Forum Sex Survey: What Time is Time for Sex?

In other areas of life there are morning people and night people, and probably afternoon and evening people as well. Why should it be any different when it comes to sex? Where one person can’t think of a better way to start off the day than a might hump, the next person might rather have his or heels dipped in kerosene and set on fire.

Time being money, Field Research Coordinator Beth Kirichenko and Senior Field Associate Andy Jackson sought out time conscious respondents at the watch counter of various Manhattan jewelry and department stores, to ask:What’s your favorite time for sex?

Beth reports: “This question brought an unusual number of initial looks of puzzlement followed by nervous laughter and some surprisingly emphatic opinions. The survey reached its low point with the fellow who said his preferred time for sex was ‘in this lifetime, hopefully.’ If you had met him, you’d have known what he meant.”

S.C., eighteen, male, college freshman from Manhattan, single

I’m sure you’re hearing this a lot, but I’d have to say, “Anytime!”

Actually, if you mean, like, with another person, I haven’t quite done that yet, but I look forward to it. Meanwhile, I read all the letters in Forum as I, uh, you know. Sometimes I you know two, three times a day, or more. Morning, afternoon, night— anytime. That’s what I love about college, living in a dorm and all. I don’t have to worry about my parents, like the time my mom walked in on me while I was—

I think I’d rather not talk about that.

I.S., twenty five, female, deputy bank manager from Brooklyn, engaged

Like when I can get a little privacy, for starters. I have to have two roommates to be able to afford the tiny one bedroom apartment we live in, and what’s worse, my roommate Susan doesn’t give a damn about anyone else. She’s on her back from morning till night, it seems, so the bedroom is always off limits. The only time she’s alone is at night, when she literally sleeps.

Now Melanie, my other roommate, has taken over the living room. Some weekends I couldn’t get in my own apartment! I wind up begging a friend to take me in. Once I let a guy pick me up just for a place to stay. I just wanted to sleep, which made him so mad, he said he was going to throw me out.

I said, “Go ahead and try.” He backed off, and we fell asleep together, kind of cuddling. I got the best night’s sleep I’d had in months. Alan and I have since become really good friends— such good friends, I wish I was the least bit attracted to him.

E.G., thirty two, male, investment adviser from Manhattan, single

I’ve never been much for strenuous activity in the morning. Even now, when that’s the only time I can get to the gym, I’m like a zombie through most of my workout.

There’s usually no problem with sex, because I manage to discourage the women I sleep with from, well, sleeping with me. That’s my idea of an ideal date: an hour or two of all out fucking, then a cozy shower, then see her to the door. Now I have my bed to myself, with no worry about being expected to perform in the morning, when, frankly, if I had any energy to burn, I’d rather do it at the gym.

Until I met Margo, that is. She’s a flight attendant, with a body that made my jaw drop. She was, shall we say, a very enthusiastic bedmate. Just thinking about her, even after all that happened, I feel my dick stirring. It was just a matter of time before we decided she’d move in with me. unfortunately, because of her schedule, she frequently came in while I was sleeping and then expected action in the morning. Even for luscious Margo, I wasn’t often, er, “up” to that.

I could never get her to understand that it was nothing personal, just the way my energy cycles— a biorhythm thing. After a couple of months she started finding fault with my performance at “peak” times as well. I tell you, if she hadn’t been so fucking hot! Then, she was always saying how much she loved me, and how badly I treated her. I dealt with it when she said I was clearly a repressed homosexual. I dealt with it when she started talking about the affairs she was having with men all over the world. As the stories became more and more bizarre, I still dealt with it.

Finally she announced she was finished with men. We’re all the same, takers and users. By then I was almost relieved, and was quite happy to help her move her stuff to her new love nest, with a Swedish bombshell named Ingrid. Ingrid is every bit as hot as Margo, only blonde. Even now, I can’t think of a more erotic image than the two of them getting it on.

A few weeks later I was startled to get a call from Ingrid. Had I found Margo, she asked, a little, well, demanding? It was all I could do to not laugh— it helped imagining Ingrid naked. I answered as gently and supportively as I could, and since then, she’s been calling more and more frequently. Almost every day now. I love our talks. Even on the phone, she’s so incredibly sexy.

Recently Ingrid confided to me that maybe the whole problem is that she’s just not a morning person. If you think you know what I’ve been thinking ever since, you’re fucking right.

H.K., twenty four, male, retail clerk from Queens, single

Does jerking off count?

L.S., forty, female, office manager from Weehawken, NJ, separated

This guy I was seeing claimed he had sexual peaks around lunchtime, and they got so bad, his system could get seriously harmed if he didn’t get some. My first impulse was to tell him to “deal with it,” but it’s not as if my sex life was so hot. So we started meeting for “nooners,” and it wasn’t long before we were doing it every day.

The only thing was, that’s the only time we did it. Once we were having regular daytime sex, Frank was hardly ever available at any other time. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure out that something stank. But the sex was good, and like I said, guys weren’t exactly beating down my door.

Of course I assumed he was married. The odd thing was that no only did he let me meet him at his office, he seemed to almost be showing me off to his coworkers. I figured if there was a wife and kiddies, surely they would know about it.

It all came to a head one day when we were doing it in this sleazy by the hour hotel room. This hideous woman stormed in and was shrieking, “Frank, how could you? Lying slut!” Actually, she wasn’t so hideous. In fact, she was rather attractive in a trampy way.

Frank happened to be on top of me, pumping his dick in and out, at that moment. But it was only a couple of seconds before there was nothing to pump. I couldn’t believe it when his limp dick started spewing cream! As he slithered off of me, I tried to cover myself with the filthy sheet, but that trampy wife of his ripped it off and stood over me, staring daggers.

“Yuck,” she said. I swear, she actually said, “Yuck.” Then she spat on me, and shrieked at him, “Jesus, how degrading! A woman? A real woman?”

Huh? By now I’d managed to wipe the various bodily fluids off me with the sheet and cover myself again, and get my glasses from the nightstand. I took a closer look and realized that “she” wasn’t, if you get my meaning.

Naturally, all sorts of questions raced through my mind, but I realized I didn’t really want answers. I got dressed and the hell out of there as fast as I could, and never heard from Frank or “Mrs. Frank” again.

N.O., thirty two, male, unemployed from the Bronx, divorced

Does jerking off count?

P.T., thirty two, male, marine antiquities broke from Philadelphia, divorced, remarried and separated

I’ve always been partial to the early evening, when I’ve had a chance to recover from the strains and stresses of the day and get my second wind. My ex wife, however, claimed that that was no good for her, so I tried to accommodate her, only there never seemed to be any time that was good for her.

Then one day I decided to surprise her and come home for lunch on a day when I knew she didn’t have any classes. She was a graduate assistant, so she both took and taught classes. As you’ve probably guessed, I really surprised her. Although from the sounds I heard out in the hall, what I found in our apartment wasn’t such a surprise.

They had pushed aside the coffee table, and right in the middle of the living room floor Cindy was getting plowed by this guy with such huge muscles all over, he looked like he stepped out of a bodybuilding magazine. When he pulled out of my wife, I was somewhat relieved to see that his hard on wasn’t all that big, but it occurred to me that I shouldn’t really be evaluating the size of some strange naked guy’s dick right there in my own living room.

I gather there are guys who actually like watching their wives get screwed. But I can safely say that that was the worst moment of my life, unless you count the ones that immediately followed. Cindy seemed to think she was making it better by saying, “Yes, he’s a student, but he’s not my student.” I didn’t see the up side in that news.

What was worse was that I couldn’t even get physical with the guy, not even if I’d been willing to get roughed up a little for the sake of defending my manhood. I mean, if I had tried to put the hit on this guy, he’d have turned me into a powder.

M.E., thirty four, female, cigar roller from Great Neck, NY, engaged

One time I can’t do it is right after I eat. Like I’ll have a guy over for dinner, and I’m still feeling all bloated from the crudit s and tofu strips, and this jerk’ll want to do it! Gross!

All Sex Survey questions are authentic. Only the answers are made up.

Forum Q & A

Q: On several occasions I have made love to a certain man and found his nipples to be as sensitive as a woman’s. He can easily reach orgasm if I just caress, suck and bite his nipples. Knowing that the can feel the same kind of sensations that I can is very exciting. The man in question is very rugged and masculine and so is his sexuality, with the exception of his extra sensitive nipples. Have any other of your readers come across this phenomenon? Also, he is left handed and I have noticed that his left nipple is much more sensitive than his right one. Is there a correlation between the two?

A: The entire skin surface of the body— whether male or female— is an erogenous zone, and the nipples are pleasure points in both the male and female body. However, most men are out of touch with the pleasure that exists in their own bodies except for the limited area of their genitals. Women know that their bodies are total sources of pleasure they also have more permission in our society to explore their own bodies and to experience the pleasure of their bodies. Men, on the other hand, are discouraged from exploring the pleasure points in their bodies and encouraged to find their source of pleasure in other bodies, especially in female bodies.

Apparently you have been lucky enough to find a man who is in touch with his own body and in particular can respond to the pleasure of being touched on and around his nipples. Some men make this discovery by connecting the pleasure in their genitals with pleasant sensations elsewhere in their bodies.

By moving back and forth from stimulating his penis, for example, to stimulating his nipples (or any other part of his body, for that matter), a man can experience sexual pleasure extended and connected to other parts of his anatomy. Eventually, if he continues this practice, his whole body becomes a source of pleasure and he will have more total orgasms.

Some people experience more pleasure on one side of the body than the other this is not unusual. Everyone can experience pleasure in different parts of the body if they allow themselves to turn on to that part as they are touched or stimulated by their partners.

Q: I am a 20 year old female living with the best lover I have ever known. Jim and I have an excellent sex life with one exception: I can’t reach orgasm without direct stimulation of my clitoris. So, needless to say, I rarely come while we’re making love.

This doesn’t leave me unsatisfied all of the time. Sometimes we make love for so long that I am exhausted and pleased without having experienced orgasm. But then there are other times when I get so aroused and turned on and so close to coming, only to be left high and dry. I turn to masturbation to get some relief from this frustrating feeling.

Jim is really understanding and helps out when I need him to, but I want to know if there’s something I can do to reach orgasm from the stimulation I do receive, other than direct clitoral stimulation.

Please help. I love to come.

A: You are not alone in having difficulty reaching orgasm without direct stimulation of your clitoris. The majority of women have this same concern. And as you say, you don’t need to have an orgasm or multiple orgasms each time you have sex, but there are times when it feels good and is fulfilling.

There are many different approaches you can use to become orgasmic during intercourse. First of all, you can stimulate yourself to orgasm while you and your partner are having intercourse or before he enters you. Or you can demonstrate to your partner the ways you enjoy being stimulated and give him feedback as to what strokes and methods are most pleasurable to you.

He can than stimulate you before intromission and/or during intercourse. You can also do the Kegel exercises to increase the strength of your pelvic muscles. Research has shown that there is a positive correlation between the strength of the pelvic muscles and a woman’s orgasmic response. That is, women who cannot orgasm at all, or those who can only have an orgasm through clitoral stimulation, have far weaker pelvic muscles than those women who are able to achieve orgasm during intercourse.

You might also try experimenting with different forms of stimulation of different areas of your body. Many women have reported that they become orgasmic from vaginal stimulation of a sensitive area in the top wall of their vagina, which has been called the Grafenberg spot, or G spot. Exercises to achieve orgasm from vaginal stimulation and other non clitoral stimulation can be found in several books, including Lonnie Barbach’s For Each Other.

There are many different ways to respond sexually. Each person has to experiment and find what is most pleasurable for him or her. There is nothing wrong with clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and there is nothing wrong with self or partner masturbation during sexual interactions and intercourse.

Find out what is most pleasurable for you and acknowledge this, then communicate what you find pleasurable to your partner. Since each woman is a unique individual, no man can automatically know exactly what will pleasure her. Because you have such an excellent sex life with your present partner, it sounds like he will be open to learning more about pleasing you.

Q: Masturbation is, and always will be, my favorite sexual outlet. However, I have encountered obstacles in getting off. Let me explain.

I have been using the same technique for years now. Perhaps thousands of repetitions have just made it grow ineffective, but my previous method of pleasuring myself while lying on my stomach no longer works. When I am about to come, the muscles in my feet, legs and calves sometimes give me painful spasms, so I have to stop before having an orgasm.

I can’t get vaginally stimulated by penis shaped vibrators. I own a pretty good vibrator and discovered that letting it rest between my legs does nothing for me. With some handwork and pressure on the vibrator I can have a mild orgasm or two— but nothing earth shattering.

I have tried ticks like letting water run across my clit, but got no response.

When I was younger I could come and come and come! My sex drive is still strong, but my muscle problems are keeping me from satisfaction.

Can you help me?

A: Your frustration is understandable. I suggest you address the problem that physically intrudes on your pleasure and begin gentle exercises to restore circulation and tone to your muscles.

If possible, seek out someone who is qualified to coach you, someone who will encourage you by being upbeat and insistent with you.

It’s important for you not to feel alone in this endeavor. The state you reside in is filled with diet and exercise centers as well as every type of health consultant. If you’re not a “class joiner,” seek out individual counseling. Please don’t say you can’t afford it. There are inexpensive classes available, and the libraries are filled with books and magazines to help you. A good one to begin with is Longevity, which encourages readers to sensibly nourish the body and spirit and exercise to stay young.

While you’re working this out, you could consider several temporary measures to restore your pleasure while masturbating. First, collect a few pillows in varying sizes and degrees of softness. These will help you to customize your bed or wherever else you like to pleasure yourself. Stack or bunch them to support the contours of your body. Chilled muscles are more likely to cramp, so make sure your whole body is warm.

A warm bath or shower or a cup of warm milk is a good beginning. Use a lightweight cover from neck to toes to stay warm. When you’re cozy, engage in some very gentle full body stretching, perhaps the kind you already do when you first wake up in the morning.

This improves circulation and brings oxygen to your limbs.

When you’re warm and relaxed, arrange your pillows so they will provide added pressure and friction for your clitoris and support your chest and shoulders, while not putting uncomfortable pressure on your breasts.

When you are ready to begin, lie with the bottoms of your feet against the wall, headboard or footboard of your bed. Pull your knees up a little so they are bent. This will give you a firm surface to push against and help you to avoid strain.

Now you’re warm and relaxed, your pillows are the way you want them and you have a sturdy surface to push against.

As you begin moving and feeling your pleasure build, and you sense any muscle strain, simply stop what you are doing. Gently reorganize yourself.

Relax, breathe deeply, be aware of your warmth and comfort, and then begin again to restore your level of pleasure until you reach the orgasms you want. You can stop and restart as many times as you wish.

I hope this will be helpful to you as a loving process of caring for yourself and learning to bring yourself continued erotic pleasure.

Q: I am 20 year old male who has been reading Forum for two years. My problem is a strange one.

During our intercourse, I am the one who has a hard time having an orgasm. After a while, I usually get bored with trying and just pull out and jerk off.

I don’t understand why I can’t get enough sensation in my cock to have a climax. I am about average in size.

I get no complaints from my partners, only compliments. Most of them want to see me again. What should I do?

A: Women love men with your problem, as you’ve probably already found out!

Despite the compliments, inhibited male orgasm, or retracted ejaculation as it used to be called, can be an exasperating problem for a man. As you’ve found, you get bored and frustrated with trying after a while. It’s easier just to masturbate.

There are a variety of subconscious thought patterns and motivations that can lead a male to the point where he finds it hard, if not impossible, to come during intercourse. Because these psychological origins are hidden, men with this problem usually need the help of a good sex therapist to bring to the surface the reasons behind their fear of orgasm. It’s usually a very simple cause, and easily solved.

Check your phone book for some local sexual counselors or therapists. Make sure they are licensed or certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). With a little professional help that won’t cost a lot, you can solve all of your problems and continue to enjoy sexual relations with women.

Julie Strain: Sex Star

If the creative geniuses in Hollywood ever decide to do a definitive big screen representation of the comic book heroine Wonder Woman, the perfect candidate to play the part would be Julie Strain. Not only does she possess the required Amazonian dimensions (six feet one of the most finely sculpted body this side of a Florentine statuary), but she is an absolute dynamo of activity. Currently enjoying her year’s reign as Penthouse Pet of the Year, Julie has numerable projects in the can and still more to come, without an end in sight to her plans or her energy.

Asking her what she’s been up to lately is a dangerous question, because there’s a long list. For Penthouse Video she has two tapes out soon: Penthouse Winners ’93 and The All Pet Workout. The former offers an uncensored look at the current queen of Penthouse frolicking in the all together. In the latter, six Pets, including Julie, present a workout that isn’t exactly meant to be used as an exercise tape. “It’s not for doing jumping jacks, it’s for jacking something else,” Julie says. In it you’ll see these exquisitely toned ladies working out topless, showering, and doing strange things to the chrome handlebars of a Stairmaster.

Furthering her claim as a B movie goddess, the video star who bewitched audiences in Witchcraft IV will soon be seen again in Unnameable II. Readers of Fangoria and Femme Fatales magazines will have seen that she gets to wear some elaborate monster makeup in this horror thriller. She’s also signed a four picture deal with Andy Sidaris, who specializes in secret agent adventures in which the agents happen to be knockouts. Julie’s first film for Sidaris is Fit to Kill, where she plays Blue Steele, a double agent/assassin who loves to kill for kicks. Her character’s name in the upcoming Enemy Gold is Jade Blade.

Julie is certainly enjoying her L.A. lifestyle. She shares a Beverly Hills apartment with two other Pets, 1992 Pet of the Year Brandy and January 1992 Pt of the Month Stevie Jean. A tingle goes up my spine when I imagine these three Beverly Hills babes in one place, so I ask Julie to describe what goes on. She’s more than accommodating when she talks about “Penthouse Pet Pajama Parties.” Are they ever all together, naked? “Oh, sure,” she says. “One of us will be taking a bath, another blow drying her hair, the third on the phone. All naked.” Thank you, Julie, for that awe inspiring mental picture.

She also enjoys the attention she’s receiving. When her Pet of the Year issue was on the newsstands, she was vacationing in Hawaii. Several lads in their teenage years knew who she was immediately, and besieged her for autographs. Then they introduced her to their parents. When asked about fan mail, Julie responds that much of it comes from women, who like that she’s beautiful yet feminine, not presenting a threat. They also admire her business acumen.

Julie is thrilled to meet celebrities. She likes to go to hockey games and points out that she has had dinner with The Great One, Wayne Gretzky. I ask if he was with his wife, Janet Jones, and Julie hurries to say that he was. Last year she appeared on Howard Stern’s radio program with comedian Pauly Shore. Needless to say, the highly libidinous Stern paid much more attention to Julie.

Somehow I am compelled to ask the question, “What were you like in high school?”

Julie immediately answers, “I was a tall, skinny geek with short hair.” Thinking of the lovely mane of hair that hangs to the small of her back, it’s hard to imagine. She was the star of her high school basketball team, and set the school record in the long jump. Did she have a boyfriend in those days? “Not until my senior year, and then I stayed with him for five years. He was a bodybuilder. I used to be into bodybuilders. Now I like a guy smaller than me so I can throw him around,” she jokes. Maybe she’s joking.

Proudly and only somewhat facetiously declaring herself a “cult screen, B movie goddess,” Julie has let it be known that she will settle for nothing less than acknowledgement as the sex symbol of the nineties. “I’m the hottest thing walking the face of the earth,” she states definitively. As for her competition, I offer the name Sharon stone. “Stand me next to her,” Julie says. “I’ll take on any challenge.” As someone who has stood next to her and looked up into her tantalizing brown eyes, I have no doubt she’ll take on all comers.

Aren’t All Feminists Pro Censorship?— Don’t Count On It!

There’s a myth that’s been floating around for so long that many people believe it to be true. This incredible tale is that all women who cal themselves feminists would never buy, produce or support anything remotely resembling pornography— that all feminists are pro censorship.

The reality is far from it. In fact, many feminists are anti censorship. There is a growing body of women— both those who call themselves feminists and those who do not— who believe that our First Amendment rights are being seriously jeopardized. These women also believe that if we don’t start speaking up and taking stock of the growing grass roots level censorship campaigns, from both the religious and feminist right, many of the privileges we now take for granted may not be there in the future.

Pornography is a big wedge in the feminist movement. So much so that Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, was quoted in the New York Times as having said that the two schools of feminism are so far apart that they “cannot even agree to disagree.”

The idea that removing images, music, art or books from the public arena will suddenly transform society into a safe haven where violence against women does not exist is a grand illusion. The view that pornography is the cause and primary symbol of violence against women, and its absence will make everything perfect, totally discredits the large number of studies that conclude the opposite.

Historically, censorship has been used time and again against women to keep important information away from us: about birth control, with the jailing of Margaret Sanger, and even about our sexuality, as in the banning of such books as Our Bodies Ourselves. Those leading the pro censorship movement have chosen to ignore this imminent reality.

The chiefs of this band of feminist Indians are none other than Catherine MacKinnon, law professor at the University of Michigan, and Andrea Dworkin, writer. Over the last two years, they have helped introduce a whole new wave of legislation across the country and Canada, designed to greatly limit our access to sexually explicit material. They were instrumental in pushing forward the now defunct Pornography Victim’s Compensation Act (S. 1521), which would have allowed victims of violent sexual crimes to sue not the perpetrator, but the producers, distributors or sellers of any sexually explicit material read, seen or found in the home of the person who abused them. This “porn made me do it” excuse would have bankrupted many businesses and would not have brought justice to our court system, since the perpetrator of the crime could have walked away free.

Although anti censorship feminists may have been silent in the past, with the rising media attention given to MacKinnon and Dworkin, many of them have started speaking up— and very loudly. In New York, a group called Feminists for Free Expression (FFE) started raising its voice in 1992, protesting S. 1521 and the idea that women needed “protection” from explicit sexual material. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee signed by over 200 women, including Betty Friedan, Nora Ephron, Mary Gordon and Erica Jong, FFE brought the government’s attention to the fact that a lot of respected women don’t agree with the MacKinnon/Dworkin line. FFE believes that “although messages reflecting sexism pervade U.S. culture in many forms, suppression of such material will neither reduce harm to women nor further women’s goals.”

This spring brought about an odd twist in the anti censorship battle. A strange alliance took place at a conference held at the University of Chicago entitled “Speech, Equity and Harm.” The feminist opponents of pornography, headed by MacKinnon and Dworkin, got together with the scholars of hate speech in hopes that their combined forces would finally bring some victories in their continued battle against our broadly defined First Amendment rights. While decorum reigned inside, protests took place outside. Prostitutes, anti censorship feminists and other supporters of the First Amendment yelled, chanted and drew the media’s attention to the fact that women cannot be protected by the simple measures brought about by censorship.

The opponents would have us believe that women involved in the sex industry cannot think for themselves that women who enjoy a wide range of sexual expression have been duped by the men in their lives. Their minds have been replaced and their judgment is skewed so they no longer know what’s good for them. Consequently, they must be taken care of, must be protected.

We would be in serious denial if we ignored the fact that violence and sexism are problems in this country. But if we look at historical and modern references, including countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, where pornography— and American music, art and books— are not permitted, we would see societies where women are subjected to violence and other degradations on a daily and constant basis.

It is important for us to understand that the censorship movement in this country is gaining momentum. Pornography is not the only target. In 1992 there were several major related items in the news, including the Robert Mapplethorp photographic exhibit in Cincinnati, which was closed down. There was also the National Endowment for the Arts revocation of grants to several artists and the National Association of Christian Eductors’ attack on such children’s books as Little Red Riding Hood andThe Wizard of Oz.

The question still remains, however, as to why image banning feels so right with the public. According to Marcia Pally, author of Sense and Censorship, “[Image banning] offers the boost of activism. Sexual imagery is visible, tinged with the illicit, and far easier to expunge than deeply rooted injustices. Well meaning citizens believe they can fight it, beat it and win. Image banning has the same appeal as the fantasies it assails. It provides a fighting but beatable monster and the pledge of a happy ending. Like monster movies and pornography, image banning is a fantasy that sells.”

When Catharine MacKinnon suggests that “pornography is not speech, it’s an aid to masturbation,” we enter into another realm in which banning pornography seems right because in this arena, sex is something dirty. America has come a long way but not that far since the 1950s, when sex was something you didn’t talk about and the parents in TV sitcoms slept in separate beds. Most Americans grew up with the idea that sex was icky, dangerous, something nice people didn’t do. Most women grew up with the idea that good girls didn’t do it and bad girls did. Many of us also were told that boys were bad because they always wanted to do it, and we had to keep our guard up and our dresses down. No matter how much we try to deny it, these views play into our present day rhetoric about pornography.

Censorship is a band aid approach to repairing deep, festering wounds in our society. And when women start banning other women, there is an even greater need to take note. Which is exactly what happened at the University of Michigan. At a symposium titled “Prostitution: From Academia to Activism,” sponsored by the law school’s newly formed Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, an exhibit concerning prostitution was censored by students who said it “would cause them harm.” The exhibit was intended to provide ideological balance to a conference dominated by the views of anti pornography activists MacKinnon (a professor at the law school) and Andrea Dworkin.

One of the conference speakers objected to the sexual imagery in one of the videos and complained to MacKinnon, who conveyed his complaints to the symposium’s student organizers. The students removed the video and later ordered the exhibit’s curator, Carol Jacobsen, to take down the entire exhibit. This situation has since been resolved and the exhibit will be part of an upcoming conference on censorship. Marjorie Heins, director of the ACLU’s Art Censorship Project and co counsel for Jacobsen, was later quoted as saying that “fortunately, most feminists oppose censorship, recognizing that women’s voices would be the first ones silenced in a MacKinnon/Dworkin world.”

Unfortunately, not everyone believes that. There is some grandiose vision in the minds of those feminists who oppose pornography that anything produced by women would be saved from the chopping block. In the MacKinnon/Dworkin world, only those images produced for the pleasure of men would be excluded. But we know different. Limiting censorship’s arm is difficult. Stopping the censorship bandwagon once it’s gotten rolling is even harder. The best solution is not to censor. Granted, there are things we might not like. There are speeches we would rather not hear, pamphlets we would rather not read, pornographic videos, books or art we’d rather not see, but who has the right to judge for someone else?

Censorship is not the answer. And believing that all feminists are pro censorship is not true. Gay or straight, black or white, there are a lot of women, feminists or not, who believe that each woman and man has the right and responsibility to choose for themselves what they will read, view or buy. Don’t be silent or blind, or you may go shopping and end up with nothing to buy.