Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Rosa Parks of Dildos

(The story you are about to hear is totally fucking true.)

Sherri Williams is one of the great American heroines of the 21st Century. But you probably won’t read about her in the history books, which shows you how screwed up our education system is.

Sherri Williams is the Rosa Parks of dildos. And once again the battleground is Alabama, where if you dare try to sell another adult a dildo, (I swear this is not satire) you can go to jail for up to a year and be fined up to $10,000. Yep, this law says you cannot sell “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs…” And if you’re thinking this must be one of those laws that dates back to a previous century when Alabama legislators walked with their knuckles scraping the ground, you’re right. It was passed in 1998.

Sherri Williams owns a chain of adult toy stores. So she stood up for our inalienable right to stimulate our adult genitals any way we damn well please. With the help of the ACLU, she sued Alabama to have the dildo ban struck down. It took eight years for her case to work its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, thus letting stand a lower court decision upholding the law.

But the story has a happy ending. In November, she opened a “romance” store called Pleasures in Huntsville. And because it’s in a building that was once a bank, she even sells sex toys through a drive-up window. She gets away with it because a loophole in the law allows sex toys to be sold for “medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement” purposes. (Law enforcement? Do they set up sting operations? “Pssst. Hey buddy, wanna by a dildo?”) So before customers can purchase, they have to fill out a short questionnaire asking, among other things, if they or a partner are having difficulty finding sexual fulfillment. Doing this means their purchase can be justified as medicinal.

Isn’t Sherri Williams brilliant? But I’d like to suggest another loophole. Since the law bans items intended “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs,” she could claim her products serve a higher primary purpose. For instance, instead of calling a vibrating dildo a sexual aid, she could call it a kitchen aid and say it’s a mixer. It would be like those stores where they sell bongs and call them “tobacco products.” I was in one that had a sign that said PLEASE REFRAIN FROM REFERRING TO OUR WATER PIPES AS BONGS. Pleasures could post a sign saying PLEASE REFRAIN FROM REFERRING TO OUR KITCHEN MIXERS AS DILDOS.

This is a foolproof loophole because if the enraged state legislature counters by banning any product that could have a secondary function of genital stimulation, this would prohibit the sale of just about everything from whipped cream and balloons to cucumbers and Spider Man action figures.

I hope Sherri Williams' spirit of rebellion catches on. I think it’s about time clear-thinking Catholics organized to challenge the Vatican’s disdain for masturbation. Pope Paul VI issued a declaration in 1975 called "Persona Humana - Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics." It says masturbation is a ”grave moral disorder" and an “intrinsically and seriously disordered act…” The Pope acknowledged that the Bible makes no direct reference to jerking off. But, he wrote, "Even if it cannot be proved that Scripture condemns this sin by name, the tradition of the Church has rightly understood it to be condemned in the New Testament…”

I remember the pain this prohibition caused me as a young Catholic boy struggling to give up waxing the whale in the name of my church. I finally decided it was easier, and more fun, to give up trying to be Catholic.

For the sake of young Catholics like that all over the world, some righteous adult Catholic needs to burst out of the closet and found The Society of Catholic Masturbators. We’re Catholic, we jerk off, and we’re proud! Get used to it!

I issue the following challenge: Who among us is bold enough to be the first to come out as a proud masturbating Catholic? It can’t be me because I’m under qualified. Like I said, I’m not longer Catholic