Playboy, Penthouse sales on military bases blamed for sex assaults

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,The Pentagon

They're not supposed to sell them, but some military exchanges still offer Penthouse, Playboy and other explicit magazines, and those sales contribute to the sexual harassment problem plaguing the services, according to a key lawmaker.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told the military brass this week, "We live in a culture that's awash in sexual activity. If it's not sold on base, it's right off base." Armed with a picture of a porn-filled magazine rack at San Antonio, Texas' Lackland Air Force Base exchange, he added, "It creates some problems, I think."

Sessions was endorsing a bid by the group Morality in Media to force the Pentagon to abide by the 1996 Military Honor and Decency Act, which bars the sale or rental of porn.

In a new letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the group also asked the Pentagon boss to bar access to pornography by electronic devices on military bases, claiming that servicemen, especially those on deployment, watch it so much that they get addicted. They specifically cited Playboy, Penthouse and Nude magazines.

"Spouses particularly complain of the resulting addiction and violent behaviors resulting from pornography use, often developed during deployments," said the letter provided to Secrets.

Hagel may be open to their plea. In May, he ordered the removal of offensive material, such as pornography, from all work spaces in the military.