Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of Course There Is Nothing Wrong With Porn

I have seen several arguments lately that pornography is a natural, and even beneficial behavior. I've noticed a few things about these comments.

First, they're almost entirely made by men.

Second, they make an age-old series of claims used by men the world over and from time immemorial to excuse their abuse of women. 1) That their sex drive is much stronger than a woman's, biologically, and that therefore a) a man can't help himself and b) a woman can't understand what it's like. 2) That because their drive is so strong, they must find an outlet for it (through porn or by guilting one's spouse into more frequent sex or uncomfortable sexual practices) or commit some other, "worse" sin. (In my personal experience, it was a threat of violence.) 3) That it doesn't hurt anyone. 4) That it's the guilt and shame that hurts, not the viewing of porn itself, and 5) that the porn can actually help increase intimacy in a real sexual relationship.

I've already written a post on what I think pornography really is (a realm where the person can be safely objectified and forced to perform to the viewer's fantasies.) With that in mind, I call baloney on the whole series of claims. First, I think it is more likely that men's sexual bullying techniques are more socially acceptable, not that their sex drive is generally higher. I also suspect that because women are a) more likely to be turned on by less visible things and b) not as often encouraged to be excited by visible things, and c) less likely to immediately betray their attraction, that their drives are less obvious.

Saying that men can't help it is selling their agency pretty cheaply. I'm a strong believer in personal responsibility. If they say they have to be either violent/promiscuous/etc. or sexual, they are threatening their partners and trying to shift responsibility for their behavior onto the partner. (Which is abusive, by the way.)

Also, pornography definitely hurts someone. It may not be the viewer in the most obvious ways, but it hurts those around them, particularly their partners. It is a not-so-subtle message that women are cheap, and that the partner isn't "enough" for the viewer.

Placing blame for the hurt on the guilt and shame is just another rather transparent attempt to avoid personal responsibility for the consequences of bad choices.

And there is no way that pornography (the objectifying of another person) can contribute to a spiritual, divine, intimate bond with a spouse. Just like the Spirit can't dwell in unclean houses, neither can respect for another live in the same place as pornography.

So I don't buy it one bit. And even though the easy topic is male-oriented porn, female-oriented porn (such as becoming sexually aroused by book characters) is just as objectifying and just as bad. So stop lying to yourself and take responsibility.


  1. Violence is not foreplay. Taking the kids for a walk might be.

  2. Silver Rain thank you for this post as you know I am a fan but I disagree that porn has no place in the home church or one's life.

    During my time outside the church I experiencd almost all porn has to offer and I can state that it was a growing experience both psychologically and spiritually and held together an otherwise failing marriage. Porn comes in all types the market is currently focused on people who were psychologically blocked at age three which is most of us porn allows us to explore and examine our paired associations with poop and sexual pleasure strange I know but true once we move on from this we enjoy more caring and love making images leading eventually to intimacy. This journey removes the adictive qualiy and adds informed consent to agency. Without it or some other method of resolving this how do you achieve sexual intimacy and without sexual intimacy how do you achieve a spiritual, divine, intimate bond with a spouse?

    So where does porn make it's place in church it is by the fact that one in three or so are additcted and prohibition is simply not working so what do we do ignore or shun them or imbrace them with love and attempted understanding?

  3. I think we have a future Niblet winner right there.

  4. Howard, I think you're confusing a behavior with a trait. I also think you are dead wrong. From my own personal experience as well as the experience of others, addictive behavior is not generally mitigated by indulgence over the long run. Just like food binging, you may feel satisfied for awhile, even a long while. You might even make yourself sick of eating after a long enough period of indulgence. But when all is over, you still have the damage that was done to your body to deal with. And next time you are stressed, you'll most likely return to that bad habit.

    I don't think there is any possible way for objectification of human beings to lead to increased intimacy with human beings. It's just not possible.

  5. Silver Rain pronography is not a direct stress reducer like drugs alcohol tabacco and food it is used in conjunction with masturbation to achieve stress relief and therefore can be substituted by more mature stimulants while leaving one's addiction to orgasm in place.

  6. My main issue with pornography use is that it focuses the connecting and unifying powers associated with the sexual act towards non-real and/or non-human things [like images in the mind, pixels on a screen, etc.].

    Humans society will be better off as we focus on humans connecting with other humans as being sexy -- instead of some guy/girl alone connecting with pixels.

  7. Anyone who has experienced "almost all porn has to offer" and disagrees with the basic premise of this post probably hasn't experienced almost all porn has to offer. Maybe the "almost" was meant to exclude the most "extreme" cases, but those cases are horribly extreme and make up a much larger portion of porn than most people realize.

    Also, separating porn into the "really extreme stuff" and the "normal stuff" softens the damage done by so much to so many. Sure, it might be the lesser of the two evils, but it still is an evil.

    There is a huge difference between nudity, sex and porn, and the first two are not always bad, but the vast majority of porn isn't just nudity or sex - and nearly all porn involves unrealistic and damaging expectations, assumptions and/or activities. It has no redeeming value, since any "benefit" it can give can be found through other means - as long as someone is willing to search for, identify and employ those means.

    Porn is the lazy, easy way out - on top of being inherently damaging.

  8. Papa D nice to see you.

    How would you know the make up extreme cases or the damage done to so many?

    "Unrealistic and damaging expectations, assumptions and/or activities" assumes knowledge of the porn user's frame of reference please share how you came to this conclusion.

  9. Many years of talking and counseling with people who know the damage on a personal level and extensive research about the topic in general. More than enough to be appalled.

    I know of what I speak - from limited exposure personally in my youth and extensive dealing with the effects in people's lives.

    Do you seriously disagree that the extremes are horribly wrong (true evil) - and/or that the things I mentioned and you referenced are real and damaging?

  10. Sorry, Howard. I thought but forgot to add my own "nice to see you" in the actual comment I just wrote.

    Seriously, nice to see you.

  11. Papa D, Snuff films are sadistic murders. Beastiality is commmon throughout the world. As far as I know no damage occurs from viewing images of any combination of gender ethintisity or holes so please explain what you mean by extremes and damage.

  12. No thanks, Howard. I'm not about to get graphic on someone else's blog. I'll leave that decision up to SilverRain, since this is her forum. If she wants me to get more descriptive, she'll tell me; if not, I will leave it where it's at right now. Also, I think she did a pretty good job of explaining the general themes about which I only would be adding detail.

    I will say two things, however:

    1) I know you aren't describing your own views in what I am about to address, so please understand this is not directed at you, but . . .

    To believe that ethnicity fits in the context of "extremes" is offensive to me. Anyone who would view inter-racial or inter-ethnic activity as "extreme" or "damaging" . . . needs to have a good, swift, figurative slap upside the head, imho.

    2) Just because something is "common" throughout the world doesn't make it good - doesn't mean there is nothing wrong with it.

  13. Papa D I'm glad we can agree that no damage occurs from inter-ethnic activity so without getting graphic
    what is it about a combination of gender or holes that you find damaging?

  14. I've already said I'm getting specific, Howard - and we aren't talking about the same things. You're making assumptions based on stereotypes, so let's drop it, ok?

  15. Most of us would probably agree that nothing good can come from porn. Getting us to agree on what exactly porn is is another matter.

  16. Thanks for your courtesy, Ray, especially since I've not been able to monitor my blog over the holidays.

    I don't think there is any need for elaboration. If you, Howard, seriously think there is nothing damaging about porn (which is, as already pointed out, not simply nudity or sex) than I'm not interested in convincing you. I might as well spend time convincing you the sky is blue when you're determined to call it purple.

    Porn by my definition is that which involves engaging a viewer or reader sexually without the "inconvenience" of acknowledging or respecting another person's humanity and agency. This undermines the power of sexuality by objectifying sexual partners and by utilizing the viewer/reader's sex drive in ways that cannot create a real bond.

    No matter how "mild" the form of porn is, it always exploits this power. That, in my mind is damaging. You can disagree, naturally, but you are also just as free to call the sky purple. That doesn't change the evidence to the contrary, nor does it redefine the meaning of "blue".


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