Listen Up, Maggot! You Can't Buy Porn Mags On U.S. Military Bases Anymore

In a move sure to boost military discipline, it was announced that several adult magazines will no longer be sold on Army or Air Force bases. Some of the "ladmags" in question include Playboy, Penthouse, and American Curves. Although there has been some recent pressure to ban adult magazines from military bases, the move is less about morality than it is money; most of the 891 publications to be dropped, such as Spongebob Comics and Chess Life, are harmless. The problem is, they aren't selling well on bases, just as print magazine sales have declined everywhere.

This is especially true of the soft=porn titles, whose sales have dropped by 86% on military bases since 1998. As is the case with other print media, the internet has proven to be especially deadly to the business model of the porn magazine industry. Why risk embarrassment and waste money when the internet provides far more anonymity and content, much of it for free?

And even if the economics were on Playboy's side, military law might not be. According to the 1996 Military Honor and Decency Act, the DoD is obligated to remove all sexually explicit materials from military exchange services. The law isn't strictly enforced but groups like Morality In Media were using it to pressure the DoD take action.

Morality In Media is a vocal opponent of pornography, whose tactics include the compilation of a list of "facilitators" of pornography called "The Dirty Dozen", including infamous smut purveyor Eric Holder and the American Library Association. The Defense Department, in response, determined that the publications were not sexually explicit as defined by military guidelines, and so would continue to sell them. While the DoD did push back against this pressure, under different, more socially conservative DoD leadership, the decision could well have gone the other way.

So is this the end of porn? Of course not. Thankfully for troop morale, there's always the internet. As the scholars of Avenue Q tell us, the internet is by far and away the most useful tool for, um, "distracted" service members. So hooray for the internet: porn is here to stay.