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Is pornography problematic?

by Vee (follow)
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Anti-pornography protest by Maryam Hassan
Photo: Maryam Hassan

In our culture, pornography is a given. In fact, viewing pornography it is often encouraged as a 'normal' behaviour.

With current evidence attesting to the potential intrapersonal and interpersonal dangers of viewing porn, should we rethink our position on pornography, its creation and/or its consumption?

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Top Answers
I don't think the mainstream porn industry itself is problematic, but I do think the easy access, internet based porn is a big issue. Children can access porn at younger ages than ever before and it is shaping their attitudes towards their bodies, their relationships and the concept of love and sex. It used to be teens sneaking a look at a magazine, which was realtively tame. Now its hardcore and graphic videos, readily available from any internet connection. The real issue is developing strategies to help our kids deal with this and not get themselves into comprimising situations.
Great answer :-))
by Rice
I think porn should be banned from the internet altogether. I know that won't stop it appearing online illegally, but porn is just all too easy to access. It should be left for sex shops, and even then I think only soft porn should be allowed. There should be nothing that suggests misogyny, sadism, or voyerism.
I'm not sure how you could get rid of voyuerism when all pornography is inherently voyeuristic.

I'm down with getting rid of misogyny if that's actually possible, but consensual B & D (bondage and discipline often confused with S&M) is a matter of personal taste. That's kind of like saying people shouldn't be allowed to wear blue underwear because you don't like blue.
oops hit enter too early. I mean, if it doesn' t hurt anyone and you won't see it unless you want to what difference does it make to you?
I didn't say anything about getting rid of consensual B&D or any consensual sexual acts, but I don't think it should be made available for public viewing. It should be something private, not filmed for public entertainment.
Bryony, thanks for your honest response. Not many people would have the courage to voice what today seems to be a particularly unpopular and potentially ‘prudish’ perspective. Having said that, I’m with you all the way.

And while you didn’t explicitly state that consensual B&D should be gotten rid of, I think that Jennifer (Jennifer please correct me if I’m wrong) may have inferred that from your reference to ‘sadism’.

Jennifer, you asked ‘if it doesn’t' t hurt anyone and you won't see it unless you want to what difference does it make to you?’ In response, I’d like to refer to your earlier response: “there's the matter of whether it can be produced ethically without exploiting anyone”. This is a major issue and because no guarantees can be made, perhaps the only solution would be to do something about the demand. Less demand = less supply = (hopefully) less exploitation; more demand = more supply = (potentially) more exploitation.

As for the ‘you won't see it unless you want to’ part of your question, pop-ups and advertising can be more of a nuisance than usual in this respect. There have been many times when I have seen things on the Internet that I have not sought out. By Jove, some things cannot be unseen. Oh I dread the day my son learns how to use the computer.

by Vee
Hi Vee

Thanks for your reply. Some people might consider my opinion prudish today, but it wasn't all that long ago that speaking/watching/doing these things was thought to be completely indecent. I think society needs something in between the attitudes back then, and the attitude now.
My apologies Bryony. I think I misread your comment. Yes, that's what I inferred from your reference to sadism, but I see now that what you meant was straight up hurting other people, which is always wrong. I didn't mean to offend you.

Good point Vee. I don't think you could ever know for certain what goes into making that stuff unless you were a part of it yourself so there would always be a danger there.

Re. not seeing it unless you want to, I was actually thinking of sex shops since Bryony mentioned them. You don't go into those unless you're looking for what they sell. I guess I just don't care what weird stuff other people might be into unless it affects me personally (or is non consensual and hurts others) and it bothers me when people say that something should be banned just because they don't like it, which can be a form of bullying. Banning something because you believe it's morally wrong is different from banning it because it's not your preferred flavour. Not that that's what Bryony was doing anyway. She was just stating her beliefs.

You are right, online is different, stuff you would rather not see appears in pop ups, sidebars and the like.

No worries Bryony. Thank you both for your input. It’s encouraging to have some open dialogue about this sort of thing. It’s a shame such things are often not discussed in the home. Instead, they are cloaked in silence and once we get our heads around them, the damage has already been done. Of course I don’t speak for everyone but, unfortunately, this has been my experience.

Sorry Jennifer, I didn’t realise you were referring to sex shops. Like you, I’m not too fussed about that. What people choose to do behind closed doors is of no concern to me. Unless, like you have pointed out, it is not consented to by those involved.

by Vee
No problem, Jennifer.
Can lead to unhealthy ideas about the realities of life (just like Hollywood romance).
Porn online is a problem, otherwise I am not fussed.
Yes, it's very problematic for several reasons.

Viewing pornography before they have actual sexual experiences to compare it with can warp a young person's ideas about body image and what sex should be like.

Then there's the matter of whether it can be produced ethically without exploiting anyone. You can't tell whether the people you are watching are genuinely enjoying themselves or whether they got into the industry because they were molested as children. In principle I think everyone should be allowed to do what they like with their own bodies but I wonder how often it's really an informed choice.
It can be a life changer for the worst.
It is now a problem in many homes, and causes a great deal of unhappiness with some women. Their husbands are addicted, the wife's are confused and what did seem like a happy family, is in chaos.
The problem too is that porn, is very addictive, the more you get the more you want.
It is not normal behaviour, and I find it very sad such a 'vice' can do so much

jonaj, thank you for your frankness. Many people don’t realise that watching pornography has potentially devastating consequences. What’s more, many people don’t realise that pornography addiction is a real issue, which, as some studies suggest, impacts the brain in much the same way as any drug addiction. During my reading I came across a fantastic and free online recovery program offered by an American couple, Tony and Bri Litster on http://curethecraving.com/

Thanks again,
by Vee
I think due to the internet, that porn and its accessibility is getting a little out of hand, with teenagers now having access to images and strange ideology that they just don't understand, and often it is introduced long before they have real notion of the value of a relationship. I think that the internet could easily shape a young persons mind on unrealistic sexual expecations in might push kids into sex long before they are ready. I am a believer that just because the body is able to do something, the mind should mentally be ready for it. I know that the birds and the bees talk I had as a naive youngster is outdated in this new world, and I will seriously have to consider my own proactive parenting when the time comes. I do not want my sons sexual education, opinions, values and awareness to be formed mostly on what the internet has to offer as I think in its mildest form, it is unrealistic but in its entirety could be very harmful.
Sons and daughters both.
by Vee
Yes. Pornography is problematic to all categories of people. Including for married couples. It put forwards a falsehood that regular people try to imitate. It often contains impractical content that can be harmful for women.

Besides that It creates unrealistic expectations within sex partners that would most likely only be fulfilled by a prostitute. And then I wouldn't be out of love but pure exploitation.
A woman called my phone one night. I was sleeping so my wife was speaking with her then she handed my the phone when I woke up. She was calling randoms numbers to get advice from any man she could find. She caught her husband several times in the wee hours of the night viewing porn and masturbating. She felt worthless and discarded as many times she approached him even naked and he displayed only scant interest in her. I don't think she could have competed with those skinny girls he was watching doing "gymnastics".

Porn is harmful.
Unfortunately, I know how she feels, and I don't wish that kind of trauma on anybody. I hope she is doing better. Thank you for sharing.
by Vee
I do think it is becoming epidemic. I also think it is not doing much to engender tender feelings towards women from adolescent boys. I don't think it can be curbed and my only solution would be to keep educating boys that porn is not the real world. I mean, I realise it IS, but we need to do something, education wise. I googled ladyboys one day just to see how beautiful they can be and I nearly fell off my chair! Any child, anywhere, anytime could have seen those images. I did not ask for full frontal or sex or group sex, but I sure got it. Not sure how that could be prevented. . . . it seems that lots of innocent words bring up explicit photos :((
by Rice
Rice, I know what you mean by it is 'real', but it isn't really. The women in many of these films do not enjoy being probed by three penises simultaneously. They go along with it and pretend to enjoy it for the money. A lot of mainstream pornography also contains more violence than people realise - swearing, name-calling, hitting, slapping, punching even. In real relationships, this sort of behaviour would be classified domestic violence. In pornography, women revel in it. To me, that is not 'real' and it is not what 'real' sex is about.
by Vee
Hmmm. I could have worded that better . . . I think I intended to say it is out there in the real world not so much that it IS real . . . . I, too, hate the thought of impressionable youngsters thinking that being degraded during sex is normal.
by Rice
by Finy
Finy, I wish you knew more about it.
by Vee
i do...
by Finy
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