Porn

I came across the following in a blog written by somebody who seems to be a genuine and relatively open minded Christian. My spiritual and moral views are very different but it did get me thinking.

I hate porn because…

It is violent and inhumane
It normalizes rape
It is racist
It is addictive
It is misogynistic
It is an exploitative multibillion dollar industry
It nurtures sex trafficking and child abuse
It limits sexual imagination

Now I am not at all adverse to porn and will admit to using it both on my own and with lovers to spice up sexual activity, but this post troubled me because although I disagree strongly with some parts of it there are some parts which do require further thought.

It is violent and inhumane. I am not sure what is meant by inhumane here but I think I can categorically state that most porn is not inhumane. As for the violence, yes, there can sometimes be violence in porn but certainly not all porn is violent. Should we limit art or theatre or cinema because they sometimes depict violence? Some sex does have a violent aspect to it. I would not recommend children to see such things but surely adults can choose what level of violence they find acceptable, whether in a crime series on TV or in a porno film or magazine. The key is free will and choice both for the viewer and the participants. Where that free will is taken away I would agree there is a serious problem which is then a crime  punishable by law. Most porn however does not in fact require anybody to cross those criminal boundaries.

It is racist. Rubbish! Okay there may be some racism in porn but that is like saying there may be some racism on TV, or in life. I have seen no evidence that porn is any more racist than any other aspect of life, and believe me, I’m about as anti-racist as you can get.

It normalises rape. I personally have not seen any porn that normalises rape. I am aware that there is porn which includes rape fantasies, this is not my taste and I don’t watch it but some people do. I am also aware that there has been stuff produced which includes real rape scenes. This is illegal just about everywhere and I hope the people who produce, film, organise and distribute such evil things are caught and put in prison for the rest of their days. However these criminal films and photos are not in any way typical of what most people call porn. But back to the statement that porn normalises rape; I have seen my fair share of porn and I still think that rape is one of the most abhorrent crimes there is. I see no evidence at all that it normalises rape.

It is addictive. To some maybe. So is coffee. So are video games. So is chocolate. So is alcohol. So is tobacco We can’t ban everything that may be addictive to some.

It is misogynistic. Perhaps some of it is. In fairness, quite a lot of porn could be viewed in that way. On the other hand there are a lot of female porn stars who have more wealth and power than most men could dream of as a result of their profession; so who is exploiting who? I don’t think all porn is misogynistic but I would agree it is something to be wary of. Perhaps in the past men were by far the biggest consumers of pornography (and I guess that is still largely the case) and therefore some of their sexual fantasy stereotypes have been allowed to persist for too long. I think now there are more women at the business end of the industry and also more women as consumers of porn (or am I the only one??) and so hopefully the more misogynistic aspects of the industry will decline. I certainly hope so.

It is an exploitative multibillion dollar industry. I am no fan of capitalism, but since when has making money been a crime? Most multi national, multi billion dollar industries are exploitative to some degree (take a look at what is happening with Apple and Foxcom at the moment). I would like porn and all other industries to be less exploitative in all ways and I do think we as customers of porn could be more demanding and choosy about what we buy in order to prompt the industry to end any and all forms of exploitation which exist within it.

It nurtures sex trafficking and child abuse. Those are two completely different subjects. Let’s start with child abuse. Child pornography does exist. It is illegal. It is one of the very few things I would call totally evil. It is however in no way similar or connected to the kind of pornography that most responsible adults enjoy. To use child pornography as an example of pornography as a whole is like saying snuff films are typical of horror movies, or that all English should be banned because it contains expletives. The fact that you or I may get turned on by some images of adults engaged in sex, does not make us more likely to commit child abuse. The very idea is ridiculous.

Trafficking, on the other hand is another story. I have worked with people who have been trafficked and such people have some horrendous stories to tell.  I’d have to say from personal experience of people I have met, that porn and the sex industry as a whole are too often connected with trafficking. Forced prostitution in particular is frequently associated with trafficking and I think it is fair to say that some low end porn is indeed tainted by the trade in people trafficking.  I think it beholds those of us who think that sex and erotica are a normal and healthy part of adult life to report anything we find suspicious to the appropriate authorities. I don’t think there is anything morally wrong about enjoying pornography, but there is certainly something wrong about contributing in any way to the exploitation of others by pretending we haven’t noticed anything wrong. With great power comes great responsibility and perhaps the same should be said for great pleasure.

It limits sexual imagination. Not in my case it doesn’t! Seriously though, does reading books or enjoying works of art reduce imagination? I think not. Why should porn limit sexual imagination? That just doesn’t make sense.

There are going to be those who think that any talk or mention of sex outside the marriage room is wrong. For the rest of us we have to find our own moral boundaries when it comes to sex related matters. To me it makes no sense to talk about porn as a whole because the word could relate to so many different things and so many different extremes of those things. What I find erotic, some others might not. Personally I think there is both a beauty and a raw, hormone driven pleasure in some sexual imagery that I refuse to be ashamed of. However I do think that as consumers we have to be responsible for, and thoughtful about, what we buy. I wouldn’t buy T Shirts I knew to be made in sweat shops, and I think I should be careful not to buy or watch porn if there is any evidence of exploitation in the making of it. Hopefully there is enough “fair trade” erotica to keep me satisfied.

9 responses to “Porn

  1. Pingback: Looking back… | Cassie Being Cassie

  2. Pingback: Sex Positive Feminism | Cassie Being Cassie

  3. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Very precise detailed analysis of this christian’s so called analytic perception of porn. When one writes pointers for others in a two worded sentence you know it’s gotta be some foolish assertion.

  4. eroticexploration

    How refreshing to come across well-argued, thoughtful and articulate writing on this important subject. I agree with Dean – well said!!!!

  5. LOL, I’d say the Christian in question has been choosing some quite unusual porn if those are the conclusions they came too 😉
    Tell them to stop looking for weird internet stuff and buy a dvd instead, made in Europe or the USA where laws protect performers.

  6. Thank you for this post. I am always glad to hear thoughtful arguments for porn. I am surprised that the person who blogged the first bit thought porn would limit the imagination. With all the variety, how could it not open your mind to new experiences!

  7. Sounds to me like it was written by someone who hasn’t watched porn.

    Or is watching the kinkiest most f#@ked up porn ever.

  8. Personally I feed the industrial beast by only watching “high end” films made by real production companies. Anything that looks like it was filmed in someone’s back yard feels creepy and dirty to me, and angry in a very feminist sort of way. I like to know that these women have an actual profession, and they are not victims of a nasty neighbor preying on their financial troubles and low self-esteem. I definitely disagree that it limits sexual imagination. You can teach your man a lot by watching lesbian porn together!

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