Sponsor the Social Policy Center

We are seeking potential partners who are open to sponsoring this and other blogs. For now, we are using PayPal™ and Chip-In™ for our readers to directly support our activities.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Unhealthy Fantasies and Misunderstandings

Its been a while since my last post. Afraid my occupation as a freelance writer has kept me busy.

Today I want to talk about two issues that, though separate, have become linked in a way I did not anticipate ... those of "unhealthy sexual fantasies" and "inadvertent misunderstandings."

Let me lay out the situation I found myself in.


A few weeks ago, I began research on the issue of what child pornography is. According to Federal law, child pornography is any visual media (photos, videos, etc) that shows or depicts sexual acts (oral, anal, vaginal) with anyone under the age of majority. In some states, this can be interpreted as anyone under a certain age as high as 21 ... technically.

But does this definition go far enough?

Sex offenders, during sexual offense therapy, learn that sexual offenses begin with a fantasy phase. An attractive girl walks down the street or across the room; men fantasize about her. A man views a Playboy magazine and has fantasies. Men view pornographic films and have fantasies. Normally, these fantasies are nothing to worry about, but for a small percentage of men, they can be a real danger.

But during my research I realized that not all materials that trigger such fantasies are visual. Some of these materials are written stories, called erotica.

On Usenet (accessible through Google Groups) there are a number of erotic short story groups, most under the alt.sex.stories category. The groups, typically, are plagued by frequent advertisements for sexually explicit videos, photos and manipulated graphics. But when these are weeded out, there is still a great deal to be concerned about.

Mixed in with the typical hetero/homosexual fantasies about your neighbor's girlfriend/wife, your best friend's girlfriend/wife, etc. are erotic stories about sex with under aged girls (one story I found the victim was under eight years old), violent rape (including a gang rape of a white bride by black men as her new husband was forced to watch), and even snuff-rape where the victim is slain while being raped.

It made me realize how dangerous the written word can be, and this isn't just available online. In many porn shops there are novels about teen sex with peers and adults with names like "Mandy's Slick Panties."

Now my question is this: If all sexual offenses (rape, molestation, etc) start with a fantasy, aren't these stories just as dangerous? And if we are going to prosecute child pornographers and molesters, shouldn't the manufacture of pedo-erotica be included in our actions?


Now to the misunderstanding part. During my research, I downloaded and printed two examples of these type articles for my research files. Unfortunately, my fiance found them on my desk while I was in the kitchen getting something to eat. Needless to say, she was VERY concerned. The discovery by her of these definitely did not give her the context in which they had been printed and, to put it lightly, did not look good.

My mind goes back to an incident a friend of mine had to deal with when his parents found links to bomb-making information on the Internet. He was astonished by news reports of how easy such information was to find on the web and decided to check it out for himself. Not only did he find information on making pipe bombs, but also information on making plastic explosives and even an atom bomb. This was shortly after the Columbine High School incident and needless to say, his parents pretty much freaked out on him.

My advice is, if you are doing research on ANYTHING sensitive, make sure you don't leave things laying about. You never know what people might think or what kind of consequences it might cause unnecessarily.

No comments: