4.2.3 The Retail Level

Part: 
Two
Chapter: 
4

Apart from mail order, and apart from the rental of pornographic video tapes in general use video retail outlets, most pornographic material reaches the consumer through retail establishments specializing in this material. These outlets, which we refer to as "adults only" outlets or establishments, usually limit entry to those eighteen years of age or older, but the strictness of the enforcement of the limitation to adults varies considerably from outlet to outlet. At times these retail outlets will take the form of theaters in which only material of this variety is shown, and at times they will be "adults only" outlets specializing in books and magazine. Increasingly, however, the peep show, often combined with an outlet for the sale of pornographic books and magazines, is a major form of meeting consumer demand.

The typical peep show is located on the premises of an "adults only" establishment selling large numbers of pornographic magazines, along with some other items, such as pornographic text-only books, sexual paraphernalia, sexually oriented newspapers, and video tapes. The peep show is often separated by a doorway or screen from the rest of the establishment, and consists of a number of booths in which a film, or, more likely now, a video tape, can be viewed. The patron inserts tokens into a slot for a certain amount of viewing time, and the patron is usually alone or with one other person within the particular booth. The peep show serves the purpose of allowing patrons to masturbate or to engage in sexual activity with others in some degree of privacy, at least compared to an adult theater, while watching the pornographic material. In a later section of our report describing these establishments we note in detail the generally unsanitary conditions in such establishments. The booths seem rarely to be cleaned, and the evidence of frequent sexual activity is apparent. Peep shows are a particularly common location for male homosexual activity within and between the booths, and the material available for viewing in some of the booths is frequently oriented towards the male homosexual.

There are, of course, establishments offering adult material that do not contain peep shows. Although video tapes and various items of sexual paraphernalia are likely to be sold, the bulk of the stock in these establishments consists of pornographic magazines, frequently arranged by sexual preference. There can be little doubt that the range of sexual preferences catered to by magazines is wider than that of any other form of pornography. As the listing of titles later in this report makes clear, virtually any conceivable, and quite a few inconceivable, sexual preferences are featured in the various specialty magazines, and materials featuring sadomasochism, bestiality, urination and defecation in a sexual context, and substantially more unusual practices even than those are a significant portion of what is available.