Christian Pastor Can’t Believe Anyone Would ‘Celebrate’ Porn

Apparently, it’s Pornography Awareness Week. (As if there are people out there who are unaware of it…?)

The week was actually thought up by Religious Right groups, including Concerned Women for America (CWA) and Morality in Media (MiM) — they want to convince you that all pornography is wrong and harmful.

But Dr. Marty Klein has a different idea in mind:

I support increasing everyone’s awareness of pornography use in this country: how many people watch it, who these people typically are, how it affects them and their relationships, how pornographers work hard to screen out underage performers, what Americans’ rights are regarding possession of erotic material, etc.

He has a list of suggestions, too:

* Thank the clerk in your local convenience store for carrying porn magazines or DVDs.

* Thank your local hotel for carrying pay-for-porn, even if you personally have never stayed there. Alternatively, write to a national chain that carries pay-for-porn (and has been bullied about it by groups like Citizens for Community Values), such as Marriott or Westin.

* Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining that most people who use porn have no problem with it.

* Instead of a White Ribbon, wear a Plaid Ribbon. When people ask, say it’s for Porn Awareness Week and your gratitude for the First Amendment.

* Write your mayor or governor reminding them that you vote — and that you have no problem with porn.

Some of his suggestions strike me as a bit creepy — “Dear Governor, I disagree with your support of Proposition 42. Also, porn is kinda awesome. Just thought you should know.” — but the sentiments are good ones: Be sex positive. Don’t make the mistake of assuming porn is inherently evil (though some of the unregulated stuff out there is downright disturbing or illegal). Realize that watching it could actually improve your sex life, not hinder it. Enjoy it but don’t go overboard.

Pastor Pete Wilson came across that list and he’s stunned. In his mind, porn can only lead to addiction and unstable relationships:

I just want to remind you of the truth which is porn is a powerful cycle of addiction that can and will destroy your ability to enjoy intimacy with your partner in the way God intended.

I want to remind you that you don’t have to continue to allow your mind and soul to be poisoned by this stuff. You can find freedom from the cycle of guilt and shame you’re caught in!

If you read some of the comments, you get a sense of why he believes all this. It doesn’t seem like any of his commenters know how to handle porn responsibly:

When my son went off to college a few years ago he asked me what was the best porn blocker he could use on his dorm PC. My answer was simple:

A right relationship with God is the only real porn blocker.

Pornography contributed heavily to the destruction of my first marriage. I now see my sons four days a month because of it. Porn’s just not worth it.

Seriously?! Are there no sex-positive Christians out there who can tell Wilson that porn has made their relationships better? Or at least that it didn’t change it one way or the other?

I’m sure there are atheists who can tell him that…

I’ll admit it’s possible for people to get addicted to porn. And we can have a debate about how old your children should be before they’re exposed to sex (as if you can control that). But this automatic, black or white, porn-is-great or porn-is-evil thinking is pretty warped. It just pushes the belief that *all* forms of sex are naughty naughty naughty unless you’re having it — missionary-style-only — within the confines of your marriage… (and never before your wedding day, of course).

If anyone suggests there are healthy, responsible ways of having physical fun outside of that particular relationship, they don’t want to hear it.

Reality ruins everything they stand for, doesn’t it?

On a side note, Wilson also quotes some statistics that look to be damning but I can’t find a good enough reason to take them seriously.

* 42 percent of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure.
Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.

* 41 percent of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.
Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.

* 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home.
Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003.

Christian Counseling Today, Christian Counseling Today, Focus on the Family… totally credible and unbiased sources, I’m sure.

What was the methodology used? Who was surveyed? Was it an online poll? Who knows.

I tried finding links to the original data online so I could look up those things for myself but, like so many Christians who try to use statistics to boost their cause, Wilson just seems to be parroting what other Christian websites say. They all quote the same sources… then the sources disappear… then they all quote each other. It’s like one big circle-jerk with no discernible beginning.

If anyone can find that original information, I’d love to see it.

Related note: A few years ago, I wrote about a debate I saw between porn star Ron Jeremy and Pastor-to-the-porn-stars Craig Gross in which they discussed this very subject.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • gsw

    Dear Pastor,

    You could exchange “religion” for “porn” on most of those statements, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong.

    Anything carried to excess is bad for you – even praying, giving money to a  church/mosque/temple/synagogue and celibacy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    Reminds me of the West Wing.

    John Van Dyke: If our children can buy pornography on any street corner
    for five dollars, isn’t that too high a price to pay for free speech?

    President Bartlet: No.

    John Van Dyke: Really?

    President Bartlet: On the other hand, I think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      You mean… people actually pay for porn? All I’ve ever needed is an internet connection and ten seconds on Google…

      • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

        I suppose it depends on what kind of porn you want. Do you want a fun story that happens to have hard core sex? You might have to pay. Want more than a few clips of CG alien on human porn? You might have to pay.

        Just want two or more people getting it on? Free, and easy to find. 

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          Ummm… *cough*piratebay*cough*

          Not that I advocate piracy or anything (my position on the matter is neutral) I’m just pointing out that, you know, anything you can think of, there are ways to obtain it for free. (And if there aren’t, give it five years… someone will make a way.)

          • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

            Ok, point. I’m too concerned with viruses to go the BitTorrent route (and not yet sure on the piracy issue), but it does exist. 

          • Michael

            A certain porn star once said “The only thing that makes me feel exploited is piracy”

            I’ll pay for mine, thanks.

            • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

              Huh. Good point. 

  • http://twitter.com/spackmanjackman Aaron Jackman

    What about the issue surrounding the degradation of the female form within porn?  It is my view that society’s increased tolerance of gratuitous sexual images of women in the media has led to a backward view of breastfeeding.  Because breasts are seen as ‘taboo’, thanks to porn, lads mags – and religious hang ups about sex – the sight of a woman feeding her baby with one of these breasts is a cause of intense embarrassment, and even outrage for some people.

    I agree that sex needs to be celebrated, but I would be very careful about celebrating something that I know can become an addiction.  In a similar way, I am sceptical about society’s celebration of drinking alcohol, based on the fact that it ruins many people’s lives through addiction.

    I also say that if we’re to celebrate porn and sex in ALL it’s forms, we should celebrate sex within marriage also.  Christians/Muslims get this massively wrong when they focus on how not to have sex before you get married, and forget to celebrate how friggin’ amazing sex is after you’ve made your vows!  The Bible has a whole book that celebrates the beauty and ecstasy of sex.  For example, this can only be about one thing:  “My beloved stretched his hand through the opening and my heart was moved for him” – and yet, those of a religious persuasion tend to skirt around the blatant sexual references and focus instead on what not to do.

    I take issue with your use of the word  “confines”, as it alludes to the belief that sex within marriage is restrictive in some way.  I also take issue with the fact that you criticise those who say ‘porn is evil’, but not the ‘porn is great’ brigade.  You did say that both views are warped, but only addressed one side.  What would your thoughts be regarding those who hold such views?

    • Michael

      You’ve got cause and effect backward. Breasts aren’t taboo because of porn. Porn emphasises breasts because they’re taboo.

      • http://twitter.com/spackmanjackman Aaron Jackman

        Fair play Michael, but I guess that doesn’t make things OK.  Obviously, there are deeper, underlying issues regarding things that are ‘taboo’, but I’m not sure emphasising them helps.  It only serves to frustrate women who don’t want to feed their children powdered cows milk.

        • Michael

          If breasts stop being taboo they’ll stop being emphasised in porn. Currently, moralists insist they should only be seen in sexual situations, so when porn wants to give an impression of a sexual situation they use bare breasts.

          The emphasis on breasts in porn and the victimisation of breastfeeding women are two effects with a common cause. Censoring breasts in porn will lead to people feeling more justified in censoring breastfeeders.

          • Guest

            Exactly. Breasts in porn and unavailable breast feeding are both results of the underlying cause of how society views women and their bodies. One does not cause the other, the are both symptoms of the same disorder. 

            Course, so it people referring to female bodied folks as ‘the female form’. I’m a person, not a sculpture. 

    • Anonymous

      Celebrating sex within marriage is good. As a supporter of marriage, I would say we should pay special attention to that. Yes we should promote responsible sex the same way we promote responsible drinking, but I think most people will be able to do both without hurting themselves. And sexuality in culture can be positive to women, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    • Anonymous

      Some other countries have lots of porn too and don’t have these hangups about breastfeeding or public nudity in general for that matter. In some European cities, it’s hardly unusual for women to sunbath topless in parks.

      This exaggerated phobia about boobs – and sex in any form – is an American thing for the most part. Sure, a taboo everywhere to some extent, but not always this extreme

    • Beckyleah

      Haven’t breastfeeding rates gone up?http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/03/us-usa-breastfeeding-idUSN0226313220070803  This would suggest that increased tolerance of female sexuality is not a detriment to breastfeeding. We should teach our daughters that breasts serve multiple functions both in feeding an infant and in sexuality. Neither is shameful and both can be celebrated.

  • Atheist4Life

    As a sex positive person I do celebrate porn, porn is a sexual freedom and a human right. If the term religion changes porn would be one of the religions I would follow. Porn has been around longer than the religions that are around today however the porn industry has no where near as much money as religion which of course religion is the world’s biggest industry, what the porn industry makes in a year religions make in a month possibly even in a week. The anti-porn religious morons need to accept the fact that porn will be around forever and that the audience for porn is changing especially since the number of women who enjoy, watch, download and buy porn is increasing. They need to stop using children as an excuse to ban a sexual freedom and get a life, but since they are religious they want to control everyones lives for the mythical magic man.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com Marguerite

    It’s worth mentioning that these people seem to want to redefine “porn” in a very broad way.  For example, in this article:

     http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/21/can-the-burgeoning-christian-crusade-against-pornography-bear-fruit/?hpt=hp_c2

    these lines jumped out at me: “It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society – television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.”

    “Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.”

    “It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

    To me, the way they talk about porn suggests that they are trying to redefine it, so that any sexual content is porn, and thus dangerous (see all our impressive statistics showing how deadly it is!).  The next probable step, then, isn’t just trying to “cure” fundamentalists who are interested in sex, or to bring attention to truly pornographic material (whatever that might be), but to try to suppress ALL sexual material so that they can “protect” society at large, whether or not society wants to be protected. 

    The more they can convince other evangelicals that it’s a BIG, SERIOUS PROBLEM, the more they can encourage them to begin working to get rid of all that “porn” that supposedly pervades secular society.  They don’t just want to “convince you that all pornography is wrong and harmful.”  They want to redefine pornography and keep America safe from sex. ALL sex.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Holy shit, it’s the Junior Anti-Sex League…

    • Alla & Greg M

      It would be very beneficial if they keep themselves from sex.  ALL sex.  We would probably see reduction in religiosity within one generation.

  • Michael

    I would like to thank the porn industry for providing an effective contraception to those who need it. We all know that abstinence-only doesn’t work, but abstinence-plus-porn has been highly effective in many cases.

  • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa E

    Those poll numbers come from Christian women who were educated the same way I was. I was literally told that  if my husband has a “porn problem”, it’s most likely because I am failing him as a wife, and also porn is not normal and no mentally healthy person wants to look at it. 

    I have absolutely no problem with my soon-to-be husband looking at porn. All my friends in high school and college were guys, so I figured out pretty quickly that a guy who DOESN’T want to look at porn is the one who’s psychologically odd, and I mentally re-adjusted my Christianity-shaped definition of a relationship to include porn-watching as par for the course. My family would be horrified, I’m sure. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_55HCGTRPQF6BHC2QWJJ6NLP33M Eleanor

      I’m more curious about porn than my husband (though neither of us has watched/read any — at least, since we were in our twenties, before we met). Does that mean there’s something wrong with him? ;-)

      • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

        You should try it! There’s a lot to choose from, but if you can figure out what you enjoy watching, there’s a porn for you. (I totally recommend Violet Blue at tinynibbles.com – NSFW – she’s a great sex educator and porn advocate.)

        Porn is just one thing, like lots of other things, that can possibly enhance an sexual relationship. It doesn’t work for every couple, and I wouldn’t make the claim that every couple SHOULD watch porn, but I do think everyone should give it the honest college try and see how they like it. Who knows? It might be something that becomes routine for you. :)

      • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa E

        I said “odd”, not “wrong”, on purpose :)

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      Several months ago I commented on a Christian blog and mentioned that porn is totally passable in my book (husband and I watch porn independently and occasionally together – it’s about as threatening to our relationship as baking a batch of cookies).

      I got an email notification that a straggler had commented, so I amused myself reading through the thread again. I was unsurprised to find a new comment that I hadn’t seen before that referred to me as “that girl up there who thinks it’s ok to watch porn when her husband is away”.

      “…thinks its ok…”

  • http://www.quietatheist.com/ Slugsie

    Damn it. Now I’ve lost my boner.

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Just think about midget porn. Works for me everytime.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DWJZ4RH6FDRMZWXMJZWU6E754Y CHARLES

    There are actually good reasons to think that porn might not be harmful. An article in “Science Daily” from 2010 references a paper by Milton Diamond. In summary it cites declining rates of abuse following legalization and wide availability of pornography.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130111326.htm

  • Jennie

    “I’ll admit it’s possible for people to get addicted to porn.”

    I was under the impression that the above statement was a myth put forth by anti-porn groups and individuals. Has there been any (non-anecdotal) research done that backs up that claim?

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com Marguerite

      People can get addicted to anything– the internet, shopping, food, gambling.  I think the better question is, is porn something that people are more likely to get addicted to, or does it just fall into the more general category?  I.e., sure, people can probably get addicted to porn, but is that really any different from, say, a shopping addiction?  You really can’t hope to ban every possible activity that some people may develop addictions for, so why focus on porn?  Is porn really quantitatively different in some way, or is that just a myth put forth by fundamentalists?

      • Michael

        To find that answer you would first need accurate data on how much porn people read. Most likely, porn is deemed more addictive because people underreport how much they read.

        • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com Marguerite

          Another problem is defining “porn.”  As indicated in the article I quoted below, I think a lot of fundamentalists tend to label anything with sex in it as porn.  If I read a sexy romance novel every day, am I addicted to porn?  A fundamentalist would likely say yes.  I’d just say I like to read romances *shrugs*.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if there is a study that shows which groups use or are more addicted to porn. I imagine Muslims and Christians would be ranked at the top.

  • Christina P.

    I’d not doubt that porn may be addictive in extreme cases, just like food is addictive to many morbidly obese (something I have witnessed in a dear friend).  Calling it a gateway drug is absurd, IMO, in the same fashion that marijuana is- if you can’t find satisfaction in moderation, the problem lies within your bounds of self control and risk assessment, not within the use of something initially harmless. I find also, that some find after they have been told all their life not to do something pleasurable, and then they finally do it, they tend to make up for lost time…perhaps the problem lies within religious anti-sexuality- in addition to the nature of some humans in finding thrill in the taboo.
    And this may be too much information, but I can never figure out why Christian texts and dogma are against sex, when the orgasm seems like something a generous God would gift on humans… how puritanical.

    • SeniorSkeptik

      Porn is a lot less addictive than religion, especially Christianity.

  • Jennifer

    With the statistics quoted about porn making a partner feel insecure or less attractive, how much of that is because they are taught that they should feel that way if their partner uses porn? Seems to me to be a self-fulfilling cycle.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe those Christians who commented view porn as a relationship-wrecker because their view of it is shameful. Christianity is really good at layering on the shame, and it’s the shame that kills the relationship.

    In that sense, blaming the porn for the failed relationship is sort of like Christians blaming a gay teen’s suicide on the homosexuality.

  • oambitiousone

    Sorry to say–as I support free speech– but porn makes me squeamish. 

    Like the women polled, I feel inferior and ugly compared to the  women in these films. They set up a standard that I can’t reach. I wonder, too, if it sets an expectation about women, sexually. It’s so fake. The women writhe and swoon at penetration, an experience I have NEVER had. You’d get more response sticking your finger in my nose–I’d feel more, anyway.

    Beauty and sex are power, and these films revere the unattainable. I’d rather deal with reality than compete with these sexual “myths.”

    Maybe if I were a man, I’d understand all the fuss about porn.

    • Anonymous

      Porn is fantasy.  It is escapism.  It isn’t reality.  Some of it is just too fake to be entertaining and the actors and directors should probably work on that or maybe you could try looking at better quality porn.

      As for feeling ugly I must say that I find false boobs and ridiculous tans to be quote ugly and much prefer the form of a more natural beauty.  If you feel inferior I’m sure that there are plenty of men who don’t have 11 inch cocks who feel that they come off poorly in comparison to male porn stars.

      • Nena

        Yeah, see, the 11 inch cocks fall into that category of things I like to watch, but don’t particularly want to do…

        As for fake breasts and unrealistic bodies, again, for me, it’s something nice to look at, but when it comes down to reality, I’d rather be with a real woman or man who turns me on with their whole person; not simply how they look naked.

      • Anonymous

        I think a lot of men feel bad about their penis length because they simply do not realize what the normal length is (it is 5 to 6 inches erect, by the way). Women can tell to some degree what a normal size breast is just by looking at other women, most of whom haven’t had breast implants (outside of Hollywood anyway). Men can’t go around checking other men’s erect penises except in porn which gives unrealistic expectations.

        If a woman has breast implants, I don’t want her to tell me. The idea of squeezing a bag of silicone turns me off.

    • walkamungus

      There are more types of porn in the world than hetero “tab A into slot B” porn. You might find something else out there that floats your boat big time — it doesn’t have to be something you’d want to or be able to participate in in “real life”. 

      • Virgilsvagrant

        Yep, there are all sorts of porn, with a huge variety of genders, acts, and body types. 
        Personally I prefer artistic erotica, literature, and web comics to movies of questionably quality. It can be emotional as well as physical if you find the right one. You can use it as one of many things to please yourself, to find what does and does not work for you. Information you can then take and share with a partner, communication and self knowledge make an excellent encounter. :) 

      • Nena

        This is absolutely true. There are a lot of things I like to watch that I don’t particularly like to do, and there are things I enjoy doing with my partner that don’t particularly turn me on to watch. I think Greta Christina wrote an entire article about that…

    • Anonymous

      There are porn sites that specialize in chubby women and even fat ones. Believe it or not, there is a niche market for that kind of stuff. There are also porn sites only about masturbation. One only shows the models (both men and women) from the chest or neck up, so you only see their faces.

      Most porn is crap, sure. But there is some good stuff outside the mainstream

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Hey, Rule 34 — if it exists, it is somebody’s fetish.

      • Anonymous

        The book “A billion wicked thoughts” says that porn of chubby women is three times more common than porn of very skinny women (meaning less than a 6 to 10 waist to hip ration)

        • Anonymous

          Nice to see someone else read that book. =]

    • Anonymous

      But if a man finds out his wife likes Brad Pitt, a man more handsome and richer than almost every other man, don’t you think he’d feel inferior and ugly as well? I think the key is to always show our partners that we love them far more than the pictures we see on the TV or computer screen. We shouldn’t view porn or gush about Brad Pitt in front of our partners all the time if it bothers them, but a little here and there in private perhaps should be okay if there is trust in the relationship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I celebrate porn the same way I celebrate my birthday.

    All alone in my bedroom behind a locked door in front of the computer.

    Fuck I’m lonely.

  • jpeg

    Here is how I read the surveys that Hemant quoted:

    58 percent of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography did not make them feel insecure.

    59 percent of surveyed adults admitted they don’t feel less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.

    53 percent of families said pornography is not a problem in their home.

    Headline:  Christian pollsters agree, majority of adults think porn is not a problem!

  • Nena

    I am a woman, and I enjoy porn.

    When I was a christian many years ago, I enjoyed porn, but I had severe guilt and shame attached to it. It was this guilt that caused me to feel threatened when my (then current, now former) husband enjoyed porn. Because I was so screwed up in the head regarding the legitimacy of the desire for fantasy and self-pleasure, I felt like if we needed this activity, something must be wrong.

    Now that I have freed myself of christian guilt and shame, I can enjoy porn without guilt, and I can feel positive about my partner enjoying porn. We even discuss our favorite performers. And our relationship is strong and healthy. Do I ever feel inadequate compared to the performers? Sure. At that point we stop talking about porn, he calls me beautiful, and we move on to another subject or activity. It’s called communication and respect.

    I believe that porn is a healthy outlet for sexually mature humans. Provided all performers are adults and willing participants, I honestly cannot see anything harmful about the industry at all.

    Can it be troublesome, unhealthy, or an addiction? Sure. So can chocolate, coffee, or chewing ice. Addiction has more to do with the individual than with the actual action or substance, in many (but not all) cases.

    • Karin

      I wish I could like that comment multiple times! Very well said, and I agree 100%.

    • Anonymous

      “I believe that porn is a healthy outlet for sexually mature humans. Provided all performers are adults and willing participants, I honestly cannot see anything harmful about the industry at all.” 

      @Nena: I think this is the challenge. Many (not all, but many) “performers” are unwilling participants and/or victims of childhood sexual abuse, addiction or other issues. I don’t care who watches what, but I am quite concerned about the realities of how films are made.

      • Nena

        Joan, while I don’t have any data to refute your claim about many performers being unwilling, I am a bit skeptical about it. I’m not sure where your information came from. I’d be interested to see the data.

        Yes, some performers may have been abused, but so have many technical writers, waitresses, truck drivers, CEOs…I don’t think being sexually abused drives someone to porn. I honestly think getting involved in pornography is most often a willing choice. I think this because I’ve read many articles, interviews, and books written by performers.

        I have grave concerns regarding the exploitation of underage and abused people; but there are laws to protect them, and I believe that more often than not, they work.

        • Anonymous

          As with many topics, the data is mixed on this issue and research bias is evident depending upon the source and intent of those conducting it. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the very women who would fit the description are what researchers call “hidden populations”–those that are difficult to find, interview and/or account for in qualitative research. As such, a case can be made on either side of the question if one decides to engage in a tit-for-tat (no pun intended). So where does that leave us in a conversation like this? Even the stories of porn actors and actresses are mixed. I’ve heard some say they enjoy and even are empowered by the work and others telling tales of starving themselves to keep their bowels empty in order to avoid eating their own shit during  soul-crushing shoots. Same goes for the impact of porn on “real” relationships. I’ve spoken with young women who like sex and enjoy porn and those who are trying to navigate the expectations of pornified partners who want to engage in behavior they are not interested in and feel pressured to replicate what’s happening on the screen. So, is it oversimplification to uniformly and rigidly say “porn is wrong”? Maybe. But, I contend, it is an equal oversimplification to uniformly and rigidly say it is “right” or that at its worst it is comparable to compulsive eating or “shopping addiction”. I believe a more critical and nuanced assessment is necessary on both sides of the equation…

          • Michael

            Porn actors get more protection from workplace abuse than most workers. If a manager threatens a factory worker if they don’t work extra shifts then the manager will usually get away with it, if a manager threatens a porn actress similarly, in a room filled with recording equipment, that’s a very real risk of five years jail, and rightly so.

            • Anonymous

              Not sure I’m with you on that one, Michael. I think a “manager” on set at a porn shoot would likely be a little more street smart than to allow him (or her) self to be recorded coercing someone. Also, not sure that working extra shifts is the worst reality facing a nude woman covered in semen on set. I can see the advantage of arguing that this is just another job, but I don’t think it holds up.

              • Anonymous

                1. You are offering a “could be” scenario. How do you know that a director on a Hollywood movie set doesn’t coerce people when the cameras aren’t running? We’d need facts before we claim that they do.

                2. The “covered in semen” shows your personal preferences on this, but what if, in regard to a personal assistant on a Hollywood movie set, said “I can’t believe that someone would voluntarily get coffee for another person. It’s just so degrading and slave like!” It is you forcing your preferences onto the situation when it might not be true for everyone.

                • Anonymous

                  1) I’m sure that there are predatory directors on Hollywood sets that take advantage of actors and actresses. There are many stories to that effect. I mentioned this possibility for a specific reason–to challenge the point raised earlier in the conversation that it was in some way safer on a porn set than in a factory because there were cameras present.

                  2) As I mentioned to Nena above, covered in semen was a reference to a particular porn actresses story about an experience she had on set. As I wrote above, there are many people involved in the porn industry on both sides of this question…some  pleased and empowered, others stuck and miserable. I think you are making assumptions that I am taking a particular position when I am pointing to a) the complexities of social issues like pornography and b) the ineffectiveness of taking absolute/extreme positions for or against it.

              • Nena

                See, I don’t have a problem with being nude and covered in semen. 

                • Anonymous

                  I was referring to a particular story from a porn actress who described herself covered in semen and under pressure to perform on a particularly grueling set. It was her example, not mine. The same text included a male actor who walked off set because the female “actress” he was asked to perform with was in the corner crying and needed to be dragged across the room to take her place. 

                • Michael

                  The question here is simple. Are health and safety concerns taken into account by the porn industry? The answer is that health and safety can only be enforced in an industry that is accepted as legitimate. Support porn and you can support porn stars.

          • Anonymous

            But it seems to me that most porn actresses and actor are from the middle class. If you polled porn actresses and asked them if they would prefer a job at McDonald’s to porn and they mostly said yes, then that would be a problem. But I don’t think you’ll find that. If you are willing to legalize jobs that are less attractive than working in porn then you can’t say that porn is bad by comparison.

      • Nena

        Hi Joan. I’m responding again to your first response, because the thread I’m actually replying to is getting too indented and the text is too skinny to read. :)

        I could say that it isn’t just porn; there are lots of people who feel trapped in their office job, or their waitressing job, or in the military. I am not being flippant; some people have to seek therapy because they feel like their job is crushing them.

        But you are right, I think, that pornography is a more complicated social issue. It is complicated because sex really is such an intensely personal act. There are some people who can be very casual about sex; there are some people who cannot. I’m not even talking about moral liability here, what with having guilt from religion or whatnot; the human response to sex is extremely varied from individual to individual.  

        Honestly though, I don’t see what the solution would be. Should we tell the people who are happy to perform in pornography that they can’t do it because there are others who feel forced into the field? That would be like making it illegal to marry someone from another country because the mail-order bride industry exists. You can’t criminalize a legitimate institution because of corruption; you have to go after the corruption itself. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    When porn promises a second coming, it delivers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/squeakyreaper Kenneth Armstrong Gould Jr.
  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    It’s like one big circle-jerk with no discernible beginning.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    An apt simile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy
  • Anonymous

    Meh!  Porn is a matter of taste.  If you don’t like it then don’t watch it or read it.  If you do then knock yourself out.  It doesn’t bother me.  

    What I can’t stand though is people telling me that I’m not permitted to do something that doesn’t hurt anyone else (and certainly doesn’t hurt me).  How dare they!  Why can’t they keep their stupid opinions to themselves.  I’m happy for them to not use porn if they don’t want to.  I’m happy for them to sneak off to the privacy of their own closet and partake of all the porn that they can ogle.  

    Why can’t they just leave everyone else well enough alone?  Why do they have to interfere and interject their own brand of faithhead morality into everyone else’s life?

    • Anonymous

      They have that attitude about everything. Not just porn

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    Neither the article or any of the comments look squarely at the issue of who gets involved in making porn, or why.  It is still true that most “actors” are women who can’t find a better way to make a living, and that should make all of us ashamed for our society.

    • The Captain

      Actually no it is not still true, if it ever was in the first place. 

      First off most traditional porn “stars” who where women freely admit to wanting to get into the industry. The myth of the abused runaway innocent girl forced into porn, while it may have happened occasionally, it was NOT the norm. 

      Also your whole argument is mute now anyway. The for money porn industry is dead, or rapidly dying. The large, professional porn film studios are all shrinking fast do to the technology they helped pioneer. The internet. See it turns out that for every one person who would like to get paid to act in a porn, there are a hundred out there who will hump for free! Most porn today is literally couples making their own movie and putting it up on the web. So it’s kinda hard to say that these women are being “forced into making a living”, when none of them are getting paid, and half are adjusting the camera. 

      • Rebecca Sparks

        Citation needed

    • Michael

      The fact that porn is one of the better ways to earn a living is hardly something any country should be proud of. It is safer than most factory workers, good pay for short hours and a company that doesn’t respect its workers goes out of business, unlike most industries in which the company that treats its workers like shit ends up the market leader because it spends less on worker comforts.

      • Rebecca Sparks

        Citation needed.   A quick search for porn actresses speaking about their working condition yields a discussion from Lorelei Lee saying she had safe working conditions on “Milk Nyphos” (a film about milk enamas), the FAIR initiative in auguest 2011 that would tie porn filming permits to condom use in LA (backed by former porn stars that got VD while filming) , and Pink Cross’s interviews with ex-porn stars that talk about unsafe working conditions.

    • Anonymous

      I doubt you’d find very many porn actresses that say they’d rather be working at McDonald’s but they just couldn’t get a job there. If we allow jobs less attractive than porn we can’t turn around a ban porn jobs because you’d be forcing people into the less attractive jobs that they don’t want to do.

      • Rebecca Sparks

        You don’t know what you’d find if you don’t collect any data.   I think there are a myriad of contributing factors for any person working porn that are more complex than a McD’s/porn decision.

        • Anonymous

          Fine. I’m all in favor of collecting data. But it has to be done fairly. You can’t have a question which asks “would you rather be in porn or your dream job” and then declare that the only way porn should be legal is if it is more attractive than every other job out there. The fact is that yes there may be better jobs than porn, but there are a whole lot of jobs that are worse and we shouldn’t be putting more limitation on sex work simply because it involves sex.

           Most porn actresses are middle class. They have the ability to get other jobs. Even in times of a strong economy, you see plenty of middle class girls working in porn. They work there because they prefer the porn jobs to the other jobs that are available. 

          • Rebecca Sparks

            ” Most porn actresses are middle class. They have the ability to get other jobs. Even in times of a strong economy, you see plenty of middle class girls working in porn. They work there because they prefer the porn jobs to the other jobs that are available.”
            How do you know this?  Do you work in the industry?  Are you an embedded journalist or researcher who works with porn stars?  Are you referring to a study of which I am not aware?

            I am questioning your knowledge of Porn Star Social & Economic status as well as motives and preferences in working in adult films.  I have said nothing about outlawing porn–that’s a total strawman argument.

            • Anonymous

              While there doesn’t seem to be an easily accessible study of porn star opinion about their occupation out there on the web, I was able to find sites that indicate that being in porn can often put women in the upper middle class. For these actresses, it isn’t something you do on a whim and it is competitive. To assume the worst simply because it involves sex is wrong.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornographic_actor#Pay_rates

              http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_money_does_a_porn_star_earn

              • Rebecca Sparks

                There’s a lot of variables in what you’ve linked, starting with the statements that porn work is contractual–which means no guaranteed work, no healthcare, no unemployment, etc.

                Can you be a become rich and famous from porn?  Sure, look at Jenna Jamison or Ron Jeremy.  Can you have a comfortable life as a porn star?  There’s many who do porn & tour strip clubs and do well for themselves.  Yet there’s also a possibility that you don’t reach this level of fame and able to secure this amount of income.  The sex stars I have known have been part-timers, most who quit because of exploitative practices of their employers.  Antidote =/Data, and I don’t know how normative my acquaintances experiences are of porn stars in general.  But then, neither do you.

                The point is not to assume the worst, but to assume nothing and make only very provisional statements until you have data to back up your claims.  I’m neck-deep in another project, but when I’m free I’ll try to dig up some more info on pornstar lives– and if there’s nothing,  maybe try run a survey or two and some interviews so that we have something to talk about.

                • Anonymous

                  Like I said in my other post, I’m all in favor of making sure that sex workers get the same health benefits and other benefits that other workers do. We should have regulations on the industry that make it safer, but not those geared toward making it rarer.

                  It would be good to find more information on the topic. However, I’d want to make sure that the data was objective. I often find that the humanities and arts departments often have views ahead of time that colors their view of the world. We need to make sure that the study was random, includes a large sample, asks relevant questions, ect.

  • Tiffany

    I am a married woman and I admit that I enjoy porn. When my husband and I first started dating, I was very anti-porn. Partly because of the fact that I was a conservative Christian but mostly because I was dealing with coming out about my childhood sexual abuse. So, really, I was kind of anti-sex and under the impression that porn leads to sexual violence. (I know, crazy.)

    Now, my husband and I watch porn separately and together. Part of my interest in porn stems from the fact that I’m bisexual but have never acted on it because I’ve been with my husband for years. And, hopefully, I never will act on it because I’d like to hope that our marriage lasts.  All of that is to say, I find women attractive, probably more so than men and watching porn is a way to enjoy that.

    Plus, sometimes we just like to watch it to make fun of how cheesy it is.

    • Anonymous

      If you like cheesy then have a look at PG Porn.  Porn without the sex.

      • http://twitter.com/WCLPeter Rob U

        Thank you so much for brining this up.  I had watched the one with Nathan Fillion, yes that Nathan Fillion, had starred in Nailing Your Wife and assumed they didn’t make anymore.

        Just finished watching the rest, damn haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

  • deityfree

    Hurts my wallet?!?!? There’s so much free porn out there. Why pay for it? Who doesn’t know how to use a search engine?

  • Bill Boling

    So per those stats, over 50% of Christians surveyed replied other than negitively or positively to the servey?
    Cool, sex is so repressed in the Christian culture. It is nice to hear over half think it is OK. 8)

  • Ronlawhouston

    There are some budding comedians who comment on this site.  Several of you almost made me spew my coffee.

  • Anonymous

    I think porn purchases and the like should be tax-deductible.
    Just today I was thinking how nice it would be if prostitution was legal; think of the things it could do for our economy and how much money we’d save if we stopped criminalizing it.

  • Anonymous

    “Pastor Pete Wilson came across that list …” For SHAME, Pastor!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mason-Law/124300894 Mason Law

    i like how the anti-porn sign has to add a secular/financial reason to give it a somewhat valid argument.

  • Anonymous

    Porn is great. It really help me appreciate lesbian rights.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    Broken hotlink image.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    So… if porn is evil because it destroys relationships, but my relationship is evil because it’s same-sex, does that mean gay porn is good?

    • http://considertheteacosy.wordpress.com/ Tea Cosy

      Only if you let it destroy your relationship. Natch.

  • http://twitter.com/followmsleading Kayla Knopp

    As a psych researcher myself, I just want to point out some blatant flaws with those references.  The researcher’s credentials are listed as PsyD, which is a clinical practitioners’ degree and most definitively NOT a research degree.  It was developed as an alternative to the research-focused PhD for people whose interests were in no way related to doing research.  I would be immediately skeptical of any research in whose first author – or whose ONLY author, as in this case – is a PsyD.  

    Looking at the titles of those studies, I can promise that the methodologies used were deeply flawed – basically they found some Christians, who get told that porn is evil, asked them how they felt about porn, discovered that most people thought it was evil, and used this as evidence that porn is evil.

    Also, Christian Counseling Today?  Not a credible research journal.  That’s the kind of place you publish when your crap study won’t merit a second look from legitimate journals.

    I do research on couples, commitment and intimacy.  Porn can be harmful… so can alcohol, shoe shopping, potato chips and mayonnaise.  There is no evidence that (ethically produced) porn is broadly harmful to consumers.

  • Rebecca Sparks

    I can’t verifyhis sources:  Christian Counseling Today is a real magazine, but it’s not online and does not have an online archive of works published (that I could find.)  

    I found Mark A. Yarhouse http://psychologyandchristianity.wordpress.com/about-me/.
    He does not list this in his CV, but his major work to date is __Ex-gays?:_A_Longitudinal_Study_of_Religiously-Mediated Change_in_Sexual_Orientation_.  The back cover states that,”The results show that outcomes for this kind of religiously-informed psychotherapy are similar to outcomes of therapy for other psychological problems. Such programs do not appear to be harmful on average to individuals.”
    Make of these sources what you will.

    I find porn highly problematic.  While I celebrate consensual sex with 2 or more adults, I have some real trouble with how porn is so violent and abusive to women and how that is sexualized.   To quite Katz “The problem is not only that a high percentage of women in porn are sexual abuse survivors, some of whom were coerced into the business when they were troubled or niave teenagers by predatory pomps and other abusive older men.  It is not only the reduction of women to what University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen, writing in the /Sexual-Assult Report/, painfully describes as “three holes and two hands.”  It is the way the pornography industry helps to define heterosexual /men’s/ sexuality.  Every time a video portrays a scene where a woman asks to be penetrated by a succession of men who ejaculate all over her face as they contemptuously call her a “cum-guzzling whore,” it also portrays men getting pleausure from the sight of that “cum-guzzling whore,” getting what she wants, what she deserves.  It normalizes the men’s pleasure-taking as it sexualises the woman’s degredation.  The idea that consumers of porn can masturbate and have orgams to that kind of treatment of women and not have it affect their attitudes toward the women and girls in their lives is more a fantasy than anything the most creative porn writers can conjure up.” -Katz, Jackson The Macho Paradox:WHy some men hurt women and all men can help pg 186 

    • Anonymous

      How is porn “violent and abusive”? You seem to think that the kind of sex for pleasure’s sake that is shown in porn is somehow bad. Men (and women!) who view porn are able to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Just because they watch something on the screen does not mean they are going to do it anywhere else. It is the same way that watching a dramatic movie does not make you go out and start having street fights with bad guys. The whole “what she deserves” part of the above quote is pure straw man. The vast majority of men and women who view porn do it because they enjoy it, not to give anyone what they “deserve”. The author is just trying to make sexual people seem evil.

      We need to stop seeing sexuality as harmful. As long as it is practiced safely, it should be celebrated, not demonized. You can respect people of all genders while enjoying the sexuality of porn at the same time. Sexuality adds flavor to life which shouldn’t be thrown away.

      • Rebecca Sparks

        How is porn “violent and abusive”?

        Ok, here’s your homework.  Go watch porn (I’m going to speak as if you’re going to watch hetero-focused, but you could watch gay as well, substituting the one being penetrated to being the female in my line of questioning.  My questions become more difficult with f/f or a woman masturbating, because the man in the situation is supposed to be the viewer, but they could still apply)
         
        1) Do they speak to each other?  If they do, do they both speak, or just one? and how do they speak to the other?  Is it the man or the woman who issues commands?  Does the dominant one speak sweetly to the submissive (calling her beautiful, sweetheart, etc), or are they abusive (whore, slut, etc?)  Does the submissive one say this about herself?

        2)If there is violence/degradation, which gender does it, which one receives it and how is it depicted?  (spanking, pseudo-rape, peeing on the other, tying up, etc?)  Is it shown as bad, or sexy and/or funny?

        3)What are the different attitudes of the people engaging in fellatio/cunningilous?  Is it men or women who writhe in pleasure while the other does something to them?

        4)Is there visible signs of protection for the actors, like condoms?

        5) Is a paid attress/actor, or is this a video on a hidden cam, or during a party with a drunk/passed out girl who might not have consented to have the video online at all?  Is the sex consensual?  Is everyone about 18?(Even if this is not true, is like Bangbus that pretends the actors have sex with women for money and abandon them without paying, or animated films or doujinshi that involve non real people).

        6)What is the title of the video/film, and if you found it online, how is it tagged?

        I don’t know if you can answer these questions in a safe-for-work kind of way for this board.  But the point I’m trying to make is there is a pervasive man dominant/woman submissive attitude in porn, and often that includes degrading the woman.  The only porn I can think of offhand that does not include these dynamic offhand is beautifulagony.com.

        You seem to think that the kind of
        sex for pleasure’s sake that is shown in porn is somehow bad.

        Where do you get this..?  I’m not against sex for pleasure’s sake, or even explicit (pornographic) depictions of sex for pleasure’s sake.  I admit that am worried about the prevalence of violence in porn, and I’m definitely against violence in porn production, like ignoring requests from workers for safer working conditions. 

        Just because they watch something on the screen does not mean they are going to do it anywhere else. It is the same way that watching a dramatic movie does not make you go out and start having street fights with bad guys.

        Just because you watched a violent movie with lots of fight scenes and you did not get into a fight yourself on the way out of the movie theater does not mean watching violence had no impact on you.  We know people learn from film, or else educational television and documentaries are a waste of time.  We know that people are impacted by what they watch that motivate their behavior later even when they are adults and critical thinkers, or else commercials would be a waste of time.  These have been well studied.

        Porn plays a big educational role in many young adults lives.  We talk about the basics in school, how bodies change in puberty, how copulation works, and how to avoid pregnancy and disease (if your lucky!)  But many people (in the Western world ) learn about the mechanical details of how sex actually happens from watching porn. And if they didn’t watch porn themselves, they might be relying on someone who has for their information.  This might make you think woman liked to be jizzed in the face or changing positions several times during sex is normal or desirable, for example.

        The whole “what she deserves” part of the above quote is pure straw man.
        The vast majority of men and women who view porn do it because they
        enjoy it, not to give anyone what they “deserve”. The author is just
        trying to make sexual people seem evil.

        He’s still talking about the men in the video at this point–the male
        porn stars who are depicted receiving pleasure from calling the girl
        names and ejaculating on her face, and the girl who depicting accepting
        or possibly enjoying this treatment.  He’s playing up this scene’s
        violence–He’s not saying that all sex is violent, but that this scene
        (that has sex in it) is violent.

        But he does shift in the next sentence to those watching this video.  You are watching porn because it has sex in it, but that sex often has overtones of violence.  Watching a video like this, where sex and degradation are combined, do they have an effect on those who watch porn?

        It is not the sex in porn that is being questioned, but the exploitation and violence.  Sex is good and fun, as long as it is consentual. 

        • laura

          So… what about women who enjoy being whores? What about women who feel that being sexually active empowers them? What about women who come violently when spanked? Don’t try and tell me they don’t exist, I lived with one. A woman in porn is NOT degraded, if she is enjoying herself. Women, just like men, can be kinky. They can like being peed on, they can like peeing on others. They can like knifeplay, or being tied up, or spat upon.
          Is a woman enjoying herself degrading to you? Is a man enjoying himself degrading to you?
          Porn crosses boundaries if there is no consent… But just because you wouldn’t consent, doesn’t mean no one would.
          The only place where this is an issue is with minors, but then we have the age of consent. Before then, you have no consent to give, so any sexual act isn’t consensual.
          In any case, please don’t call any sex that involves violence degrading to women. I know female masochists who would be very upset with that terminology. I know girls who like being called bitch, and being slapped till they bleed. Just because it’s not your kink doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

          • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

            Hear, hear! 

          • Rebecca Sparks

            In any case, please don’t call any sex that involves violence degrading
            to women. I know female masochists who would be very upset with that
            terminology.

            At first I was very confused with your argument–I mean, the kink in masochism is degradation.

            mas·och·is·tic

              [mas-uh-kis-tik, maz‐] Show IPA
            adjective
            1.Psychiatry. having a condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering, physical pain, and humiliation.
            2.gratified by pain, degradation, deprivation, etc., inflicted on oneself either by one’s own actions or the actions of others.

            Upon reflection, I think the point you are making is, “Girls should be allowed to enjoy kinky, violent sex without being looked down as less than virgin- or vanilla sex girls.”  Am I right? Which by the way is a fine point and I don’t disagree with it.

            My goal is that a woman’s consent is respected.  If she consents to being spanked and humiliated that she has that choice is respected, and if she chooses not to be spanked and humiliated than that choice is respected. 

            What worries me is that repeated exposure to violence against women lowers people’s empathy to survivors of non-consensual violence.  This translates into victim blaming and absolves the perpetrator of guilt–allowing them free to attack another person. I am not so much anti-degradation as anti-non-consensual violence.

            • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

              I mean, the kink in masochism is degradation.

              Um, I just need to correct this misconception. No. I love getting a good flogging, nail scratching is nice, biting is fun, and hot candle wax being dripped on my torso can send me flying through the roof, giggling like a madman. And there’s no degradation involved, I don’t feel the least bit submissive, or at all humiliated. Also, there’s no sexual component to it when I’m gettin’ my pain on. It just doesn’t turn me on sexually. 

              Are other masochists like me? Not all, but neither am I unique. Some do get off on being degraded (in a consensual way), but not all. I suspect I would not like it if someone tried to degrade me. 

              In other words, that was a blanket statement that’s demonstrably wrong, and so is that dictionary definition in the #1 (and if that really is how most psychiatrists understand masochism, they need more research. I’ll help! :D )

              • Rebecca Sparks

                That was the definition listed in dictionary.com.  The Merrium-Webster’s is

                1: a sexual perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation especially by a love object — compare sadism
                2: pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering.

                Masochism is still listed in the DSM IV as a paraphilia, so I imagine that it is somewhat how they see it.  (I think that research would be much less fun than you imagine ;) )

                My friends who were BDsM were always more B/D & D/s than S/M, and they always emphasized the power dynamics and how they were struggling to not be understood in terms of pain.  Maybe it’s a dominance or pain thing then?+

        • Anonymous

          Wow! Watch porn for homework? I wish more classes had that on their syllabus ;)

          But seriously, I will answer your points. If my answers aren’t safe for work, well then the people are supposed to be working at work so they can just wait until they get home to read my response.

          1. Many porn videos do not have talking at all since it is assumed that if you are enjoying your orgasm you don’t have time to talk. Also the words “whore” and “slut” mean to many people that a girl likes to have sex, something that many people don’t think is a bad thing now a days.

          2. BDSM porn includes porn where the woman is submissive and porn where the man is submissive. Femdom has millions of sites on the internet devoted to it, but I never hear anyone talking about it causing the degrading of men in our society. People of both genders chose the submissive role because it is sexually exciting to them (my theory: giving someone you are sexually attracted to power makes you see them as more important and thus you feel special when they pay attention to you)

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8572912

          3. Porn made for men is more likely to have fellatio simply because men find it more enjoyable. But the amount of porn made for women is increasing and I wouldn’t be surprised to find more cunningilous than fellatio in them. According to one study, already 33% of porn users are female. As it becomes more socially acceptable for women to be sexually active, then this number may increase.

          http://articles.cnn.com/2009-07-24/living/o.women.watching.porn_1_arousal-candida-royalle-explicit-sexual-imagery?_s=PM:LIVING

          http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/52811-women-who-love-to-watch-porn

          4. I have actually seen condoms on porn actors before. They were clear and transparent, but they were there. The rest of the actresses were presumably on birth control pills like many of the boy’s girlfriends will be.

          5. Most porn is of girls either smiling at the camera (thus knowing that they are being filmed) or of videos professional enough that they would require a camera too large to hide. The only way to get good quality porn is with ways that the girl knows she is being filmed (and is in most cases being paid for it).

          6. Most porn titles are stupid, but normally have something to do with either the male or female sexual characteristics.

          I am a firm supporter of worker’s rights, including sex worker’s rights. If there are abuses they should be dealt with but that does not mean that there is automatically a difference in abuses in porn shoots verses Hollywood movie shoots. I’ve seen many interviews with porn stars after their shoots where they are friendly and enthusiastic. Sure, it could be faked, but it takes a lot of acting skills to fake those facial expressions and enthusiasm, acting skills which most porn actors don’t seem to have.

          Yes, you learn from documentaries and commercials, but that is because they deal with real things. The average person has seen killing in many movies, but that does not mean that there has been a huge spike in murder. It hasn’t had any major effect on the population at large. That is because people know that it is fiction. The average person is able to tell the difference between a fictional and realistic video and will only let the real video change their views.

          Boys know that porn isn’t realistic. No boy is going to go jizzing on a girl’s face because he knows that in most cases he won’t get any more sex if he does that. If we want to provide our people with information about sex then we should improve our sex education in schools.

          Porn made for men caters to male sexual desires (just as porn for women caters to female sexual desires). That does not make it “violent” any more than romantic novels about women being pampered by rich men are “violent”. Are we going to say that romantic novels where the man is rich and spends his money on the girl are degrading to men because it makes it look like a man’s wallet is the only reason he is of any worth? No, while most women would prefer a rich husband, just as most men would prefer a beautiful wife, most people realize that there are many characteristics, like kindness, which are far more important.

          P.S. I wanted to thank you for being nice and friendly in this conversation. My last discussion consisted of the other person spending their time hurling accusations at me rather than discussing the issue, so talking to you is refreshing.

        • Anonymous

          Also, it should be noted that in recent decades we’ve seen, according to this study, an 85% drop in rape just as millions of porn sites have gone up on the web. It could very well be that this correlation speaks to the fact that sexual predators are able to get sexual satisfaction out of porn that they’d otherwise have to assault another person to get.

          http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=913013

  • 59 norris

    Well, at the very least it seems to me that porn lessens the dignity of those involved.

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      How, exactly? Because I’m not seeing it.

      • 59 norris

        Let’s say if someone showed me a photo of my daughter surrounded by a dozen guys ejaculating onto her I would find it difficult to see how anyone’s dignity had been elevated.

        Or, does the idea of masturbating in front of a computer screen full of porn seem in any way dignified to you?  How about if people were watching you do so?

        I think the beauty of sex is a wonderful thing, but it is cheapened with each step it takes away from an act of love between two people.

        Watching images of people you’ve never met have sex together because they were paid to seems to be more than a few steps away from an act of love.

        Some will say that sex is great and love doesn’t have to play in to it.  I tried that years ago and it didn’t work for me, nor for many people I knew who tried that route.

        In any event, some will claim that it works for them.  Perhaps, yet it lessens the dignity of the act and those completing the act insomuch as it takes one of the most beautiful things people can do and almost invariably reduces it to mere physical pleasure.  The participants often become little more than tools for the other’s pleasure.

        I’m not convinced one has to believe in woo to view sex as a strong, powerful, and intimate act to be cherished.

        Porn reduces it to a commodity and strips away the personal connection between people.  I”m not talking about between a man and his wife, or a person and the person’s partner, though that does happen.  I mean that for those for whom watching porn is a solitary activity (most? many?) there certainly is no personal relationship involved.

        To take the most intmiate personal and loving activity that can exist between two people and reduce it to a solitary (and commercial) act is certainly less dignified.

        • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

          Or, does the idea of masturbating in front of a computer screen full of porn seem in any way dignified to you?  How about if people were watching you do so?

          It may not elevate dignity, but it doesn’t take it away.

          I think the beauty of sex is a wonderful thing, but it is cheapened with each step it takes away from an act of love between two people.

          Certainly not in my eyes (the cheapening, that is).

          Some will say that sex is great and love doesn’t have to play in to it.  I tried that years ago and it didn’t work for me, nor for many people I knew who tried that route.

          In any event, some will claim that it works for them.

          And that seems to be part of the problem. Phrasing it as “some will claim” means you doubt that they are telling the truth, simply because you can’t see it working for you

          Perhaps, yet it lessens the dignity of the act and those completing the act insomuch as it takes one of the most beautiful things people can do and almost invariably reduces it to mere physical pleasure.  The participants often become little more than tools for the other’s pleasure.

          I happen to love watching a skilled dancer show off their skills. It’s a beautiful thing, and properly done, one of the most beautiful things any human can do. Tell me, does the fact that I’m willing to pay money for a good dance show lessen the dignity of the dancer? Does a dancer who gets paid to make a dance video have his or her dignity lessened because they got paid to do it, and a bunch of strangers they will never meet are going to watch it?

          To take the most intmiate personal and loving activity that can exist between two people and reduce it to a solitary (and commercial) act is certainly less dignified.

          And there’s another thing. You see sex as “the most intimate personal and loving activity” [bold mine], while not everyone else does. I see it as one of many highly intimate, personal, and loving activities that two people can engage in, and personally include a conversation over dinner that delves into thoughts and opinions and feelings and disagreements and agreements and shared laughter and even getting a little annoyed because they just won’t see why I’m right during the debating parts to be even better than the sex as an “intimate personal and loving activity.” Yet, I don’t find it the least bit undignified when movies or books portray that, or when watching the likes of Hitchens verbally spar on stage.

          tl;dr: your view of sex is hardly the only correct view of sex, and I see no loss of dignity when watching porn – for me or the performers.

          • 59 norris

            “Phrasing it as ‘some will claim’ means you doubt they are telling the truth simply because you can’t see it working for you.”

            FTR, I’m not saying that such people are lying.  Nor do I phrase it that way “simply” because I can’t see it working for myself.

            I phrased it that way simply to acknowledge that the point would be one of contention for a number of reasons, not the least of which would likely be a disagreement of what “working” would mean.

            If you think that dinner conversation is more intimate than sexual intercourse I cringe to think what you do with the appetizers.

            If you think watching dancing is no different than watching sex then I think that is odd.

            I find it hard to believe that you would have the same reaction to seeing your mother compete on Dancing with the Stars that you wouldhave  to seeing her in a porn video taking on a dozen guys.  Or even one.

            • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

              If you think that dinner conversation is more intimate than sexual intercourse I cringe to think what you do with the appetizers.

              I eat them. And then I keep talking and listening, i.e., conversing. The conversation is the important part. The dinner just makes it easier to keep from being distracted by other things. 

              If you think watching dancing is no different than watching sex then I think that is odd.

              And yet, they are both beautiful things (except they aren’t), and often intimate. Watch two people dance together who love each other. Sometimes, the world just disappears for that couple.

              I find it hard to believe that you would have the same reaction to seeing your mother compete on Dancing with the Stars that you wouldhave  to seeing her in a porn video taking on a dozen guys.  Or even one.

              Well, I’d be shocked by both, because in both cases she would see it as sin. But that’s not your point I suppose. While I don’t know for sure what my exact reaction would be to seeing her in a porn, I doubt it would be what you expect. The one time I walked in on her and my stepdad having sex, I just turned around, pulled the door shut, and smiled. It didn’t bother me in the least. I was about 11 or 12 I think. Maybe 13, but I think it was before my brother came along, so that puts it at 11 or 12 (or 10). My mother’s has a sexual side. Wonderful! I hope she enjoys it.

              • 59 norris

                I think you have a penchant for missing the point, which is not that you would be shocked that your mother had a sex life.

                Am I to conclude that you think your mother being a contestant on Dancing with the Stars to be no more dignified than your mother being in a porn video?

                If the answer is no, then you see my original point.

                If the answer is yes, then I think you are subject to a personal privation such that you lack any understanding of  human dignity to begin with.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  You’re not terribly bright, are you?

                  The ONLY ones who have any right to say whether it’s “dignified” or not to do porn are — and I know, this is a complete surprise to you — THE PORN STARS THEMSELVES.

                  Now STFU and go back to your safe little reality-proof bunker.

                • 59 norris

                  Wow, three sentences and two ad hominems.

                  Your response wasn’t very dignified of you kitty person.  I infer from it that you’re okay with your mom doing porn too.

                  Or at least you don’t think anyone  (including yourself?) has any right see sex-for-hire-and-pay-per-view on the part of your mother as anything approaching undignified.

                  STFU?  Not likely.  Though it’s interesting that you apparently support the freedom of expression in the form of porn, but not in the form of arguing that porn is undignified.  A skewed “value” paradigm to say the least.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  If my mum wanted to do porn, regardless of how I may feel about it, it’s HER decision to do so, and that’s where that conversation ENDS.

                  I say again, that the ONLY people qualified to determine whether or not they are “degraded” by doing porn or that it’s “undignified” are the porn stars themselves. Not you. Not me. Not Joe Blow down the street.

                  If you, personally, don’t like porn, that’s okay. You’re free to NOT watch it. Just recognise that, as adults, the rest of us have every right to enjoy porn without you and yours ruining it for us.

                • 59 norris

                  Post Script to post immediatly below: Kitty, you obviously have some emotional investment in the idea that porn is beyond reproach.   Be that as it may, it seems you are the one with a tenuous grasp of reality if you think that only porn stars have the right to speak to the dignity or lack of in that profession, its “product” or the consumption of it.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Congratulations, you’ve completely missed the point.

                  It’s not up to you to decide that women should do this, or not do that, because YOU find it “degrading.” I support women’s choices, and that includes the choice of doing porn.

                  Now stop trying to decide this shit for us!

                • 59 norris

                  Your responses are those of a child: full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  Your dictitorial hypocrisy is without measure.

                • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                  I’ve seen your point all along. I just don’t think it’s a very good point. You may be right, that I would have a negative reaction if I saw a video of my mother in porn. But that does not mean that is the best response. Like most people, I’ve absorbed our culture’s prevailing views on many things into my emotions, and many of the views that were expressed by my family as I grew up. 

                  But they’re emotional reactions, and not rational. So, when I recognize good rational reasons to reject the views embodied by those emotions, I work to change those emotions. 

                  I absorbed racist attitudes towards blacks, sexist attitudes towards women and submission to men, double standards concerning male and female behavior regarding sex, and of course, certain attitudes about people who are in sex work (hooking, porn, stripping, whatever). Every single one of those attitudes is something I rationally and ethically consider wrong, and when I discover the emotional indoctrination in myself, I work to change it. It isn’t easy. Every attitude I mentioned still occasionally rears its ugliness inside my head. I accept their presence so that I can work to eliminate them (like a cancer, frankly).

                  So, I say again: I don’t really know what my reaction to seeing my mother in a porn video would be. But if it would be anything other than calling her to make sure she’s cool with the video being out there, then that is an attitude I need to work on and change, not one that I need to embrace or validate by assuming that reaction means I was wrong about the dignity of those in porn.

                  Also, what wmdkitty (what’s the “wmd” for?) said with this:

                  The ONLY ones who have any right to say whether it’s “dignified” or not to do porn are — and I know, this is a complete surprise to you — THE PORN STARS THEMSELVES.

                • 59 norris

                  “But if it [your reaction] would be anything other than calling to make sure she’s cool with the video…”

                  But certainly, by your lights, she should be cool with it, and you should be cool with it.  Right?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  The WMD part of my handle? Let’s just say that if biological warfare were legal, you could sell my digestive tract to the military.

                • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                  Ouch.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Yeah. Thankfully, it’s mostly under control with proper diet.

                • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                  I’ve been somewhere similar; it’s not fun. You have my sympathy/empathy.

                • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                  “But if it [your reaction] would be anything other than calling to make sure she’s cool with the video…”

                  But certainly, by your lights, she should be cool with it, and you should be cool with it.  Right?

                  Responding here because the text is getting too squashed.

                  This time I’m not entirely sure what your point is. I’m thinking you’re trying to claim that my reasoning means she would obviously be cool with being in porn, and that you’re trying to imply hypocrisy on my part. If so, then you’re wrong. While it’s difficult at this point to know how many people are forced against their will into porn, it still happens. I would want to make sure that wasn’t the case. I would also want to make sure that it wasn’t a privately made video that was never supposed to get out into the public, or anywhere else I could see it. And given what I know of her beliefs and values (we disagree on a lot), I would be even more concerned. 

                  But if she was cool with it, well, I’d want to know what led to such a change in personality, but other than that, I have no reason to hold a view that her dignity is compromised, or that she’s done anything ethically wrong.

                • 59 norris

                  My point was that, if I read you correctly, by your standard she SHOULD be okay with it.

              • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                My point was that, if I read you correctly, by your standard she SHOULD be okay with it.

                Again, pulling this out to where it won’t be so squished. (Hemant, if you’re reading, I’m going to vote for changing this system of threading if you can)Not exactly what I said. Some people can only deal with sex as a loving, intimate thing. You seem to be one of those. And that’s fine. I’m not saying you have to deal with it in your personal life in any other way. You absolutely can choose to only have sex when you think it’s going to be loving and intimate. But the issue is when you try to make a universal maxim out of your own emotional preference, and when you look down on others who don’t approach sex the same way you do (and claiming that a porn actor loses dignity when engaging in sex for pay is looking down on them).

                So, SHOULD my mother be cool with being in a porn? That’s simply not a good question, in any but an ethical sense divorced from her own psychological make up regarding sex. In that case, I suppose the answer is “yes.” But the question/answer is divorced from her psychology. To my knowledge, her emotional reaction is pretty similar to yours.

          • 59 norris

            “It may not elevate dignity, but it doesn’t take it away.”

            So, if you were masturbating in front of your computer, or with a porn magazine, and some of your friends walked in on you and started laughing, you would feel less dignified?  Or if you did feel less dignified, would you rationalize that your feeling was the result of irrational indoctrination?

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              Well… what’s to laugh at? 97% of people admit to masturbating. The other 3% are lying.

              Hey, I actually had this happen with my ex — I just turned around and looked at him like, “Yeah, you do it, too, so shut up.”

              • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                Woke my wife up once when I got noisy. She decided to help me out.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  D’aww, that’s actually kinda sweet.

                • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                  What can I say? I have the best wife. :D

            • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

              Sorry, totally forgot you had this question out there. My bad completely. 

              Would I feel less dignified? Probably depends on the laughter. Is it derisive? Are they teasing me because I got caught? Picking on my technique? Picking on my choice in porn? 

              These would probably all result in different emotional responses. Embarrassment would likely be in there for all of them (I thought I locked that door?), but being embarrassed doesn’t mean I’ve lost dignity, per se. Derisive laughter would likely cause some fairly negative emotions, that would at some point probably become anger. After all, they do it too. Which means that for the got caught/technique/choice in porn versions, I’d just rip on them as well. :D

              But would I feel an actual loss of dignity? Hard to say for sure, but yes, if I did, I would consider it a silly emotion best done away with if possible. 

  • 59 norris

    TO Kitty (thread to squished to continue above):

    You say “again” that the only “qualified” people, etc?  Not quite.  What you wrote was not “qualified” but “right” as in I don’t have the right to say what I did.  Either way, you’re wrong on both counts.  I have the right to give my opinion on the matter.  Further, a person does not necessarily become qualified to comment substantively on an activity simply because they participate in that activity.  Likewise, a person is not necessarily disqualified to comment substantively on an activity simply because they don’t participate in that activity.

    Otherwise, considering that you likely do not make comments claiming a degredation of dignity due to porn, you would not be able to comment on my comments.  Ironic, isn’t it.  I sincerely hope that was not to much for you to follow.

    But Kitty, do you go so far as to claim that no porn, of any type, lessens the dignity of the ones involved, actors or viewers?  Child porn?  Beastiality?  Scatological?  Surely your position is not an absolute one.  Or is it?


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