to state.  This is specifically why an opposite-sex marriage in one state is recognized unanimously and without restriction in all others.  So, where the matter of same-sex marriage is concerned, an inequality under the law exists, literally making a federal case out of it.  As that critical detail applies to the looming tipping point, we are now at a place where the majority of Americans (52%) would, if allowed, vote for a federal law that would instantly make same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.  So, what’s holding up that kind of productive progress?

It’s important to remember that in a legal sense, we do not live in a democracy, but rather a republic.  This is to say that “We the People” do not vote on the laws that govern us.  We select others to propose and vote on them for us.  So, rather than continuing to select representatives who stubbornly cling to archaic, outmoded and hypocritical ways of thinking, it’s really just a simple matter of making it a point to choose more wisely.  The next opportunity to do that is just a few months away when, this November, every one of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs.  If you genuinely want progress, make it a point to wisely select lawmakers who are in tune with the majority of citizens and prepared to act promptly.

The trend is clear:  Most Americans want this matter resolved in favor of providing equality and justice–as it should be for a nation that embraces freedom and justice for all as defining virtues.  It is no longer a matter of if same-sex marriage will be legal all across America, but when.  The tipping point is just ahead.  The time to prepare for it is now.

What say you?

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S.A.A. Salutes: Gloria Leonard

SAAgraphic021714(2/17/14)  We are very saddened by the news that adult entertainment superstar and former Free Speech Coalition president, Gloria Leonard, passed away recently after suffering a stroke in her Hawaii home.  She was 73.

Widely known as a pioneer in the adult industry, Gloria appeared in 64 films and directed 7 others during the 70s, 80s and 90s.  She culminated her performing career with inductions into both the Adult Video News  and X-Rated Critics Organization Halls of Fame.  In addition to her acting career, she was also the publisher of High Society magazine for 14 years and an active member of the Adult Film and Video Association of America; serving as its administrative director for 3 years.  In 2012, she was featured in Jill Nelson’s book, Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema.

In a message posted on their blog, the Free Speech Coalition praised her professionalism by noting, “She fought for the right of free expression and sexuality. Contributions made by Ms. Leonard have paved the way for generations of performers after her. She showed the world that the adult industry is a place where strong, talented women can blossom and succeed.”

She will be remembered as an icon in American culture for many reasons, but perhaps one of her most famous quotes nicely sums up her lifelong dedication to free speech and feminism:

GloriaLeonardFSC

“The whole point of the women’s movement is for women to choose whatever they want to do.  Why should my choice be considered any less or more valid than your choice?”  ~ Gloria Leonard

Indeed, the world is now a lesser place without her class, courage and commitment.

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Valentines Across America

SAAgraphic021014(2/10/14)  It’s coming.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  Some are completely ambivalent about it.  It produces emotional responses ranging from high anxiety to outright giddiness.  Greeting card suppliers, jewelers, lingerie outlets, chocolatiers and florists from sea to shining sea are gearing up for it like an invading fleet of Cupids closing in on the coast.   You can fight it, you can blow it off, but you’re not going to stop it.  It’s coming.  Sound the ‘Red Alert’ as that one day of the year especially devoted to romance and matters of the heart is drawing neigh: St. Valentine’s Day.

Almost no one can tell you the actual basis for why the day is celebrated with any degree of certainty, but that’s okay.  While there are all sorts of myths and legends with varying degrees of plausibility, the ambiguity behind the alleged origins just makes it easier to attach any convenient meaning.  It’s probably somewhat intentional that it evolved that way–and fairly certain that it was molded for entrepreneurial purposes (at least in the U.S.) by an enterprising woman named Ester Howland in the 1800s.  Accordingly, many see it as an ultimate ploy in marketing and consumer manipulation, second only to the commercialization of Christmas.  Boiling it down to its lowest common denominator these days–a designated time for expressing love and affection–it hardly seems that anyone could rationally argue against it regardless of how it got started, but therein lies the proverbial sticky wicket:  Shouldn’t that happen every day?  Why wait for one, dictated day each year specifically for expressing affection?  Hmm.

Yes, yes, the notion of making an annual hubbub out of it does serve the supposed purpose of ensuring that we do at least take some time out of our busy-bee lives to show our significant others that we care, but even that tends to create more friction than it solves–especially when it comes to placing a monetary value on determining ‘how much’ we care.  Last year, CNN reported that the average person’s Valentine’s spend was estimated at about $130.  What do you want to bet that somewhere, someone spent about fifty bucks and got hammered for being ‘below average’?  Of course, it’s probably equally so that someone who spent over $200 got bonus love-points for demonstrating ‘above average’ caring.  Ah yes.  Love and capitalism.  What a combo!

Supposedly, it’s the thought that should count most and no price can be put on sincere affection.  We have nothing against celebrating the day, but the sentiment behind it certainly shouldn’t be reserved for just once a year.  Ultimately, the real value is not in what’s bought, but rather in what’s done–every day–to show genuine love. True caring doesn’t cost a dime.  Just something to think about.

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The New ‘Bi’???

(2/3/14)  There used to be a time where sex was all about the ooohs and ahhhs.  Sorry to have to break the news, dear friends, but that’s old school.  The new school is increasingly about 1s and 0s–and this binary trend shows no signs of slowing down.  If anything, it’s gaining serious momentum towards the kind of “sex lives” comically foreshadowed in films like the Demolition Man.

It used to be that sex wasn’t rocket science, but those days are apparently gone as well as techo-wizzes, including an actual (albeit former) NASA scientist, are scurrying around at light speed to hatch whatever will be the next big thing (or at least to top whatever the big thing was last week).  Trying to keep up with it all almost seems like a pointless exercise as the pace of sex-tech is snowballing out of control.  It wasn’t really all that long ago that notions of “virtual sex” were limited by how fast a person could type with one hand.  Later, but still not quite ancient history, it became more a matter of improving bandwidth to do away with choppy, pixelated webcams, but even that didn’t satisfy the mad inventors.

The latest generation of sex-tech-gear scoffs and mocks all of what has been before–and barely made it to the marketplace before already being obsolete.  USB gizmos for interactive hanky panky titillated consumers briefly, but have already begun the slide in favor of wireless whoopie with real sensations.  Stick THAT in your port!  Next-generation web platforms, tech products with immersive sexual experiences and virtual environment technologies enabling ‘holodeck-style’ surroundings are not only here now, but quickly positioning to annihilate all previous forms of online social interaction.  With a generation coming up who operate tablets better than they can magazines, it’s really only a matter of time before the lines between physical and virtual experiences are totally obliterated.

Cue Charlton Heston: “You maniaaaacs!

Does this mean that the future of solving STDs could be as simple as religiously updating your anti-virus software?  Will we see an explosion of cyber-adultery prosecutions?  Is it just a matter of gigglebytes and fiberoptics before an actual date with Jessica Rabbit is possible?  Will it be somewhere in between or even more perverse than anyone can currently imagine?  Only time will tell.  While we’re years off from the likes of Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron, it does seem pretty certain that it’s coming.  The question is:  What do YOU think it will look like?