Pentagon OKs Newsstand Sales of Some Adult Magazines on Bases

Q Boyer
WASHINGTON — A Pentagon panel has determined that the sale of some adult magazines can continue on U.S. military bases, ruling that the magazines are not “sexually explicit.”

According to the Agence France Presse, Leslye Arsht, the deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy, wrote in a letter last week that following a careful review of the materials, a Pentagon committee has determined that there is nothing sexually explicit about publications like Nude Playmates, Celebrity Skin and other adult publications.

“The sale of these magazines on [Defense Department] property is permissible,” the review board said in its ruling.

The board did find that a small number of magazines that previously had been sold on military bases, including Wet and Blonde and Beyond, should no longer be sold on U.S. bases.

The Pentagon’s latest review of on-base adult materials resulted from a letter sent by antipornography activists in May, in which the activist groups called for stronger enforcement of the Military Honor and Decency Act signed into law in 1996. The law prohibits “the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.”

As defined in the law, the term “sexually explicit material” means an “an audio recording, a film or video recording, or a periodical with visual depictions, produced in any medium, the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs, in a lascivious way.”

While conservative groups and some military pastors also have called on the Pentagon to enforce the law with regards to sexually explicit materials that soldiers obtain online, the statute itself does not provide for such regulation, as the law pertains only to “officially provided” materials.

The law states that a “member of the armed forces or a civilian officer or employee of the Department of Defense acting in an official capacity may not provide for sale, remuneration, or rental sexually explicit material to another person,” but the statute does not address the question of soldiers obtaining such material through other means.

Arsht said that the Pentagon panel soon would conduct an “expeditious review” of other adult publications, including Playboy’s Vixen and XXX to determine if those magazines qualify as sexually explicit.