Scandinavian Hotel Bans Porn Channels, Opts for Art Instead

Edwart Visser, Flickr

In the privacy of a hotel room, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Order room service, spend the entire day in a robe, engage in a casual affair, watch porn. Well, not in Scandinavia.

Scandinavian hotel chain Nordic Choice owner Petter Stordalen has decided to get rid of all pay-TV porn channels and replace them with contemporary art instead. That is of course the complete opposite move of other Scandinavian moguls, who went as far as to propose sex themed hotels.

Why the move to ban porn? It’s for humanitarian reasons.

Stordalen is making a statement against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, which has victimized 1.2 million children around the world. “The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn’t support or condone this,” Stordalen told The Guardian. Nordic Choice has been collaborating with UNICEF to improve the lives of children since 2008.

So instead of porn on demand, there will be art on demand, which makes sense for Stordalen who is a big art collector. He’s also Norway‘s sixth richest man, so his move could make waves. He compares his own porn ban to a smoking ban. “It may sound shocking or unusual [to remove pay-TV porn], but everyone said that about the ban on smoking. We were the first hotel chain in the world to ban smoking and people thought we were crazy. Now it’s totally normal for public spaces to be smoke-free.”

The Nordic Choice’s flagship hotel in Oslo was first on the list for the porn-art switch out, but other hotels are soon to join.

A Creative Way To Market In-Room Porn: No Malware! No Spyware! No Viruses!

in room hotel porn sarah palinThe pretty young woman in a miniskirt on my TV screen had an interesting sales pitch that caught my attention.

“Access your in-room adult movie selections,” she purred. “Where there’s no spyware, no malware and no viruses!”

Here, on my television screen at an inn in Oregon, was proof positive that purveyors of in-room hotel porn are getting desperate. Given the choice between accessing porn for free on their computers or paying through the nose for it on pay-per-view, most randy hotel patrons are voting with their pocketbooks.

Indeed, LodgeNet, one of the companies that provides in-room entertainment options to a variety of major hotel chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year; and, according to The New York Times, some of their competitors are also struggling. Meanwhile, some hotel chains, like Omni and Marriott, have gotten rid of in-room porn altogether.porn hotelAn industry expert cited by NBC News estimated that adult movies comprise 85 percent of the in-room entertainment revenues hotels collect, so the option to either market in-room porn more effectively or declare defeat and stake out the high moral ground, like Omni and Marriott, is clear.

I’m way too frugal to buy in-room movies, adult or otherwise, when I travel. If I want to watch a movie, I’ll stream something on Netflix, but that can be frustrating if the hotel has sketchy Wi-Fi. A story in the Times a few weeks ago speculated that hotels may move toward offering free low-speed Internet (thought it obviously won’t be called that) that will allow guests to send and receive e-mail but charge them for higher bandwidth access that will allow them to stream videos. One way or another, hotels will find a way to make money off of the guest’s desire to be entertained while on their premises.

What I would like from my in-room TV is the following: TV! When I hit the power button on the remote, I’m doing so because I want to watch TV. You know, the stuff that appears on the screen for free. But at many hotel chains, the default setting is the pay-per-view system and you have to figure out how to navigate out of it without accidentally authorizing something you’ll have to pay for. Often times, you just need to hit the channel up button, but sometimes you have to use the arrow buttons to navigate to the normal channel lineup. It’s not rocket science, but it is annoying.

Some hotels don’t have a pay-per-view system on default but they bring you directly to the hotel channel, which is normally used to tell you all about their overpriced steaks and massages and what not. I’d rather watch an infomercial for the Ab Lounge, thank you very much.

When I encountered the sultry vixen who promised me some adult fun with no spyware, malware or viruses, I was actually trying to find some cartoons for my kids. Really, I swear.

The Sex Toy Vending Machines Of Spain

vending machines
You’ve probably heard of the vending machines in Japan that sell used panties supposedly worn by schoolgirls. It appears Japan isn’t alone in having sexual vending machines in public places. Not far from my home in Santander, on Spain’s northern coast, I came across this innocuous-looking little cubbyhole. Its vending machines offer hot food, soda and snacks 24 hours a day.

It’s in between a bar district and the residential neighborhood where I live, so I popped in here one night for some potato chips to absorb some of the wine I’d drunk. It turns out I could buy more than potato chips. Further inside, out of view from the street but still completely open to the public of all ages, was a vending machine selling sex toys.

The picture is on the next page, and no, it’s not work safe (duh!).Vending Machines
Whatever entrepreneur thought this up was a genius. When you’re coming back from the bars late at night you always need something. If you’re a married guy like me, it might be something as mundane as a snack. If you’re getting lucky with someone you met on your fifteenth round of sangría, you might need some flavored condoms. If you didn’t meet the person of your dreams, you can at least cuddle up to a giant black dong for only €16.50 ($21). Just don’t forget the lube for €6.50 ($8.29) or you might wake up the next morning with more than your head hurting.

This isn’t the only dildo vending machine in Spain. A friend of mine came across one in a youth hostel where she was staying with her two little daughters. The girls saw it first because they were attracted by all the shiny colors. They asked what the dildos were and their mother, quite wisely, I thought, answered honestly and with just enough information to satisfy their curiosity. They shook their heads at the weird things adults get up to and soon forgot about it.

Spain isn’t some decadent place full of loners seeking out dirty vending machines. You can also find vending machines selling books. So far I have yet to see a vending machine that sells books and dildos. I’ll be sure to tell you if I do.

Why your state sucks: the depressing but true map of America

map, maps
The folks over at Pleated Jeans have come up with a funny yet painful new map of America. It doesn’t show our cities or rivers or mountains, it shows our flaws. As you can see, each state is singled out for what they’re worst at. Maps reveal a lot about the territory they cover, and this one shows more than some people may want to see.

I’ve lived in three different states and I have to say that I wasn’t too surprised by the results. New York has the longest daily commute? My job there certainly had the longest commute I’ve ever had to do. Arizona has the highest rate of alcoholism? There was a bar near my house that served $1 pitchers of beer. Missouri being ranked highest in bankruptcy didn’t come as much of a shock either, although I would have guessed somewhere in the Deep South.

I also wasn’t surprised at Utah having the highest rate of online porn subscriptions. Harvard economics professor Benjamin Edelman, whose study came to this conclusion, noted, “Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality.” Ah, the good old religious double standard!

In Washington state, they don’t need online porn because they’re humping animals at a higher rate than anyone. The source for this has a very small sample size, so maybe Alaskans are better at keeping their huskies quiet and Texans take their steers far out on the range.

Do you agree with the assessment of your own state? Tell us what you think in the comments section!