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Porn is Plastic


I’ve been researching a lot about porn and have a lot of very specific ideas in mind. As I’ve researched I’ve noticed two attitudes that I disagree with. One I think is flat out wrong, and the other I think needs to be flipped on it’s head to be realistic about pornography.

The first though is that porn is normal.  This quote is from a comment on a blog post entitled “Internet Pornography Stats: Parents Should be Concerned”.
“Sex and pornography are the most normal things in the world. An interest in sex for a 15 year old boy is completely healthy, you should be worried if he WASN’T interested in porn.”

This attitude needs to change for very specific reasons. First off, Porn is not sex. From “7 Surprising and Negative Effects of Porn”: “3. Porn Turns Sex Into Masturbation./ Sex becomes self-serving. It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.”  If you’ve ever watched porn, as I have, looking back you can see how it’s not at all like real sex. Women don’t become slaves to men. Men are not just erect objects to the woman-turned-object on screen. Real life is not a “do whatever pleases me” situation. Porn is a plastic version of bad sex. Secondly, pornography isn’t healthy. I would agree that an interest in sex is healthy, that doesn’t mean delve into it, but be interested for sure. Pornography is not healthy. It is fake and dressed up for a reason. It is designed to be addictive. It’s a marketing scheme, and it’s effective. Unfortunately the cost is not only monetary. Porn addictions destroy relationships within families and friendships and make coping with life long relationships nearly impossible. Porn rewires your brain, in the pavlovian sense, to be turned on in specific situations that don’t occur within most sexual relationships or any long-term relationships.

      After all, pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on. The ubiquity of sexual images does not free eros but dilutes it.  -Naomi Wolf, “The Porn Myth”

Source Here.

The idea I would like to flip on it’s head is best said by Sean McDowell in an article: “Pornography is tearing apart the fabric of our society.” He’s not the only one who has said something like this, and he acknowledges the dramatization within his article. I would rather say that our torn society is producing pornography. Porn is a product of an over sexualized society. We thrive on sexy. It’s a life force beating all around controlling our advertisements, and our media. It’s hard to find a video game these days that don’t hint at sexuality in a casual (and gross) kind of way, as if it’s no big deal to have free sex with whomever sparks one’s interest. And I’m sure that a lot of you reading this are thinking, “that’s true, it is no big deal.” Point proven. Our social ideals and pornography are growing more and more perverse in correlation with each other. Porn will only be as gross as the consumers allow it to be. Apparently we don’t have limits.

I’d like to end with the same words Namoi Wolf does in her article, and talk a little about what I want in a marriage. Among other things I want sex. I want fun uninhibited sex with one woman from the moment we say our vows till the moment we die. I want to cherish her as if she’s the only woman in the world. I want to glorify her in her sexual beauty. I want to be surprised on my wedding day at the fulfillment of sex, at the pleasure, and the intimacy. I want to be surprised on my wedding day at the I don’t know what, it’s surprise. But I’m afraid that with pornography I will want something other than sex, that I will be inhibited and unfaithful, not just in my mind and heart but in actions. I’m afraid I will see other women as sexual creatures, and I will lust after more beautiful women. I’m afraid sex on our wedding night will be a mundane practice, just a repeated action: muscle memory. I’m afraid that “Sex has no mystery”.

  1. February 16, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    First off, Porn is not sex.

    You are building a strawman.
    That’s not what they said.

    An interest in sex for a 15 year old boy is completely healthy…

    Well, yes. Hormones and all that.

    …you should be worried if he WASN’T interested in porn.”

    How else does a 15- year old express an interest in sex? Tapdancing?

    Porn Turns Sex Into Masturbation.

    Not possible.
    Masturbation is a form of sex. It lets you come. It’s a “tension reliever”. When people masturbate (even old people) they usually have fantasies to masturbate to.
    (gulp)
    Sexual fantasies. A visual aid in the form of porn is routine stuff yet it could be just a sexy poster or a suggestive scene from a movie or an imaginative daydream about some pop diva. For goodness sakes, man. Weren’t you ever 15 years old?

    It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.

    Nonsense. Masturbation is what people do. You can have sex and masturbate.
    It’s not an either/or situation.
    “It was designed for”? Huh?

    If you’ve ever watched porn, as I have, looking back you can see how it’s not at all like real sex.

    Well, I guess that strays into territory about what “real sex” is for you and the porn that you watched.
    Hmm.

    Women don’t become slaves to men.

    Wha…? Where did that come from?

    Men are not just erect objects to the woman-turned-object on screen.

    Ditto.

    Porn is a plastic version of bad sex.

    What porn? What do you mean by “bad sex” anyway?

    I would agree that an interest in sex is healthy, that doesn’t mean delve into it, but be interested for sure.

    Wait. Slow down.
    So..an “interest” in sex is healthy but one shouldn’t “delve” into it?
    Um,….I have no idea what you are talking about.
    That didn’t make a lick of sense.
    How does a 15-year old express an interest in sex yet not cross some magic line that you arbitrarily made up and start this “delving” business?

    Pornography is not healthy. It is fake and dressed up for a reason. It is designed to be addictive. It’s a marketing scheme, and it’s effective.

    Sounds like you are just making stuff up.

    After all, pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on.

    Does that work with gay people too? So if a gay person just keeps on having sex with their wife then they will turn straight? Wow, who knew sexual orientation was so simple!

    Among other things I want sex. I want fun uninhibited sex with one woman from the moment we say our vows till the moment we die. I want to cherish her as if she’s the only woman in the world. I want to glorify her in her sexual beauty. I want to be surprised on my wedding day at the fulfillment of sex, at the pleasure, and the intimacy. I want to be surprised on my wedding day at the I don’t know what, it’s surprise.

    Well, more power to you. Yet what happens if your sex life with your beautiful, caring, sweet, adorable, faithful, attentive, obedient wife is…a complete dud?
    She’s got it all…except for the libido part.
    In fact, her hard-wired idea of sex is to grin and bear it?
    Oh it’s not that you don’t care or that you are inattentive or unattractive, it’s just that when the lights are low and in the bower of conjugal bliss…the sex genuinely sucks and not in a good way.
    In fact, sleeping on the couch is more fun.
    Now what do you do?

    Other healthy adults have partners that can’t keep their hands off each other.
    Other healthy adults have partners that know and are very willing to please their partners and keep them on the edge of orgasmic exhaustion.
    Only on your wedding night, you discover to your dismay that you drew the short straw in the sexual sweepstakes.
    Turns out, she’s all sizzle and no steak.

    But I’m afraid that with pornography I will want something other than sex…

    This is just silly. A person’s sexuality is more complicated than that.

    For example, let’s assume that you are heterosexual.
    Go ahead and watch all the gay porn you want.
    It won’t turn you gay.
    That’s not because you have some secret super power. It’s because…you’re not gay and…it’s not going to do much for you.

    …that I will be inhibited and unfaithful, not just in my mind and heart but in actions.

    Because you read Playboy? Um, no. That’s just silly.

    I’m afraid I will see other women as sexual creatures I will lust after more beautiful women.

    Men usually do see women as sexual creatures and visa versa. It happens.
    It’s got nothing to do with porn.

    I’m afraid sex on our wedding night will be a mundane practice, just a repeated action: muscle memory. I’m afraid that “Sex has no mystery”.

    Because of porn? You will have crappy sex in your marriage… because you watch dirty movies or something? Are you really sure that your sexual desires are that fragile?

  2. February 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Let me focus on only one comment here, since I don’t think you’re open to much else. When I mentioned pavlov and the reinforcer of an orgasm… were you disputing that? I mean, it’s science. Usually people don’t dispute something as basic as pavlovian conditioning.

  3. February 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    When I mentioned pavlov and the reinforcer of an orgasm… were you disputing that? I mean, it’s science.

    Science is written down. Peer-reviewed research and all that.

    Usually people don’t dispute something as basic as pavlovian conditioning.

    I’m disputing your claim, not Pavlovian conditioning.

    If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on;…

    Can you back this claim up with scientific literature.?

    …if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on.

    Again, where is the scientific literature to support his claim?

    Does it work with gay people trying to turn straight?
    How about a straight person being turned gay?

    Think about what you are claiming.

    If you associate orgasm with a gay porn video, a gay kiss, a masculine scent, a male athlete’s body, that is what, over time, will turn you on;…

    Really? Would that work with you or do you have special magic powers so that it only works on “other people”?

    …if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of gay, raunchy sex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on.

    Really? Would it work with you?
    I don’t think so.

    I can only presume that you don’t know much about human sexuality.

    • February 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      … The quote came from Naomi Wolf’s article “The Porn Myth” published in New York Magazine. She is called the spokes person for the third feminism campaign and has written many notable works. In the subjective field of pornography’s effects on both men and women she would be called an “expert”. I can only presume that she does know a lot about human sexuality, and you should probably not misquote her, or at least make some indication that you changed it up to suit your ends.

      To answer your question about turning straight guys gay or turning gay guys straight, I don’t really know. I’m not an expert in either sexual psychology or any science that would lend to the situation.

      However, were I to make a random guess at it, I would think that pavlovian conditioning and what you’re talking about are not the same thing. If a straight guy jacks off watching gay porn then after a while he may be turned on when a particular sex act is performed between men, although that might not mean he’s turned on toward that act himself. Pavlov’s dogs were turned on at the ring of a bell, but they were turned on toward food, not toward the bell. In the same way a straight man may be turned on by gay sex but toward something else. Porn however, works like a drug. Check this out http://yourbrainonporn.com/doing-what-you-evolved-to-do It follows that when someone is turned on by the same thing that one is turned on toward, within an addictive cycle one needs harder and harder drugs to get the same high. But I am not an expert, and I could be wrong about my understanding of pavlovian conditioning. I do know that porn is addictive and has the same qualities of escalation as drugs. That’s desensitization. Check that out under the “more pleasure leads to less pleasure” section of the web address given above.

  4. February 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    In the subjective field of pornography’s effects on both men and women she would be called an “expert”. I can only presume that she does know a lot about human sexuality…

    I choose not to presume anything.

    …and you should probably not misquote her…

    I did not. I didn’t even mention her.

    To answer your question … I don’t really know. I’m not an expert in either sexual psychology or any science that would lend to the situation. However, were I to make a random guess at it…

    Ah, no science then? Just random guesses and a reliance on some “expert”.
    Hmm.

    In the same way a straight man may be turned on by gay sex but toward something else.

    Or…maybe not.

    If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on.

    There’s no good reason to think this is true. It just sounds made up.

  5. February 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Look, human sexuality is complicated. Glib explanations about what makes people tick sexually are invariably wrong. There’s all sorts of myth and half-truths out there.

    I don’t understand why you would be satisfied with an article from some magazine written by an “expert”. I’m sure her opinion clicks in with yours and you can find other similar stuff on the internet but…is it backed up by science? Name-dropping Pavlov’s dogs does not mean that Wolf’s understanding of sexuality is all sciency.
    She may have a lot of good things to say on many topics, including women’s rights and status in society, yet each claim she makes must be judged on it’s own merits.

    You have this thing about porn. I get it.
    Yet you don’t define it nor do you seem to be able to honestly address masturbation and sexual exploration.
    I don’t see Playboy damaging your future sex life in any way, shape or form.

  6. February 21, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    The section beginning “after all, pornography […]” and ending “[…] but dilutes it” is given credit to Naomi Wolf, and it is her quote.

    You changed a section of her quote to “porn is a person or people doing explicit sexual things on camera for profit, or with some sort of promise or implied profit, usually monetary, but this profit can take other forms.”

    “It just sounds made up”

    Really, Cedric? That’s how you refute it? By what it sounds like? Come on, after what you’ve said to me you can’t seriously think I’d let you get away with that.

    Quarks and Gluons sound made up. Deal with it. It’s real.
    Yes, I listen to experts. Do you not? Or are you so arrogant that you believe you know better than the people who devote their lives to a particular area of research? I wonder if you would think of her more of an expert if she agreed with you… hmm…

    http://yourbrainonporn.com/doing-what-you-evolved-to-do

    Here’s some really good research on pornography and addiction. It’s very “sciency” I think you’ll like it. Hell, maybe you’ll even learn something. If you’re open to it, I suggest spending some time on there learning, and maybe clicking a few links. There’s even some video presentations so you don’t have to read constantly. Good stuff, probably the best secular source on porn as it relates to either addiction or science. I think you’ll find it worth while.

    I’ll define porn now, I am sorry I did not before:
    Porn is a person or people doing explicit sexual things on camera for profit, or with some sort of promised or implied profit, usually monetary, but this profit can take other forms.

  7. February 21, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    You changed a section of her quote to “porn is a person or people doing explicit sexual things on camera for profit, or with some sort of promise or implied profit, usually monetary, but this profit can take other forms.”

    What? Where? When?
    You’ve completely lost me.

    “It just sounds made up”

    Well, yes it does. There’s no evidence to back it up.

    I can only presume…I don’t really know. I’m not an expert… were I to make a random guess at it…

    See? Yes, it sounds very made up. The burden of proof is on you.

    Yes, I listen to experts. Do you not?

    Sure I do. Yet I demand evidence. I don’t treat ‘experts’ and magazine articles as authoritive. My standards are higher than that.

    Or are you so arrogant that you believe you know better than the people who devote their lives to a particular area of research?

    So where’s the research that supports the claim?

    Here’s some really good research on pornography and addiction.

    Either support the claim or withdraw the claim.

    Porn is a person or people doing explicit sexual things on camera for profit…

    The written word cannot be porn?
    How about drawn pictures?
    What about audio?

    Where did you get this definition of porn from? Did you make it up by yourself or did you get it from somewhere?

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