Media: Trial By Media

AUTHOR AND RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH DOES SOME HARD TIME WITH THE `LAD MAGS'
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The Independent Culture
HOW CAN I be critical of the "lad mags" when FHM gave such a glowing write-up of my book Kosher Sex?

Furthermore, many argue that the lad mags are a qualitative step up from porn such as Playboy and Penthouse. The lads like them because they are more respectable than their "adult" counterparts and can be carried around without a paper bag and read on the tube. Sure, women's groups contend that they degrade and exploit women. But they're good fun and don't hurt anybody. Right?

Well, for a moment let's look at them from the perspective of the men who read them. I believe that they may have a negative influence for the following reasons.

Men today long for a pleasant and meaningful long-term relationship. The reason, however, that men often avoid commitment, and especially delay marriage, is that they aren't prepared to be bored in a relationship. And men have a very short sexual attention span. Like anything in life, when exposed to the same body over and over again, we can become weary. The only hope, therefore, for a successful long-term relationship is to somehow find something new in the person you love. Notice that the one thing that all the lad mags have in common is that every month they are parading entirely new women on their glossy pages. They know that this is exactly what their readership wants; a recent study showed that even the 50 per cent of husbands who are faithful in marriage still admit to thinking of other women, in order to stimulate themselves during sex with their wives, more than 70 percent of the time!

Today's generation consists of men and women who are absolute experts in the opposite sex. In writing my books on relationships, I am often astonished at the amazing insights single men make about women, and the remarkable knowledge that single women have about men. Is this a good thing? The definition of an expert is someone who can find flaws. A movie critic is someone who hates the films that everyone else likes. Here we have the reason, I believe, that men seem so dissatisfied with the women in their lives. They constantly compare them, in an unceasing game of evaluation, to the examples of perfection that are delivered in two dimensions on their doorsteps. The essence of love is to be subjective. Our emotional attachment to people is designed to render us incapable of objective evaluation. The lad mags, far from being benign, make it harder for men to be satisfied with their wives and girlfriends.

A friend of mine who conducts television interviews told me of how he once interviewed a stunning model, only to lose interest in her when she repeatedly offered monosyllabic responses to his questions. Indeed, while the body is beautiful and serves as the bai, the hook is undoubtedly the personality. After all, how much of the body is there to discover? So while the body is a destination quickly reached, the personality affords a relationship the quality of being an endless journey, keeping us interested in one another as we discover the depths of each other's soul. The lad mags are conditioning men to get totally hooked on the body to the detriment of the personality, thus inviting boredom in relationships.

But of course, since most men buy lad mags for the articles and barely notice the pictures, you should disregard everything I've said.

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