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Friday, February 1, 2008

“3 on Your Side”

posted by on February 1 at 8:50 AM

If people need sex toys anywhere, they need ‘em in Mississippi. But it’s agin’ the law to sell sex toys, for some idiotic reason, in the great state of Mississippi. The law’s the law, so twice last year the Jackson Police Department busted a sex shop, Adult Video and Books, for the crime of selling “3-dimensional devices.”

And that should’ve been the end of Jackson’s 3-dimensional-device crime wave. But ace reporter Kandiss Crone—a pursed-lip, blue-nosed “reporter” at WLBT 3 News—got a hot tip: Adult Video and Books was back in the 3-dimensional device business! Crone—gotta love her last name—had no choice: To protect the good citizens of Jackson—presumably those that patronize this adult book store, as employees weren’t tossing vibrators at passing cars—from the imminent threat posed by those 3-dimensional devices (we don’t want the smoking gun to take the form of a mushroom-shaped dildo), Crone went undercover! And here are the exciting results of this shocking “3 on Your Side” undercover investigation (reproduced here exactly as posted at the WLBT 3 News’ website):

Kandiss Crone entered the store and said “Hi…I’m going to a bachelorette party, I’m looking for a sex toy.”

After looking over the stock Kandiss said “Can i [sic] have that purple one?”

As soon as the sale was completed our team walked back into the store to confront the owner.

Kandiss: “Hi charles, I’m Kandiss Crone from WLB [sic]. I understand this business was raided for selling sex toys illegally. I just purchased this sex toy and it is still illegal to sell them in the state of mississippi. Even though you were raided last year and you’re still selling them, what is your response to that?”

Charles Hobby: “Where did you buy it at?”

Kandiss: “I bought it here. I just walked in about five minutes ago and I bought this. Don’t you know it’s illegal to sell these? [sic]

Hobby: “That’s not one of the required items listed as being prohibited.”

But in fact, it is. Section 97 of the Mississippi State Law prohibits the sale of such 3-dimensional devices like the one we were sold.

Hobby: “That’s not a sex toy”

Kandiss: “What would you call this then? it’s a personal vibrator.

Hobby: “It can be put on your arm, your neck, your leg if it’s hurting or anything, it’s just a vibrator.”

Crone went running to the police for comment. She was, no doubt, hoping to end her report with some tape of the cops hauling Mr. Hobby out of his store in handcuffs. But the police don’t sound too thrilled about being the prospect of busting a sex shop owner for the crime of selling sex toys to the kind of people that patronize sex shops:

JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance issued the following statement:

“The adult store is not a priority for our vice and narcotics officers. We will do the best we can. Citizens would rather see us using our resources to get drugs and prostitutes off our streets and work to decrease violent crime.”

Crone’s report ends with this:

I walked in to find dozens of sex toys on the front walls of the store.

Selling the devices is a misdemeanor charge. If the person is convicted, they could be fined up to five-thousand dollars and could face six months in jail.

This kind of bullshit—so typical of local TV news programs—makes my blood boil. The books are packed with deeply silly, sex-phobic laws that are rarely enforced because the police have better things to do than bust people for the “crime” of selling vibrators. But TV news “reporters” can’t resist using sex to attract viewers while simultaneously exonerating their viewers—and themselves—for their prurience by framing the story in a negative light. This hypocrisy drives me up the wall: TV news reporters titillate their views with these sorts of reports (“Vibrators! Sex shops! Film at 11!”). It’s sexual sensationalism tarted up in the drag of disapproval.

This routine allows Kandiss Crones all over the country to pretend that they’re the noble defenders of the “values” of the communities they supposedly serve—“3 on Your Side!”—while at the same time tapping into the natural ratings appeal of sex. Because nothing sells like sex. Mr. Hobby knows it, and Ms. Crone knows it. They’re in the same business, really, but Mr. Hobby has the decency to be an honest smut peddler.

KandissCrone.jpgAnd excuse me, Kandiss, but whose side are you on? Not Mr. Hobby’s side. Not the side of viewers in your area that buy sex toys—Mr. Hobby is selling those vibrators to someone in Jackson. Surely some of your viewers believe they should be free to enjoy their sex toys in the privacy of their own homes. And you’re certainly not the side of the Jackson police department, which seems to regard this law—and you, Kandiss—as a huge pain in its ass.

And you’re not on the side of common sense, which would tell you that this law is not only ridiculous but unenforceable. If the police get the 3-dimensional devices off the shelves at Adult Video and Books, the people of Jackson can go here—or here or here or here—and order all the vibrators they want.

What really annoys me about that “on your side” crap is this: Kandiss Crone assumes that all her viewers are sexually-repressed, church-going, 3-dimensional-device-fearing clenchbutts. (And, yes, I’m assuming that churchgoers are anti-sex toy, which isn’t fair.) That’s the way these stories always work on local TV news programs: All viewers are presumed to be just as shocked by sex toys—or sex shops, or strip clubs, or public gay sex—as the reporter is.

Or, in this instance, just as shocked as Kandiss Crone pretends to be. How much do you wanna bet that Ms. Kandiss Crone—like a lot of sophisticated, professional, modern women out there—has buried a sex toy or two in her twat at some point in her life? Ms. Crone, according to her bio, attended the University of California, and worked at stations in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Yuma, Arizona, before landing in Jackson, Mississippi. She’s a sophisticated young professional—just the type that buys and uses sex toys. And I’m thinking WLBT’s anchors, other reporters, editors, cameramen, and sound guys can’t all be stranger’s to 3-dimensional devices—or even Mr. Hobby’s sex toy emporium. But they go on the teevee and cluck their tongues and look Very Serious and Concerned about this Very Serious Issue and play to the smug prejudices of small-minded, sex-negative assholes while at the same time making folks who do use sex toys—or sell them, or work in places that do—feel ashamed of themselves. (Hey, WLBT: Why not a story on how this law is ridiculous and, thanks to the Internet, unenforceable?)

I think it’s time for a little vigilante justice in defense of sex toys, the people that sell them, and the people—in Jackson and elsewhere—that purchase them and use them. In the meantime, though, here’s some contact info for WLBT:

Kandiss Crone can be reached via email:

Dennis Smith is WLBT’s news editor. His email address is

You can write to WLBT 3 News at…

WLBT 3 News
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201

And you can call them at…

(601) 960-4426 newsroom
(601) 355-7830 newsroom fax

Finally, I’m always getting letters from people asking me how to dispose of used sex toys. So I’m going to look into the legality of mailing our used and unwanted sex toys to the crusaders for public decency at WLBT 3 News in Jackson, Mississippi. If Crone and the rest of the gang at WLBT 3 News don’t think people should be able to purchase or use 3-dimensional devices, I’m sure the gang at “3 on Your Side” would be only to happy to dispose of our used sex toys for us. I’m sure the gang will rest easier knowing that the sex toys we send ‘em aren’t laying around in drawers or on the shelves of closets where—heavens!—kids might run across ‘em.

Watch Savage Love for updates.

RSS icon Comments


Yes Dan, but think about the children. THE CHILDREN!!

Posted by Tim | February 1, 2008 8:53 AM

Dan Savage; True American Hero.

Posted by steve | February 1, 2008 8:54 AM

Oooh! A mailing address! This sounds like a job for the Baby Jesus Buttplug!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 1, 2008 8:54 AM

I have some nipple clamps that don't really work for me. Think WLBT would take them? They do exist in three dimensions.

Posted by Emily | February 1, 2008 8:56 AM

This just seems like a slightly less retarded 4chan /b/-style raid.

Posted by The CHZA | February 1, 2008 8:56 AM

Tee hee hee -

My sex toys have FOUR dimensions.

Posted by six shooter | February 1, 2008 8:59 AM

I'm in, Dan! So to speak.

Posted by Gloria | February 1, 2008 8:59 AM

The best way to get rid of a bad law is to rigorously enforce it.

- Maybe the TV new is on your side.
- Maybe they were, in a very indirect way, trying to show how silly this whole deal is?
- If they got cops to enforce these laws and people were locked up for devices who operate in the 3rd dimension, people would demand change?

That said, all local TV news is shit. All they report is crime, crime, crime, puppy dog, sports, crime, crime and crime. After watching the local TV news, you'd think you'd get murdered just walking outside your building. Why is it that no other news medium sinks so such lows?

Plus, Mississippi state police can fuck themselves; I sell 4-dimensional klein dildos.

Posted by crk on bellevue ave | February 1, 2008 9:06 AM

Kandiss Crone is a drag name if I ever heard one.

Are you sure this wasn't a parody, Dan?

Posted by alan | February 1, 2008 9:07 AM

two thoughts:

1) how to dispose of sex toys? Throw them the fuck away! Is this even a question?

2) shouldn't we send our rubber dicks to the MS legislature, or perhaps the AG? The TV station is retarded for running this story, but it wouldn't have the ammo if this law wasn't on the books or if the store wasn't prosecuted for this twice before.

Posted by Mike in MO | February 1, 2008 9:14 AM

"Kandiss?" That's the worst spelling of that name EVER.

Posted by Hernandez | February 1, 2008 9:14 AM


§ 97-29-105. Distribution or wholesale distribution of unlawful sexual devices; prosecutor's bond.
"A person commits the offense of distributing unlawful sexual devices when he knowingly sells, advertises, publishes or exhibits to any person any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs, or offers to do so, or possesses such devices with the intent to do so. A person commits the offense of wholesale distributing unlawful sexual devices when he distributes for the purpose of resale any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs, or offers to do so, or possesses such devices with the intent to do so."

Posted by crk on bellevue ave | February 1, 2008 9:20 AM

IAWTOC. Also, @5 - heh. Thanks for the first out-loud laugh of the day.

Posted by Callie | February 1, 2008 9:21 AM

To be fair, they may be behind the times on the whole three-dimensional devices ban, but they're way out in front on sibling marriages.

Posted by flamingbanjo | February 1, 2008 9:22 AM

Now some poor closet case is going to have to sit on the plunger in the shower. And yes, he's going to slip.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 1, 2008 9:25 AM

I'm a church-goer, and I support the sale and liberal use of sex toys. Thanks for putting me in a box, Dan.

Posted by gary7 | February 1, 2008 9:26 AM

The MS law that crk was so helpful to provide states that these devices cannot be "PRIMARILY for the stimulation of HUMAN genital organs". Looks like I'm going to make a lot of money selling sheep-genital stimulators in the Deep South.

Posted by oljb | February 1, 2008 9:26 AM

i think the word "twat" is actually less appealing that "cunt".

Posted by max solomon | February 1, 2008 9:29 AM

If you watch the video this is called their "top" story. What is going on with local news these days. No wonder all the mouth breathers are getting so weird.

Posted by Mikeblanco | February 1, 2008 9:30 AM

So, did she return the vibrator?

Posted by gregz | February 1, 2008 9:33 AM

"Originally from a small town called Oxnard, California, Kandiss feels right at home here in the south. When she's not at work, you can find her at the gym, church, or in the kitchen cooking."

Who needs masturbation when you have an eliptical, the food network, and Jesus to keep you busy?

Posted by jewritto | February 1, 2008 9:33 AM

Crk is correct: rigorously enforcing this law every day on the news is the best way to get rid of it. And for a bunch of filthy degenerates in faraway Seattle to bombard them with used condoms and unclean dildos is the best way to get them to keep it. "Look, they ARE perverts, I tole yuh, this's whut haypunns whin you induuuulge yuh puhvutted naychuh".

Better to continue the ban on discussing Mississippi in Washington. Pretend they're not there.

Posted by Fnarf | February 1, 2008 9:33 AM

Oh no, Fnarf. Not Seattle -- this is going in Savage Love, so they'll be getting toys from all over these United States and Canada.

And Gary? I wrote this: "(And, yes, I’m assuming that churchgoers are anti-sex toy, which isn’t fair.)" So I get you, I really do.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 9:40 AM

I think the good Police Chief knows that allowing the sale of these three dimensional devices keeps frustration and stress levels down, keeps those people at home, and reduces violent crime.

That's why he's stopped enforcing that well-reasoned law.

Posted by HL | February 1, 2008 9:42 AM

Smell the hypocrisy...

This routine allows Kandiss Crones all over the country to pretend that they’re the noble defenders of the “values” of the communities they supposedly serve—“3 on Your Side!”—while at the same time tapping into the natural ratings appeal of sex. Because nothing sells like sex.

Mr. Savage runs a "sex advice" column, where he asserts himself in the role of the noble defender of the "values" of his "community".

Where Ms. Crone gets in a froth over sex toys, Savage gets unhinged over a bathhouse (just the one, not the other). Has Ms. Crone ever used a sex toy? Has Mr. Savage ever gone to the bathhouse to actually see what it is that he so readily and prudishly condemns?

Maybe people can find the difference between these two defenders of sexual morality, but they look an awful lot alike from here.

Posted by BallardDan | February 1, 2008 9:45 AM

Kandiss idolizes Katey Couric and dreams of living on the upper east side even though she has no idea where the upper east side is.

Posted by monkey | February 1, 2008 9:49 AM

BallardDan, what a poor analogy. whens the last time someone got a disease from a sex toy on its own?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 1, 2008 9:52 AM

@25: I see your point, but while (I'm guessing that) Dan opposes bathhouses due to the health risks for the men who participate in unprotected sex, unused sex toys create no such health risk.

In one case, a person's advocating for the safety of a community. In the other, there is no risk, just a perception of immorality.

Posted by Lauren | February 1, 2008 9:54 AM

twat isn't nearly as bad as cunt. It's not even as bad as snatch. Twat is almost polite.

Posted by Mike in MO | February 1, 2008 9:55 AM

"Is it still the Upper East Side if I turn around and face the other way?"

OK, Dan, I think it's wrong, but it's very funny.

From the sound of her, I doubt very much whether ANYTHING could ever squeak past Mizz Crone's nuclear-powered cuntclench.

Posted by Fnarf | February 1, 2008 9:56 AM

Considering my access to unlimited publishing opportunities here on the Interwebs, and the platform my column provides, I'd hardly say that the few times I've written anything about bathhouse sex is evidence that I'm unhinged on the subject. I think the bathhouses are evil and icky and that the men who go to them all have cooties -- or worse.

And I have gone to a couple -- in a professional capacity -- to check 'em out. I left not knowing how anyone could drop their trousers in one.

But I'm hardly unhinged -- there's a bathhouse a block from my office, and you'll rarely if ever find me picketing it.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 9:59 AM

In all fairness to Ms. Crone, frequently these sorts of stories are assigned to a reporter by a desk or assignment editor at the station. Once assigned, reporters don't have much discretion in the matter of whether to accept or reject the assignment. (Ask my colleague Mr. Forman about why he always gets stuck with those rotten "Stormpocalypse" live-feeds, if you need an example of what I'm talking about).

I'm not saying that's the case here, since it is possible Ms. Crone could have pitched the story idea herself. But, without knowing one way or the other, I'm willing to give her at least some benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, it's pretty funny, not to mention ironic in a way, that the report on the "scourge of adult sex toys" was preceded on the video download by an ad for a casino; apparently the good Christians of Jackson, MS have a rather flexible concept of what's sinful, and what isn't.

Posted by COMTE | February 1, 2008 10:02 AM

Can someone direct me to Ms. Crone's bio? I can't find it on their site.

She apparently has the Upper East Side confused with the Upper Left Side.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 10:05 AM

Since Slog introduced me to the fatosphere, I've been reading their sites with interest. The big news there is that three legislators in Mississippi want to make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese people, so clearly Mississippi just wants to stick their noses in everything people do for pleasure, not just sex.

So fat people and sloggers unite!

Posted by SpookyCat | February 1, 2008 10:05 AM
Posted by Lauren | February 1, 2008 10:07 AM

Ugh... "Originally from a small town called Oxnard, California, Kandiss feels right at home here in the south. When she's not at work, you can find her at the gym, church, or in the kitchen cooking."

That's right, be a good Southern woman. Keep that body tight, fear god with the best of 'em, and make me some biscuits!

Posted by Lauren | February 1, 2008 10:10 AM

So, my best friend is from Mississippi, and he brings up something REALLY INTERESTING. The law states that "any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs" is illegal to sell or purchase. HOWEVER, the anus is NOT considered a sexual organ. So, it is technically illegal to sell sex toys to stick in your vagi-gi, but NOT illegal to sell sex toys to stick up your butt. Mississippi is heterosexist, Dan!! Anal beads all around!!

Posted by Travis | February 1, 2008 10:13 AM

Kandiss Krone sounds like a perfect name for a hagged-out drag queen.

"Kandiss" alone is a perfect stripper pseudonym.

Posted by sam | February 1, 2008 10:15 AM

I was with you until the whole, I bet she's had some sex toys in her twat comment. Unnecessary.

Posted by You're better than that, Dan | February 1, 2008 10:24 AM

Hey Dan... She went to USC, not Berkeley. HUGE DIFFERENCE in liberal cred!!!

Posted by DOUG. | February 1, 2008 10:25 AM

Oh my god I hate "Kandiss" SOOOO MUUUUUCH! Look at that picture of her with her big shit eating grin. I hate her I hate her I HATE her!

I am so glad I don't believe in God. The only thing worse than sitting through church every Sunday would be sitting in church surrounded by that woman and 100 other bitches that look just like her with their weird bulgy eyes and creepy demon smiles.


Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | February 1, 2008 10:29 AM

I think it's relevant, You're Better Than That, Dan. I'm sooooo tired, for instance, of reading regurgitated DEA press releases in newspapers -- hey there, Seattle Times; how you doin', PI -- that I know for a fact have tons of regular pot users on staff and in management. This sort of moralism-for-the-readers/viewers, hedonism-for-the-reporters/editors shit is rife at dailies and TV news operations. It's all pursed lips and furrowed brows on the air, then an interesting, complex, nuanced private life off the air.

It's a kind of pandering, and the worst kind, as it distorts a communities perception of itself. I'm not saying that folks on the teevee or in the dailies need to scream "I've got 10 vibrators under my bed!" when this piece comes up. But they should, I think, strive for a bit of balance. Perhaps Kandiss could've interviewed someone that felt this law was, oh, idiotic, unenforceable, and an attack on, you know, freedom and shit. For balance -- balance, that magic ingredient that teevee and daily reporters are always congratulating themselves for stirring into each and every report.

Except, of course, for reports about sex and drugs. When it comes to America's true pastimes -- sex and drugs -- there's no balance. Just pandering to the law-and-order, sex-scares-me, drugs-are-bad-m'kay crowd.

If Kandiss doesn't have a vibrator at home -- and I didn't say she did, only that she was likely to -- surely some of her coworkers do. And if they're going to put shit like this out there, whether or not the "3 on Your Side" team or anyone else at WLBT uses 3-dimensional sex toys is relevant.

Hell, we should be free not just to speculate -- we should be free to conduct and undercover investigation of our own.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 10:33 AM

Dan- right on.

SpookyCat@34: If MS stops serving the obese, how will the restaurants make any money? MS has the highest obesity rate in the US: 30.6 fucking percent. (Also, MS has the highest infant mortality rate in the US. Way to go Red States!)

Posted by Big Sven | February 1, 2008 10:44 AM

Is Kan-diss aware that they have HARDWARE STORES in Mississississippippi too? Do you KNOW what you can do with some of the stuff in there?

Posted by Fnarf | February 1, 2008 10:45 AM

i think "twat" is a downright cute word (tho not quite as cute as vag-gi-gi).

Posted by ellarosa | February 1, 2008 10:48 AM

I want to see Kandiss burst into an Albertson's in Mississippi and bust them for selling sex toys in their produce aisle (cucumber anyone?). Or what about lotion? That's 3-dimensional and stimulates sexual organs. KY Jelly? Apple Pie? The list goes on and on and on.

Posted by Travis | February 1, 2008 10:57 AM

Hahaha, my old roommate was from Jackson, Mississippi, and she was the most sexually comfortable and open person I have ever met. She was the kind of person everyone called up to tell their crazy sex story from the night before. She helped me buy my very first vibrator!

So no worries. The girls (and boys) in Jackson will get through fine.

Posted by bbb | February 1, 2008 11:19 AM

But I'm hardly unhinged -- there's a bathhouse a block from my office, and you'll rarely if ever find me picketing it

Dan, as a defender of gay rights and sexual freedoms, I'd like to ask you a question.

Do you support gay mens' right to have consensual sex at a club? yes or no?

Posted by BallardDan | February 1, 2008 11:34 AM

Despite having questions about the newsworthiness of purple vibrators, I think it's pretty cool that both of the anchors and the reporter were black. Wouldn't have seen the same thing 45 years ago in Jackson, that's for sure.

Posted by Lauren | February 1, 2008 11:37 AM

Yes. I also support gay mens' right to eat in a Denny's, where you're also not likely to find me.

But if a club is shown to a be a nexus of disease, BallardDan, the health department should shut it down -- just like they'd shut down a Denny's. A sex club is a business, licensed and regulated like any other business, and if its facilitating the spread of disease -- by design or neglect -- it oughta be shut down, like any other business.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 11:40 AM

@49: Way to find the silver lining.

Posted by Greg | February 1, 2008 12:02 PM

#37...I don't know about the anus technically being a sex organ. But the FCC just fined ABC and many affiliates a buttload of money because they showed some buttocks on NYPD (or some such show) and they decreed that buttocks are sexual and/or excretory in nature!

Posted by the brain is the biggest sex organ | February 1, 2008 12:04 PM

But if a club is shown to a be a nexus of disease, BallardDan, the health department should shut it down -- just like they'd shut down a Denny's.

I agree. Just common sense.

So, that asks the question...

are any of the clubs in Seattle (or Portland, Berkeley, and so on) a nexus of disease? If so, why don't the health departments shut them down?

Posted by BallardDan | February 1, 2008 12:09 PM

Talk to anyone at a health department -- off the record -- and they'll go on and on about the dangers of the sex clubs. But they won't close 'em for fear of the reaction from the "gay community."

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 12:22 PM

why are people always writing in asking how to dispose of their old sex toys? are they just environmentally conscious, or are they afraid that the neighbor's dog will knock over their trash can and parade around the neighborhood with it?

Posted by erika | February 1, 2008 12:23 PM

You didn't actually answer the question.

Either they're a nexus of disease or not.

Posted by BallardDan | February 1, 2008 12:31 PM

They are.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 12:35 PM

Here are the choices:

The health departments can't actually prove that bathhouses are nexuses(sp?)of disease.

They're not actually nexuses of disease.

They are, but the health departments are being willfully negligent.

Where's your proof, Dan, other than supposed hearsay?

Posted by BallardDan | February 1, 2008 1:05 PM

Dan Savage, having destroyed Ms. Kandiss Crone in front of millions, takes a deep breath and lowers his big, purple sex toy. He calmy reaches for another toy, this time a small, Jesus Butt Plug. 'Now it's time to Huckabee someone,' he says to himself.

Posted by falcon1 | February 1, 2008 1:11 PM

BallardDan - give it a rest would ya'please.

Posted by tiredDr.Jim | February 1, 2008 1:22 PM

@59 Great comment, but let's be more specific.

Huckabee (n):

A religiously-themed sex toy.

As in:

"Oh, yes! Yes! That new curved Huckabee you got really hits the spot!"

Posted by gary7 | February 1, 2008 1:34 PM

Big Sven @ 43

Not a well thought out bit of legislation, I agree. I suppose they'd justify it by saying the restaurants should just comply because it's for the public health, and what are a few paltry dollars compared with that? It's a weak argument, and the law would be another one that the limited number of police officers would probably neglect to enforce also. I certainly would prefer the police went after burglers and muggers than people selling sex toys or food.

Posted by SpookyCat | February 1, 2008 1:43 PM

@52) Hey - Are you givin? And gettin? And givin? And gettin it on?

Posted by *gong* | February 1, 2008 2:13 PM

@60 Give what a rest? The sole interesting back-and-forth on this string? Let's do hurry back to this fascinating dildo-disposal discussion.

I have to say good on ya, BallardDan. You stuck to your guns and weren't intimidated by a blast of "health-department workers secretly tell me" bullshit from Senor Savage. Well done!

Posted by Jason E | February 1, 2008 3:54 PM

There's tons of info out there, Ballard Dan & Jason E. You could, of course, Google it yourself, but then you'll have to read things you don't want to read. I'm actually working here, and don't have time to chase down every "prove it!" that's posted to comments. But here's one link:

Epidemiologic data regarding HIV risk in bathhouses:

Attachment A summarizes epidemiologic data from published and unpublished surveys and studies on bathhouses and HIV risk. Bathhouses attract high-risk clients. The HIV prevalence among bathhouse users ranges from 10% to 22%. In two New York surveys, bathhouse users reported large numbers of sex partners per year (mean 26-29, median 11-12), and in one survey in Berkeley, bathhouse users reported a mean of 3.2 partners per visit.

In spite of the fact that there are not large numbers of gay bathhouses and sex clubs, one in five men who have sex with men in New York report visiting them at least once in the previous 12 months. However, it appears that most men who visit bathhouses go there relatively infrequently; only 22% in New York visited one or more times per month.

There are few surveys describing the sexual activity within bathhouses. In one survey in Berkeley, 44% of bathhouse users reported anal sex and 11% reported unprotected anal sex during the last visit.

A study conducted in New York City in 2002 provided strong evidence that the sexual behavior in bathhouses was risky enough to facilitate the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. In a case-control study of patients with syphilis, cases were twice as likely as controls drawn from the STD clinic to report visiting a bathhouse and four times as likely to report having unprotected anal sex at a bathhouse.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 1, 2008 4:27 PM

Ummm, do you think we could NOT send used sex toys to them? I know they are assholes for badmouthing sex toys, but that just seems a little over the top. Isn't that like a biohazard or something?

How about low-quality clean sex toys?

Posted by Brandon h | February 1, 2008 5:07 PM

I live in Starkville, MS ... it's not so bad. We have a sex toy shop about 20 minutes away with an awesome selection. They have all the vibes and toys pretty openly displayed, they just can't advertise. We also have a decent-sized gay community, drag parties, swingers, and straight boys who make out with each other for fun. I'm sure Seattle is cooler, but for 30,000 people we do all right.

Posted by Jocelyn | February 1, 2008 8:42 PM

So, I know this post really isn't about bathhouses, but...I basically agree with Dan that they pose a very real risk. Like everything with sex tho, it seems to get complex and conflicted. My bf and I occasionally go a bathhouse and fuck the hell out of each other, just each other. That it's sleazy and voyeuristic and "risky" and skanky makes it hot (or at least different). Somehow everything that's wrong with a bathhouse turns my crank, at least occasionally. But that doesn't make it right, so I guess I shouldn't support them or, perhaps more importantly, reinforce the image that there is something "hot" about anonymous sex at a club -- even if I'm not doing it with anyone other than the sweet, sexy, SAFE bf. Hard to avoid all hypocrisies I in NY and in MS.

Posted by Matt | February 2, 2008 4:21 AM

Dan, will you have my babies?

Posted by Lauren | February 2, 2008 9:08 AM

I second Jocelyn's comments about Starkville. I was going to add something to it, but she said it all pretty fucking well.

Posted by Laura | February 3, 2008 2:23 PM


Kandiss Crone has an employer and a "boss." Thus, she doesn't get to decide which stories she covers and which not to cover. She is assigned stories by an assignment editor, who in turn must obey his superior, who tells him what stories to assign. In other words, to attack her for doing this story is unfair. She could, of course, refuse to do the story--and get fired--but standing on such a principle for a silly sex story is no different from the police refusing to arrest the entrepreneur--the issue isn't worth the sacrifice. Furthermore, your ad hominem attacks on Ms. Crone (her name, her appearance, her genitalia) represent faulty and unsophisticated argumentation and certainly bad taste.

Second, WLBT didn't make the laws, nor do they enforce them, nor do they support them. The station is a non-biased entity whose job is to expose anyone who is breaking the law or make the public aware that law breaking is going on. The public then must decide whether the execution or lack thereof is ethical. This is the purpose of investigative reporting. For all you know, the exposition of this story could lead to the removal of these stupid laws from the books. However, it could lead to stricter enforcement of them. That's the risk. Investigative journalism exposes issues for the public to weigh and consider. What the public decides to do is up to them. Now you could declare that the news should not make it its business to expose issues, but you may then find yourself having to ask, "Why expose murder?" "Why expose embezzlement?" "Why expose speeding?" "Why expose pot holes in a street that should be better maintained?" But then, why not ask, "Why expose any issue at all?" This is the purpose of news, and to refrain from doing so would be the end of news reporting. Then you must ask, "Why should news exist at all?" The entity exposes issues, and it does not consider which issues Dan considers worthwhile and which he considers a waste of time--for that is simply YOUR opinion.

Finally, to declare that the WLBT is selecting this story only because sex arouses an audience to pay attention is hypocritical, for your declaration begs your readers to ask, "Why are YOU writing about the issue if not for the same reason?" Your argument suggests that no one can write or show a story about sex unless that person is USING sex to gain attention. Is that why YOU are writing an article that mentions sex or sex toys? Then cannot someone else ALSO write or show a story about sex toys without an ulterior and petty motive?

Posted by Douglas | February 4, 2008 3:52 PM


I'm sorry, but I wanted to make something else clear. The purpose of WLBT's story was not to incite the "sex police" to arrest sex toy store employees, close the stores down, or burn them down. Rather, the story's purpose was to say, "Hey, Mississippi (or Jackson) has laws that they aren't really enforcing or that there are laws that are being hypocritically enforced whenever doing so is politically expedient to do so or when someone spitefully wishes to harm an entrepreneur." Shouldn't this issue be an issue? Shouldn't something be done about this? Don't you care that there is no consistency in the enforcement of a law that is being manipulated to serve someone's private interest? Shouldn't WLBT bring this to the public's attention?

Posted by Douglas | February 4, 2008 4:03 PM

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