Scott Jordan

Louisiana Sen. Smith explains sex toys

Ask anyone in Louisiana to name the most pressing challenges facing the state, and you’ll get a laundry list of serious issues: our woeful public education system, battered infrastructure, rising health insurance and flood insurance costs, coastal erosion and a crucial, looming budget battle over how to best spend taxpayer dollars.

Democratic Louisiana state Sen. John Smith of Leesville, however, is thinking about sex. Smith’s Senate Bill No. 712 purports to “regulate sexually oriented businesses and their employees.” Smith’s concerned that, say, an adult video store could open next to a church or school, apparently unaware that no city council is going to let that happen anyway.

Smith sure sounds like he’s done a lot of research, as his bill reads like a lengthy clinical distillation of a Penthouse Forum letter. For example, “Nudity or state of nudity means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, vulva, anus, anal cleft or cleavage with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple or areola.” And for the unaware, Smith offers a helpful primer on sex toys: “Sexual device means any three-dimensional object designed and marketed for stimulation of the male or female genitals, anus, female breast, or for sadomasochistic use or abuse of oneself or others and shall include devices such as dildos, vibrators, penis pumps, and physical representations of the human genital organs.”

Elsewhere in his bill, Smith wants to prevent erotic dancers and patrons from having any physical contact. Because in a state where nearly three in 10 adults are illiterate and 84 percent of Louisiana public school students live at or below the poverty line, one of the biggest scourges Louisiana faces is the lapdance.