Porn in the USA

12505535-triple-x-neon-sign-illuminated-over-dark-backgroundPorn. It feels weird even writing the word; something not to discuss in polite company. But this is a blog. And most of you are not polite. So lezzz go.

I realize that statistics are essentially random numbers waiting for an argument, and porn numbers are extremely difficult to ascertain given the still very much underground nature of it, yet it is safe to conclude that there are very few things in life that we spend SO much money on (billions and billions annually), that millions engage in and, yet, ironically, never really discuss in a serious and open minded manner.

To summarize, there is arguably nothing we engage in MORE that we about talk about LESS.

We can actually learn about human nature from our cultural experience with porn -if we do not carry with us an underlying agenda either propagating its ills or singing its blessings. There are so many questions, which include:

  • Why do so many enjoy it?
  • Why is there still shame associated with it?EmberEB943
  • Why do so many try to hide it?
  • Why do we not discuss it?
  • If we are to believe the numbers, why are so many people against it in public though engage in it in private?
  • Why are people such hypocrites when it comes to porn?
  • What social influences cause us to remain largely puritanical in our public persona about porn?
  • Why is it such an emotional issue for many?
  • Does it really damage the person or society?

In the late 60’s when the porn business was in the early stages of threatening to enter more of the mainstream entertainment arena, many politicians were displeased. This motivated President Lyndon Johnson to set up “The President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography” in hopes of finding that the viewing of obscene materials conclusively determines to cause harm both to the individual and society. What did they find? In a nutshell? Nothing. No evidence to suggest it is harmful to anyone or anything.

Of course President Nixon and congress then did what most of us do when we are faced with apparently reliable data that flies in the face of what we would prefer to believe (see cognitive nixondissonance) they simply reject it; which they did in a landslide vote of the senate, 60-5.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Then, in 1986, the tables were turned. A commission set up by conservative Ronald Reagan to perform an essentially similar study, perhaps then fueled by the rising VCR porn industry, called The Meese Report, found pornography to indeed have harmful effects on the individual and society, particularly as it relates to its relationship with organized crime.  Of course, these conclusions were widely criticized for their biases as well (I must say that I do find it suspect that several on the commission were clergy; perhaps not the best source for an unbiased perspective). For an interesting read comparing the two reports, check this out.

Who was right and who was wrong? In the face of conflicting information most of us simply fall back on our personal preferences. If our ethical system does not allow for pornography, for any variety of reasons, most will go with the latter Meese report. If one enjoys porn, one will probably say the President’s Commission in 1968 was spot on.

Most of us seek out information to justify our preferences rather than seek out information to assist CogDigin determining our preferences. It’s called dogmatism.

Whether for or against, it is a big business, millions view it, and it does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, in 2009 the UK DailyMail reported that a Canadian University had to cancel a study on the effects of porn because they could not find a single man in their quest to create a control group of men who had not viewed porn. I have heard of several such canceled studies since.

I am no statistician though looking at it from the macro, consider:  We have seen an exponential increase in the porn industry over the last 20 years, primarily via the internet, yet we have seen a dramatic drop in violent crime. Of course I am not making a direct cause and effect argument, as there are far too many variables to draw a direct correlation. BUT, if porn, which is so pervasive and at epidemic proportions in our culture, were so devastating and degenerating as some suggest, would not violent crime go up…at least a little?  Is it possible to study if porn may actually assist in bringing crime rates down? Pretty hard to murder or steal with only one hand available.

Since there will likely always be rapists on the street, I would far prefer them to be in their mellowed refractory periods; a much more likely condition in the era of porn proliferation.

I am not advocating porn. And God knows I am not saying I enjoy it. God forbid. That might make me like most men, yeccchh. I am advocating taking the ethical and emotional punch out of the word and objectively asking the questions.

When anything monumental enters a culture it contains both a blessing and a curse. Let’s acknowledge both….and get the conversation started. Porn. I said it.

jimmysintension

12 Comments

  1. why do I have to be the 1st to comment? Once again Jimmy you bring up a “taboo” subject and shed light upon the darkness. For the most part, in my opinion, I believe porn is harmless, and can relieve stress at times…but there is some types of porn that really should be banned (i.e. children, violent. bestiality, etc…)It can also help couples “liven up” their sex lives that may have gone “stale” Porn is as American as hot dogs, apple pie & cheverolet.

    • Thanks for the comment Craig…insightful as usual. Though I think porn may be as German as sauerkraut, strudel and Volkswagen. The origin of porn….hmmmm. Rome? I think I may have my next blog 🙂

  2. Sounds like you had a wild Saturday night. I could write for days about this subject especially after the Adult Entertainment Expo, The AVN awards and hanging with Ron Jermey and his girls. I’ve been to several conventions but the best people watching, by far, is at the AEE…fascinating! The Swinger convention is a close second! I go because I live here not because I belong to a particular group. Idon’t want to give any random strangers reading this the wrong or right idea about me 🙂
    The crazy success of the ‘Shades of Grey’ series is proof that porn is enjoyed by many, not just you deviant men 🙂
    Hey ‘Red Box’ are you listening? We want to pull up to a 7-11, grab a Slushi, a tasty snack and some porn! That would bring a whole new meaning to ‘red box.’

    • Great point about 50 Shades of Grey. Cannot say that I have read the book myself and really do not plan to, though its immense popularity says so much about our culture. BTW…my Saturday night was rather tame. I actually wrote this sometime last week after watching a documentary on Deep Throat and Linda Lovelace. I remember her going out saying she was forced to do that movie and was essentially raped throughout. And I may have believed her though shortly thereafter actually starred in Deep Throat 2. So much for credibility.

      • The book series is awful. Lots of sex and no substance…sounds like the porn industry to me! My girlfriend insisted I get all 3 books because ‘they are the best books I’ve ever read!’ I forgot that she’s never really read ANY books. Darn that So. Cal school system! The second book got tossed into the Colorado River when I was done reading it and ruining valuable brain cells (funny story) and the third one sits on my nightstand, waiting to be completed. Almost like that term paper you put off finishing because you have absolutely no passion for the subject matter but you’ve invested so much time already…
        Over the years, I became friendly with a couple of the industries finest and they are, for the most part, a sad lot. I remember escorting one young starlet to the restroom, crying her eyes out, because of the way she was being ‘manhandled’ during a meet and greet session during the Adult Expo. It’s a tough gig and they deserve more money and respect…much like our teachers! 🙂
        My Saturday night was semi-tame…the 3rd Annual Tacky Trailer Trash Party! Thanks to my connections in the porn industry , I own a ‘filthy whore’ wife beater and it’s always a crowd pleaser!
        Love your blogs…gives me a chance to write some of my stuff too! Hope you enjoy reading my comments!

  3. Like our teachers? I can only wish I would get manhandled at school. That would be a delight…pending, I suppose, on who were the “handlers.” I would love that 🙂 Thank you for your comments….I really wish more would respond because I love conversations; and so far, no one has expressed any disagreement about anything which kinda bums me out. Regarding those in the industry being a “sad lot” don’t you think some professions just lend themselves to “sad lot” types of people? I would imagine ditch diggers not to be a happy lot not to mention many other jobs. I guess in some ways we are all exploited to a certain degree for what we do best.

  4. Porn. This brings me back to my English class which focused solely on gender and sexuality. I wrote one of my papers on how the porn industry has negatively impacted both men and women in a variety of ways. Here are some excerpts from my paper:

    Many young people learn about sex through porn, despite the fact that porn does not depict real life. Pornography illustrates a specifically patriarchal encounter between man and woman that often alludes to the perception of a woman’s inequality to man. University of Illinois at Chicago offers the following statistic: “In a survey of high school students, 56% of the girls and 76% of the boys believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances.”
    How and why has our society come to a place where young adults view rape as acceptable? I believe that pornography is partially responsible…

    “Perhaps the most popular reading of the cum-shot suggests that it symbolically debases women… Since male models/actors are depicted discharging on their victim’s faces (this is by far the most common), breasts, or buttocks—i.e. on the bodily spaces that are signifier of feminine difference—the cum-shot metaphorically debases femininity” (Schauer)

    So, is commercial pornography affecting the way American men view women? By repeatedly watching pornography that depicts a degradation of a woman’s sexuality, and promotes gender inequality, are male youths accepting the patriarchal, aggressive attitude commercial porn has towards women? If so, how does that affect the sexual relationships between men and women? And is there a correlation between higher consumption of pornography with an increased acceptance of rape?

    “Koss, Leonard, Beezly, & Oros (1985), in a seminal study of undetected, self-reported acquaintance rapists, found that an individual’s propensity to rape (to engage in sexually assaultive, abusive, or coercive behavior in order to procure sexual intercourse) was significantly related to the degree to which they subscribed to several rape-supportive attitudes (e.g., acceptance of rape myths, adherence to traditional views of female/male sexuality, perception of sexual aggression as normal)” (Hinck).

    Considering this, it would be reasonable to assume that there is a correlation between pornography and sexual violence. Children imitate what they see; if men learn at an early age that sex is what they see in porn, they would accept that sex is patriarchal, that women fail to hold equal importance in the act of sex, and that it is “acceptable” to do things to a woman that both debase her and may not be voluntary.

    The Women’s Liberation Movement originally founded itself to cease the objectification of women, and for women to achieve sexual equality by expanding from the patriarchal sexual mold. By accepting porn as “sex”, our society is supporting the objectification of women, inequality in sex, and encourages the patriarchal mentality that women have been fighting against.
    “One group of theorists tends to consider pornography as a key cog in the objectification, degradation and demeaning of women… and performatively accomplishes the subordination of women through the depiction of explicit/abusive sex acts” (Schauer 43). In addition, the women depicted in pornography have little, if any connection with the average American woman.
    Nevertheless, the end to which women attempt to emulate the sex stars in pornography is detrimental. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sexual Victimization of College Women, 2001, “48.8% of college women who were victims of attacks that met a study’s definition of rape did not consider what happened to them rape” (UIC). If women don’t realize they’re getting raped, do men know they’re raping?
    “Rape myths have also been linked to an individual’s definition of rape; the more an individual accepts rape myths as truth, the more restrictive the definition of rape (Burt, 1981). This may help explain why few men tend to view their coercive behavior as rape. Lisak and Roth (1990) found that none of the men who had admitted to engaging in forced sexual intercourse or forced oral sex labeled their acts as rape” (Hinck).

    While I cannot prove that commercial pornography is responsible for our society’s budding acceptance of rape, it is in my power to highlight the connections I see. University of Illinois at Chicago tells us:
    “In a survey of male college students: 35% anonymously admitted that, under certain circumstances, they would commit rape if they believed they could get away with it (ref 6,7). One in 12 admitted to committing acts that met the legal definitions of rape, and 84% of men who committed rape did not label it as rape”.

    Well, I’ve never watched porn, or had a real desire to. I heard once that while men need physical stimulation, women can become stimulated just by fantasy, and I can vouch for the latter. I’m not opposed to the idea of porn, and in my English class we did discuss the empowerment that some women get out of making their own porn. Sure, I’m all for this, but mainstream, commercialized porn is not on that level at all and fails to empower women in any way, and in fact debases them! THAT is my main qualm with porn.

    Lastly, despite the progression of women’s rights in America, let’s face it: we’re still not equal, and patriarchal porn serves to exacerbate the problem.

    • Oh God…where do I start? Let’s just talk about this one in person…I have no time to compete with a “60% of your final grade” English essay in writing. Yet I will observe that it does take a willing and consensual woman to create heterosexual porn. If women are degraded you must blame women for this depiction as much as men. I would suggest that porn lowers rape statistics as men in a refractory period after watching said porn are far less likely to seek a rape victim. Did you find any statistics concerning rape violence before and after the proliferation of porn? (circa 2005 or so)?? Would be curious to know.

      • Well… I wasn’t going to respond, but ah! I can’t resist a debate! Please forgive me in advance…

        I did not do a before/after stat comparison, though it would be very interesting to see! I’ll see if I can find some this weekend.
        I get what you’re saying, after having a porn sesh, yes, men are immediately satiated, and as a result, yes, less likely to immediately then go out and get their kicks regardless of consent….. But at the same time, I think porn has directly influenced what kinds of behaviors men, women and society think are “acceptable”, so maybe watching porn immediately satiates, but lets face it: MOST people would rather have sex with someone else than masturbate by themselves… So how does porn affect these men in their sexual encounters with women? I believe it encourages a feeling of negative, patriarchal entitlement to women– and THAT is where the crime is– at parties or bars, when men take advantage of women, and fellow men and women let it happen! Its become socially acceptable- how did this happen?
        Now comes the younger generation, for example, the case of the high school boys who got convicted of rape after posting pics/status updates/texts/etc of the rape of the passed out girl they had raped… So naively, because they didn’t even know that what they did was rape! Not to mention their sports coach told them not to worry about it… Then comes the gaining popularity of “slut shaming” of girls after non-consentual sexual encounters, by both girls and boys, (as if these girls were the ones violating instead of being violated) which has driven some girls to committing suicide. So sad!!!

        I mean, in general, am I opposed to porn? No. I’m firing myself up for the sake of debate, but with our consumption rates of porn, there is no way that it hasn’t infiltrated of our society, our societal views on hetero sex, gender roles, and what we consider “acceptable.” To what end? I can’t say, only speculate.

        You’re right about consenting women participating in porn– but here’s the thing– female porn stars don’t represent that average American woman, at all, and they’re doing it for money, while many women have sex because they want to. The percentage of these porn stars are not the consenting voice of most American women– and I can speak for myself when I say that I have noo interest in that kind of sexual relationship with a man… Even if I was getting paid! If I’m going to have sex, I want to enjoy it, not be objectified, disregarded, and disrespected. So those lady porn stars are doing the rest of us average ladies a disfavor! Grr >:O

  5. This subject hits in a few different ways and I will try to explain/debate to the best of my abilities. After being 10 year veteran of indulging in pornography I have got to say I don’t think it should be as accessible as it is. Now I know it really doesn’t matter what I think because the internet is 75% porn, but my argument is what it is doing to the mind. As a young boy I was fortunate enough to have my own computer in my room by 13. I surfer the internet and looked at anything and everything I could, often getting “tips” for my later sexual life. As the years progressed I found myself looking at pornography many time a day. It became and addiction I could not stop. As odd and humors as it may sound it created a huge problem in my life at a very young age. It has now come to the point that I have to force myself not to watch it. I gave myself stipulations and agreeable terms why I wouldn’t do this and it helped me tremendously. First, I found out that a large portion of women that are doing these online video are forced against there will or lied to. They are told they will receive amazing compensation and trips around the world, but are to sold off into ex trafficking. This helped but still did not take the edge off, I than began to start thinking in a moral driven way. This brought me to stop lusting after hundreds of women and slowed down my sexual appetite immensely. By not watching I did not crave and when I did have my craving I decided to focus it on one women and create true and honest reasons to be with her. This may all be a psychological game I play with myself, but it keeps the beast at bay. The more porn I watched the greater my sexual appetite was. Of course it never goes away, and I’m not not crazy I still love sex. It is the instant access that brings out the worst in me and sets my focus on all the wrong things.

    • You hit on the scary part of porn. I could not imagine growing up in an environment where I had access to porn as a young child. Back in the day you had to obtain porn the old fashioned way…you had to earn it by either stealing a magazine or finding an old 8mm film in a trash bin somewhere. In other words, it was largely inaccessible to children. Would it have harmed me if I did have access to it? I cannot say for sure though some intuition tells me it was probably a good thing I did not. I find porn enjoyable now and it does not interfere with my “real sex” whatsover. But I am older. Today children will soon be able to fuck their avatar…o vey…to think of the unintended consequences of that technology. Thanks for the contribution Nicholas.

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