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Of U.S.Travels, Road Signs and Pornography, Moving Cross Country Part 3

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

One of the articles I wrote for readers at Mental Help Net has stirred many responses and controversies. The article was on the issue of marriage and pornography. Thus far, the largest numbers of people complaining about Internet Pornography have been the women whose boyfriends or husbands secretly go to pornographic web sites either when they, the women, are not home or at night, when they are asleep.

I have moved from Colorado to Florida during August of 2008. My wife, myself and our 4 dogs drove the distance 2,000 miles from Boulder, Colorado to Port Charlotte, Florida, over a four day journey. During the drive there was plenty of time to look at highway posters, some of which were humorous and some dull and unimaginative. However, among the many advertisements we noticed something neither of us were aware of in years past when we travelled. What we noticed were the number of posters announcing and encouraging people to stop and visit pornographic stores and strip joints in most of the towns and cities we passed during our journey.

Some of the pornographic posters were hilariously funny in the way they proudly announced "nudity," "complete nudity," "more nudity," "total nudity," and, I suppose, "the nudiest of all."

What we found troubling about these posters was the fact that children riding with their parents would be exposed to this information. It is not that children should not be allowed to ask questions about sex, and they should, but what type of message do these road signs send about adult sexuality and our values as a society? What does it say about how we value women and how we value relationships and individual people?

Communities are not standing by doing nothing about the posters. All along the highways, there were many examples of various religious groups utilizing the same strategy of advertising to quote from the bible about "sin, temptation and exploitation." The signs usually came one after the other with the first sign preceding the pornographic stores advertisement. There was the struggle between good and evil, right up there on U.S. highways. Of course, I am joking about this because I do not believe the issue is a matter of the struggle between sin and virtue. However, there are questions of good taste, the appropriate time and place for sex and protecting our families from unwanted intrusions of sexual materials.

As we read these various posters I asked myself who they were aimed at? It’s a fairly easy guess that they are not aimed at the average family and they are not aimed at children. The only logical conclusion is that the posters are aimed at truckers. Does that make it OK? Truckers are also married, family men, and they are also women who are married with families. In addition, even if truckers, travelling sales people or anyone wants to peruse pornography do they really need loud and repetitive road signs to encourage them to come in? I would imagine that most people whose jobs cause them to spend many hours driving each day know very well where to go to get sexually explicit material if they think that is what they need.

To all those married people who are struggling with the problem of husbands secretly viewing pornography, I have ask if it is any surprise that this is happening given all the advertising and enticements into  getting people to view pornography?

Your comments, experiences and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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