Steamy Talks on Sex Laws

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Some very steamy talk has been bubbling up on the law blogosphere. Eugene "Sex Machine" Volokh devoted quite a bit of time last week to discussing public sex laws. The conversation, which spilled over from Prettier Than Napoleon, involved restrictions of involuntary sexual arousal and touching. Holy moley! It was very sexy in a dry and completely academic/boring way. Overlawyered went overboard with the story of an underage girl in a spring break wet T-shirt contest. Now she's suing Anheuser-Busch and Playboy. Things haven't been this sexy on the law blogs since… ever. If last week is any indication, it's going to be a sticky, stinky summer in the blogetorium.

Things got even sexier, albeit in a totally neuter fashion, when George's Employment Blawg tackled the tough question, "What exactly is sex?" Well, if you don't know by now, Georgie, there's no point in me telling you! George was actually writing about whether the word "sex" in sex discrimination refers to sexuality or gender. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 leaves quite a bit up in the air when it comes to allegations of sexual harassment. Is it sexual harassment if you're fired for having an intimate relationship with the boss? What if you work at SeaWorld, and Shamu starts giving you unwanted glares? What about how basketball coaches always pat the players on the hiney? In 1986, the 8th Circuit said that Title VII deals with sexual identity and not sexual affiliation. The issue is a little fuzzy, but I think you're just going to have to tell Shamu that no means no.

Another hot story comes to us from the Workplace Law Blog, where they tell the story of a P.E. teacher who was fired for making a porno movie in her youth. I'm not sure what any of your grade school P.E. teachers looked like, dear reader, but mine were not exactly porno caliber. Professor Paul M. Secunda takes on the legal issues at play in this case. He determines that Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down Texas' prohibition of sodomy, would allow public employers to fire a worker whose private sex life disrupts the workplace. Arguing that a teacher with a porn under her belt could be a disruption, Secunda reluctantly sides with the school board.

Now we move onward to the dark side of human sexuality. A member of the Long Islang legislature last week sued Google with child pornography allegations. The Technology & Marketing Law Blog took Google's side in the suit, slamming the legislator's claims. Eric Goldman of the Technology & Marketing Blog takes the legislator to task for filing a frivolous lawsuit, noting that claim even defines child pornography archaically as "repulsive material that is illegal to distribute to children." The Search Engine Journal blog features a more detailed assessment, complete with examples of what Google actually did, as well as a notice that this same Long Island legislator is trying to pass a law to prevent minors from entering tanning salons. I agree with this legislator. Our nation's youth is too tan. They look like tiny George Hamiltons.

On a decidedly less sexy note, the recent Harvard law blog conference brought up this question: "Should blogging be fun?" Or, more important, "Can a fun law blog be scholarly?" At the conference, Ann Althouse stated that her blog was a perfect combination of fun and scholarship. While academics are free to pursue whatever kind of fun blog they want in their free time, many sticklers say a blog can either be fun or academic, but it cannot be both. Lawrence Solum of the Legal Theory Blog says that while a scholarly blog can, technically, be fun, in order to compete with the abundance of law blogs currently on the Internet, a new law blog would have to "opt in," or make the focus of its blog strictly serious. As for me, I prefer a nice balance between ghastly violence and hardcore nasty chat. That's why I go to Judged.

As our fingers and toes start to prune like gigantic mutant raisins (see David Blaine), it's time to step out of the law blog Jacuzzi and take a schvitz. Bring your own towel!

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