In southeast Texas where I live, there has recently been much talk about our ancient obscentity law. Granted, much of this law has to do with minors and is vastly important. However, as southeast Texans have seen recently, the extent of the law encompasses much more than simply protecting minors.
On October 25, 2006, police raided three separate locations that were rumored to sell pornographic films and sex toys. One of these stores, Bare Necessities, is a novelty shop that the writer has actually, on occasion, entered. The first time, even at age 22, there was much giggling and pointing going on. A friend and I had gone in order to find a Halloween costume and were treated with quite an array of "goodies". However, we were asked how old we were and although much of the store contained blatantly sexual wares, most were not "offensive" (in the sense that I was not offended. I understand that "offensive" items are highly subjective).
The first portion of the Texas statute specifically deals with items for adults, i.e. anything that stimulates arousal. It goes on to list reading materials, films, and false genetalia as the offensive items that it is actually a misdemeanor to buy or to sell.
I find this extremely interesting and yet another way that our government is intimately involved in our intimate lives and yet another way that government is also highly selective. The strip clubs and bars dotting a specific roadway in southeast Texas have remained open (keep in mind that these are specifically oriented to men's sexual arousal). There have been no raids for these locales that exploit women, these very public places that exhibit women in various erotic states. Yet, sex toys, have been banned. Those toys/films/creams, etc. which are meant for the privacy of the bedroom, kitchen, or wherever you ladies or couples choose to use them, have been banned.
Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble beware: romance novels are next. Forget Dream Street and The Plantation and all those other strip clubs, the mega-bookstore's romance aisles are next on the list for Texas law enforcement agencies.