feminism / men / porn / Relationships / Sex

Thoughts on “The Men Who Believe Porn Is Wrong”

Last week in the Guardian UK I read The Men Who Believe Porn Is Wronga strongly anti-porn biased article discussing Matt McCormack Evan’s website: Anti-porn Men Project. I encourage you to check out the article before reading this post to get the full gist. As you can probably guess, I disagree with many of its points but all the same I’m always interested to hear anti-porn viewpoints, especially coming from dudes. The one perspective I do share with McCormack Evans is that our relationships with porn deserve reflection and dialogue.

So that said, oy, where to begin. Throughout the article the usual assessments are made—that porn portraying women being dominated is degrading, that porn has increased violence towards women, and that porn is “harder and angrier” than ever. There’s plenty of evidence to counter these points. See: here, here and here. But rather than belaboring whether porn is bad or good, increases violence or doesn’t, I personally get my knickers in a tizzy because of the numerous judgmental overtones. My take: less judgement, please. More education!

A lot of what is discussed throughout the article is the idea that men believe what they’re seeing in porn is real and therefore influences the way they perceive women in everyday life. While I personally know my share of men who DO NOT see porn this way, I’ve no doubt that some guys do. To me, this once again indicates a pressing need for proper education on the subject rather than simply compartmentalizing and demonizing porn. I was also struck by Matt’s impetus for starting the website—an incident in the library where watching a female librarian shelve books he thought: Hmm, maybe I should go check out some librarian porn later. At the risk of imposing my own sensibilities here, I must say that this example seemed incredibly benign. Is that because I’m porn-indoctrinated? Golly, maybe. But when I read this quote aloud to my husband we both thought, huh, you would have thought it would’ve been something like: I can’t stop thinking of fisting that librarian or urinating on her face (neither of which we have any judgment upon BTW), which would have prompted his reaction. No matter, we all have our limits. But I can’t help wondering if Matt had thought: I’d really like to shag that librarian rather than: I should go look up some librarian porn later, would he have been equally troubled by his reaction? In other words, was it Matt’s knee-jerk porn thought or the sexualizing of a stranger that he considered over-the-line? And on that note, are there any twenty-somethings who do not fantasize about the odd stranger? Is that shameful? Bad? Why the self-flogging, Matt?

Anyway, I don’t doubt that there are linkages between what we watch and what we think. But I do not believe for a second that watching porn leads a guy to smack a girl’s ass in a bar or make a lame comment about getting a sore throat from too many blowjobs (both examples from the article of how watching porn influences male behavior). To me, those are just shows of poor manners. In my experience, dudes who consume porn have some of the best manners, sexual and otherwise. Anyhoo, all very subjective stuff.

I will leave you with the snippet below from Michael Flood (Australian sociologist at the University of Wollongong).

I ask Flood whether he thinks pornography undermines intimacy between men and women. “I do,” he says, “partly because pornography scripts are really not very much about intimacy; they’re certainly not about the complex negotiations of desire that sex can often involve . . . Having said that, I know that for some couples sharing porn, or indeed producing porn, is part and parcel of their intimacy, and I think there are ways in which that can be ethical. But I think it’s rare.”

Flood’s opinion is that porn undermines intimacy between couples and I happen to agree that it can. However, the solution is not to censor porn or ignore its impact on our relationships, it’s to work through our emotional reactions and create open, non-judgmental discussions. I can attest that such a journey is worth it. And perhaps not as rare as Flood thinks—certainly not around my dinner table. But if it is so rare, isn’t that a reason to share, watch and produce more ethical porn? Just one housewife’s thoughts.

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One thought on “Thoughts on “The Men Who Believe Porn Is Wrong”

  1. I decided to do a personal investigation into the “truth” about pornography. What I basically found is a near hysteria which seems to come from the ring wing religious fundamentalist conservatives about anything relating to sex. Period.

    Porn causes evil? Legitimate studies have found that as the availability of porn in society goes up, the rate of sex related crimes comes down.

    Who buys the most porn? Conservatives.

    People tell personal stories “I know a guy…”, “I heard of a family…” and pass it off as scientific evidence. The plural of anecdote is not data.

    What’s the real problem? We are all so hung up about sex, we can’t talk about it. Because we can’t talk about, we don’t deal with it and hide it. A sad state of affairs. The real problem isn’t pornography, it is our own sexuality.

    http://wqebelle.blogspot.com/2010/11/pornography-investigation.html

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