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Published in: May-June 2008 issue.

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A Tale of Two Dildos Progress can be reported on two fronts in the battle to put sex toys into the hands of any adult who wants to own them. The stories unite two places, Texas and Sweden, that would seem to occupy opposite poles on some imaginary spectrum of civic enlightenment. For while the one was struggling to decide whether sex toys should be banned from public sale, the other was stocking the shelves of state-owned drugstores with dildos and other sex aids.

• Not to prolong the suspense, it was Texas that awoke one morning to the headline, “Breaking News: Dildo Ban in TX Ruled Unconstitutional,” announcing that the U.S. Fifth Circuit had, by a 2–1 vote, struck down Texas’ ban on “sexual devices” as a violation of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The majority opinion also cited good old Lawrence v. Texas: “Because of Lawrence, the issue before us is whether the Texas statute impermissibly burdens the individual’s substantive due process right to engage in private intimate conduct of his or her choosing.”

• While Texas was deciding, in effect, that sex toys could now be sold in seedy porn shops or delivered in plain brown packages, Sweden was voting to allow its government-run Apoteket pharmacy chain to begin supplying dildos and the like as a health benefit for its citizens.

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