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February 23, 2005

Supremes Reject Case Of Alabama Law Forbidding The Sale Of Sex Toys

This one is bound to outrage Flea and professor b..

From Stupid Country, I've learned that the Supreme Court has decided to let stand the Alabama law that forbids the sale of sex toys. According to Stupid Country, the law makes it "a crime, punishable by a year in jail or a $10,000 fine, to sell 'any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs' in Alabama." This law is not aimed at people who want to buy vibrators, but those who sell them - like Flea. It's aimed at sex shops and those people who would like to hold Tupperware-style parties to sell vibrators and other sex toys. Residents of Alabama can still purchase sex toys online, but they'll have to wait a few days for them to arrive.

I think this is so wrong. I'm sure the religious right is behind this one. Is Alabama so prudish as to think that no one down there wants a purient thing such as a sex shop in their neighborhood? Flea discussed a sex toys party she hosted where most of the women were well past middle age. Are little old ladies with bags full of AA batteries such a threat to Alabama residents? Are they afraid that their children will walk past a sex shop and ask "what are ben wah balls?" And have to answer (while probably having no idea what they are.).

Stupid Country sees this as a serious Constitutional issue, and I agree. SC writes, "... I'm appalled that the Supreme Court brushed it aside so cavalierly. The restriction of retail merchandising practices is one thing. But sex shops cater to a demand that stems from very private behavior whose practice is protected by the First Amendment. The state's interest in restricting the use of sex toys can only derive from a religious objection to masturbation -- and the First Amendment specifically forbids government's enacting laws that favor any religious establishment."

Posted on February 23, 2005 at 11:12 AM | Permalink


I'm waiting for the Alabama morality police to start patroling the produce aisles. "Ma'am, what are you doing with that cucumber? Can your PROVE you are going to use that in a salad?"

Posted by: silverside at Feb 23, 2005 3:45:03 PM

But wait! The laws says designed and marketed primarily for you know what.

Here's a great chance for some smart entrepreneurs to make some money. A combination potato peeler/you know what. A combination cel phone/you know what. As long as it's not "primarily" you know what, should be acceptable. (But please don't use that potato peeler thingy before I come to dinner,okay? And no, I DON'T want to borrow your cel phone.)

Posted by: silverside at Feb 23, 2005 4:09:20 PM

Your country is amazing. You can buy a big gun but not a sex toy. Here in England Tony Blair would happily ban sex toys or anything else if he thought there were votes in it. Is Alabama democrat or republican? Strict Home Alabama?

Posted by: Steve at Feb 24, 2005 11:09:23 AM

Where I live you can buy both a big gun and a sex toy. I'd prefer to opt for the sex toy myself. More bang. ;)

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 24, 2005 11:14:02 AM

Alabama is deep south conservative, Steve. Formerly democratic ("dixicrat" before civil rights), and now republican. Do you remember images from the 60's American Civil Rights movement of police with fire hoses and dogs attacking black men and women? Bull Connor and all? That's Alabama.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 24, 2005 11:55:51 AM

Yeah. Perhaps it could now be famous again for liberal marchers attacking police with sex-toys.
We don't know much about Alabama here; except that it was the home of Hank Williams and the subject of that cheesy film with Reese Witherspoon. Shame they didn't get a banned-sex-toy angle on that story. They could do a sequel: southern belle returns south to find sex-toys banned so starts one-woman mission to overturn retrograde state law. We had a docu-film on here yesterday about another fine southern (by adoption) belle: Aileen Wornous. Scary stuff. Whats the feminist take on her over there? (Sorry for drifting off-thread again)

Posted by: Steve at Feb 24, 2005 12:04:22 PM

Yes...we've had like 3 serial killers that are woman, hundreds of men, many from the South as in Ted Bundy (well not really from the South but 'adopted' by them as in, finally caught and put to death in Florida, after he cut a bloody swarth from Washington State down to there)...

YET what's our take on Aileen Wormous...


She was a 'rare bird' as they would say across the pond...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 24, 2005 12:26:08 PM

Attacking police with sex toys? Now that's an amusing image. I've heard of a case of a terrorist scare at an airport because of a dildo someone threw in the trash that started vibrating.

First wave feminist Phyllis Chesler defended Wouronos because of her abused background, but I don't know how other feminists looked at her. I don't excuse what she had done. I've always seen her for what she was - one of the few female serial killers. I know that Wouronos was finally executed.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 24, 2005 12:30:31 PM

Hey, don't put down Sweet Home Alabama! I have the worst crush on Josh Lucas (the Alabama boyfriend. Whatta hunk).

Aileen Wuornos is a pretty pathetic case. Like the vast majority of killers, she came from a very abusive background. Abandoned by both her mother and father. Grandparents who beat her. Evidence to suggest that brother sexually molested her. Homeless from her early teens, working as prostitute from that time to support herself. After I saw the Charlene Theron movie (which was some pretty amazing acting in my opinion), I did some research on her, and it ain't pretty. There was some evidence, based on the documentaries that were done on her on prison (one by someone from the BBC as I recall, or at least a British filmmaker), that she was pretty out there and delusional as well. At least one of the men she killed appeared to have a rape conviction, so it appears she may have been telling the truth about that one being self-defense (apparently the authorities never even bothered to investigate). But a lot of her victims had no background to suggest that self-defense had anything to do with it. Again, she's something of a unique case, and not especially typical of serial killers, women killers, or anything else.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 24, 2005 12:59:40 PM

No...many serial killers have no evidence of abuse in their background...Ted Bundy didn't, Wayne Gacy didn't. I can't remember the others...but most of them had pretty decent upbringings it appears...that's what so darn troublesome about the whole thing...I actually quit watching that court TV channel after a while about them, since they were so ordinary, (sort of like Scott Peterson) that it was actually more scary...

Additionally how many of them were in law enforcement...wow...now that was an eye opener.

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 24, 2005 1:22:03 PM

We're drifting fast here from the theme of sex toys, but this is such an interesting point of discussion, so I'll continue for just a while. Actually, I have seen statistics showing that the majority of prisoners have abusive backgrounds. In addition, serial killers (which are different from garden variety domestic killers) very typically experienced vicious abuse, usually, but not always, by a sadistic father.

To quote one essay on the subject:

It is usually the sadistically disciplinarian father that pops up in the serial killer’s family tree. John Gacy’s dad berated his son, calling him a sissy, queer, and a failure. A violent alcoholic, Gacy’s father beat his mother, and shot his son’s dog to punish the child. When Gacy later strangled his young victims, he encouraged them to stay brave while facing death, just as he had experienced when he was a child. “Through this ritual, Gacy sought to reassert his own vision of a masculine identity that had been squashed down by his father,” wrote Joel Norris (52-56). Albert De Salvo’s father would bring home prostitutes and brutally beat his mother, breaking her fingers one by one as young boy helplessly watched. His father also sold his son off as a slave to a farmer in Maine, while his mother went frantically searching for him for six months, a story that has been confirmed by family friends and social workers. De Salvo stated, “he’d always smash me across the back with a pipe. I didn’t move fast enough.” These examples are minor in comparison to the majority of incidents documented by investigators and experts (Williams 2). Most of these fall back on the child not only being ridiculed and physically beaten, but the violence surrounding them involving other family members had a horrendous effect on them (Williams 2). Some parents believe that by being harsh disciplinarians, it would “toughen” the child. Instead, it creates a lack of love between parent and child that can have disastrous results. If the child doesn’t bond with its primary caretakers, there is no foundation for trusting others later in life. This leads to isolation, where intense violent fantasies become the primary source of gratification. “Instead of developing positive traits of trust, security, and autonomy, child development becomes dependent on fantasy life and its dominant themes, rather than on social interaction,” writes Robert Ressler, Ann Burgess and John Douglas in Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives (19). When the child grows up, according to these authors, all they know are their fantasies of domination and control. They have not developed compassion for others. Instead, humans become flattened-out symbols for them to enact their violent fantasies.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 24, 2005 3:16:54 PM

Thanks for the information. Anyway- back to the sex-toys. Is Mr Bush in favour of such a ban
? I guess its a kind of sex-toy prohibition now in Alabama - no doubt the local hoods will be running some speakeasy racket cum Anne Summers institution where they can be obtained. Or Alabamians will be popping across the line into Florida/ Miss'/Lousiana to get tooled up. Seems like your governments -like our own in UK- have a lot of time to waste on completely pointless legislation.

Posted by: Steve at Feb 25, 2005 5:58:14 AM

Well talking about just two men who did this Gacy and De Salvo and giving one of the primary reasons for this as they saw their MOTHERS beaten.

It seems a little weak...I hate to say it...

Sorry I just don't buy this as the reason for becoming a serial killer...unless you paint it as learning to disrespect women early in your childhood and then carrying it into your adult life.

I frankly think this abuse excuse came up as an attempt to mitigate the penalty, ie., escape a death sentence...

Remember one thing: the things we call child abuse today were very ordinary punishments when many of us were growing up and we had far fewer serial killers and other deviant behaviors...

Anyway, there are hundreds of others who had perfectly normal childhoods and became serial killers, like Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, Jeffry Dahmer and yes, John Wayne Gacy (as I believe his stories were just attempts to mitigate the penalty).

There is NOTHING that I've even read or seen that shows these men were subject to extraordinary abusive backgrounds...


That's one of the reason these men are so hard to catch...since there is NOTHING extraordinary about them, many are actually married with families and when they are caught most people are shocked that they did this as their lives were no ordinary (including their childhoods)...

Now as Steve said, back to the sex toys debate...

On that issue, I say just order them in the mail if you really want them OR make them yourself...

What about that?

AND no I have no ideas of how to do it for the inquiring minds out there looking for tips...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 26, 2005 3:10:27 PM

This could give a real boost to the hand-made arts and crafts movement in Alabama..
wimmin's groups could run evening classes.

Posted by: Steve at Mar 1, 2005 6:13:49 AM

"This could give a real boost to the hand-made arts and crafts movement in Alabama..wimmin's groups could run evening classes."

OR myn's groups...since you guys are the ones who use most of these sex toys anyway, from blow-up dolls to vibrating whatchamacallits...you keep this industry healthy, just like the porn industry or the sex industry...99.9% functioning to serve myn...

So start up a 'cottage industry' in this Steve and you can export to Alabama...or where ever the need exists...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 1, 2005 7:47:48 AM

I don't think it would be very easy to make a home-made blow-up doll; unless it was a rudimenatry sort of thing made from balloons. Not very enticing in that case.
I'm not aware of any vibrating whatnots used by men .. apart from electric sanders and the like .. and thought these were the province of the fair sex. Due to lack of electrical knowledge on my part I think any produced in my cottage industry would have to be treadmill-powered; or perhaps with a water-wheel running off the taps; or maybe a windmill.
I think with this kind of olde-worlde appeal such English devices might do well in Alabamee you may have hit on a good idea there NYMOM.

Posted by: Steve at Mar 1, 2005 8:56:30 AM

You can give a whole new meaning to the phrase: cottage industry.

Actually isn't that where the phrase originated anyway...with the British textile industry being done piecemeal in people's homes or something like that?

They didn't moved out to centralized factory sites until later...

Well now you're going back to your English roots...

Yuck, Yuck, Yuck...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 1, 2005 11:14:54 AM

I'm sorry but the whole sense of your post has been lost in translation.
Cottage industry does mean any industry carried on from home, originally from a cottage, hence the derivation.
Don't understand the bit about roots. Unless it something to do with the Australianmeaning of the word.
Is the Yuck an expression of laughter (as in Deputy Dawg) or one of disgust?
Anyway: I think we both agree that a law bannign sex toys for personal use (by those that wish to have them) is a bit daft.
So thats that then.

Posted by: Steve at Mar 1, 2005 11:45:36 AM

Hey Steve...look up Real Doll.Com

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 1, 2005 12:38:31 PM

I know what cottage industry means...

I meant that orginally you did it to make textiles, now you'll have a cottage industry making sex toys...

Get it...

That's where the roots comment comes from; since I thought that the whole 'cottage industry' started in England. Then during the industrial revolution, you moved to factories. NOW you are going back to your 'roots' in making things (first textiles, now sex toys) in cottages...

Thus, a return to your roots...

Yuck was a term for goofy laughter....

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 1, 2005 12:50:09 PM

RealDoll... oh boy... I think those things are creepy.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Mar 1, 2005 12:59:30 PM

I don't think home made balloon dolls are gonna frighten the RealDOll corporation

Posted by: Steve at Mar 2, 2005 4:59:48 AM