Texas: where strip clubs with under-age dancers don't get shut down, but you can't buy a damn vibrator

First, some old-ish news: Texas' law (check out this Youtube vid) against the sale or "promotion" of sex toys was ruled unconstitutional in February, but in March the State Attorney General Greg Abbott (whose views do not necessarily reflect those of the Texas population) has requested that the circuit court of appeals to rehear the case.

Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them. (via Austin-American Statesman).

Um...six devices? Considering the wide variety of sex toys and their uses for women, men, and couples, this turns an awful lot of people who enjoy sex and sexual variety into criminals. But isn't this really the point? When an exploration of sexuality beyond procreative purposes and methods is called "obscene" and those who practice become "criminals," the effort is to return sex back to it's "real" purpose-procreation. Oh yeah, and male-centered, both in who should receive pleasure and how a woman "ought to" achieves pleasure: the good ole penis-in-vagina way. It's pretty clear that this primarily impacts women, who probably benefit the greatest from sex toys-from being able to understand their own bodies and pleasures, to being able to experience those pleasures with a partner (23% of couples use 'em). Think I'm stretching it? Check this out, again from the Statesman:

The state also argued in a brief that Texas has legitimate "morality based" reasons for the laws, which include "discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation."

Of course Texas isn't the only state in the union to have these bans. In October, the state court of appeals refused to hear a challenge to Alabama's 10-year-old law. One community activist supports the law by associating sex toy sales to "sexual-oriented crime". Not sure what he means by that...unless he's referring to the laws againsts procreative sex still on the books (which were made illegal by the Supreme Court in 2003). Mississippi and Virginia also have similar laws banning sex toy sales.

But jump to the last few days: A Dallas strip club was found to have a 12 year-old (yes, that's not a typo) stripping there. She was a runaway, and likely had been sexually abuse, and was aided by a female club employee and an adult man. In January, the same club was found to have a 17 year-old stripping. But their license is not being revoked.

The 23-page city ordinance does allow revocation of a club's license if, for example, the club knowingly allows prostitution, the sale or use of drugs at the club, or if there are two convictions for sex-related crimes at the club within a 12-month period.

I know I don't have to connect the dots for you. Selling sex toys that have greatly aided individual's pleasure, especially for women (40% of women say they use vibrators), was illegal up until recently, and is under review, but a club that is irresponsible enough to have allowed 2 underage girls to perform for male sexual pleasure and profit cannot have it's license revoked. (And this is to say nothing about the kind of culture that produces 12-year-olds as desirable sex objects and encourages their desire to be a sex object.)

And this isn't the only example of Texas law shielding businesses that exploit young women:

Earlier this week, we also told you about Club Metroplois, where Dallas police found 13-year-old prostitutes. That nightspot operates as a bar, so the city says it has to treat it like any other business and has to prove a pattern of crime before it can be closed — unless they find a loophole.

The great state of Texas my ass.

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