Porn Matters

The last article to feature on the site on this subject proves one thing: porn matters. No matter what we think of it and what side of the fence we find ourselves on in relation to it, it is clear that it is something that people cannot help but talk about and express opinions on. What does all this chattering and arguing suggest? It proves that porn is a relevant issue. It is thought provoking; it provides insight into our innermost thoughts; it informs what we do; it manifests our cultural ideas and beliefs; it helps us in the formation of our personal politics.

Any historian of sexuality will agree that pornography (and its pre-modern counterpart, the erotic) played a key role in the ways in which the individual subject made sense of him or herself and the world they inhabited. Today, however, in the minds of many, pornography is something dark and sinister; something that corrupts humanity. The mention of pornography causes a moral panic for many; if they were to freeze the automatic response of emotions and account for the evidence before passing judgement, their response might be an entirely different one. I do not think that it is unreasonable that porn should instigate so much emotion in some people; there are, undoubtedly, many issues that surround it that make it a highly charged and contentious issue. It could be all too easy to become entrenched on any one side of the debates that surround it. For my part, I choose to stand back and assess the subject in a less bifurcated manner than that which the traditional dichotomy of the true nature of man / woman’s opposition allows for.

Ours is not the first zeitgeist to get caught up in debates about pornography and erotica. All we have to do is take a look at the frescos of Pompeii to realise how important it has been for many centuries. Today, the impulse is to view porn as something to be censored and controlled; something to be viewed as dangerous and abnormal; something subversive that poses a threat to society.

Michel Foucault, the father of the study of the history of sexuality, argues that erotica was crucial to earlier cultural epochs as a method by which to explore sexual desire and mutuality in human relationships. In pre-modern societies, erotic images were charged with suggestive potential for provoking sexual play and erotic negotiations between people; they provided – in their most ideal form – an avenue of ethical exploration of sexual needs and desires. The explicit nature of imagery and art embedded unavoidable truth about the sexual subjectivities of the individual.

So, what changed?

With the rise of the didacticism of the moralistic religious force of the nineteenth century, sexual images were no longer something to be celebrated and explored as a way of figuring out one’s own sexual desires; it became a sign of the depravity and sinfulness lurking within humanity. Pornography was no longer something to be talked about and debated; it became the irrefutable evidence of the depraved, tortured and sinful soul. Not only that, the person who revelled in porn was viewed as someone who did not conform to traditional notions of masculinity or femininity upon which the middle-class Victorian family depended. Further to this, scientific and medical enquiry led to the knowledge that enabled men to control and repress their sexual urges and erotic desires. The ability to self-master became the ultimate signifier of responsible manhood and real masculinity. The same was true of femininity: women were taught to be modest and had the virtues of chastity extolled to them. At best, women were disinterested in sexual pleasure, frigidly employing sex only as the means of making a family. The corollary of this was the whore, an oversexed entity shunned and marginalised by society because of the threat she posed to the stability of the family unit. The discipline of marriage was deemed necessary for curbing female desire.

Over the last few decades we have gone through a technological (with the birth of the internet) and sexual revolution (with the birth of feminism), but the same Victorian moralism can still be seen in some quarters of society. For once, it appears as if society has made very little progress; in fact, it could be argued that a regression in thought to pre-modern notions might be beneficial to society in allowing them to use pornography as an explorative tool in self-discovery. Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that I am not naïve about the important issues that inform criticism of pornography, such as: the age of the object of desire; health measures taken in the workplace; compensation and payment received by the actors. These important issues are not directly pertinent within the remits of this brief piece; for now, my concern is with the why of the how porn raises so many alarms about men (husbands and boyfriends in particular) consuming porn and why fears of pornographic material impinges negatively on what is, otherwise, a happy and successful relationship. I will most likely come back to the issues surrounding sex work at a later date, but for now I want to raise two questions:

  1. All all men secretly doing it?
  2. Is it really such a bad thing?

Admittedly, I come to the issue from the world of academia, but I think that doing so actually helps me to understand how porn has become such a contentious issue. In my area of expertise – Renaissance literature – the erotic is everywhere (in word and image) and it inevitably finds a home in the classroom and on the curriculum. In more ‘modern’ areas of study, too, pornography has become increasingly popular. You might not be able to study it as a major in most universities, but it’s there if you look for it; try Northwestern University or Berkeley, where you will find the likes of Linda Williams applying feminism to it. This popularisation of pornography in academia began with critics like Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon who argued that pornography was to blame for sexual assaults because it reduces women to the status of an object of desire for men. Responding to this, Williams and peers like Laura Kipnis take the Foucauldian stance and assert that pornography lends insight to social concerns.  Views on pornography are plentiful in the academic world but the majority of critics will agree on the fact that porn is a crucial tool of exploration when grabbling with major philosophical and cultural issues about identities, subjectivities and sexualities.

I admit that most porn available on the internet is unoriginal trash and that the industry could do with making many changes; accounting for the freedom and creative license of actors; placing a greater emphasis on health issues; focusing on female desire as equal to that of men. My bone of contention, however, is that people are such generalists; opponents of pornography will thoughtlessly lump all forms and versions together. Not only this, I find it hard to understand why so many people desperately cling to the unsubstantiated assumption that all porn is dangerous and leads to exploitative, dangerous and violent ends.

This is how it is: there is no shortage of studies which show that fantasy plays a crucial role in self-development and identity. The various ways in which pornography affects our everyday encounters with others and ourselves as we attempt to negotiate the terms of the world around us are endless. Current research records many positive aspects of the existence of porn in society. As a representative form of resistance to the status quo, for instance, porn has given homoeroticism a place. It has been instrumental in affirming homosexual desires and given the gay community a refuge of expression that was not previously voiced in society.

Whether you agree with it or not, you cannot ignore pornography. It is indisputably a valid source of understanding ourselves; it makes us come to terms with our needs and desires and helps us to form our likes and dislikes; it demarcates the points on our ethical compass and draws the line between that which we can tolerate and that which we hate. The pivotal question is this: can pornography provide a heightened ethical space in which we can explore sexual pleasures and intimacy in relationships? Here is a dirty secret for you: I think it can (and, for some, already does). Women, the next time you get angry or upset when you discover that your husband or boyfriend has been ‘secretly’ consuming porn, take a breath and calm down; talk it over and learn a little more about his desires and share some of your own. Men, if you are consuming porn ‘secretly’ ditch the shame or the fear or whatever it is that has you hiding it from your partner and express your desires openly.

ARTICLE PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED (REPUBLISHED WITH AUTHOR’S PERMISSION:

http://www.animadvert.co.uk/2011/09/porn-matters/

FEATURED IMAGE: http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=33010646+&cr=266&cl=1

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, People

Author:Mary-Ellen L

Lives at www.animadvert.co.uk. Lecturer in Literature and Philosophy, Poet and Professional Cynic.

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47 Comments on “Porn Matters”

  1. September 11, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I believe porn is destructive to the individual watching, a relationship and society in general.

    • September 11, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      That’s a nice belief, but can you prove it?

      • September 12, 2011 at 12:43 am #

        Yes. Did you know the actress in the porn film Deep Throat spoke out about how she felt worthless during and after the shoot?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Lovelace

        I used to be addicted to it too so I know what I’m talking about. Only the grace of God saved me.

        • September 12, 2011 at 6:05 am #

          You can throw as many facts as this at the argument as you want: it doesn’t prove a whole lot.
          As for being addicted to porn? Someone must have forgotten to put parental controls on your computer (given your age).
          God is good. He gave you The Song of Solomon.

          • September 12, 2011 at 6:25 am #

            :/ I don’t get your reply. But oh well!

            Let’s agree to disagree! 😀

            • September 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

              The Song of Solomon is vividily pornographic. That’s what he was getting at.

              Hmmm… Jesus once had a naked hooker dance around him and rub perfume all over his body and was even pleased when she degraded herself enough to wash his feet with her hair and tears. Seriously, Jesus knew how to handle women too… make them feel grateful for being degraded.

              http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+7%3A44-47&version=NIV

            • Anonymous
              September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

              It’s good to see that some people are capable to replying with out using insults 🙂

              Notice that when you speak the truth people start abusing you instead of listening to you 🙂

  2. September 11, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    It’s always so nice when people admit to belief. It means they can’t prove it.

  3. Anonymous
    September 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    wow. I can’t believe such a long article deliberately skipped all the important issues surrounding porn and then make such an open endorsement at the end.

    If generalising bugs you, why not make some distictions of your own to help clarify the situation. Perversion is taking something that is essentially GOOD, and twisting it into something disgusting. A naked image is not automatically porn. Porn does not show too much. It does not show enough. I think it is unhelpful to link ancient erotica to modern pornography.

    jacking off to pictures of people having sex does not improve your relationship. Asking for ‘proof’ of such things is not a counter argument. I see very many similarities in tactics between porn and tobacco. It’s scary to think that people are buying into the propaganda… how do you KNOW it’s bad for you? you can’t PROVE it!

    • September 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      “I think it is unhelpful to link ancient erotica to modern pornography.”

      Why? Because it challenges your position on this topic?

      Why is it that research is a good thing in every other domain of knowledge except for sex? No, people must not become knowledgeable about sex via porn… because they’ll learn about things I feel very insecure about and that scares me!!!

      “I can’t believe such a long article deliberately skipped all the important issues surrounding porn”

      This really annoys me, these issues around porn aren’t about porn that’s why we call them side issues. If we judged everything by its side issues everything would be rubbish.

      • Anonymous
        September 12, 2011 at 5:31 am #

        Jason, believe it or not I have put quite a lot of effort into informing my opinion on this subject, so I do not appreciate the suggestion that I ignore things because they ‘challenge’ me. Are you dismissing my opinion because it challenges you?

        drawings or other art forms are very different to photos. A drawing is NOT a real person – it is an idea. It is unhelpful to link expressions of erotica (ancient or otherwise) with selling people (or parts of them) as sex objects.

        porn is not research. I detest it because it is pure fantasy. It does not teach you about sex. The scary thing is that everyone ‘knows’ it’s completely fake, but people still try to apply parts of it to real life. If people were more educated about relationships then porn would be less of an issue. (it would also be far less popular!)

        ‘If we judged everything by its side issues everything would be rubbish.’
        I don’t understand this comment. What ‘side issues’ are you referring to? My point was that you can’t separate the creation of something with it’s use and effects. Are you suggesting that if we looked at porn (or any other issue) in its proper context then it would be rubbish? If so I guess that’s true to a degree… there is much in this world that IS complete rubbish (we could all point to MANY TV programs that fit this category) and yet we accept it anyway on the grounds that it’s not ‘hurting’ anyone (even if we can see the negative effects on those that choose to consume it).

        • Edward Leighton
          September 12, 2011 at 6:33 am #

          Dear Anonymous Coward,

          I’m glad you’ve spent a lot of effort informing your opinion on the subject of pornography. I presume this means you’ve watched an awful lot of it, and “jacked off” to it (I see you have the nomenclature down).

          You mentioned that this “long” article skips over “all the important issues” about porn. What are these issues which you feel so strongly about that you can neither take ownership of them by supplying a name, or give examples without being asked to provide some?

          “A drawing is NOT a real person – it is an idea.” So, if I were to link you to some lolicon or yiff, you’d be okay with that, because it’s not a real person, and therefore it doesn’t matter if it depicts a twelve year old schoolgirl being raped by a tentacle beast, or two guys dressed as poodles buggering each other… All of these things are illegal to even possess an image of in the UK, *if* it’s real people.

          Porn is all pure fantasy? I don’t think so. Your research into this matter which has informed your opinion doesn’t seem to have led you to any of the amateur homemade pornography. It has the same purely sexual content, designed only to arouse with no attatched artistic merit, but is often made by couples very much in love who are adventurous and confident enough to record and share their sexual acts.

          Your view of pornography seems rather narrow, blinkered only to the high production value, studio shot, heavily edited porn superstars, not taking into account the sheer scope and variety of content out there. There is not a black and white “porn/not porn” line, despite the best efforts of governments and standards committees to draw one. Yes, there are productions and artworks that are clearly pornographic, and there are also those which are clearly *not* pornographic, but between these lie a sea of grey area works in which subjectivity reigns supreme.

          Perhaps you should tell us in what way you believe porn to be damaging, either to an individual, or society?

          • Anonymous
            September 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

            FINALLY!! When I noticed I didn’t put my name I was wondering how long it would be before someone called me a coward…
            Thankyou for obliging. You have made my day 🙂
            Sorry I didn’t anticipate all your questions.
            Maybe if you insult me some more I might feel like answering them… 🙂

        • September 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

          I didn’t dismiss your opinion, I asked you a question. Judging from the highly emotional response I must have hit a nerve.

          Here is a gorgeous oil painting of a woman:

          That’s way better than many photographs of real naked women in my mind. Seriously hot. I’m glad you have no objections to me getting warm and horny over a painting.

          “The scary thing is that everyone ‘knows’ it’s completely fake, but people still try to apply parts of it to real life.”

          Yes, we can’t have any of this imagination and creativity business! For goodness sake, behave!

          “What ‘side issues’ are you referring to?”

          Well you didn’t actually state them so you tell me, then I’ll tell you again.

          Personally, I’m thrilled with the idea of people getting enjoyment out of sex, I think that’s wonderful, natural and wholesome. If porn helps them, all the better. If it doesn’t then that’s ok, they’re under no obligation to use it if they don’t want to.

          • Anonymous
            September 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

            Hi Jason, thanks for clarifying. when all you have is text it’s hard to tell if you hit a nerve or are just misunderstood. Your response seemed typical of the diversionary tactic of focusing on the person instead of the argument – as if the only reason for the argument is the person – hence why it came off as dismissive.

            I’m surprised you avoided my ‘side issues’ question?
            I wanted to know what issues YOU thought would make porn ‘rubbish’.
            There’s rape/manipulation/addiction just to name a few… you know, all the good things that come from desperate people doing desperate things. (and corporations willing to cash in).

            If porn helped people get enjoyment out of sex. Then I’d be all for it.
            But that’s like saying drugs help people get more enjoyment out of life.
            It is a real problem in many people’s lives, and it hinders our ability to discover how good REAL LIFE sex can be.

            While all porn requires some level of abuse. It’s obvious that most of my comments are directed to the commercial porn industry.
            So don’t go applying them directly to anything else or they won’t make sense 🙂

            • Clarissa Day
              September 16, 2011 at 1:34 am #

              Still incapable of owning your opinions, anonymous?

            • Anonymous
              September 16, 2011 at 1:48 am #

              not sure what you mean Clarissa? what is it about my opinion that I don’t own?

            • September 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

              Hey Anonymous,

              Sorry, I’m having a hard time following you. For example, the first paragraph just made no sense.

              The next point you made, is bizarre. You introduced the topic of side issues, but didn’t elaborate, I expressed skepticism that these side issues were relevant, because by definition side issues are not directly relevant, your next response was to ask me to tell you what these side issues are. Presumeably you want me to do your thinking for you too?

              The person who introduces a thesis bares the responsibility of justifying it, not the listener/reader.

              When people tell you that they find porn enhances their enjoyment of sex, you act as though they don’t exist. In school I learned about the labia, vagina, cervix and uterus… but I was never told about the clitoris. Porn taught me that women can enjoy sex too. I’d really suck as a lover if I didn’t know a woman had a clitoris, let us say thanks be to porn.

              Drugs do help people get more enjoyment out of life: anti-biotics, cold-flu medicine, pain-killers, even moprine, cocaine, marijuana etc… the issue is responsible use of drugs, not drugs.

              “While all porn requires some level of abuse. It’s obvious that most of my comments are directed to the commercial porn industry.”

              *eyes roll* No, not all porn involves abuse… do you think if you keep saying that it’ll magically come true? And no, being a person who has looked at a lot of porn it is not obvious to me what you’re talking about. It’s like trying to tell a golfer how to play golf when you’re never picked up a club yourself.

        • Hera
          September 24, 2011 at 3:15 am #

          “drawings or other art forms are very different to photos. A drawing is NOT a real person – it is an idea”
          “porn is not research. I detest it because it is pure fantasy.”

          Okay, so lemme see if I got this right… Drawings are ok because they’re not real, they’re just an “idea” and porn is bad because it’s fake/fantasy (aka not real).

          I’m sorry, but your arguments contradict one another.

          • Anonymous
            September 24, 2011 at 11:21 am #

            correct. your interpretations of my arguments do contradict each other.

            Drawings are not necessarily ‘ok’, they are however different to a photo of a real person. A drawing is an expression of something within the artist, not a physical image of the outside of a person.

            Fake things are only a problem when people start believing they are real.

            hope that’s clearer 🙂

            • Hera
              September 25, 2011 at 4:18 am #

              Thanks for clearing that up… I do think you make a valid point in that it is problematic when someone mistakenly believes that real life sex will (or should) mirror what they see in porn. Although, to be fair, I think that when it comes to your average young inexperienced type that there’s not much of a danger there. By the time they actually get to “that point” they’ve been exposed to so many bits of information (from various sources) that they don’t really know what to expect, and they’re just so excited to be doing it that they’re not thinking about trying to reenact a porn scene.

              So, if it’s going to be an issue for anyone, it will probably be for the sexually experienced who are dissatisfied with their sex lives who’ve begun to view what happens in porn as some kind of “ideal”. But the same kind of idealization can happen with romance novels, regular movies, tv, etc. The fact is, people usually turn to ‘fantasy’ when they’re dissatisfied with their current reality and feel powerless to do anything about it. But that doesn’t mean that fantasy is inherently bad. It’s only damaging when it’s used to avoid reality, and that’s an aspect of human nature that will never go away. Even if you got rid of porn, it would just be replaced with some other means to avoid reality.

            • September 25, 2011 at 9:36 am #

              “Fake things are only a problem when people start believing they are real.”

              Like gods? Angels? Genies? Demons? Ghosts? Leprochauns? Poltergeists? etc etc etc

    • September 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

      “The person who introduces a thesis bares the responsibility of justifying it, not the listener/reader.”

      In writing this article I took care to justify it:

      “Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that I am not naïve about the important issues that inform criticism of pornography, such as: the age of the object of desire; health measures taken in the workplace; compensation and payment received by the actors. These important issues are not directly pertinent within the remits of this brief piece; for now, my concern is with the why of the how porn raises so many alarms about men (husbands and boyfriends in particular) consuming porn and why fears of pornographic material impinges negatively on what is, otherwise, a happy and successful relationship. I will most likely come back to the issues surrounding sex work at a later date, but for now I want to raise two questions:

      1. All all men secretly doing it?
      2. Is it really such a bad thing?”

      Side issues were never a part of the thesis; it was merely a conceptual piece about a particular visual genre; the issues that arise from it are all important and worthy of discussion, but could hardly be conceptualised in such a short piece which was intentionally theoretical, because it was treating something within the world of ideas.

      If people want to discuss the ‘side issues’ (a few of which I have raised at particular while others just keep raising the existence of ‘side issues’) that’s fair enough, but they are not a part of my argument. Each one would involve an argument of their own.

      As for abuse, it is a relatively small concern. You cannot accuse porn of being abusive; you can accuse men and women of abusing porn, if you wish. Porn is a tightly regulated business as an industry; there are, of course, report of abuse in porn (although, I still think abuse is the wrong word – exploitation might be better), but in the ‘official’ production, so much care is taken not to damage the industry with such stories.

      Jason – intentional or not, your statement quoted at the outset – about baring responsbility – made me chuckle. I love a good pun, whether it is meant or not!

      • September 17, 2011 at 11:07 am #

        It took me 3 minutes to figure out then what the pun was… *sheepish smile*

      • Anonymous
        September 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

        I’m glad we got to hear from the author 🙂
        I’m curious why you chose to conclude a theoretical piece with practical advice?
        Exploitation! good word! that’s more what I meant… Thanks for trying to understand my meaning.

        Jason, I agree, your personal example about your ‘sex education’ is exactly what I mean! Porn is a terrible teacher (as it is fantasy remember). If people rely on it they will be horrendously uneducated.
        You are completely correct with your drug analogy too. Drug use is also a problem in society. Would you defend those who produce and sell illicit drugs because it’s up to the end user to be responsible? A drug that is manufactured for the sole purpose of selling to someone who wants to get high, is like a naked image produced for the sole purpose of selling to someone who wants to get off on it.

        • September 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

          I hate our current drug laws. I believe any person over the age of 18 should be able to walk into a shop and buy herione for $5-10 a hit, not this ridiculous $500+ per hit. I don’t deny that drugs like herione can be destructive, but most of that damage is done by: the ridiculous cost of a cheap drug like herione, organised crime dominating the industry, stigmatising drug users and the lack of government regulations insuring the quality of the drugs.

          I wouldn’t use drugs myself, but I don’t see why I have any right to stop other people from doing so. Just as you wouldn’t use porn yourself, you have no right to tell other people not to use porn. I think my ethics are perfectly consistent between the two issues.

          Personally, Anonymous, I don’t believe you have an issue with porn, I think you have an issue with sexuality. Rather, other people’s sexuality frightens you. Just this morning I got another email offering me “gentleman enlargement pills,” I’m insulted, not because I’m content with the size of my penis, but because I’m happy to call it my penis rather than my “gentleman” as though I’m supposed to feel ashamed for having a penis. Maybe if I did feel ashamed of having a penis I’d want to buy those pills… or maybe I’d just prefer to be ignorant to the fact that many men have larger penises than me or that some women actually prefer a bigger penis. But none of this really bothers me because at the end of the day I know that what I have is enough for me to have an awesome time with a woman. She doesn’t need to be a porn star either, I’ve learned, indirectedly from porn, that is doesn’t matter what you have or what position you use in the end, what matters about how comfortable, happy and safe you feel with that particularly person.

          I think the only people here, who objectify people too much, are the ones who find porn threatening.

        • Anonymous
          September 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

          lol… your ethics are ‘consistent’ yes. well done. I’ll give you that. 🙂

          I assume you have good reasons for not using drugs yourself. Why is it against your morals to advise someone along the path that you have found (from your experience) to be the best?

          This is boiling down to the larger more fundamental question of is it OK to hurt yourself. We’ll leave that for another time tho as it is too general for this discussion.

          Your 3rd paragraph tries to divert to attention away from what I am saying and onto my personal character. This is unhelpful. Suggesting that other people’s sexuality ‘frightens’ me is attacking the person (me), instead of the argument (what I said). This (probably subconscious) diversionary tactic can only serve to offend, without furthering the discussion. I hope you learn to recognise it in the future.

          I’m glad you’re comfortable with your sexuality. If only that were the norm.

          • September 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

            “Why is it against your morals to advise someone along the path that you have found (from your experience) to be the best?”

            I never said it was. Rather, by telling people to embrace porn and acceptance of nudity I am doing just that.

            Is it ok to hurt yourself? Let’s try a little thought experiment shall we? If someone wants to kill themselves. Which part is the problem? Them killing themselves or their desire to kill themselves?

            If it’s them killing themselves then tying them up 24/7 solves the problem.
            If it’s their desire to kill themselves, then tying them up is counter productive.

            The fact is, people make the same mistake with porn and drugs: it isn’t the act that is the problem. Banning and shaming it won’t help any more than tying up and shaming suicidal people. If you want to eliminate porn then you need to satiate the sexual hunger that drives its consumption. If everyone is prepared to help out everyone else (women as well as men) get their sexual satisfaction without porn then there would be no need for porn. But if you’re not ready to strip down and put out, at least be glad there’s porn because it’s far more civilised than the alternative.

            That’s not an outlandish statement at all by the way, the data is clear: more porn = less sexual violence in a society. The painter of nudes is a hell of a lot nicer to women than the man who puts a woman in a burqa.

            “Your 3rd paragraph tries to divert to attention away from what I am saying and onto my personal character. This is unhelpful.”

            Your first line up there was a smug arrogant put down of me as a moral being. My comments were not ab hominem because in the course of this discussion you have disregarded, as opposed to debated, legitimate arguments and research findings suggesting your rejection is not academic but emotional.

            Indeed, I wish far far more people were as comfortably as I. We’d all have some awesome sex together.

          • Anonymous
            September 19, 2011 at 2:56 am #

            haha yes, I allowed myself that first sentence. Even though there was no put down (and I was agreeing with you!), I did know that it was likely you wouldn’t take it well… so sorry about that. Looks like I’m not perfect after all 😛 I guess I hoped that you might share the humor I found in the concept of ‘ethics consistent? – check!’

            You were on the right track with the start of your arguments about ‘desire’, but I think we might leave the conversation there since you have avoided all my questions and I do not wish to repeat myself.
            All the best 🙂

            • September 24, 2011 at 5:45 am #

              As an open fan of watching good ol’ regular porn, I’d just like to point out to everyone commenting that the world’s largest porn site, Redtube, has a comments section on each video, and that the large majority of commenters are women, surprisingly. More surprising is that they are often citing jealousy and admiration for the sex depicted in the videos, wishing they were the pornstars. There are clearly some women out there today who decide that porn is the ideal profession for them because they simply have a very high sexual drive. That, and it pays damn well, so couple both of those appealing aspects and it seems to be an attractive way for a lot of girls to make an easy living while they study.

            • September 24, 2011 at 5:53 am #

              Found this interesting too:

              “66 PER CENT of WOMEN watch porn.

              Couples also admitted using sexy films to spice up things in the bedroom.

              Out of the 57 per cent of women who watch porn with a partner, a third regularly use it as part of foreplay, while 41 per cent admit to having watched it several times with their man.

              For those in a relationship, 77 per cent of men claimed their partner was fully aware of what they were up to.”

              http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/article2355510.ece

            • Anonymous
              September 24, 2011 at 11:10 am #

              hey Beato, some site suggestions…
              how come you can only ‘reply’ to 5 levels in before you can’t branch out any further? was that intentional? maybe have an automatic thing where if you reply to the last comment in a thread it just puts it beneath without starting a new thread?
              Also, it would be cool see who voted what instead of just an average.

            • September 25, 2011 at 9:39 am #

              Replying to Beato.

              Are you saying that women actually have a sex drive??!?!?

            • September 25, 2011 at 9:46 am #

              Replying to: “hey Beato, some site suggestions…”

              Yes, more than 5 levels would be grand. But often this degenerates into: “I must get the last word!” “No I must get the last word!” so it’s good it can get tedious to discourage this.

              Mr Anonymous, said “Also, it would be cool see who voted what instead of just an average.”

              Hmmm… well if it makes you sleep easier, it records the IP address of the rater so they can only vote once. We might be able to find out the IP addresses but making information like that public would turn a lot of people from this site. Still I want to be clear, this made me laugh:

              Mr Anonymous, said “Also, it would be cool see who voted what instead of just an average.”

            • Anonymous
              September 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

              Glad I could make you laugh Jason 🙂 I sleep very well, thanks for you concern 🙂

              I agree that too many layers might get unnecessarily messy
              My suggestion is that when responding directly to a comment it would be sufficient for the post to appear beneath (i.e. without starting a new thread)

              I’m aware the IP address is recorded but thanks for clarifying.
              You may notice my funky green symbol on all my posts (on every topic!).

              If when ‘voting’ the same info was recorded as when people leave a comment then votes would be much more meaningful.
              The system at the moment is ok, but fairly limited.
              My suggestion could distinguish between 5,5,1,1 and 3,3,3,3. It would also show if only current conversation participants are voting or if others are also reading and rating comments… and if the same people or different people are voting on each comment.

              anyway… just some suggestions…

              • September 26, 2011 at 5:15 am #

                See my reply above 🙂 – all good suggestions, thanks!

            • Anonymous
              September 25, 2011 at 11:51 am #

              for example… it appears you can vote on your own comments?! (if you see one 5-star excellent vote for this comment – I’ll give you one guess who it’s from!)

            • September 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

              Wow. The format of the page is more important than the material on it? I am sure people would prefer not to be notified of irrelevant material, so if you have suggestions for the site, they might be best directly forwarded to the site master! intentiousinfo@gmail.com

              • September 26, 2011 at 5:16 am #

                Yep, the email address works better for feedback/suggestions. Also, if any reader wants to participate and write a piece on any controversial topic, get in contact by email. You’re most welcome.

            • September 26, 2011 at 5:11 am #

              Hey Anonymous. Yeah, the 5 levels deep thing was intentional, however, quite arbitrary. It was set to see whether levels of indentation beyond 5 levels of replies would become too difficult to read. However, I’ve had a look and the bigger usability problem is not being able to continue onward with the discussion. So I will be lifting this 5-level-reply restriction. Cheers for the feedback.

              Only site editors and admins can see IP addresses, just to clarify. At the moment, votes operate the same way as public Facebook “likes”, so there is currently no way to see who votes on a comment. I tend to like the anonymity with voting, it makes it less offputting to be honest and vote high or low or mediocre without feeling like you might offend other readers either way. Giving a score requires a little more privacy than simply “liking” a comment. I’m going to add ‘Likes’ to comments in the future. In fact, the whole comment system will, at some stage, adopt the Facebook commenting API, the same commenting system successful sites like Gizmodo have adopted. Works very well 🙂 opens up the discussion heaps more, too.

      • September 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

        My apologies, anonymous, if you expected me, as the author, to respond to every comment posted under the article. I did not see the point until now, as the discussion kept discussing ‘side issues’ without ever mentioning what these side issues are. All I saw was a string of comments in which one person would demand a list from the other, and vice versa.

        As for concluding a theoretical piece with practical advice? Well, why not? Apparently, the author has to have an opinion. Within the broad issue of porn, it is more often than not the secrecy that has a damaging effect in personal relationships, not the porn itself. Hence the aside, which is – essentially – what it was.

        As for the issue of exploitation, I think I have covered my feelings on the issue when I express that the mainstream porn industry is very careful in what it does as they need to maintain a reputation to produce! It is something that could not fit into a short piece, because it would need a lot of investigation and thought in its own right, and I simply don’t have time to write on everything.

        Thanks for your time!!! 🙂

  4. Hera
    September 24, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    “I’d just like to point out to everyone commenting that the world’s largest porn site, Redtube, has a comments section on each video, and that the large majority of commenters are women”

    Wait… Redtube has an area for comments? 🙂

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