7/27/10
Porn – Harmless Fun or Negative Culture Shaper?

imgresWe’ve always been torn by porn. We’re not fans ourselves, but we’re not comfortable dictating where to draw the line for other people’s fantasies either. So it was with great interest that we read this Guardian interview with Gail Dines, author of the new book “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality,” along with the critical Publisher’s Weekly review of it:

As pornography has become both more extreme and more commercial, antiporn activist Dines argues, it has dehumanized our sexual relationships. The radical objectification and often brutal denigration of women in porn, she holds, leaks into other aspects of our lives. Dines’s argument rests on a compelling, close reading of the imagery and narrative content of magazines, videos, and marketing materials; what is missing, however, is a similarly compelling body of research on how these images are used by viewers, aside from Dines’s own anecdotal evidence. The author’s appropriation of addiction terminology—viewers are called users, habitual viewing is an addiction, and pornography featuring teenagers is called Pseudo-Child Pornography or PCP—is distracting and suggests that rhetorical tricks are needed because solid argumentation is lacking. Likewise, Dines’s opponents are unlikely to be swayed by her speculation tying porn viewing to rape and child molestation, nor by the selective sources she draws on to support her point (convicted sex offenders). The book does raise important questions about the commoditization of sexual desires and the extent to which pornography has become part of our economy (with hotel chains and cable and satellite companies among the largest distributors). (July)

We know the majority of readers of EMandLO.com are probably pro-porn, but figured many of you also have reservations about a lot of it. How it both positively and negatively affects our desires, our expectations and our relationships. Rarely is any issue just black and white, and porn’s no exception (despite this post’s title). So we wanted to hear from you about the gray areas. Let’s us know all your thoughts on porn — the good, the bad, the ugly — in the comments below.

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18 Comments on "Porn – Harmless Fun or Negative Culture Shaper?"

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CINDY
CINDY
5 years 10 months ago

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

Johnny
Johnny
5 years 11 months ago
^ Ooooooo, you shouldn’t have snooped, or harangued him while he’s at work. But that’s not actually why I’m replying. I’d like to give you a dude pass here. Your BF is one of those “gone-too-far” guys. If a man were reprimanded at work for being drunk in the middle of the day, you might be justified in fearing an alcohol problem, right? Especially if he were drunk lots of other times too? Same thing. He should not be whacking off at work. Which he has, even if he swears he hasn’t. See in my mind, problems are defined by…… Read more »
Diz
Diz
5 years 11 months ago
Some really interesting points coming up here. Yesterday my boyfriend and I had some quite heavy conflict regarding his porn or internet sex habits. He told me when we first started going out that he’d had a disciplinary at work as a result of them finding out he’d been spending 5 hours a day having sex chat with women on his work computer (pretty dumb if you ask me)… He also used to meet up with women he met on online sex dating websites, some of whom still contact him as they are now friends. All this stuff is behind… Read more »
johnny
johnny
5 years 11 months ago
I hear ya. But I’ve observed that for the most part women love to do all that male-oriented stuff. I think that many women publicly put up a feminist “ew-that’s-degrading” front, because that’s what’s expected of them in this day and age. But the opporutunity to enter a state of abject submission and degredation in private is wildly erotic to them, based on what I’ve seen. They go crazy for it, sometimes wanting me to do such seemingly mean things to them that I’m not immediately comfortable with it. And that’s been the majority of my sexual partners in recent… Read more »
Black Iris
Black Iris
5 years 11 months ago
@Johnny – I didn’t mean to imply that you would push a woman to do anything. I was thinking more about the effect on the overall culture when so many people watch so much male-oriented porn. My concern is that after a while people assume that if you don’t want to do things, you’re not cool. What makes it especially worrisome is that porn is so male-oriented. So I’m worried that guys will expect that girls will shave, have anal sex, etc. and will go for another girlfriend if they don’t But do girls have the power to drop guys… Read more »
Johnny
Johnny
5 years 11 months ago
A young woman is free to choose whatever she wants, at least in my boudeoire, Black Iris. I want to do all those things with a woman who likes them. But the longer her list of sexual no-nos and vetos, the less likely it is that she’d make it back for round two. I couldn’t help but compare her to all the women who WILL do that stuff. I would basically have to weigh the following: what she will/won’t do vs. how much I like her vs. how badly I want a woman who does the things she won’t. No… Read more »
Black Iris
Black Iris
5 years 11 months ago

@Johnny – The other side to porn helping people learn about non-traditional sex and feel free to try it, is possible pressure for everyone to do everything.

Is a young woman free to say I don’t want to pour wax on my genitals, I don’t like anal sex, deep throating makes me gag, I don’t want you to squirt semen on my face in a dominating way, etc.?

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