Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Porn in hotels: You should have to ask for it

Pornography use has become a major relational and societal problem. Internet pop-ups and graphic spammers have made porn difficult to avoid – and sexual addictions have exploded.

National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families research shows that two-thirds of men in their 20s and 30s report being “regular users” of pornography.

Studies differ on what percent are actually addicted – with a compulsion they feel unable to stop, and a need to go harder-core to get the same “high” – but it is likely 10 percent or more.

And this personal problem has become a major public one.

For instance, a poll at a 2003 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers’ meeting found that “excessive interest in online porn” was a major factor in one-third of the divorces handled by those attorneys.

Into this loaded environment, hotel chains offer pay-per-view porn to millions of men (and, increasingly, women) who feel trapped by this compulsion.

As with any addiction, users confronted with porn find it difficult to turn down. They can have the front desk block it – but they also know that all they have to do is call back and change their mind.

A May 2004 New York Times article stated that half of all hotel guests order porn. And since it accounts for 70 percent of in-room revenue, many hotel chains prefer not to look too deeply into how it is damaging their customers.

A family-groups coalition recently met with Marriott representatives and showed them just a partial list of the incredibly offensive titles and descriptions the hotel chain was offering. By phone, NCPCF president Rick Schatz described the representatives’ shock.

Time will tell whether the chain acts to eliminate porn entirely, or at least have guests “opt in” to put it on their television, instead of having it there unless they “opt out.”

Drury Inn, Ritz Carlton and Omni hotels have all eliminated porn as an option. An Omni press release from early 2000 said the decision, “Was morally and conscionably driven . . . in response to what it perceives as a growing need for corporate America to support pro-family issues.”

The need is stark and obvious. Let’s hope Marriott and others make the difficult but right choice to do something about it.

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ANOTHER VIEW
Andrea Sarvady, from the left: Adults have the right to choose

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