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Book Review: Harmful to Minors

Journalist Judith Levine has written a wonderful new book, subtitled "the perils of protecting children from sex." And in an odyssey worthy of a David Mamet script, America's reaction to this book has been a perfect reflection of the very panic, hostility, and ignorance the book discusses.

A month before publication by the University of Minnesota Press, word of the book began to get out, starting an increasingly ugly journey for Levine. Minnesota House majority leader (and candidate for governor) Tim Pawlenty denounced the book as promoting the victimization of children, and pressured UMP to stop its release. TV host Bill O'Reilly called it an “evil book that excuses pedophilia." In the Boston Globe, Judith Reisman called Levine part of an insidious clique of "academic pedophiles."

Levine's book is under attack because it dares to state that:
* sexual expression is healthy for kids;

* kids have a right to erotic pleasure--and to the information they need to experience it safely;

* America's fear of child molestation is exaggerated beyond the real dangers posed to kids;

* not all adult-minor sexual interaction is harmful to minors.

It's truly frightening that responsible researchers, academics, and clinicians who write such things are denounced in public as pro-pedophilia, their work systematically distorted, often by people who haven't read it. Levine is simply the latest in a distinguished line--which includes Drs. Bruce Rind, Theo Sandfort, Vern Bullough, and James Elias--to be personally attacked in the national media for the content of their sober, well-documented, and socially valuable work.

Levine's book is a massive accomplishment of research and scholarship. She demonstrates the way our laws are aimed not at supporting healthy kids or safe communities, but at suppressing and punishing sexual behavior. She shows how conservative activists and the media collude in creating monstrous cultural images of "the molester," "the pedophile," and "the internet predator," terrifying everyone and demanding ever-more stringent laws (as described in issues 9, 19, 22, 26, & 27 of Sexual Intelligence). Levine even documents the betrayal of America's kids by the sex education profession, which has evolved from supporting “comprehensive” education to “abstinence plus.” Levine is the only progressive writer who has raised this critical point.

In a world of priest-minor sex, internet filtering debates, and the criminalization of granny's bathtub photos of little Jennifer, this book is an important contribution to a sane dialogue about childhood sexuality. Levine presents helpful facts, historical context, and a sociological framework to counter today's cultural hysteria.

You may quote anything herein, with the following attribution:
"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, ©Marty Klein, Ph.D. ("

Judith Levine's new book is right on regardless of political ideology
E-mail From Jeff in Florida

I checked out Judith Levine's new groundbreaking book "Harmful to Minors" at the local library and started reading it and the conclusion is that is not an "evil" book, according to spinmeister, I mean, "no-spin"meister Bill O'Reilly's own words, but actually is a well-researched, well-footnoted book that uses facts to make Levine's points and points that for the most part, I agree with.

We have become a country that is waiting to be offended as well as expressing excessive paranoia about youthful sexuality that not even Black Sabbath can write about. I am not a liberal, I consider my self to be a fiscal conservative, somewhat socially conservative, a big defender of law and order and proper execution of American foreign policy, but on sexual matters, and as a Methodist Christian, I tend to be libertarian on factual proper explanations and positivity on one of God's greatest gifts, sex.

But Judith Levine is cool in my book for telling the truth and helping American society take a much more European mentality towards positive sexuality of ALL, not just some.

 "Harmful to Minors" is not an "evil" book and the politics need to be taken out of human sexual behavior in this country and the needless negative posturing has to stop or were finished as a country. Judith Levine put huge holes in the cases of bad Taliban-like law enforcement exaggerations of crimes that never occur and takes on smart-ass, holier than thou politicians that care more about their own power than the mental, physical, and emotional health of children and teenagers by withholding facts and not implementing responsible medical and sexual education, which 80% of parents advocate according to the recent Kaiser Foundation study. If you haven't read the book, please do, because the truth sets people free.

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