I like watching porn every now and again and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t watch it very often but I can honestly say I can’t see anything wrong with it; is that an outdated view I wonder? Many young people, especially women, seem to think that it is wrong on just about every level – it’s the objectification of women, sex should only be between two committed people, it’s tainting the act of love and so on and so forth but many also seem to feel threatened by it. Just as women can become insecure about their own bodies when they see perfectly proportioned, eternally young, superstars at every turn, it appears that their insecurity is also fueled when they see their boyfriends reactions to female porn stars. Apparently they question their own appearance and, above all, their own sexual prowess….
But, here’s the thing, when all is said and done, porn films are films just like any other – they are not real life, nor meant to be a reflection of real life. It’s like the screen portrayal of love; the two central characters are always beautiful, invariably young and you know that, whatever trials and tribulations the story throws at them, they will end up in each others arms, pledging eternal devotion to each other by the end of the film. Either that or, if it’s a sad romantic film, one of them will die. There is no real deviation from those story lines, even the charming and much maligned Pretty Woman fitted the profile, it’s just that she was a hooker and he was insanely rich. It’s not meant to be a portrayal of real life, it’s meant to be entertaining and its exactly the same with porn! Just as none of us really expect to be swept of our feet by a gorgeous billionaire, we don’t really expect the sex we have to be like it is in a blue film i.e. moaning and groaning for 45 minutes with the guy who popped by to fix the washing machine! We know that, during the course of our 45 minutes (or 15 or 5), we are unlikely to arrange ourselves into 20 different positions and we know that if we were heavy breathing for the entire time, as seems to be the case in most porn movies we’d probably end up hyperventilating and passing out!
Onto the subject of objectification and, I’ll admit, it’s a tricky one. Firstly, IF the sex shown is non-violent and between consenting adults who are, when all is said and done, doing a job that they are paid for then I would say that it’s a personal choice for those who perform and those who view. Some critics say that porn encourages men to view women as mere things but I would say that, if that is correct, then the same must hold true for the way that women view men. A porn film is designed to titillate and to provoke a physical response; it’s not meant to be a deep analysis of the emotional interactions between men and women. That said, films that depict violence against women are another thing entirely and, I would suggest that they are less about sex than about power and domination of one person over another. I don’t believe that adults looking for a little visual stimulation would really be interested in that type of film as they have very little to do with sex per se. However, we should also consider that, dominatrix (people who punish or inflict pain on others at their behest) are, invariably, women which goes completely against the widely held belief that women are naturally submissive in the sex act.
Many people who hold strong religious beliefs feel that sex is something that should only take place between those who are in a loving and committed marriage and I can completely respect that opinion if they can also respect the fact that people who chose to have sex outside marriage or watch pornography should not be condemned for doing so. The physical act of love is just that; one does not need to be in love to enjoy the intense physical pleasure that sex can provide and, by the same token, two people can love each other deeply but have no real appreciation for each other physically. As for sex and pornography being sins, my personal belief is that if God created our bodies in such a way that we find pleasure in sex, he did it on purpose. I don’t mean this to be offensive in any way at all but there is so much hatred and violence in the world today, why shouldn’t we take our pleasures where we can?
Another issue is the effect that porn can supposedly have on a woman’s self-image and her beliefs about her sexual prowess. Firstly, a question, do you doubt your partner’s love for you when they admire someone in a film? Going back to Pretty Woman, did it make you feel inadequate, unlovable, undesirable or were you too busy laughing or admiring her sass in the famous shopping scene to even give a thought to what your partner was thinking? Why should a porn film be any different? Ok, the laughs may be fewer and there’s usually not much shopping but still, what actors portray on screen should have no effect on how you see yourself – it’s make believe. Secondly, if anyone is questioning their sexual prowess it will be the males watching! We sometimes forget that many men put themselves under extreme pressure to satisfy a woman and it’s common knowledge that the size of their ‘equipment’ is often a serious concern for them. Yet here they are watching men who are probably better endowed than they are (size does matter in porn films apparently) satisfying women (if their moans are anything to go by) with apparent ease. When it comes to insecurities I generally believe that men and women are really no different.
Lastly, do porn films encourage men to degrade or be violent towards women? I think that encourage is the wrong word; if men have a natural proclivity towards that type of behaviour and they have no real moral compass then I think they could persuade themselves that it is acceptable. However, the same holds true of many types of film; if someone is an incurable romantic then they could spend their whole life searching for the kind of love that only exists in films and miss out entirely in real life, rejecting one person after another because they don’t fit within their ideal of a perfect relationship. The same applies to violent films; someone who is naturally aggressive and lacking in normal social boundaries could eventually be led to believe that their behaviour is not wrong when it is “normalised” in films like Natural Born Killers or Rambo.
Films that depict consenting adults having sex and enjoying it are, in my view, doing no harm, that said, films involving children or violence, for me, do not fall within that genre; pedophilia and depictions of rape should be known for what they are.
I was prompted to write this piece after reading a really thought provoking article by BeautyBeyondBones so thanks to her for the inspiration :O) x