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Pentagon: Playboy and Penthouse Stay

Nude magazines under fire from a faith-based group are not 'sexually explicit,' official says.

Update: Army and Air Fores exchanges have announced they are pulling 891 publications, including the racy magazines, for business reasons.  See our story here. 

The Pentagon doesn’t consider a trio of popular nude magazines sexually explicit, much to the dismay of a faith-based group opposed to porn.

Penthouse, Playboy, and Nude Magazine apparently fall under the category of “adult sophisticate material,” which means it’s legal for Defense to sell them, said F.E. Vollrath, the department’s assistant secretary for readiness and force management, in a July 22 letter to Morality in Media. The organization had asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in June to remove all pornographic magazines on military installations to “help curb the plague of sexual assaults that afflict the U.S. military at this time.”

The 1996 Military Honor and Decency Act prohibits the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on Defense property.

Vollrath said the Resale Activities Board of Review looked at the publications cited by Morality in Media and determined that, “based on the totality of each magazine’s content, they were not sexually explicit” under the law. Title 10, Section 2495b of the U.S. Code defines sexually explicit material as being “an audio recording, a film or video recording, or a periodical with visual depictions, produced in any medium, the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs, in a lascivious way.” Vollrath said that “all adult sophisticate material approved for sale is displayed on top shelves behind privacy panels, out of the reach of children.”

Morality in Media, led by CEO and President Patrick Trueman, said the response from the Pentagon would be “hilarious if it were not so tragic.”

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in June ordered a “comprehensive visual inspection” of all the service’s properties to remove salacious photos and other offensive items.

Vollrath also responded to the sexual assault problem in the military community, saying the department “is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment on our installations for the entire military community.”

(Image via Flickr user shell_belle)