20 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 517 (1992-1994)
Hospitalized Patients and the Right to Sexual Interaction: Beyond the Last Frontier; Perlin, Michael L.

handle is hein.journals/nyuls20 and id is 527 raw text is: HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS AND THE RIGHT TO
SEXUAL INTERACTION: BEYOND THE
LAST FRONTIER?
MICHAEL L. PERLIN*
Introduction  ........................................................  517
I. Perspectives on Patients and Sex ................................ 522
II. Development of Patients' Rights ................................ 528
III. Attitudes Toward Sex .......................................... 534
A.  Introduction  ...............................................  534
B. Sanism and Pretextuality .................................... 535
C. Sanism, Pretextuality, Teleology, and Sex .................... 537
IV.  Rights in  Collision ..............................................  539
A.  Introduction  ...............................................  539
B. The Presenting Dilemma .................................... 540
Conclusion  ..........................................................  545
INTRODUCTION
We are obsessed with sex. Questions of sexual morality, often couched in
phrases such as family values, dominate national elections; a judicial candi-
date's position on reproductive rights and autonomy overwhelms all other is-
sues as a litmus test for approval (or disapproval, depending on the voter's
perspective); the President's decision to rescind an executive order barring gay
persons from serving in the military spawns a firestorm of controversy. We
appear eager to discuss any sort of sexual behavior, whether or not we person-
ally practice it, and our endless speculation about the sex lives of public and
political figures has become a national-perhaps the national-hobby.
Television inundates us with talk shows, soap operas, sitcoms, and music
videos in which the central theme is sex. Confession lines are common on
call-in radio shows in most metropolitan areas. The limits of eroticism/por-
nography/obscenity are constantly being tested in television, film, and other
visual media. Supermarket check out lines reveal a treasure trove of publica-
tions devoted to celebrities' sexual behavior. And then there is Madonna.1
* Professor of Law, New York Law School. A.B., Rutgers University; J.D., Columbia
University School of Law. This Article is adapted from a Grand Rounds presentation, given at
Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, New York City, November 1992. The author wishes to
thank Susan Stefan, Joel Dvoskin, Debbie Dorfman, Bob Sadoff, Bruce Winick, Douglas Moss-
man, and Keri Gould for their thoughtful ideas and insights; Rose DiBenedetto, Ilene Sacco,
and Monica Studdert for their helpful research assistance; and Bill Mossman for his insights
into the therapeutic value of sexual intimacy.
1. I have successfully resisted the temptation to footnote-in deadpan law review style-
each of the propositions asserted in these two paragraphs. I refuse to acknowledge even the
517

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change

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