Porn: It’s Tearing Me Apart

lesbian sex scene

Disclaimer

Pornography is not an easy subject to talk about, especially for a humanist like myself. I should probably begin this post with a disclaimer: I don’t watch porn. While I have seen porn numerous times throughout the course of my life (unfortunately including Two Girls, One Cup…), I am not a regular consumer of the product. If that makes me biased, so be it. I don’t watch porn because of any moral reason. I just simply don’t watch it because I never really have.

A Mind Divided Cannot Stand?

The are many reasons why I’m reluctant to talk about porn. It’s an uncomfortable subject and the reason that it’s uncomfortable for me is that, in the course of the subject matter’s analysis, I feel like I’m struggling with my most deeply-held beliefs and values. First, I despise censorship and value freedom of speech. Second, I despise predatory industries that produce addictive products (which harm consumers) and I value reasonable regulation. In this mental tug-of-war of ideologies, I feel like it’s a zero sum game. One has to prevail over the other. So, no matter which value I choose to side with, I will end up betraying the other one. I guess the best way to proceed is with the old pros and cons discussion.

Pluses & Deltas

Sex is a skill, and any skill takes practice. A lot of porn provides veteran couples with fun ideas on how to spice up their sex life. While 99% of the situations that occur in porn movies are completely separated from any possible reality, they still can give sexual novices or sexual conservatives new moves to add to their erotic mental inventory. Obviously, in these cases porn is utilized sparingly – just every now and then to turn the heat up. There’s nothing sinister about that. I’ve done that with lovers.

While religious nuts criticize pornography on ‘moral’ grounds, I have zero interest in that type of criticism, especially when the argument is framed by Evangelicals. If two consenting adults want people to film them having sex, then more power to them. I do believe that pornography starts to become more immoral when it moves farther away from twosomes and threesomes and devolves into beyond the pale sub-genres. Punish fucking, extreme blowjobs, rape fantasies and other niche genres are unquestionably immoral for obvious reasons. They perpetuate stone age expressions of male sexuality and essentially indulge, and foster, violent sexual abuse fetishes. I don’t think that’s a controversial assessment.

Women abuse

Coital Compliance

Should these disturbing niche genres be regulated? Definitely. Should they be outlawed? I would say probably yes. But in stating the latter, I feel a twinge of regret. I’ve betrayed my allegiance to the principle of free speech by invoking the vile name of censorship. The women ‘acting’ like they’re being raped in those videos did consent to the scene. It’s not real. There’s a valid argument to be made that these videos will continue to be made if they’re outlawed and, in that case, the fake rape victims will have even less legal protection than they currently do now.

I realize that it seems like I’m starting to talk out of both sides of my mouth. I’m a huge advocate of legalizing sex work, with the aim of providing all sex workers with better working conditions and a valid standing under the law. So, on the one hand, my intuition is telling me to ban ‘fake’ rape videos while legalizing prostitution and other consensual adult sex occupations. It might seem hypocritical, but in both cases I’m actually advocating regulation for the purposes of safety. I want to ADD regulation for extreme ‘niche’ genres of porn because America needs all the help that it can get when it comes to ending sexual violence against women. I want to legalize prostitution, so that the government will ADD regulation to keep that industry’s workers safe.

I stated earlier that I value responsible regulation. Examples of responsible regulation include regulating the amount of lead in water and how much CO2 vehicles emit. Both are stellar examples of regulations that limit harmful byproducts of commercial production and/or enterprise. These laws put limits on the externalities of production, not on the products themselves.  Whatever they’re filming is what the viewer will see. Pornography regulations place limits on the actual product (the movie), which is censorship.

There the word is again. Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds!

The Byproducts of Porn

Just like a car burning fossil fuels, porn produces a lot of negative effects on its consumers. And its workers. A consideration that one must take into account when evaluating the utility of porn is its evolution since the dawn of the internet. Back in the days of Pam Anderson and Ron Jeremy, the industry was much smaller. Now, anyone with a camera and access to Wi-Fi can become a pornographer. Many young girls turn eighteen, run away from home and try to join the industry.

The market is so saturated that most girls have to turn to extreme sub-genres in order to find work or break into the porn scene. Another unsettling new development with porn is the high demand for sex without condoms. Unfortunately, once young girls decide to go these routes, they can often get pigeon-holed into an undesirable genre with little upward mobility. The industry is predatory because of the huge supply of wannabe porn actresses. These young girls are completely at the mercy of producers.

Experts in the social sciences are criticizing pornography as harmful more than ever before. There are cases of teenagers that have developed erectile dysfunction because pornography consumption has desensitized them. Just like a drug addict, they need more extreme images on the screen in order to get an erection and orgasm. Porn has been shown to dismantle the brain’s reward system over time by leading to lower dopamine levels and less dopamine receptors.

I really don’t like to create or perpetuate a stigma against sex workers. I want to see legal frameworks that protect sex workers from physical and financial abuse. With that being said, when it comes to pornography, my intuition is to lean towards reasonable regulations and protections against abusive industries, and not on free speech and the abstinence from censorship. I certainly don’t want to see pornography banned, but I would like to see material that fetishes sexual violence to be strongly regulated.

Too much of anything is bad. If people watch porn every now and then, there’s little harm. If you have several drinks a week, you’re good. If you have several drinks at breakfast, then you may have a problem. It’s pretty much the same concept with pornography consumption. However, if you’re watching a video of a man that’s forcing a woman to give him a blowjob so violently that she vomits, and then he forces her to eat the vomit off the floor, then you definitely have a problem. Seek help immediately.

What do you think?

pre sex

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