A Question About Pornography
I have two questions.
1. What do you think about pornography? I notice that you never mention it.
Surely it is a "Men's Issue"?
2. What do you think about the way that the pornographers portray the women
as sluts, whores, cocks..kers etc. ... ...
You're right, I don't talk much about it. However, I tend to see the issue in
much the same way as I view the one on cannabis. The more that one tries to
demonise and/or ban it, the more harm that is eventually done - and for many of the
With regard to offensive words like whores and sluts etc, the pornographers
are not usually talking about their models in the photographs, they are
referring to the fantasies that their photographs might help support.
And when it comes to fantasising about whores and sluts - and what have you -
there is a large percentage of women who also get turned on by such ideas.
They're just fantasies.
Women don't seem to have the same levels of desire as men to view pornographic
pictures. And this, it is said, is because women, more so than men, are turned on by a
of sensations than are those that are simply delivered to the brain by the
Having said this, I still remember a short period in my own life when,
perchance, I was working near Soho in London somewhere in the early 70s. I would
regularly meet up with a friend for lunch and together we would occasionally pop into one of the sex-shops which sold sex magazines in order to peruse the
material and spice up our miserable lives.
Well, I had no interest whatsoever in anything but the pictures. My friend,
however, had no interest in any of the pictures at all! He just wanted to read various
salacious pieces of text.
Strange isn't it!?
With regard to pornography in general, my own view is that its availability
in a society where women often dress provocatively reduces the propensity for men to misbehave (and I think that the valid research
shows this to be true) and that it also helps to diffuse the hysteria and
silliness over sex.
Nevertheless, I also think that there must be some limits to what may
be depicted. For example, anything encouraging something likely to result in more than a week in
hospital is definitely out!
As far as pornography being an incitement to commit terrible acts is
concerned, I doubt that this is true, except, perhaps, in the case of a few
individuals; and even here, most likely, only where such individuals would have
ended up behaving badly anyway.
Far more likely to incite sexual misbehaviour is the way
in which many women dress.
Showing a bit here and a bit there in real life is much more provocative than
the full-blown wide openness displayed in typical pornography. And the former
occurs a thousand times more often in the normal course of life than does the
viewing of the latter.
And this is why when women accuse sex magazines
women merely as sex objects I always think that they are being highly
hypocritical unless they also attend to the far greater issue of how women so
often CHOOSE to portray themselves in a sexual manner in normal life.
At least when men decide to peruse girlie magazines they are confining
themselves somewhat to the realms of fantasy, and would admit to this being so, whereas when
women spend forever in front of the mirror to achieve what is probably an even greater effect in this respect - and this is real life rather than fantasy - this is somehow
dismissed by women as being an irrelevance to the issue of women being seen as
Fantasy counts but reality doesn't.
The fact that women in real life often like to
be seen as sex objects does not count!
And so, as is typical, women want to have their cake and eat
However, here is a somewhat different view of pornography - My
journey into the appalling world of internet pornography by Melanie Phillips
- 7 min - but I do have a few bones to pick with her over some of the
things that she says.
1. "Indeed, there is scarcely a sex offender who has not had an acute
pornography habit. In America, the FBI has reported that 81 percent of sex
killers have said their biggest sexual interest lay in viewing pornography and
in compulsive masturbation."
If anything, this finding simply indicates that highly sexualised men can use
pornography for their aims instead of having to take part in real events. As
such, pornography most likely reduces the number of real events taking place.
It does not follow at all from this finding that viewing pornography leads to
sexual assaults, which is what Melanie Phillips implies.
Nevertheless, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that cases will be
found where pornography did have significant effects on the bad behaviours of
some men; but that still does not mean that it should be banned.
Should we ban all fashion shows, and all photographs of women not covered by
burkhas, lest they promote bad behaviour in some men?
What about, for example, banning pictures of fast cars and designer shoes,
which many poorer young men aspire to have, but cannot do so without committing
How about banning television, since it is pretty clear that it is a major
addiction which takes many people away from doing more important things, and
which may give them bad ideas?
If the fact that a very small number of people
might go over the top and behave
criminally as a result of some experience was considered to be a justification
for there to be a legal banishment of
that experience for others who wanted to have it, we would surely have to proscribe
almost every desirable form of behaviour that there is - for example, shopping!
2. "British sex crimes expert Ray Wyre has observed, pornography
creates a climate of thought and belief which influences attitudes towards women
and children. What’s more, Wyre says, the more men masturbate to pornographic
fantasies, the more likely they are to put those fantasies into practice."
Ray Wyre cannot possibly know this. His claim comes from working with sexual
offenders - for whom, obviously, things have gone wrong. He does not work with
people - the vast majority - for whom things have gone right!
It's a bit like a fraud investigator concluding from his small and
self-selected sample that since the criminals that he deals with seem to have
spent a lot of time studying accounts, then those who spend much time studying
accounts are more likely to become criminals; and, therefore, that people should
be prevented from studying accounts.
Another example would be the claim that computer programmers are likely to
become hackers and that, therefore, people should not be allowed to programme
And yet another example would be that of a
policeman who lived permanently behind a desk noticing that all those who had
committed speed violations by driving at 100 mph were, not long earlier, driving
at 30 mph, and, from this, erroneously concluding that driving at 30 mph was a
potentially dangerous and therefore wicked thing to do!
3. "For these legal videos do not merely show loveless, sad
encounters. They dehumanise sex altogether. There is very little view of faces
or indeed any part of the anatomy apart from the genital region. Women and men
are reduced to pieces of hydraulic machinery."
This is somewhat true of all photographs of unknown people, whether they show
their faces or not. And the fact that men find human genital anatomy to be a
sexual turn-on is not the product of pornography!
Chimpanzees do not usually need pornography to
find the genitals of their species attractive.
Yep; it would surely be a
great thing if the human species had been programmed to find sex attractive only
in the context of a meaningful relationship and loving eyes. But it wasn't.
And so Melanie Phillips should take up this particular issue
with the Maker In The Sky rather than with the pornographer who produces what
the punter wants to see.
4. "The female genital region is always
shaved to produce a disturbing simulation of a child ..."
scare-mongering about child abuse. Smooth shaved skin in the genital area is
mostly a turn-on for men not because it simulates a child but because it exposes
the genitals to their view. And, as per 3. above, men often like to see genitals
in every which way but loose and from every angle and avenue. Not all men, for
sure, but a very large number of them.
Johnson explains why so many women are going all the way and saying no to pubic
5. "What’s even more
revolting is that in many of these videos the men ejaculate over the girl’s
... which has got to be one of the most common fantasies that
WOMEN actually have
Much of love and sex is about power - having it over
one's partner, or handing it over to them - or about the fantasy of it all. There is nothing sinister about this.
women are turned on by powerful men. (e.g. think about Bill Clinton and Monica
Further, many women
indeed just love to fantasise about being
abused e.g. see AH's Eastenders- The UK woman's FAVOURITE soap opera.
"Thanks to the internet, the sheer volume of pornography has exploded.
Tapping in the word ‘porn’ to one server alone brings up 24,522 sites."
bodies of naked women are highly attractive to men the world over. And there is
no language barrier with photographs. Sex sites can therefore gain huge
worldwide audiences just by posting photographs. Very few resources and not much
in the way of talent are needed to start such websites. It is hardly surprising,
therefore, that so many have started up.
objectifies women and reduces them to a commodity. Such dehumanisation affects
the man’s behaviour, ranging from withdrawal of intimacy through harsh
treatment of women to outright abuse."
If pornography had such
effects then, presumably, in those countries where it is more prevalent the
women should be found to be more often mistreated. In fact, if anything, the
very opposite seems to be true.
My own view is that if pornography, in
general, was readily available to anyone who wanted to look at it, both its influence and its
sexual attractiveness would rapidly evaporate.
I also suspect that the naked
bodies of women and the psychological wirings of men have been constructed by
evolution in a manner that, when put together, reduces the likelihood of abuse
and violence toward women. And I further suspect that the mainstream absence of
general unglamourised nakedness - and the modern taboos concerning it - probably
go some way toward reducing the innate protection that this might give.
speaking, the more that men see of women's bodies, the more protective are they
it or not, women are highly sexually attractive to men. So much so is this true,
that thousands of men every year do not seem to think about the consequences of
their sexual actions. Hundreds of thousands will lose their careers, or their
marriages, or their children, or their liberty, or their status, or their
credibility, or their health, or their money, or their lives, just for some sex!
Quite simply, so strong is the attraction that many men are so overcome by it at
a particular point in time that they seem to lose all reason, and risk - and
often lose - the most valuable things that they have.
This probably all arises from the fact that
all men currently living on the planet are the direct descendants of men who did
such things. Those men who did not have such powerful sex drives produced far
less offspring and, statistically speaking, their descendants are just not here.
So, it is very clear that thousands of men are
suckers for sex. But they will also risk a great deal simply to be able to
fantasise about sex e.g. they are often caught smuggling pornography through
customs or hauling down obscene child photos from the Internet. That’s how
powerful sex is for some men.
The overall point is that many men, in some
particular circumstance and time, will risk a
great deal, if not everything, for sex, or for the aided fantasy of it. And many
simply go blind with regard to the consequences at the time of their actions.
(They must go blind, or they wouldn’t do it!)
Now, society can either try to deal maturely
with issues that arise from the sexuality of men, or it can take all the
negative consequences of not doing so.
pornography might be one way of handling much of this.
it more difficult for adults to access pornographic material is potentially
hazardous for all women and children within this country. When pornography was
made freely available in Denmark in the late 60's, the incidence of sex crimes,
sexual violence towards women and children, dropped markedly. In 1967 erotic
material in Denmark was removed from the obscenity statute. This resulted in sex
crimes in Denmark which had been stable from 1958 to 1966 decreasing by 25
percent in 1967, 13 percent in 1968 and 30.5 percent in 1969." Patricia
My belief is that if women
are to be free to dress provocatively then the arousal that they cause has to be
addressed. And the above studies suggest that pornography is one significant
method of alleviating the stresses for men that arise from being sexually
And it is no good simply
saying that men have to control themselves more carefully, because the effects of
being aroused go way beyond the point at which it occurs. For example, the
gorgeous thingy that passed by in the morning can effect what happens many hours
Further, it is no secret that
a huge proportion of men are 'addicted' to sex - in the sense that they yearn to
experience it often. And when women present themselves in a manner that is very
highly appealing they are, like it or not, dangling before the eyes of men that
which is going to arouse them - and, depending on the circumstances and the man
himself, possibly highly so!
women know this! They learn very quickly how men react to their displays.
in much the same way that a child who is continually having the most
gorgeously-wrapped sweets dangled in front of his eyes - while being told that
he cannot have any of them - is going to be frustrated, aroused and hungry, by
the very sight of them, so it is that men are continually being 'tested' and
teased by the clothing that many western women wear.
pornography is probably a good way of helping society to deal with this problem.
common counter-argument is the one supported by Melanie Phillips - that it
is the pornography that is arousing the men in the first place!
don't buy this one, particularly. There is a lot of truth in it, but, as I
stated earlier, the arousal effects of wide-blown pornography are likely to be
very small when compared to the way in which so many women actually dress in real life, and the
manner in which they portray themselves in mainstream fashion magazines, on the
Indeed, one of my main
objections to the mainstream soft-core type of pornography is that it is so
unreal. Not only is the camera a great deceiver, but the women commonly
portrayed are perfectly posed, beautifully featured and highly untypical of
women. If nothing else, this narrow focus somehow denies the sexual
attractiveness of most ordinary women, and particularly of older ones.
I would like to see the
internet blow this apart, so that pornography actually becomes more realistic in
its portrayal of sexuality and less restrictive in terms of the characteristics
of the models and
performers taking part.
will almost certainly happen as more ordinary people become involved in the whole
industry and the taboos about sex begin to fall further and further apart.
day, medicine will succeed in making people 100% safe from any unwanted effects
that might nowadays arise from sex.
will be interesting to see what effect that this has on people's attitudes
towards it and towards its depiction.
While there are definitely areas of sex where one might have some justification
for arguing that they are 'perverse' in some way (though, frankly, if something
is relatively common then I am not quite sure how it could ever be regarded as
perverse - dangerous, perhaps, but perverse, No) the one thing that surely is
NOT perverse is the great sexual attraction that men have for women and their
How can it be perverse
for men to want to look at women, to grope them, fondle them, examine them, test them, possess them, influence
them, impress upon them, or to have strong power over them?
pornography mostly simply caters for the fantasies of such things.
such, the popular engagement with pornography does not strike me as being an
activity that is perverse, nor indicative that the enthusiastic viewer of such
material is himself perverse.
how can men's enthusiasm for looking at women and their naked bodies, or wanting
to possess them, or fantasising about such, ever be seen as perverse?
a point surely worthy of consideration is the fact that viewing pornography does
not spread diseases or create unwanted pregnancies, whereas active sex with others