Porn: Not As Bad As You Might Think

The debate rages on in this surprising Slate article from earlier this summer.

Can porn be addictive? Sure can.

But it’s not unique in that category. Not even close. Ask anyone whose relationship was wrecked by addictions to alcohol or cigarettes or video games or drugs or social media.

Vices are everywhere. It’s how you moderate them that matters. Some people have addictive personalities and must quit cold turkey. Others can manage their vices in small doses for their entire lives without causing a hint of trouble to them or their relationships.

Yet there’s a powerful public narrative that suggest that porn is somehow different – as if this one addiction is more destructive and toxic than the rest. I might suggest otherwise. If anything, what makes porn unique is that it’s about SEX, and that’s a topic that’s really hard for people to talk about without losing their minds. Basically, lots of people WANT porn to be stigmatized and banned.

“Scientists and clinicians who present evidence that challenges these harm-focused narratives—and we count ourselves among that group—face serious social and political opposition to their research. It can be tough for this info to make it to the public too. In his series How Not to F*ck Up Your Kids Too Bad, Stephen Marche described his experience as a journalist commissioned by two different outlets to write about the risks of pornography: When he could not find good evidence to demonize porn, “the editors killed it. What they wanted was to be scary.”

The first large, preregistered experiment found that viewing sexual pictures did not diminish love or desire for the current romantic partner.

As the photo above the article suggests, we’ve covered this ground extensively. And while I don’t think I’m going to change any anti-porn crusader with facts, I found the ones cited in the Slate piece to be pretty compelling.

“Amazingly, the first nationally representative peer-reviewed study on sex-film viewing was only just published in 2017 in Australia. This study found that 84 percent of men and 54 percent of women had ever viewed sexual material. Overall, 3.69 percent of men (144 of 3,923) and 0.65 percent of women (28 of 4,218) in the study believed that they were “addicted” to pornography, and only half of this group reported that using pornography had any negative impact on their lives…

Interestingly, even among the minority of users who believe they are “addicted” to pornography, remission may be spontaneous. A study following people over time found that 100 percent of women and 95 percent of men concerned about their frequent sexual behaviors (again, not assessed clinically) no longer felt that they were addicted to sex within five years despite no documented intervention.”

How about what porn does to a relationship? Well, the article makes a pretty fair point about porn use within a marriage.

If your marriage is not going well or you stopped being intimate years ago, chances are good that someone in that relationship is masturbating to sate their unfulfilled sexual desire. This does not mean that masturbation (or the sex films you watch or the Fifty Shades of Greyhidden on your Kindle) caused your relationship to tank; rather, these coping mechanisms are more likely to be helping to hold your relationship together.”

And for all the folks who think that looking at porn is tantamount to cheating and indicative that your relationship is doomed: “The first large, preregistered experiment found that viewing sexual pictures did not diminish love or desire for the current romantic partner.”

Sorry, folks. Just like the majority of people can have a couple of drinks on the weekend without being alcoholics, the majority of people can masturbate to porn without destroying all that is sacred about marriage.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Emily, the original

    “Amazingly, the first nationally representative peer-reviewed study on sex-film viewing was only just publishedin 2017 in Australia. This study found that 84 percent of men and 54 percent of women had ever viewed sexual material. 

    Those percentage seem a bit low for women. Surely, most women have viewed porn, at the very least out of curiosity.

    1. 1.1
      sylvana

      Emily,

      Totally agree.

  2. 2
    sylvana

    I absolutely love porn. The harder, sicker, more twisted, the better – even some stuff I’d never actually want to do in real life. But I do have a rather twisted mind, so I’m on the extreme end of porn “consumers”.

    Since I’m a daily porn consumer, I obviously have no issues with porn in a relationship – given that the stimulation comes from the actual sex or certain sex act. Meaning, it doesn’t matter what the people look like (they don’t even have to be attractive at all), as long as the sex act, behavior, or certain kink is being met well.

    I do, however, see a major problem when the stimulation comes from a person, or certain looking persons. With other words, when the stimulation is based on looks/comes from the hot chick/guy, rather than the sex, and still provides plenty of stimulation even if the sex is totally crappy, boring, or fake, and holds absolutely no appeal. Basically, the actual sex has nothing to do with it.

    At that point, you’re not masturbating to porn/sex/a kink, you’re masturbating to or receiving sexual pleasure and/or orgasm from another person.

    The first (sex and mental based) is not likely to damage a relationship, as long as you and your partner are at least fairly compatible in bed. And unless a person has serious problems keeping fantasy and reality separate. It can add a little spice and excitement (even to your and your partner’s sex life, from a voyeuristic angle), and could even be something you wouldn’t be comfortable with, or even be interested in acting out in real life. Or it can simply fulfill a desire for something you know your partner is not comfortable with, and you’re therefore not willing to subject your partner to it (wouldn’t get any joy from it if you did).

    The second (visual based), however, can definitely lead to serious relationship issues. First of all, because (especially if done frequently), it can completely erode your partner’s self-esteem, unless your partner happens to be a close match to your “fantasy” partner. And secondly, because it does tend to lead to a person being less aroused by their partners. If you’re constantly receiving sexual pleasure and orgasm from your ideal, reality simply becomes less appealing.

    At that point, you better be having mind-blowing sex with your partner all the time. Otherwise, things will get boring rather soon. At which point, it can lead to you having sex with your partner while fantasizing about someone else, then you no longer pay that much attention to your partner during sex, and things just start going downhill from there.

    And while I realize that men, in general, are more visual based, there are plenty who are still primarily sex/mental based first, and visual second. Meaning more excited by the woman acting out the fantasy than the hotter one who doesn’t (which doesn’t mean the hotter one holds no appeal).

    Those who are strictly visual simply ain’t worth bedding. They get their excitement from looks, rather than sex. And tend to be totally unimaginative and plain up no good in bed.

    In general, there are only so many hard orgasms I can have while staring at gorgeously chiseled six-pack abs before my honey’s dearly loved, well-padded belly no longer revs my engine. Sure, I still love him. And I still want to have sex with him. And the sex is fun. But – god! – those six pack abs. What a rush!

    As a regular porn viewer I do have to admit, though, that it absolutely can dull the excitement factor of “normal” partner sex. Once in a longer-term relationship, I find it easier to maintain a healthier balance. Although, even there, I can easily slip into the “I wish he was more like/do more of …” line of thinking. Or find myself yearning for more and more excitement, because porn does provide that excitement, as well as caters to whatever I’m in the mood for that day.

    Single, it becomes almost impossible to find a partner who can come anywhere near the standard of sexual excitement, pleasure, or fulfilment that living out my fantasies bring. And I think this is what people are warning about: The desire for partner sex can lesson tremendously with regular porn use. An emotional connection eventually will make sex more fulfilling. But I’d have to get motivated to have that plain, vanilla sex first (which might or might not be any good – a rather high risk for women with a new partner), and keep having it until an emotional connection kicks in, or something happens that actually makes the sex special. Or I can just turn on my computer, and have the ultimate rush – and guaranteed satisfaction – at my fingertips. Or live out my fantasies in real life without the restrictions of a non-open relationship.

    As Evan pointed out, moderation is somewhat key here. The more you do it, the more addictive it becomes. Just like anything else that gives you a “high”, and everything else that pulls you away from reality and into fantasy.

    Is it cheating? Well, Evan and I definitely disagree on this one. I do not consider gaining sexual pleasure from watching a certain sex act or kink cheating (with little focus on the actual people involved). I do, however, absolutely consider gaining sexual pleasure from another person, rather than a certain sex act or kink, cheating. (Even more offensive when that other person is way better looking/better endowed/visually more appealing to you than the person you’re with.)

    Out of respect to a monogamous partner (and other reasons listed above), I wouldn’t do so. I’ve learned a long time ago that most men aren’t like Evan. They cannot tolerate it when their women puts the same kind of focus on other men they consider visual rivals. For some reason, it’s supposedly harmless when a man does it. But it’s an insult or threat to his status when the woman does the same. And if I notice that it bothers or hurts him, it’s not something I want to do.

    If my partner feels that great a need to find sexual pleasure and orgasm with another person, we can just switch our relationship status to open. He can enjoy all the fantasies he wants, and I can live out mine. If my desire to find pleasure with another person (even if it’s just through porn) gets too great, the relationship is over. Because it means my partner is lacking something that I really want.

    Or we could stay monogamous, I guess, pull up the porn stars on the laptop for him, I grab my tablet, open it to a site that features a bunch of bodybuilders with thick 9-inchers… and ok….we’re ready to have sex. Let’s just use each others’ bodies to have sex with someone else.

    I do believe that most women’s issues with porn/strippers/staring at hot women is caused by it being a “threat”. It’s one of those cases where actions speak louder than words. “Yes, I love you, but I lust after all of them” just does not give most partners (male or female) a feeling of security. Excitement and arousal are hard to hide. If a woman feels like her partner is more excited about other women than her, all the “but I love you’s” won’t help. Yes, you love her. But you desire someone very different. Well, she loves you too, but you can kiss your sex life good-bye.

    A lot of men cannot emphasize, because most women will not put a man in the same position. But most men who find themselves around a woman who acts the same will not like that position one bit.

    Empathy? No. But heck, where do you think the whole “slut” stigma came from? Women who do not make men feel secure in their sexual position. With other words, a woman who displays the same sexual attitude toward men as men display toward women.

     

     

    1. 2.1
      Emily, the original

      Sylvana,

      I do, however, see a major problem when the stimulation comes from a person, or certain looking persons. With other words, when the stimulation is based on looks/comes from the hot chick/guy, rather than the sex, and still provides plenty of stimulation even if the sex is totally crappy, boring, or fake, and holds absolutely no appeal. Basically, the actual sex has nothing to do with it.

      I’m not sure this is something you can regulate. “Ah, dear, we are going to watch porn together to ratchet up our sex life, but you must only be turned on by the actual sex in the porn and not the porn actress herself.” So if this distinction bothers you — being turned on by the sex versus the actress (and my Lord are those women acting!)–, don’t watch porn with your partner or don’t ask what he’s thinking as you’re watching it and just go with the experience.

      1. 2.1.1
        sylvana

        Emily,

        No, you really cannot regulate it. Neither should you want to. Which pretty much goes for anything your partner does. Each partner has a choice to make, and the choice ends up rather telling (once again, this applies to anything you or your partner do).

        In regard to porn, the choice comes down to what you picked – something based on an act/kink/ etc. (which doesn’t mean the actors can’t be attractive or also turn you on), or something based on the actors’ looks (male or female), with no regard to the quality of the sex act/kink, etc. And I think it’s less of a problem when watched together. It’s more the private use that ends up causing issues. For example, one of the vanilla things I like is to watch rough, hard-bodied, well-endowed men masturbate on webcam. Would I keep doing so (frequently and predominantly) while in a relationship? Not unless my partner was equal to those guys. At that point, I’d shift my focus to kinks/acts, rather than a certain look.

        I used to, back when I was in my twenties. I saw nothing wrong with it. I actually didn’t stop doing so until a number of men pointed out that it didn’t exactly make them feel very desired. Which is basically the same complaint you hear from women. And I did notice that it definitely does dull me to my partner’s looks.

        Personally, I’ve found that watching it during sex doesn’t work for me. Too distracting. Can’t focus on the sex when I’m trying to watch, and can’t watch while I’m getting rattled around… haha

      2. 2.1.2
        Emily, the original

        Sylvana,
        “In regard to porn, the choice comes down to what you picked – something based on an act/kink/ etc. (which doesn’t mean the actors can’t be attractive or also turn you on), or something based on the actors’ looks (male or female), with no regard to the quality of the sex act/kink, etc. ”
        You like porn much more than I do. I don’t mean to be graphic … but for me it’s just a means to an end. I don’t know the actors and just kind scroll through what’s available. There’s a good portion of it I find almost laughable, particularly when the woman is screaming so loudly the top of her head is about to come off.
        “For example, one of the vanilla things I like is to watch rough, hard-bodied, well-endowed men masturbate on webcam. …I actually didn’t stop doing so until a number of men pointed out that it didn’t exactly make them feel very desired. ”
        If I had a live guy I really liked who was ready and available, that would be a lot more appealing that some rando on a video. But then again I’ve never been into guys who were beefed-out and muscly, and the men in porn don’t really register for me. I can watch an actor in a (non-porn) movie and think: Damn, that man is hot (because personality has been shown) much more so than seeing Mr. Chippendales. But that’s me. “Interchangeable Beefcakes on Parade” doesn’t do much for me.

        1. sylvana

          Emily,

          You like porn much more than I do

          Obviously, haha. But – being a pretty much daily user – I have a bit of a different understanding of the women who complain about their men’s frequent porn use.

          You seem to have the same approach as most women do. I look at it from the other side of the coin, and can understand why women would complain or feel threatened.

          In regards to looks: You can pretty much insert anything that you find personally appealing. It doesn’t have to be the “standard” version of hot. It could even be a certain attitude. But, once again, as a woman you’re not considered a very visual person. Men, however, are.

          And yes, most big studio produced porn is absolutely laughable. Especially once you know how it is produced. It’s really not that much different from any other movie set. But that’s part of why it’s beginning to fade out, replaced by the much more realistic homemade stuff.

        2. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,

          In regards to looks: You can pretty much insert anything that you find personally appealing. It doesn’t have to be the “standard” version of hot. It could even be a certain attitude. 

          I mean, it’s not in porn. I don’t find the men all that appealing in porn. They’re just faceless blobs. I mean an actor in a regular movie. Generic pretty boys do nothing for me, but give me Sean Penn in “Mystic River” … omg … that’s hotter than any porn movie.

    2. 2.2
      Adrian

      Hello Sylvana,

      I agree with Emily there is no way to know if the person is doing it because of the sex in the porn or because of the women in the porn.

      Also if I remember correctly you are European and you are older. When I was in Europe something that shocked me was how many people would tell me that we Americans are too conservative about sex and how we overly complicate dating. Especially the older women I met over there seemed to be very pragmatic about sex and didn’t consider porn a big deal like women do here in the U.S.

      I agree that watching porn isn’t cheating just like a woman masterbating to her celebrity crush isn’t cheating. Some people say they can fantasize about another person while having sex with their partner but I don’t understand that. I’m too engaged with the person I am with to imagine it being someone else.

      1. 2.2.1
        Karl R

        Adrian said:

        “I agree with Emily there is no way to know if the person is doing it because of the sex in the porn or because of the women in the porn.”

        Regarding the appearance of the women (and probably the men) performing porn … one can generally find almost any appearance, if one searches long enough.  Women exactly matching my wife’s appearance … well … she hasn’t performed in any porn videos. But any general attribute one might describe her by, that I can find.

        But porn is primarily visual, with a little audio added.  Sex, real sex, is primarily tactile, followed by olfactory, audio, then visual.  Comparing porn to sex is like comparing pictures of food to my wife’s cooking.

         

        Adrian said:

        “Some people say they can fantasize about another person while having sex with their partner but I don’t understand that. I’m too engaged with the person I am with to imagine it being someone else.”

        I’m with you on that one.  Similarly, if I’m distracted from sex, the most likely culprit … I’m thinking about work and the current project, not a woman.

         

        sylvana said:

        “I do believe that most women’s issues with porn/strippers/staring at hot women is caused by it being a ‘threat’.”

        I suspect you’re correct, but I think it’s a false threat. I’ve never seen a stripper or porn star that I wanted a deeper relationship with.  Arousal, in that circumstance, is a transactional arrangement. It’s not a foundation that I consider as a blueprint for my relationships.

        1. Emily, the original

          Karl,
          “I’ve never seen a stripper or porn star that I wanted a deeper relationship with. Arousal, in that circumstance, is a transactional arrangement. It’s not a foundation that I consider as a blueprint for my relationships.”
          Women don’t think like this, though. Of course, women intellectually know that other women are going to turn you on, but it’s still a threat. Would you be ok with your wife having a “transnational” interaction with another man? When there’s cheating, aren’t men most concerned if there’s been a physical relationship rather than an emotional connection?

        2. sylvana

          Karl,

          what Emily said.

          Arousal is also a transactional arrangement is cases of actual cheating. Just because you take someone home and have sex with them once doesn’t mean you want a deeper relationship. This goes for men and women.

          Just because she screwed three dudes in an alley behind the bar doesn’t mean she wanted an emotional connection with them. She still loves her husband and her relationship. It was “just sex”.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          When there’s cheating, aren’t men most concerned if there’s been a physical relationship rather than an emotional connection?

          I have been pondering why men tend to get more upset over a physical indiscretion than an emotional one.  I honestly believe that the root cause is men need paternity assurance from a woman before they will commit and a woman breaks that pact when she cheats.  When a man cheats on his wife and impregnates another women, he is on the hook for support if identified as the father.  Because married men tend to cheat with unmarried women, there is a high probability that he will be identified as the father.  When a woman cheats on her husband and gets pregnant, her husband will usually be on the hook for support because chances are that she will not risk identifying the true father.   I believe that paternity assurance is also the root cause of why promiscuous women are considered to be undesirable as long-term partners.  The whole being chaste thing is historically grounded in guaranteeing paternity assurance.

        4. Karl R

          Emily asked:

          “Would you be ok with your wife having a ‘transnational’ interaction with another man?”

          I’m going to assume you meant “transactional” … though my wife had some “transnational” interactions before we started dating.

          But to answer your question, that depends a bit on what the interaction is.  If she wants to watch porn, I can recommend some websites.  Male strippers, I’ll have to ask where the good ones are.  Both of us regularly dance with other partners, which is another form of transactional interaction (which my wife openly describes as a 3 minute flirtation).

          It would be rather hypocritical for me to claim it’s non-threatening for me to engage in that behavior, if I felt threatened if/when my wife did the same thing.

          I had one girlfriend who liked watching porn regularly.  When I found out, my first thought was, “Good.  She won’t bust my chops when I watch porn.”

           

          sylvana said:

          “Arousal is also a transactional arrangement is cases of actual cheating. Just because you take someone home and have sex with them once doesn’t mean you want a deeper relationship.”

          Straw man argument and false equivalency.

          You’ve committed a few crimes this week.  Would you be okay with someone who commits rape and murder?

          I’m serious about you committing crimes.  Either you exceeded the speed limit, or you failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or you failed to use your turn signal, or you jaywalked….

          And just like we acknowledge that there’s a qualitative difference between jaywalking and murder-for-hire, perhaps we should acknowledge the difference between porn and having sex with three partners in an alley.

           

          sylvana said:

          “Is he likely to have sex (or cheat) with a women who looks just like the one he’s seen on porn if she’s willing? Yes.”

          You really don’t understand infidelity.  (I studied up on the research, just so I could separate the reality from the garbage that floats around.)

          While there are a minority of men and women who will cheat whenever they have the opportunity, most people (men and women) won’t cheat until/unless their relationship already has serious problems.

          But if/when the relationship goes sideways, the person isn’t going to end up in bed with someone who resembles a porn star.  (There would be a lot less infidelity if that were the case … even given the unimaginable breadth of faces and body types that show up in porn.)  The infidelity occurs with someone who is already in the same social circles.  A coworker.  A friend.  A Facebook friend.

          I hope that I’m the type of person who wouldn’t cheat even if my relationship is on a downhill slide.  But if I’m wrong, the risk of infidelity doesn’t come from some random women who look like the ones I’ve seen in porn videos.  The risk comes from several specific attractive women who are already in my broad social circle, and whom also find me attractive.  (Given that I’m a complete geek, I suspect more attractive men and women have an even larger number of potential homewreckers in their social circle.)

           

          sylvana said:

          “Displaying frequent desire for others, or people better-looking (by your individual standards, whatever they may be) than your partner sends a clear message that your partner ranks rather low on your arousal/sexual desirability scale.”

          Really?

          For every single partner of mine, throughout my life, my desire for sex has exceeded theirs. So I desired to have sex with them, even when they didn’t necessarily want to have sex with me.

          If you gave your current/next partner the choice, sex with you vs. no sex at all, and he chose “no sex,” how desirable would you feel?

          If my wife (or in the past, my ex-girlfriends) want sex, that’s my preferred choice.  If they don’t, porn is the runner up.

          In your mind, your desirability is tied to how often your significant other expresses an appreciation and/or desire for other women.  In my mind, my desirability is tied to how often my wife expresses a desire for me.  How is your benchmark the accurate one, when you don’t figure into the measurement of your own desirability?

        5. Emily, the original

          Karl R.,

          I’m going to assume you meant “transactional” … though my wife had some “transnational” interactions before we started dating.

          I misunderstood you. I thought you meant “transactional” as sex-only interactions. To be honest, porn and strippers don’t really bother me, provided neither is to excess. If a guy is visiting a strip club several times a month to see one particular stripper … then we have a problem. I’ve been to male strip shows. I enjoy the show, but I could probably bump into one of those guys out somewhere else later that night and not remember he was one of the strippers. It just doesn’t make a dent. I see it as entertainment.

      2. 2.2.2
        Adrian

        Hi Emily,

        You said, “Of course, women intellectually know that other women are going to turn you on, but it’s still a threat.

        Would you mind explain this?

        We’ve had post covering everything from boyfriends looking at other women’s to post about boyfriends not thinking their girlfriend is the hottest or as attractive as celebrities.

        From your knowledge of women how do you know when a girlfriend is feeling threatened from something that could possibly happen verses from something that is almost impossible to happen… Like a boyfriend possibly leaving you for some girl he seen on porn.

        1. sylvana

          Adrian,

          …feeling threatened from something that could possibly happen verses from something that is almost impossible to happen…

          You’re thinking in terms of emotional connection and relationships even when it comes to porn or other women a man encounters in real life. But it’s about arousal and sex, not about emotions.

          Women do not feel threatened in an emotional or relationship sense, but in a sexual sense.

          Plenty of cheaters love their husbands/wives and relationships, and have no intentions of leaving them, yet they still cheated.

          Since a man is not likely to have an emotional connection to a girl he saw on porn, chances are he was aroused by either her looks or something she did. Now, going by that, it means that there are plenty of women he’ll encounter in real life who will meet the same criteria – either the same type of look, or willing to do the same thing the porn actor did.

          Is he likely to leave his girlfriend for some girl he’s seen on porn? No. Is he likely to have sex (or cheat) with a women who looks just like the one he’s seen on porn if she’s willing? Yes. So the pornstar, herself, not likely. But one of the many with the same qualities as the pornstar – very likely. So it’s really not all that impossible to happen.

          With men being so visually and sexually focused, not needing an emotional connection for sex, and the cheating rates of men so high, the threat is generally greater. Although numbers of women cheaters are steadily going up as well.

          Overall, the threat is purely sexual in nature. So you can’t think of it in terms of threatening the relationship.

          Even if you do not cheat, every person wants to feel sexually desired by their partner. Displaying frequent desire for others, or people better-looking (by your individual standards, whatever they may be) than your partner sends a clear message that your partner ranks rather low on your arousal/sexual desirability scale.

          This is the one time where even women draw a definite line between arousal/sexual desire and emotions.

           

           

           

           

        2. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          From your knowledge of women how do you know when a girlfriend is feeling threatened from something that could possibly happen verses from something that is almost impossible to happen… Like a boyfriend possibly leaving you for some girl he seen on porn.

          The women in porn don’t threaten me. They’re not real. But Bill Maher said it best. Something like — there is no fat, there is no thin, there is no young, there is no old, there is just new. And women know they can’t compete with that. Eventually, you won’t be new, and there is always an endless supply of new women out there. A man ogling other women hits at that very core insecurity. So another woman (maybe a friend, a co-worker) who’s really turning her boyfriend on? Yes, that’s a threat. This other woman is the one thing the woman in question can never be — somebody else.

        3. Adrian

          Wow! Sylvana,

          Great point! I never saw it like that. The threat of porn is physical, sexual, not emotional.

        4. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

          You said, “So another woman (maybe a friend, a co-worker) who’s really turning her boyfriend on? Yes, that’s a threat. 

          Do you mind explaining this?

          I’ve heard many women say that to find out their boyfriend or husband fantasizes about their friends or a family member is so much worse than it being a stranger but why?

          I know my friends and family and I know they would never betray me in that manner so I never worry about that. Porn stars they can probably google or hire for a private sex video chat or even a meeting, not my brother.

          So why do some women see this as worse? Why is it a threat?

        5. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          I’ve heard many women say that to find out their boyfriend or husband fantasizes about their friends or a family member is so much worse than it being a stranger but why?

          How strong is the attraction? I guess it depends on that. What if you are dating a woman and she becomes knocked over by a friend of yours you introduced her to? What if you are hanging out at a party and you realize she was excited to go … to see him? None of this would bother you?

      3. 2.2.3
        sylvana

        Adrian,

        Yes, European. Guilty as charged. And yes, we do tend to have a very different outlook on sex, in general.

        Maybe you’re onto something when you bring in the different attitudes, though. Since we are more open about sex, to us it’s easily determined whether a person goes for kink/acts or looks – since we obviously do not have a problem going after what excites us most. A more conservative person might go for anything, as long as the actor is hot enough to give enough of a visual stimulation. For a person who is very open sexually, looks do not mean a thing. They, alone, won’t get us off.

        Having no problems with open relationships, it does baffle me how anyone would not consider their partner getting sexual pleasure from someone else cheating. Who cares who or what provides the physical stimulation? Ultimately, your mind determines who you’re sleeping with, what you’re experiencing, and the level of excitement. Otherwise, we wouldn’t fantasize at all, and just focus on the physical feelings (including during masturbation).

        Let’s say your girlfriend fantasizes about your next door neighbor (who’d be more than willing to oblige her) every time you have sex. Do you honestly think she’s sleeping with you? Physically, maybe. But she’s basically having sex with someone else while you provide the physical stimulation. Same goes for her masturbating to a specific person.

        What is the difference between her sleeping with a certain person while receiving physical stimulation from herself, a toy, you, or that person? No matter where the physical stimulation comes from, she’s having sex with him. Now if she fantasizes about a certain scenario, regardless of the person, that’s a different story.

  3. 3
    Thankfully Proudly Black

    The entire premise of this study and blog post is that porn is a benign form of entertainment for the average consumer of it. Unfortunately, as the article below and the documentary it references indicate, the porn industry can be, and more often than not is, profoundly damaging to porn actors.

    So, to me, this discussion is like asking slave owners if they think slavery is okay but neglecting to ask the same question to those who are enslaved by them.

    The Porn Industry Is Abusive, and These Women Are Telling It Like It Is

     

     

     

     

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Welcome back to the blog. Your anonymous attacks have been missed! Alas, it misses the point of the original post, which is whether porn is bad for individuals and those in relationships, not the performers themselves. Your analogy is closer to boycotting coal because the conditions in the mines are no good, or passing up iPhones because of cheap Chinese labor. Which is your right. It’s just a completely different question than the one posed above.

    2. 3.2
      sylvana

      Thankfully Proudly Black,

      Unless the actors were forced into doing porn, they are free to stop doing so at any time. For women, it’s darn good money, and as such, hard to turn down.

      But – once again – there’s always the option of a regular career. And if you’re not open-minded enough to not end up feeling severely shamed by doing what you’re doing (even if it’s just stripping/in front of cam), then you have no business being in that industry.

       

  4. 4
    Thankfully Proudly Black

    Evan

    Ididn’t miss the point of your post. I raised another point related to it: Without porn stars, there would be no porn to conjecture about whether or not consumers of it are harmed.

    In contrast, your mention of my personal preference regarding my identity seems random, retaliatory, and genuinely unrelated to the topic.

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time you’ve resorted to passive aggressive cyberbullying when you feel your viewpoint is challenged and you have no reasonable rebuttal. It’s a way of avoiding the challenge.

    In this case, you could have achieved that aim ( avoidance) civilly by simply saying ” My post is about porn users, not actors” and left the comment about my anonymity out of it. Instead, as before, you chose the low road.

    I hope you will respond to my initial comment about the harm porn causes to porn actors or simply ignore it. I ask that you please control you urge to discuss my very personal decision to remain anonymous.

     

     

     

     

     

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Lest you forget, Ms. Anonymous: you were the cyberbully. I’m keeping to myself on my blog. You came over here to “debate” me. However, I do not engage in debates with trolls who have actively sought to sully my name and destroy my career. Period.

      So I sincerely hope you find what you’re looking for. Maybe then you will leave me alone instead of pushing to get me to publicly apologize for the sins of all men.

      In the meantime, goodbye and good luck.

  5. 5
    No Name To Give

    I guess it depends on one’s values, principles, and world view as to whether or not porn is a hill to die on. If so, one should be at peace with the notion that there won’t be any dating. If one can live with that, ok. If not, I guess you’re going to have to live with porn. Either way, go in with your eyes wide open.

  6. 6
    Jenn

    “Sorry, folks. Just like the majority of people can have a couple of drinks on the weekend without being alcoholics, the majority of people can masturbate to porn without destroying all that is sacred about marriage.”

    “All that is sacred about marriage” is the very fact that two people have promised to forsake ALL others. What is poisonous about the porn habit is that it takes what should be a good desire to share one’s body and connect physically with their spouse, and perverts it into a selfish, self-serving act that degrades the person doing it. We’re so concerned with whether or not we could do something that we don’t stop to think if we should do it. This is what happens in a completely amoral society.

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Oy. This again. If that’s your understanding and belief about porn-aided masturbation, that’s fine, but your assumption and judgment about those who do could not be further off. It’s not perverse, degrading or amoral; that’s just the value YOU’RE assigning to it.

    2. 6.2
      Karl R

      Jenn said:

      “‘All that is sacred about marriage’ is the very fact that two people have promised to forsake ALL others.”

      If that’s the only thing you find sacred in marriage, then I think you’re in for a really unhappy marriage.

       

      Interpreting ambiguous phrases:

      In addition, you’re taken the phrase “forsaking all others” completely out of context … and it’s rather ambiguous even when it’s in its normal context … and then you’ve decided that there’s one interpretation that we all should agree (with you) upon.

      If you look up the definition of “forsaking,” you’ll find that it means “abandoning.” I would find it challenging to abandon female porn stars, since I’ve never accompanied one anywhere.  (I have a friend who has done gay male porn, but I’ve never watched his work.)

      But if you want to start blindly interpreting the word “forsaking” in context, the men/women should be forsaking someone they “love,” “comfort,” “honor,” “keep” and are “faithful” to. That sounds more like the attitude a person might have toward his/her children from a previous relationship … not the attitude he/she might hold toward someone in a video. (I’d personally interpret it as “leaving behind previous meaningful relationships,” but I’ll concede that the phrase is wide open for interpretation.)

      If you choose to interpret an ambiguous wedding vow as forbidding looking at naked strangers, or watching naked strangers have sex, that’s your call. But you might want to be aware that few other people would wildly leap to the same interpretation that you did … rather than assuming it’s a foregone conclusion that everyone agrees with you.

       

      Wedding vows:

      My wife and I chose are wedding vows. That’s fairly common these days. So unless you were one of the nine guests at our wedding (or the pastor), you have no idea what we promised each other.

      Moreover, even if one of us had chosen that particular vow and wording, neither of us would have interpreted that phrase in the way you choose to. The intent behind our promise would be substantially different.

      Before getting married, I’d recommend that you have a discussion with your partner and find out what they believe they’re agreeing to in their wedding vows … because you seem predisposed to assume that they’ll be in 100% agreement with your interpretation.

      1. 6.2.1
        KK

        Karl R said, “In addition, you’re taken the phrase “forsaking all others” completely out of context … and it’s rather ambiguous even when it’s in its normal context … and then you’ve decided that there’s oneinterpretation that we all should agree (with you) upon”.

        Actually, Jenn interpreted that phrase correctly. Moreover, that’s the way it is interpreted in both the Catholic and Protestant churches.

        Obviously, if you choose your own wedding vows, then the traditional Christian wedding vows don’t apply to you or your marriage.

  7. 7
    Gala

    While i really don’t care about whether my boyfriend watches porn (he does), and i am not a port consumer myself, i agree that the issue of porn can not, and should not be separated from the issue of the porn industry, and its treatment of women. When you are watching a thriller, actors on the screen don’t actually get shot or smacked. When you are watching porn, **they are actually doing it** or having it done to them and their bodies. To view it as simply another innocuous form of entertainment would be misguided. The morals of the porn consumer have to come into question at some point.

    1. 7.1
      Jeremy

      It’s a fair point.  Do you question the morals of football and boxing?  Same reasons?  How about the military?  If we’re being consistent.  How about any job where people work with parts of their body that may eventually be damaged due to their work, or any industry where they feel their souls get eroded by the job (like sales).  My point isn’t to disagree that the porn industry has questionable morality, but rather to say that there are many industries just as questionable that we tend not to question.  I call it the “magic vagina fallacy.”

      1. 7.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Jeremy

        I call it the “magic vagina fallacy.”

        Warren Farrell refers to it as the “myth of male power.”  Men do all of the dirty and dangerous jobs that are required for modern society to function.  Men also have to pay for the right to vote in the United States by signing up for selective service, which is the draft board by another name.   A man who fails to sign up for selective service when he turns age 18 is basically striped of the benefits of citizenship.  Failing to register is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a prison term of up to five years.  Women receive the right to vote and the benefits of citizenship for free.

        1. Marika

          YAG

          I realised some time ago how futile it is to engage you in any questioning or self reflection of your views, but I do implore you to think through this last sentence again:  “Women receive the right to vote and the benefits of citizenship for free”.

          Really? Women and voting… awareness of history much?

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika

          I am not talking about the suffrage days.  I am talking about today.  Every American woman receives the rights and benefits of citizenship for free.  She has no obligation to the country for those rights.  A man has to register for conscription when he turns 18 to maintain his rights.  If he fails to do so, he becomes a felon who loses the rights and benefits of citizenship.  If you do not see the difference in cost, you are not only a feminist, you are a blind feminist.  Conscription is the right of one’s country to force one into battle at end of a rifle barrel or through the threat of incarceration.  American women do not have have worry about being forced into battle with the aid of an iron fist.

          Once again, men do all of the dirty and dangerous jobs that make modern civilization possible.  If it is such a privilege to be a man, why are four out of five suicides committed by men?  Men are twice as likely as women to be victims of violent crime and three times as likely to be murdered.  Why? Because men are raised to be disposable.   Women talk about the glass ceiling, but they fail to acknowledge that there is a male equivalent known as the glass cellar that keeps men in the most dangerous jobs.  Yet, we do not see the women who are complaining about the glass ceiling even acknowledging the glass cellar.  We never hear “men first” when there is a dangerous situation, we hear “women and children first.”  It is sold under the pretext of being chivalrous, but what it is an extension of the societal contract that sees men as expendable.  The few extra privileges men may receive in society are paid for in blood.

      2. 7.1.2
        Kenley

        @Jeremy,

        Yes, Jeremy, people do question the morals of boxing and football.  I believe that the damage boxing did to the competitors is one of the reasons that has declined significantly in popularity.    And, many people are speculating that football is headed for the same fate for the very same reason — all the damage that it has caused a lot of players.

        And, again, lots of people do care about the harm done to workers. One of the reasons that they don’t get relief is due in part to the destruction of organizations designed to protect labor.

  8. 8
    No Name To Give

    We can probably agree that it serves a baser purpose. But it’s not something that’s really uplifting or edifying.

  9. 9
    Marika

    YAG

    History matters. That’s why we have Holocaust museums, the Killing Fields, Affirmative action…and for the servicemen/women ANZAC day marches, RSL clubs..

    You can make your point without resorting to insensitive examples.

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