City of Tyler, Texas Blocks Sex Sites

Recently, my partner was on a business trip to Tyler, Texas. On his way back home, he was sitting in the Tyler airport and tried to log on to But oops! He couldn’t. Because apparently MSP “violates the City of Tyler Internet Usage Policy”. What? That’s right: the “reason for restriction”, as you may be able to see in the image, is because we got mis-classified into the “forbidden category” of pornography. We aren’t even a porn site!

It used to be that Internet filters commonly blocked even sexual health sites, such as web sites related to breast health or breast cancer. However, as technology has advanced, this is less often the case. And yet, sexual health sites and sex blogs are often blocked on purpose. A year or two ago, I was trying to get some work done over a bowl of a tomato basil soup I liked at a Cosi in Washington DC. I was all settled in to work when I found I couldn’t get on a variety of sex sites including MSP, The Kinsey Institute’s site and those of various woman-run sex toy shops. Which, you can imagine, severely limited my work plans for my lunch hour.

It’s too bad that it’s a blanket rule, that all sex sites get blocked using some filters, because many sex sites, like ours, provide quality information about sexual health and well-being in addition to pleasure. But I guess everything is indeed bigger in Texas, including the Internet sex filters.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at

  • Lmfuqua

    Something about Tyler that flies under the radar of the random passer by is that the area is home to at least 10 giant Ministry groups. Most use Tyler as their main town to shop/eat/go on outings ect. Much of Tyler’s public areas are geared to the Interns (usually late teen and early 20 somethings) at these ministries can go to them use their free wi-fi and have no chance of violating their ministries code of conduct. While not from Texas I was in one of said ministries as an Intern and because of the amount of money they bring into the small city Tyler citizens tend not to worry about it because if they wanna look up this stuff usually they can go to their own homes anyway.

  • Michaela

    This kind of censorship actually pains me.

  • Kate McCombs

    Oh, Texas. Ever the source of embarrassing sex negativity. It’s sad because most of the Texans I met have been absolutely lovely.

    While we don’t have the same volume of giant ministries in Australia, Internet filters are widespread here and the government is heavily involved in restricting access to certain types of “porn” sites. One of my Aussie friends said he couldn’t get onto MSP from his work computer.

  • JH

    I just love that a government institution (in Texas of all places – one of the most anti-government states) is telling its citizens what they can and cannot see on the internet.

    I wonder how Texans would react if the government said they couldn’t browse gun sites.

  • Garnet Joyce

    This often frustrates me. When I was working full time as an accountant I would take my lunch breaks at places with free wifi so I could work on sex ed only to find that I was blocked from most of the websites I needed in order to do research or even write my posts.

  • Mateo

    I’m glad I can still read this in Austin!