Archive for the 'Pornography' Category

Porn on Halloween

by Jason Stotts

What kind of porn do people look for around Halloween? According to PornHub, people’s taste in porn goes along with the season:

(Source: PornHub)

They’ve got a lot more data for those who want to find out the details, so check it out.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Question: Pornography and Ayn Rand

by Jason Stotts

I get a lot of interesting questions at Erosophia and I try to answer as many of them as I can. When I think the question and answer is particularly interesting, I usually publish an anonymized version of it.  This is one of those.

Hi Jason.

What is your basic advice on using pornography and why do you think Ayn Rand was opposed to it? How is connected to mental health from your point of view?

– G.

I think that fantasy is a very important part of the masturbatory experience. While it’s possible to masturbate merely through self-simulation without fantasy, it is much more common for masturbation to include fantasy. Our imaginations, however, are not unlimited. We are limited by the things that we have seen and already know. To this end, pornography functions as a form of external fantasy. Through pornography, we can expand our sexual horizons to include new and exciting things that we may have never yet experienced. This leads to a much richer and more interesting masturbatory life (pornography can also enhance a couple’s sex life).

Now, I think that this can have drawbacks. For example, some people become so fixated on pornography, that they don’t enjoy sex with another person as well because they have conditioned themselves to need more variety or things that their real partner is not willing to do. This is a problem because pornography can create a very false picture about what sex is, what it looks like, and also what human bodies look like. For example, in porn the average penis size is around 8”, but in real life its around 5.5”. I think the other danger of pornography is that it can also create dispositions in a person to negative behaviors. Some people come to be too fixated on variety and difference and so start to watch pornography of things they wouldn’t want to do in real life. This is fine, as long as it doesn’t create a disposition to action in the person to do these things. It’s not fine if they create in themselves a disposition to action for something that would be actually wrong; for example, if they start to watch realistic rape fantasy porn and start to want to rape someone in real life. If pornography is used to create a negative disposition for action, then this is immoral (studies actually show that more porn equals less rape, for the record).

Ayn Rand was opposed to it, as far as I can tell, because she thought sex was intensely personal and private and that it would have been inappropriate to share any aspect of this. This would mean that both the creation and consumption of pornography was illicit. She was also worried that pornography, being focussed only on the physical side of sex, would drive a wedge between the spiritual side of sex and the physical side of sex, which would lead people to engage in dualism:

I want to state, for the record, my own view of what is called “hard-core” pornography. I regard it as unspeakably disgusting. I have not read any of the books or seen any of the current movies belonging to that category, and I do not intend ever to read or see them. The descriptions provided in legal cases, as well as the “modern” touches in “soft-core” productions, are sufficient grounds on which to form an opinion. The reason of my opinion is the opposite of the usual one: I do not regard sex as evil—I regard it as good, as one of the most important aspects of human life, too important to be made the subject of public anatomical display.

I think it’s clear that her concern was the disconnect of sexuality from values. She thought that pornography was evil (disgust is a moral emotion), because it would do this.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Operation Choke Point and the Erosion of Freedom

by Jason Stotts

Today is the Fourth of July or American Independence Day. It’s a day when we celebrate the freedoms we have by enjoying spending time with our families, having barbecues, going to parades, and watching fireworks.  It’s a day when we should be contemplating what freedom is and what it took to achieve it.

This has made me think about Operation Choke Point (OCP) and the erosion of freedom that began under Bush and escalated under Obama.  In OCP, the Obama Administration and the DOJ are going after “undesirable” entities and trying to get rid of them by cutting of their access to banks and financial services.  The two most targeted areas, or at least the two areas who are vocally standing up for themselves, are porn and firearms.  I’ve already written about this in terms of porn (The Obama DOJ and the War on Porn), but what I want to point out today is something different.

In both the porn camp and the firearms camp are people who are vocally rejecting this draconian and clearly immoral use of the government to try to stomp out things with which they do not agree.  Each camp stresses that they should have the right to do the things they’re doing because they’re not harming anyone.  Each camp is, to this extent, right.  The problem is that these two camps don’t like each other and each would be happy to see the other fall to the Obama DOJ.  Of course, not everyone in each camp thinks like this, there will always be exceptions, but it holds true for the general view of each side. But each side would like to see the other fall and so refuses to come to their aid.

The problem is that if we don’t defend freedom in principle, then we can’t provide a real defense of it at all. If I think the government should stop you from what you’re doing because it offends me, then what possible objection could I offer if my own actions offended someone else?  We need to stand together to fight against this tyrannical destruction of our rights to live the kinds of lives we want to lead.  As long as we violate no one else’s rights, there should be no restrictions on our actions.

We must either stand for freedom on principle, or fall individually one by one, and this is especially true of things that we don’t like and don’t agree with.

You either stand for freedom on principle or you don’t.

Choose.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Porn Addiction?

by Jason Stotts

I’ve argued before that I don’t think porn addiction is a real thing (here and Erosophia Podcast #14 & #15).  I’ve also referenced Dr. Marty Klein’s essay on it.  But, here’s an angle that I haven’t pursued enough yet: why do people think they’re addicted to porn in the first place?

 It turns out that it might be because they’re religious:

Compared with their less spiritual peers, people who identified as very religious were more likely to have a perceived Internet pornography addiction, no matter how much porn they actually consumed, according to a new study.

“We were surprised that the amount of viewing did not impact the perception of addiction, but strong moral beliefs did,” the study’s lead author Joshua Grubbs, a doctoral student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University, said in a statement. (LINK)

In some ways this isn’t surprising, because it is religion that labels porn wrong and we can only have addictions to things that are “wrong.”  If you don’t think that’s right, consider that I have a strong chemical addiction to caffeine.  Not only that, it’s easily available, lots of people have this same addiction, and some people spend lots of time and money on their addiction.  But, even though this is a chemical addiction with literally all the signs and symptoms of an addiction, this isn’t an “addiction.”

Actually, and this is rather off-topic, but I am reconsidering my views on “addiction.” After taking classes in addiction and substance abuse for my MFT program, I’m not sure that I even think that the idea of “addiction” is a useful concept. In fact, I think it probably does more to obscure the true problem than elucidate it. The idea is this: people use drugs because they are in pain and don’t know how to cope with it. I don’t think I would have accepted this idea before my classes and before attending a SMART Recovery (cognitive based recovery, which is a really good program) meeting and some AA meetings (which I think do more harm than good).  Before, I thought of drug addicts in the stereotypical way of purposely doing something immoral and being completely culpable for this.  While at the Smart meeting, I heard the addicts there describe their pain and how good their substance made them feel, when nothing else would help.  How they came back to their substance of choice when things got worse, in a very vicious cycle, because they needed their substance more when it was hard and not less.  I initially couldn’t quite understand this, how these people could keep using their substances even in the face of all of the problems mounting because of their use.  Now I understand that they don’t escalate their use in spite of their mounting problems, their mounting problems are another reason they use! I can’t help but think this idea, that people use because they are in pain, restores the humanity to drug addicts.  It also gives us a clear place to begin in treating addiction and helping the addict to overcome their problems. If we can’t help them to overcome their deeper pain, all we’ll do is send them into an endless cycle of relapse.  But, once we can help them to heal their inner pain, we can help them to quit using or to control their using. I think that it also explains addiction more thoroughly than other frameworks, including why addiction can be self-perpetuating as the pain increases from the addiction itself.  Moreover, it explains the apparent contradiction in the disease model whereby the disease model cannot explain why some people with very strong genetic dispositions to addiction never actually use and why some people with no genetic disposition to use become addicts.  Frankly, the disease model is a bad metaphor gone awry.  One does not “catch” alcoholism like one catches herpes.  There is no virus or bacterium that causes addiction.  While it might cause dis-ease in a person’s life, it shares nothing in common with the common usage of that word and to continue to call it a disease is both wrong and misleading.

Anyway, getting back to “porn addiction,” of course those who feel that porn is wrong are going to have a problem with watching porn.  Since they’re watching porn to masturbate (because really, why else do you watch porn?), and masturbation is also a sin, but sexual needs are real needs and important needs, but their “addiction” to watching porn makes them look at porn, which makes them touch their dirty genitals, well…you can see how their god wouldn’t be happy.  Since watching porn is both immoral and feels good, the christian comes to think that there must be something wrong with them that makes them feel pleasure in this “immoral act.”  But, the problem is their christianity and mistaken beliefs, not the pleasure they get from porn and masturbation.

So, the easiest way to get rid of “porn addiction” is just to get rid of christianity.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

The Rest of the Bettie Page Photo Shoot

by Jason Stotts

Have you ever seen the full Bettie Page photoshoot?  What about the nudes?

NSFW – The ‘Illegal’ Bettie Page Photos We Almost Never Saw (NSFW)

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Early Porn was Intense

by Jason Stotts

io9 has an article up called “One of the earliest adult cartoons was gonzo even by today’s standards (NSFW)” that features  the very first animated porn video ever produced.  I recommend you check it out, but don’t be too surprised if it’s raunchier and funnier than you expected.  Oh, and it’s very NSFW.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Pornography

by Jason Stotts

Scientific American recently had a good article on pornography called “The Sunny Side of Smut.” It’s one of those rare articles about porn that actually looks to the facts, instead of rationalistically condemning porn for its imagined detriments like many feminists and religious people are wont to do. In fact, the article says that:

Contrary to what many people believe, recent research shows that moderate pornography consumption does not make users more aggressive, promote sexism or harm relationships. If anything, some researchers suggest, exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes.

There you have it, if we all watched more porn, the world would be a better place.

While I agree with the article, I do think there is one danger of porn that isn’t addressed: porn creates unrealistic expectations about penis size. Imagine a virgin guy who has had no sexual contact with anyone else and who, because he does not play sports or go to the gym, has never been around other nude men.  Consequently, he has no examples of what size real human penises are.  The only place he will have ever seen penises is in porn.  Thus, his idea of what size a penis should be is going to be way off.  Consider that to be in porn, you really need an 8″ cock or larger.  There are even cocks in porn that are 9″, 10″, or even bigger.  However, if you are using these kinds of cocks as the exemplar of what size regular human cocks should be, you’re going to be sadly disappointed as the average human penis size is 5.877″ with the majority of men being between 5.5″ and 6.3″. This is wildly different than most people think of as the average penis size and this expectation has been incorrectly set by porn.

The solution, of course, is to remember that porn is fantasy, not reality, and you should not read too much into it.  Sadly, though, too many people will think that men who are wildly anomalous and who represent less than 5% of the population are actually the average, which is never good and leads to much disappointment and frustration.

If there’s interest in it, I’ll do a follow-up post about penis size and enhancement.

Automatically Generated Related Posts:

Contribute to Porn Research

by Jason Stotts

There is a new study being done looking to understand how exactly real people use porn in their everyday lives.  I want to encourage everyone to go and take the survey and be honest in your responses, even if you never use porn.  This information could really help shed light on porn usage and show that porn won’t drive you to insanity.  (H/t Tristan Taormino)

http://www.pornresearch.org/

Thank you very much for your interest in our research. We want to emphasise from the outset that the research we are conducting is unlike almost all the previous research that has been conducted on pornography. In the past, pornography has overwhelmingly been assumed to be a ‘problem’, and the only really important questions to ask about it are – how much do people (and especially children) encounter it, and how great is the ‘harm’ that it does? This research is different.

Our project is concerned with the everyday uses of pornography, and how the people who use it feel it fits into their lives. Pornography is of course a highly topical issue, subject to many opposing views and ‘strong opinions’. And we are not saying that there are no moral or political issues. But we are saying that the voices of users and enjoyers have been swamped. In fact, there is very little research that engages with the users of pornography, asking how, when and why they turn to it.

Automatically Generated Related Posts: