anti-porn = anti-sex?

One of the most common points to arise in conversation around this series has been that of the equivalence of pornography to sexual practice or sexual freedom of the individual. The strongly-voiced concern is that to take away porn would be to take away a right to the enjoyment of sex; a right to express one’s self sexually or to know satisfaction. Those who feel this way also condemn anti-porn activism for being prude, asexual or religious.

Indeed, the aim of anti-porn activists is to see porn banned. Not only in terms of pornographic photographic or cinematographic content being available primarily online now, but the current now widens to envelop the pornification of general public media in seeking, for example, to ban Page 3 in The Sun, to stop very sinister streams of pornography filtering into mainstream music videos, to discourage retailers from sexualising children, etc…

But the anti-porn community should not be seen to be discouraging or criminalising or tarnishing sex itself. Sex is great. People should enjoy sex and be fully satisfied in it. An anti-porn society would not be one that suppresses sexuality, but one that promotes sexual fulfilment and well-being for all involved. I will say it until I am blue in the face: I am pro-sex. Sex is great. Sex is important. Sex is NOT wrong. Anti-porn should mean pro-sex -because where I take issue is that pornography is NOT sex. Not really.

Pornography does not depict real sex: the concept that porn stars are having fun, spending their days in endless perfectly-timed orgasms with attractive co-stars is simply not realistic. Few porn actors seem to, when asked, enjoy their job; and those who do for a time often look back with regret – not least due to the consequences a career in porn mean for one’s physical health. The concern is also for the emotional well-being of a porn actor as their bodies are used as money-making entities and their emotions separated from sex. Finally because pornography must become more and more hard-hitting in order to appeal to consumers who become desensitised over time to what they see, actors are pushed to perform more violent scenes, perform without precautions – because who wants to see a condom get in the way of that gang rape scene?

Moreover, watching porn is not having complete, fulfilling sex. Sexual arousal of course is an integral part of the consumption of pornographic material, but it is a superficial and alienating activity in contrast to what both arousal and the completion of a sexual act could be, i.e.: within the context of meaningful relationship and not involving strong chemical bonds to false or harmful entities (remember the Fabulous Four?)

Porn is not sex: it is the commodification of sex. It puts a price on something that should not have to be bought or downloaded.

Porn is not sex: it is the ensnaring of its consumers, the lulling of these into a false understanding that they are sexually fulfilled without ever leaving them satisfied and beckoning them back from more each time.

Porn is not sex: the abuse of its performers, the physical and emotional exploitation of human beings caught in a world of violence and fallen boundaries.

Sex should not be reduced to the realm of porn industry. It should not be cheapened by a price tag. It should not mean the abuse or exploitation of its performers. It should not involve the manipulation of its consumers.

Sex is more than this; and sex is not porn.

// However: is some porn beneficial? Can it be helpful? Should we shun all of it? Come back tomorrow!

3 responses to “anti-porn = anti-sex?

  1. Is “old-fashioned” porn, magazines on the top shelf, as harmful as “lads’ mags” that might not contain as much nudity but give young boys a warped sense of the feminine and the worth of women?

    • Yoh, good question Gerry. Thinking now, I won’t be surprised if ‘old-fashioned’ mags are less harmful in certain ways. Obviously there are different kinds of old-fashioned mags but ones I have stumbled upon as a kid were in some ways ‘too realistic’, if you’re following? While lads’ mags presents elusive fantasy images, as you say, it portrays women in a way they don’t really exist. It’s man-created women, flawless women from the lads’ perspective. The old-fashioned mags contained man-created scenarios perhaps and did portray women as objects too but the women were still real women. For the young men ‘not addicted’ to porn or not wanting to see other people have ‘real sex’, the lad mags provide an alternative which is equallly or more addictive, softer on the eye, and may even, as explained above, give him a more warped sense of women and sex. Just some thoughts, good point raised.

  2. Pingback: Why PORN? « gemmaruthwilson{dot}com·

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