Erotic Review Magazine

Porn (Somewhat) Reconsidered

by Karin Jones / 1st March 2017

A randy reader asks me to reconsider my objections to porn

A few months ago I published a piece here criticising internet porn for potentially reducing our ability to enjoy real sex. I got feedback from one person on Twitter who wrote that my article was “Utter fucking rubbish!” (What is it about Twitter that causes people to abandon their good manners?) I asked my critic to point me to where I might find the data that countered the research I’d cited. I was told to “Stay in your bubble.” That, my friends, is not how you influence your audience.

More recently, I got an email from a reader who respectfully questioned my premise that porn was harmful. I do want to emphasise I originally suggested that porn could be harmful, and never said that everyone who watches it is risking addiction. But I so appreciated his considered engagement with the topic that I asked if I could reprint some of his thoughts in my attempt to give porn a more evenhanded look. I’m printing his words in italics.

You are very quick to link ED (erectile dysfunction) to porn addiction. I am not a clinician but couldn’t other factors be to blame? e.g. Increases in obesity which mess with the whole cardiovascular system and can restrict blood flow?

Sure. Increases in ED and the ubiquity of internet porn is an association. But there are some issues that need to be considered based upon their correlation rather than any proof of causation. Because cardiovascular disease does not typically cause symptoms in men before the age of 40 or 50, the findings of a large study looking at the correlation between access to internet porn and cases of ED in a population of men under 40 is compelling. Especially since the subjects were European, whose rates of obesity are still far below those of the United States or the U.K. If anything, smoking has decreased in those countries, which generally improves cardiovascular health. So yes, there are any number of factors that could contribute to ED in younger men these days. Maybe it’s global warming. But there are a fair number of websites by young men who have ‘recovered’ from their ED by quitting porn use. Whether they would have similar results by improving their cardiovascular health is unknown.

Moreover, I do not think porn has been anything other than instructive in my personal (admittedly anecdotal) experience. Watching pornography has helped me better understand myself, my partners, and sexuality in general. It has inspired me to do things I would not have thought of. If anything, it has fostered not hindered the ability to have “mind blowing sex with a flesh and blood partner”. Think Newton’s quote about standing on the shoulders of giants. Sex is tricky. Why would we not use the available means to educate ourselves?

Yes. Porn as a tool of instruction. There’s no doubt I’m hearing more about the influence of porn on young people’s experience of sex and maybe it’s just my parental imperative to question the soundness of this. I’m certainly not going to discuss with my son techniques and positions to best pleasure a woman (though, on second thought, maybe I should). But do I want to leave it to the capricious variety of sexual activity online? Do I want my daughter to start fucking her urethra with a dildo without being warned that this practice could lead not only to a first class bladder infection but to early incontinence? Our governments spend millions on public health campaigns to decrease the repercussion of poor eating, smoking and no exercise. There’s no such warning on porn sites that a proclivity for anal fisting might one day lead to fecal leakage.

As for my own anecdote, the one man I’ve slept with who was twenty years my junior fucked like he was following a porn script. It was formulaic to a shocking degree. It lacked curiosity and reciprocity. I liken learning through (most) porn to educating oneself about the world by watching FOX news and reading Breitbart. The kinds of things that can make for hot sex in real life, like all over body kisses, caresses and slow exploration of a lover’s infinite regions, take time and likely don’t appeal to the visual quicky we seek out with porn. One of the most arousing videos I ever watched was of a couple covered entirely by a duvet. Though you couldn’t see his hand, you could tell he was jacking her off beneath the sheets. Just watching her face during the gradual build up to her orgasm was electric.

I think the reason men have a preference for shaven vaginas is because it’s ritualistic (i.e. the woman has done something to modify herself specifically for sex, and this is hot). I enjoy going down on a woman (it is one of my favourite things to do!) and this is made a thousand fold more pleasurable if we’re not dealing with Don King in a headlock.

Ok, this just made me snort with giggles. Yes, that is a very hairy situation. But must the alternative be the bare plastic pussy of a Barbie Doll? I’ve read that adolescent females have gone wild with anxiety when they began to sprout their own pubic hair, thinking themselves abnormal. Please parents, inform your darlings of the facts of puberty and the normality of hair. Certainly, how our kids choose to groom their pubic hair is for them to decide, but as with any issue pertaining to our kid’s self esteem, we need to encourage them to pursue what feels right to them, not what suits their peer group.

As with anything, watching porn can become addictive and problematic and should be done in moderation. I think a lot of the guys who have had problems with pornography would have them regardless with something else, like gambling or drugs; it just happened to be pornography for them. These unfortunate souls would probably favour their addictive high over sex as well; there are deeper issues at work which must be tackled.

This is the most salient point regarding the effects of porn. And here is where I will compare porn to alcohol. In our culture, alcohol is ubiquitous and normalized. It’s a social lubricant. Yet it is perhaps the most destructive substance we subject our bodies to on a near daily basis. There is a dose dependent effect, but there is more evidence these days that alcohol is toxic to our organ systems at any dose. We like to drink; it feels good, but the effects of our drinking are cumulative and silent…until they’re not.

So I can’t claim to have reconsidered my position on porn, but I hope I’ve at least addressed my reader’s thoughts on porn. I think enjoying a fabulous glass of bodacious wine is a treat and shouldn’t be criticized. Enjoying erotica, or even porn, can also be very satisfying. (Visit Lady Cheeky for the best collection of explicit erotica online). Consuming a bottle of wine every day is almost certainly going to create problems down the road as, I’m convinced, will too much porn. And I’d sooner give up even that one nice glass of wine, than a really nice night of sex with a fun lover.

Thanks to ‘MilesReno’ for his wonderful letter. Women, he’s thirty-something, on OKCupid, and delightful.

Love, Karin

Have a question or comment? Write to me: relationships@ermagazine.org

Like this article.... Try this one: Porn (Somewhat) Reconsidered
A randy reader asks me to reconsider my objections to porn

Discussion

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  • alpat710 says:

    A READER WRITES:

    Porn (excuse the truism) is porn – a gratuitous portrayal of carnal sex for (and only for) the means to the obvious end. In writing, pictures or movies, such porn is porn.

    Semantics of course, but pornography is different. Things with the suffix “…..graphy” are studies, observations and manifestations of something more fundamentally or closely related to that thing.

    Photography – the art or practice of taking and processing photographs (OED)

    Cinematography – the art of making motion-picture films (OED)

    Calligraphy – decorative handwriting

    So, porn is pulp, pornography is art.

    And just so you know, the OED defines pornography as

    “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings”