AS YOU can imagine, the headlines on President Obama’s choice to replace Mike Morrell as the second in command at the CIA got my attention. Not just because Avril Haines will be the first-ever woman in that position. Ms. Haines and I, it turns out, have quite a bit in common. We both have delved deeply into the subject of sex and erotica.
The former host of “Erotica Night” at a Baltimore bookstore will be the first-ever female No. 2 official at the CIA. Daily Beast]
Michael Morell retired after taking a bullet for the Benghazi talking points, for a rewrite that scrubbed any mention of Al Qaeda, which Ambassador Rice used on the Sunday talk shows and scuttled her chance to be secretary of state. Never has parsing the facts caused so much damage. Rice is now Obama’s national security advisor, which infuriated Republicans and the right wing, but redeemed her career.
In the age of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the interest of Avril Haines in erotica is getting less attention than it would once have garnered. Of course, Glenn Beck’s head exploded, but he’s afraid of sexual honesty so it’s to be expected. It should be noted that both Bill O’Reilly and former Navy secretary and Virginia Senator James Webb have also tried their hand in the sexy genre.
But 20 years ago, Haines opened and co-owned Adrian’s Book Café in the Baltimore waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point. She opened Adrian’s after dropping out of a graduate program in physics at Johns Hopkins University. The store featured regular “Erotica Nights.” including dinner and a series of readings by guests of published work or their own prose, according to a 1995 report in the Baltimore Sun; couples could attend for $30, while singles paid $17.
“Erotica has become more prevalent because people are trying to have sex without having sex. Others are trying to find new fantasies to make their monogamous relationships more satisfying,” Haines, then in her 20s, told the Sun. “What the erotic offers is spontaneity, twists and turns. And it affects everyone.” (She also told Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Corey that friends heckled “you just want a mass orgy in your bookstore, while she and her co-owner were initially worried only “dirty old men” would show up.)
At the same time Avril Haines was conducting “Erotica Nights” in Baltimore, I was leading an “Erotica Discussion Nights Series,” on behalf of the LA Weekly as their relationship consultant, at Hustler Hollywood on the Sunset Strip.
The politics of sex interests all humans, even those who try to deny it, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a smart modern female has dabbled in the erotic arts, which Henry Miller proved is as much intellectual as it is corporeal.
The primal need we have to procreate will always remain strong, but in the modern era females have been freed to take public adventures into erotica that delve more into personal experiences of sexuality and the realization that satisfaction is not only of the body, but of the mind as well.
What Avril Haines will bring to the CIA knowing about the sexual proclivities of humans could be vast. If you’ve seen Fox’s “The Americans,” written and produced by a former CIA agent, or studied the case of Robert Hanssen, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Hanssen played mind games with colleagues and family. On the surface, he was an ultraconservative Roman Catholic. Most of the spy money went for living expenses: dental work and parochial school tuition for his six children, college tuition for four, a $70,000 home remodeling. But he had a secret seamy side. He spent $80,000 on a stripper he befriended. Strangely, he wanted to preach to her instead of having sex. Not that he was a prude. He anonymously posted nude pictures of his wife, Bonnie, on pornographic Internet sites, along with his sexual fantasies. He let his best friend watch him have sex with Bonnie and even offered to drug her so his childless buddy could impregnate her. “Every spy has his quirks,” says the FBI’s Rochford. “This guy just had an abundance.”
Former Soviets considered sex a prime weakness to mine, target, then turn into a recruitment tool.
Find a sexual kink in an adversaries armor and you’ve found a potential avenue to exploit, which can only help the CIA in their endeavors, especially in the Middle East where forbidden pleasures are enjoyed amid stringent religious cultural rules, which can get a person killed by their own government if revealed.