Porn Sucks

rape-patch.jpg If anyone can articulately explain why pornography is bad, please tell my friend Robyn. Since MySpace is a crappy blogging service and you might have to be on her friends list to view the post, I'll reproduce it here.

"Has anyone else heard about this attempt by a religious faction to heal those who have been 'overcome' by porn? Of all the things in this world to focus your energies on, I have to just shake my head. Granted, extreme porn (such as that involving 'snuff films,' people under the age of 18, etc) makes me less than comfortable, I fail to see this as an epidemic of sorts."

"Sex, in its consentual form, is a perfectly natural, pleasurable thing. People have varying predilections that not everyone will understand. But, that's just the thing. You don't have to understand it. Some prefer a traditional approach with no real experimentation, and that's all fine and good. As long as no one's getting hurt (who doesn't want to be), everyone should be entitled to express their sexuality on their own terms. If that involves putting your sex life on video or in photographs, so be it."

"I just don't see porn as a real problem in society. I think one of society's problems is that society is a little too uptight. We're all naked underneath our clothes, and I'm sure we all have sexual cravings. To say that someone is wrong, or is going to Hell because of something so non threatening as viewing or creating porn, is just asinine to me. That may be your take on the subject, and sure, you're welcome to your opinion. Just don't try to force your ideology on me."

"I have a rather small collection of these aforementioned videos, I'm interested in trying different things sexually, and to be perfectly honest, I probably desire sex 90% my day. At the same time, I've had less than a handful of lovers because I'm what you'd refer to as a 'relationship girl.' Though I have no problem with others partaking in casual sex, it's just not for me. What's my point? Being sexual does not make you a bad person. It makes you human."

"That being said, I believe that in honor of this Porn Sunday, the other Adam and I need to be taking a trip to a little place on McKnight Road ;)"

"*I ask that in reading this you keep in mind that I'm referring to sex in the strictest of consentual terms*"

I'd respond at length myself, but I'm too hurt by her insensitivity. Porn has really screwed me up and I'm too emotionally raw to explain why it's such an evil thing, so I'm relying on my loyal readers. Please lend me your brains and your keyboards.

Addendum: Here are some previous posts about porn and its effects.

Not Just For Jews
Disordered Apetites
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Virtual Red Light District

Addendum #2: Here are some news stories about the "religious faction" Robyn refers to.

National Porn Sunday October 9
Mesa man hopes his story will warn of cost of porn addiction

Comments 16

  1. Sean wrote:

    I agree with the argument that porn can set up unrealistic ideals, and that can be harmful. But in my own personal experience I believe that has not been the case. And I certainly do not think porn has taught me to objectify women. I certainly am aware of that danger, but I feel strongly that the danger is much broader than porn, and one can develop unrealistic ideals from all forms of media. In movies for example, even the nerdy girl is usually hotter than most ?real? women. I also think women have the same danger of unrealistic ideals growing up with fairytales, soap operas, etc. My point here is just to try to put some perspective, yes porn can be harmful but I dont think it is always evil, and while it may teach men to have unrealistic expectations or may push them toward seeing women as objects sometimes, I do not believe it is even half of the problem. It is only part of a bigger problem and both sexes have had unrealistic expectation long before the semi-mainstream acceptance of porn. The sexes also have been using each other as objects for some time.

    After going back and rereading the original post, I begrudgingly admit that it may be a little insensitive.

    One last point I?d like to make, not all women in porn are supermodels. Most in fact do have some imperfections ( I don?t like that word but can think of a better one). And some quite frankly are not very attractive.

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 4:18 am
  2. EmilyE wrote:

    The trouble with porn is that it offends our very nature as humans.
    Objects are designed to be used. People, on the other hand, are designed to be loved. There’s a radical difference between those two.

    Porn treats people, but most particularly women, as objects to be used solely to the end of self-gratification. Even the radical feminist writer Andrea Dworkin, certainly no ally of the “religious faction” you refer to so condescendingly, spoke out forcefully against pornography. She argued that pornography led to “dehumanization” and even to violence against women.

    A speech she gave in 1993 at the University of Chicago Law School can be found here, and it’s well worth reading if you want a nonreligious perspective on pornography: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/PornHappens.html
    Some excerpts (be forewarned, Dworkin doesn’t shy from being explicit): “[Pornography] happens to women, in real life. Women’s lives are made two-dimensional and dead. We are flattened on the page or on the screen. Our vaginal lips are painted purple for the consumer to clue him in as to where to focus his attention such as it is. Our rectums are highlighted so that he knows where to push. Our mouths are used and our throats are used for deep penetration….

    “We say that women are objectified. We hope that people will think that we are very smart when we use a long word. But being turned into an object is a real event; and the pornographic object is a particular kind of object. It is a target. You are turned into a target. And red or purple marks the spot where he’s supposed to get you.

    “This object wants it. She is the only object with a will that says, hurt me. A car does not say, bang me up. But she, this nonhuman thing, says hurt me–and the more you hurt me, the more I will like it.

    “When we look at her, that purple painted thing, when we look at her vagina, when we look at her rectum, when we look at her mouth, when we look at her throat, those of us who know her and those of us who have been her still can barely remember that she is a human being.

    “In pornography we literally see the will of women as men want to experience it. This will is expressed through concrete scenarios, the ways in which women’s bodies are positioned and used. We see, for instance, that the object wants to be penetrated; and so there is a motif in pornography of self-penetration. A woman takes some thing and she sticks it up herself. There is pornography in which pregnant women for some reason take hoses and stick the hoses up themselves. This is not a human being. One cannot look at such a photograph and say, There is a human being, she has rights, she has freedom, she has dignity, she is someone. One cannot. That is what pornography does to women.” (emphasis added)

    Posted 08 Oct 2005 at 9:21 pm
  3. EmilyE wrote:

    (One disclaimer: I disagree with many of Andrea Dworkin’s ideas. But with regard to pornography, the woman is dead-on correct.)

    Posted 08 Oct 2005 at 9:25 pm
  4. Sean McCarville wrote:

    I don’t see anything particularly insensitive about her comments.

    Posted 09 Oct 2005 at 7:52 am
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I just don’t see porn as a real problem in society. I think one of society’s problems is that society is a little too uptight.”

    The implication is that anyone opposed to and crusading against porn is uptight. I know the insensitivity was not deliberate, but as someone who knows how harmful porn can be (much like a drug addict sees the harm of drugs), I’m hurt by the implication that I’m motivated by puritanical prudishness.

    Posted 09 Oct 2005 at 1:40 pm
  6. Emily T wrote:

    “As long as no one’s getting hurt (who doesn’t want to be), everyone should be entitled to express their sexuality on their own terms. If that involves putting your sex life on video or in photographs, so be it.”

    I’m not blog-comment literate, so I don’t know how to italicize or do anything else to that quote to point out that it’s not mine, except put it in quotes.

    I think that is a prime example of the insensitivity of her comments. EmilyE had a very good response to this post. The fact of the matter is, someone does get hurt – for one, the future spouse of the porn addict, particularly for males (especially because males are stimulated more by visuals). Not only are women set up as objects for use in porn, but they set up ideals that the majority of real women can never attain. I would venture to guess that about 99% of women bear no resemblance to porn stars, and yet, this is what men who are addicted see as the ideal to be attained and that anything less isn’t good enough. They also then also believe that their own spouse is that object to be *used* for their gratification. Men also learn from porn that these women should go to any length to please them, and that is not what a healthy sexual relationship is about. As you can see, the ideals that become set in a individuals head are very hurtful. As EmilyE pointed out, people are to be loved, not objects to be used.

    The post is insensitive in that it looks only to the instant gratification of the individual, not to the damage that is being done to that persons soul and the difficulty that potentially sets up for a future marriage. This is not a case where no one is getting hurt. You can disagree if you say, but it’s consensual, etc.. But the fact of the matter is, damage is being done all for the sake of sexual gratification.

    Posted 09 Oct 2005 at 2:48 pm
  7. EmilyE wrote:

    “The implication is that anyone opposed to and crusading against porn is uptight. I know the insensitivity was not deliberate, but as someone who knows how harmful porn can be (much like a drug addict sees the harm of drugs), I’m hurt by the implication that I’m motivated by puritanical prudishness.”

    I think that’s one of the bigger misconceptions people have about pornography — that it’s completely natural and that only people who are puritanical prudes (i.e., the “religious right”) oppose it. But that’s not true… There are plenty of feminists who oppose pornography because they want women to be loved, not used as objects. Those feminists want women’s sexuality to be valued, not abused. And there are plenty of men, religious and not, who have been deeply affected by pornography and have realized its harms. You don’t have to be super-religious or puritanical to see, like Emily T. said, that people do get hurt by porn.

    Posted 09 Oct 2005 at 7:35 pm
  8. Tom Smith wrote:

    “I also think women have the same danger of unrealistic ideals growing up with fairytales, soap operas, etc.”

    I too am annoyed at the seeming ubiquity and acceptance of trashy “romance” novels. They are stupid and unrealistic, and can set up unfulfillable expectations. If I do get married, it won’t be to any woman who insists on being “ravished.”

    But, more to the point. . . I tried to find a nice, polite, non-shocking way to say this, but could’t: The difference is that porn is intended to make people beat off (and if you claim otherwise, you really are just kidding yourself) while trashy novels aren’t.

    “And I certainly do not think porn has taught me to objectify women.”

    What makes you think you’d even know? Hugh Hefner would probably say the same thing. But he’s surrounded with beautiful women whom he objectifies for a living. Anecdotally, I’d say that, of all the males I know, the horniest, most woman-objectifying ones are those who view porn the most.

    “My point here is just to try to put some perspective, yes porn can be harmful but I dont think it is always evil…”

    It’s subjectively evil because it causes men to objectify women; through the eyes of a porn-addicted man, a woman becomes walking T&A. But porn is objectively and ontologically evil because its sole purpose is to cause men and women (but mostly men) to direct their sexuality toward something other than the end to which it is naturally ordered; namely, marital relations. So basically it’s like playing with fire. Even worse, actually, because fire is intended for a range of both good and bad things, whereas porn is intended only to turn people’s sexuality away from where it should be. Also, it just strikes me that porn is like prostitution. Take, for example, Playboy magazine: Hugh Hefner (the pimp) sells pictures of his Playmates/harem (the prostitutes) to horny men (the solicitors) so that their lusts can be slaked. So I disagree because I think that porn really is always evil.

    “…I do not believe it is even half of the problem.”

    Then what is?

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 8:03 am
  9. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I agree with the argument that porn can set up unrealistic ideals, and that can be harmful…, but I feel strongly that the danger is much broader than porn, and one can develop unrealistic ideals from all forms of media. In movies for example, even the nerdy girl is usually hotter than most ?real? women.”

    I very much agree. Dictionary.com defines “pornography” thusly:

    Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal. [empahsis mine]

    and “pornographic”:

    designed to arouse lust

    To the extent that images and situations portrayed in media are designed to arouse lust, they are pornographic, regardless of whether the objects of fantasy are clothed or not.

    “I also think women have the same danger of unrealistic ideals growing up with fairytales, soap operas, etc.”

    Again, I agree. BTW, have you seen any soaps lately? They get pretty raunchy these days.

    “My point here is just to try to put some perspective, yes porn can be harmful but I dont think it is always evil, and while it may teach men to have unrealistic expectations or may push them toward seeing women as objects sometimes, I do not believe it is even half of the problem. It is only part of a bigger problem and both sexes have had unrealistic expectation long before the semi-mainstream acceptance of porn. The sexes also have been using each other as objects for some time.”

    I’d like to see the larger problem dealt with as well. However, I’d be biting off more than I could chew if I attacked the whole problem. There are lots of folks better equpped than I trying to tackle it. For now, I’m content with doing what I can to stop the more egregious offenses against human dignity, such as pronography.

    “After going back and rereading the original post, I begrudgingly admit that it may be a little insensitive.”

    Thank you for admitting that. :)

    “One last point I?d like to make, not all women in porn are supermodels. Most in fact do have some imperfections ( I don?t like that word but can think of a better one). And some quite frankly are not very attractive.”

    Does that make it ok to exploit them and reduce them to visual crack cocaine?

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 2:42 pm
  10. John wrote:

    There is a real risk here of allowing the tail to wag the dog.

    Does porn make men horny womanizers, or are horny womanizers attracted to porn?

    Also, speaking as the veteran of many lockerroom conversations, most men find the women in their lives more attractive than porn stars, most of whom are really not that good looking.

    Lastly, I can see fully being against pornography. Many good reasons have been presented why a person wouldn’t want to look at it. But crusading against it seems unreasonable. This would seem to fall well within the range of personal choices that we should leave to individuals.

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 3:22 pm
  11. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Does porn make men horny womanizers, or are horny womanizers attracted to porn?”

    With friends like you, who needs enemies? Sheesh. Did you miss the part where I said I’ve long struggled with porn? Are you calling me a womanizer?

    “Also, speaking as the veteran of many lockerroom conversations, most men find the women in their lives more attractive than porn stars, most of whom are really not that good looking.”

    Umm..ok…that doesn’t jive with any lockerroom convo I’ve ever had.

    “Lastly, I can see fully being against pornography. Many good reasons have been presented why a person wouldn’t want to look at it. But crusading against it seems unreasonable. This would seem to fall well within the range of personal choices that we should leave to individuals.”

    I’m not out to make it illegal. I just don’t want it shoved in people’s faces. It’s getting harder to avoid sex being sold to you without giving up TV and movies altogether. Compare what got past censors 10 and 20 years ago to what gets past today. It’s hardly a personal choice if it’s being dangled in from of your nose like a carrot before a donkey or crack before an addict.

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 3:52 pm
  12. gbm3 wrote:

    “I’m not out to make it illegal. I just don’t want it shoved in people’s faces. … It’s hardly a personal choice if it’s being dangled in from of your nose like a carrot before a donkey or crack before an addict.” -FD

    I agree.

    It’s especially hurtful and hateful when I go to the grocery store. No matter how I try, I can’t always peer away from the magazines.

    From day one, porn starts raping us. Do I have to decide if my son should be able to go to the grocery store or avoid checkout? I shouldn’t have to choose.

    I’m not prudish. I just don’t want to lead myself or my son into temptation to objectify women and/or commit adultery.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28 http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew5.htm )

    Posted 10 Oct 2005 at 7:14 pm
  13. Christopher Blosser wrote:

    Irving Kristol — Jewish “neoconservative” — makes the case that pornography is detrimental to the very conduct of democracy in the essay “Pornography, Obscenity and the Case for Censorship”.

    You can read an excerpt from the article here.

    Posted 13 Oct 2005 at 7:06 pm
  14. Funky Dung wrote:

    I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks for stopping by. I’m always happy to have one of St. Blog’s heavy hitters contribute to the conversation. :)

    Posted 13 Oct 2005 at 7:21 pm
  15. Sean wrote:

    You guys kill me, and I mean that in the most endearing terms possible.

    ?BTW, have you seen any soaps lately??
    -Eric

    Umm…No

    “most men find the women in their lives more attractive than porn stars, most of whom are really not that good looking.”
    -John

    LOL

    No matter how I try, I can’t always peer away from the magazines.
    -Gerry

    All kidding aside here, it strikes me that perhaps you are trying to hard not too look then. At the risk of being called insensitive, I hardly ever even notice the magazines in the grocery stores and I’m a hard up single guy. But on the other hand, I do look at a lot of porn, so the magazines at the store kinda pale in comparison.

    Posted 14 Oct 2005 at 5:37 am
  16. gbm3 wrote:

    “…it strikes me that perhaps you are trying to hard not too look then…”

    My point is that I (and children for that matter) shouldn’t have to try at all.

    I heard that some grocery stores owned by Christians consciously chose not to display magazines such as Cosmo or other similar ones. Wish they all did. If anything, keep them by the condoms.

    Posted 14 Oct 2005 at 4:51 pm

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