a. "Adult Only" Pornographic Outlets

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
8

"Adults only" pornographic outlets can be found in both large metropolitan areas and many small towns throughout the United States. Although these "adults only" pornographic outlets are frequently located in downtown metropolitan areas, they have also appeared in business and residential sections of suburban communities.[2187]

The windows of "adults only" pornographic outlet storefronts are usually opaque to prevent the general public from looking into the store from the outside.[2188] Prominently displayed on the outside facade of the outlets may be large signs such as "adult books, movies and magazines" and "$.25 movies" to entice patronage.[2189] These signs are sometimes accompanied by neon and flashing lights designed to attract attention and arouse public curiosity. Sometimes, there are also signs displayed which say "no one under 18 is permitted inside."[2190] Although most states require patrons to be at least eighteen years old to enter these establishments, few, if any, stores have employees at the point of entry to verify ages and enforce this law.

The inside of a "adults only" pornographic outlet can be divided into distinct display and sales areas. The display areas include sections devoted to sexual devices and paraphernalia, reading materials and peep show booths.[2191] In the typical pornographic outlet it is not uncommon to see anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 different items for sale.[2192]

In some "adults only" pornographic outlets, patrons are required to pay a nominal fee to get into the sexually explicit material and peep booth areas. This fee is sometimes deducted from a future purchase.[2193]

The "novelty section" of the average pornographic outlet contains numerous sexual devices and paraphernalia such as dildos, rubber vaginas, tools used to simulate sodomy, medical appliances to spread anal and vaginal orifices, "love" creams, blow-up dolls with orifices, stimulants, inhalants,[2194] whips, leather harnesses, edible panties and rubber clothing articles.[2195]

The "magazine section" is often divided into categories such as heterosexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, sadomasochism, bondage and discipline, excretion, bestiality and simulated child pornography.[2196] There are many other types of magazines which are meant to appeal to specific sexual interests.[2197] For example, Mother's Milk[2198] depicts women who have milk in their breasts engaged in various sexual acts that include squirting milk. Poppin' Mamas[2199] depicts pregnant women engaged in various sexual acts including lesbian activities.[2200] The magazines are often wrapped in cellophane to prevent customers from thumbing through the magazines, to restrict law enforcement officers from examining the magazines, and to provide arguments in the event of prosecution as to "lack of knowledge" by outlet personnel.[2201]

The "paperback book" section contains paperbacks with a variety of themes including incest, child sex,[2202] bestiality,[2203] group sex,[2204] and sadomasochism.[2205] A Pony for Daughter, Teen Sex Slaves of Saigon, Family Lovers, and Whipped Wives are among current paperback titles.[2206]

The "movie section" of these "adults only" pornographic outlets contain mostly eight millimeter films and video tape cassettes. There are thousands of titles on the market today on subjects running the gamut of sexual behaviors with some appealing to specific paraphilias.[2207]

Eight millimeter films retail for approximately eighty dollars in these stores.[2208] Video tape cassettes sell for sixty to eighty dollars depending on the type and quality of the product.[2209]

In addition, an "adults only" pornographic outlet may contain anywhere from five to one hundred "peep show booths".[2210] These booths are usually located in a secluded section near the rear of the establishment.

Some pornographic outlets also have live sex acts.[2211] "Show World" in the Times Square District of New York City, has booths where patron can watch nude dancers and observe live sex acts.[2212] Some booths are equipped with telephones so that the patron can engage in a conversation with the nude performer.[2213] Some booths have glass between the patron and the performer while others are constructed with holes in the glass to permit physical contact between the patron and the performer.[2214]

Most "adults only" pornographic outlets advertise their services and products on their storefronts. Some of these establishments advertise in local phone directories like any other business establishment. Some also advertise through sexually explicit tabloids and magazines, flyers and business cards.

Pornographic outlets generally, and peep shows in particular, are a primary focus of organized crime involvement.[2215] These outlets are primarily a cash business and as such, it is relatively easy to "launder" or hide actual profits.[2216] One witness who had operated numerous "adults only" pornographic outlets, advised, that the daily receipts for his stores were sixteen hundred dollars a day in quarters from peep shows and three hundred fifty dollars a day from magazine sales.[2217]

The store operator also stated it was common practice in this industry, like many other businesses, to keep two sets of financial records: one for the internal Revenue Service and a second personal set.[2218] The witness observed that it was also commonplace to state no more than one hundred dollars as daily gross revenue for an "adults only" pornographic outlet[2219] although he estimated that his stores would gross between sixty and eighty thousand dollars a month.[2220]

The impact of sexually explicit videos on "adults only" pornographic outlets is uncertain. Videos are being increasingly used in the outlets' peep show booths. In addition, the stores sell and rent videos as part of their general business. In this way, the proliferation of sexually explicit video tape cassettes has become a positive revenue source.

In addition, some individuals patronize "adults only" pornographic outlets primarily for the atmosphere and potential for sexual activity. Others go to these outlets to purchase sexually explicit magazines, books or sexual devices. These patrons will undoubtedly not be significantly influenced by the availability of video.

At the same time, however, the "adults only" pornographic outlet is no longer the exclusive source for an individual who wants to buy or rent a sexually explicit video tape cassette. He may rent sexually explicit videos at general video retail outlets which also stock general release and children's videos. He may then view them in the privacy of his own home.

In sum it is unclear at this point what long term effects sexually explicit videos will have on these "adults only" pornographic outlets.[2221]

Nearly all of the general information stated above regarding the typical outlet and peep show booth, except financial information, was observed first hand by the members of the Commission. As part of the public hearings conducted in Houston, Texas, the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography toured three of the fifty "adults only" pornographic outlets operating in that city. The Commissioners were accompanied on this tour by several detectives from the Houston City Police Department. The three locations visited were Mr. Peepers, 4330 Richmond Highway; Hillcroft News, 6445 Hillcroft Street and Talk of the Town, 8228 Gulf Freeway.

During this tour, the Commissioners observed the materials available in the outlets, the peep show booths-complete with patrons engaging in explicit sexual activity-and the generally unhealthy environment posed by the sexual activity and debris in the store.

Each of the outlets viewed by the Commission, which were described as representative of those in Houston generally, were divided into two areas. An entering patron initially encountered a room well stocked with sexually explicit publications with covers depicting a variety of homosexual as well as heterosexual activities. A number of materials portraying sodomy and sadomasochistic acts were also conspicuous. Several of the stores had glass cases displaying an assortment of sexual devices and paraphernalia. The rear portion of each store contained peep show booths in which patrons could observe segments of sexually explicit movies for twenty-five cents per minute or two of film footage. Some outlets charged admission to the peep booth area, typically one dollar.

The peep show booth area of each of the outlets toured had minimal illumination, stark decor and a pervasive darkness. The peep show booths were equipped with holes in the wall to enable genital contact with patrons in other booths. Uniformly the walls and floors of booths were stained with substances identified by the accompanying vice detectives as semen, urine, saliva and feces.

In addition, individual Commissioners took private tours of the New York Times Square area and Washington, D.C., pornographic retail establishments.

Notes

  1. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, W. D. Brown, p. 35.
  2. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, Dennis DeBord, p. 95.
  3. Id.
  4. Id., p. 96.
  5. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, Brown, p. 37.
  6. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, W. D., Brown, p. 37.
  7. Id.
  8. It has been found that most of these chemical agents contain volatile nitrites which are schedule D drugs. These chemical agents are primarily used for the alleged stimulation of sexual desires and sexual arousal, although many are marketed under the pretext that they have other purposes such as room deodorizing or for use as perfume. "The Spanish fly;" a prominent chemical product on the market, has a high concentration of caffeine. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, W. D. Brown, pp. 38-39.
  9. Id.; Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, Dennis DeBord, p. 96.
  10. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, Dennis DeBord, p. 96.
  11. Id., pp. 96-97.
  12. Id., p. 96.
  13. Id.
  14. For a more thorough discussion and description of magazines, See, The Imagery Found Among Magazines, Books, Films in "Adults Only" Pornographic Outlets in Chapter 24. One expert has advised the Commission Staff that the American Psychiatric Association could rewrite its Diagnostic Statistical Manual Sections on psychosexual disorders based on the various subjects of sexually explicit magazines.
  15. Houston Hearing, Vol. I. W. D. Brown, p. 37. Some of these outlets also have a list of vice squad officers so they can be identified and not sold sexually explicit materials. Id., p. 39.
  16. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II Dennis DeBord, p. 96.
  17. Id.
  18. Id.
  19. Id.
  20. See, The discussion of paperback books observed in "adults only" pornographic outlets in The Imagery Found Among Magazines, Books, Films in "Adults Only" Pornographic Outlets in Chapter 24.
  21. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, Dennis DeBord, p. 96.
  22. Id., p. 97.
  23. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 71; Miami Hearing, Vol. I, Mike Berish, p. 91; See, The discussion and description of the sexually explicit video industry for further information.
  24. New York Hearing, Vol. I, William Kelly, p. 84; See, The detailed discussion of peep show booths in this Chapter.
  25. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, W. D. Brown, p. 42.
  26. Commission staff survey of ''adults only" pornographic outlets, New York City Times Square District, October, 1985.
  27. Id.
  28. Id.
  29. See, The discussion of organized crime involvement in the pornography industry for further information.
  30. New York Hearing, Vol. I, Bookstore Operator, pp. 142-55.
  31. Id., p. 149.
  32. Id., pp. 146-47.
  33. Id., p. 144.
  34. Id., p. 149.
  35. See, Section B in this Chapter for a detailed discussion of sexually explicit video tapes.