Playboy, Penthouse Can Be Sold on Military Bases, Pentagon Official Says

Bob Johnson

WASHINGTON — Morality in Media’s (MIM) attempt to ban the sale of adult magazines on military bases has taken a hit as a top Pentagon official declared that Playboy and Penthouse are not indecent.

The decision means that the titles (along with Nude magazine) can be sold on military bases because they do not meet the federal definition of indecent or sexually explicit material.

Respronding to MIM’s complaint to the Department of Defense in a letter on July 22, Military TImes reported that Frederick Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, said a review board had scrutinized the publications and determined that “based on the totality of each magazine’s content, they were not sexually explicit under [the federal law]."

Although porn was officially banned for sale on military bases in 1996 the new ruling apparently exempts Playboy, Penthouse and Nude magazines despite MIM’s stance that the display and sale of adult magazines in military posts amounts to a violation of the Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996, prohibiting the sale or rental at military exchanges of material in which “the dominant theme ... depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way.”

But MIM has fired back saying Vollrath's response “would be hilarious if it were not so tragic.”

The anti-porn group says it doesn’t understand “why the Pentagon will continue to sell porn magazines despite being in the midst of its unprecedented sexual exploitation scandal.”

Defending his stance in his letter to MIM chief Patrick A. Trueman, Vollrath said the military is aware of the serious issues surrounding sexual assaults and other violent acts and is committed to providing safe and healthy military installations.