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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Of U.S.Travels, Road Signs and Pornography, Moving Cross Country Part 3

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 13th 2008

 One of the articles I wrote for readers at Mental Help Net has stirred many responses and controversies. The article was on the issue of marriage and pornography. Thus far, the largest numbers of people complaining about Internet Pornography have been the women whose boyfriends or husbands secretly go to pornographic web sites either when they, the women, are not home or at night, when they are asleep.

I have moved from Colorado to Florida during August of 2008. My wife, myself and our 4 dogs drove the distance 2,000 miles from Boulder, Colorado to Port Charlotte, Florida, over a four day journey. During the drive there was plenty of time to look at highway posters, some of which were humorous and some dull and unimaginative. However, among the many advertisements we noticed something neither of us were aware of in years past when we travelled. What we noticed were the number of posters announcing and encouraging people to stop and visit pornographic stores and strip joints in most of the towns and cities we passed during our journey.

Some of the pornographic posters were hilariously funny in the way they proudly announced "nudity," "complete nudity," "more nudity," "total nudity," and, I suppose, "the nudiest of all."

What we found troubling about these posters was the fact that children riding with their parents would be exposed to this information. It is not that children should not be allowed to ask questions about sex, and they should, but what type of message do these road signs send about adult sexuality and our values as a society? What does it say about how we value women and how we value relationships and individual people?

Communities are not standing by doing nothing about the posters. All along the highways, there were many examples of various religious groups utilizing the same strategy of advertising to quote from the bible about "sin, temptation and exploitation." The signs usually came one after the other with the first sign preceding the pornographic stores advertisement. There was the struggle between good and evil, right up there on U.S. highways. Of course, I am joking about this because I do not believe the issue is a matter of the struggle between sin and virtue. However, there are questions of good taste, the appropriate time and place for sex and protecting our families from unwanted intrusions of sexual materials.

As we read these various posters I asked myself who they were aimed at? It's a fairly easy guess that they are not aimed at the average family and they are not aimed at children. The only logical conclusion is that the posters are aimed at truckers. Does that make it OK? Truckers are also married, family men, and they are also women who are married with families. In addition, even if truckers, travelling sales people or anyone wants to peruse pornography do they really need loud and repetitive road signs to encourage them to come in? I would imagine that most people whose jobs cause them to spend many hours driving each day know very well where to go to get sexually explicit material if they think that is what they need.

To all those married people who are struggling with the problem of husbands secretly viewing pornography, I have ask if it is any surprise that this is happening given all the advertising and enticements into  getting people to view pornography?

Your comments, experiences and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD


Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Person Below - Stranger - Oct 25th 2009

This comment is for the individual below.

It is very obvious that you have an addiction to porn and have little respect for children and their needs. Individuals like you are so selfishly obsorbed into pornography that you have finally believed what porn has taught you. That there is nothing wrong with porn and there's nothing wrong with children looking at it either because children should be free to be educated about their sexuality like adults. The real issue you have is that you like porn so much that you can't give it up and simply don't care about its cost on children, families, and anyone for that matter. Do you honestly believe that children are not going to suffer from this hyper sexualized porn industry?  

Do we really want as a socity children to grow up being educated from pornography? Insanity!!!!! Pornography isn't sex. No, we shouldn't stoup to put it on the same pedestal as sex. Porn is a graphic show of horrific things to do to people such as incest, rape, how many things you can put up someones rear, and child abuse. WERE DOES IT END!!!!! Should we just say "well as long as there's no rape on the road signs then we're protecting children from the porn". You've got to be kidding me. When children are exposed to this stuff in all its graphic forms, it affects them way beyond an adult. Children's young minds are the most vulnerable to this type of a thing. They don't know how to process it and will likely grow up believing sex is about boobs, toys, abuse, etc. They will seek out more of it from curiosity to try to learn about sex that isn't sex at all. Children need to be educated on the beauty, partnership, and wonder of sex as an act of love not an act of selfish nonsense that means nothing but an orgasm. What has our society come to when people like you say, "I take the porn signs, over a moral sign". ISSUES!!!!!!!

Sign Vs Sign - - Oct 4th 2008

I agree with you about the need for good taste and restraint though the sex trade has as much right to advertise ans anyone else. I imagine that the religious signs are not being placed by Unitarians but rather by they type of conservative groups who tend to take the kind of Manichean view you refer to. Given the type of distress such views of human sexuality can lead to (some documented in your reader's lives), I would suggest, only partly jokingly, that the latter signs may represent an equal if not greater threat to healthy functioning. Given the litany of other problems in the world arguably attributable to such views, I guess I'd take the porn signs, even if I had to explain them to the kids.

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