Daily Dispatches
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus
Associated Press/Photo by Steve Helber
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus

Military bans porn sales over money, not morality


While the Department of Defense announced Tuesday that it will no longer sell adult magazines, it wasn’t for moral reasons. The Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) pulled from its shelves a total of 891 magazines because of the declining demand for print materials. To make its stance more pronounced, the Department of Defense declared last week that Playboy, Penthouse, and Nude Magazine were not sexually explicit.

Other magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, SpongeBob Comics, Home Buyers Guide also will get the boot, representing the shift from print to digital media consumption. AAFES officials said sales of all magazines at exchange facilities fell 18.3 percent from 2011 to 2012.

“The decision to no longer stock the material is a business decision driven by the time, money, and energy required to facilitate buying habits, combined with decreasing demand,” Army Lt. Col. Antwan C. Williams, AAFES public affairs chief, said in a statement. 

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While the demand for adult magazines in AAFES stores has declined by 86 percent since 1998, it may not be a result of greater purity, but the pervasiveness of internet pornography. Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering service reports over 1 billion internet searches for pornography in 2013 alone. One in 5 searches on mobile phones are for pornography. 

In June, the organization Morality in Media wrote the Department of Defense asking for the removal of all pornography for sale in military exchange services in response to the rise in sexual assaults in the U.S. Military. The letter referenced the Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996, which prohibits the sale of magazines or videos that depict or describe “nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs, in a lascivious way.”

But the Department of Defense said that after a review, it decided pornographic magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse, and Nude Magazine were “adult sophisticate material,” and not sexually explicit under the law. 

At least one military branch has recognized the dangers of condoning pornography: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus ordered a “comprehensive visual inspection” to remove all materials, including posters and calendars, from the workplace that create a “degrading, hostile, or offensive work environment,” including materials that are “patently lewd, lascivious, obscene, or pornographic.”

Alissa Robertson
Alissa Robertson


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