Monday, July 28, 2014
Why I Defend Pornography
1. I write erotica.
“Bracing her legs wide open with her feet planted on either side of his knees, she reached down and slid him into her pussy. He gave a tentative thrust, his movement polished by her wetness.”That is erotic. That is sexual. That is pornographic. (If you like that, it is from my book “A Bloom in Cursive.”)
I would be a complete hypocrite if I wrote erotica and did not approve of porn. Both erotica and porn give people choices for sexual outlets. Both porn and erotica can be enjoyed solo or partnered and gives people a safe space to explore new sexual ideas. As long as partners discuss all their sexual outlets and the roles they play in their relationship, there is no reason for porn or erotica to be threatening. If I stand up for people’s rights to read erotica, I will also stand up for people to consume pornography in all mediums.
2. Because the Comstock laws existed.
If those laws were still in place, my collection of sex books could be confiscated and receiving information about sex through the mail could be punishable by heavy fines or even prison time.
Now, some people might throw up their hands and say 1902 was sooo long ago and I should get over it. I know. The fact we are still arguing over some of the things we are on all levels of government in 20-freaking-14 has me astounded. But I live in a place where religion still tries to police people’s thoughts. I live in a world where groups have successfully limited access to birth control, lies and misinformation are perpetuated in sex education, and events held even on college campuses have been restricted.
From working at a small town library, I can tell you there are plenty of people who would happily tell others what they can and cannot read or look at. Porn is one of the most extreme and emotional concepts in intellectual freedom. Once a precedent is set – saying a form of media or set of information cannot be consumed because of moral reasons – many other resources will be targeted or deemed “obscene.” We need to protect sex education, art, political statements, minority viewpoints, and erotic materials from being banned as obscene or harmful.
3. Because hating porn does more harm than good.
One of the arguments I’ve heard for people wanting to ban porn is that porn hurts people, and once you are hurt by porn you are scarred for life. I think that is a terrible thing to teach people, especially women. If you are hurt by a situation involving porn, it does not mark the end of your life as you know it. Porn does not control you nor does it take away anyone’s value.
Another phenomenon I’ve seen is when couples have monumental problems in their relationship but focus all their energy on porn instead of the real problems. In most of these cases, even if porn was removed from the relationship, the partnership would still fall apart because the communication, respect, and trust are not there. Rarely is porn the cause for the lack of these things. Yet articles and blog posts attest that porn is the cause.
Hating porn only feeds into scapegoating and diminishes progress in better understanding human relationships. I’m not saying you have to love porn or view porn all the time, but at least have a balanced view. Instead of blaming porn, look inside yourself and face your insecurities, or evaluate the relationship you are in. It is not easy, but it will bring you more happiness to resolve these issues rather than perpetually raging over porn.
4. Because alternative and feminist porn rocks!
Stereotypes about porn being something only dirty, perverted, evil men do is unfair to both men and women. The truth is there are so many writers, directors, producers, performers, photographers and other artists that are producing porn that keep the needs of women and couples at the forefront of their work. Unfortunately, the stereotypes surrounding porn are keeping this target audience from finding this kind of porn. I don’t always enjoy “mainstream” porn, but I have discovered great alternatives that have helped me explore my sexuality and reinforced my self-esteem. I want these artists and producers to have the recognition they deserve and reach those who could be helped by their work, like I was.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some resources:
5. Because I’m afraid someone I know will find out I’ve written this.
I find it extremely unfair that most everyone I know can openly express their views and ideas and wear symbols of their religions freely. If someone in my town started an anti-porn campaign, he or she would not have to worry about their job, or people in the community targeting them for their views. However, I know people in my town who have been harassed because of their views on sexuality and individual rights. I shouldn’t have to worry about my safety or employment because I hold an opinion on sexuality and review books about porn and erotica. While I’m not extremely paranoid, I do at times worry a bit what will happen when others inevitably find out. Which is why I am doing what I am doing now. I do not believe in-your-face activism or internet arguments will solve problems or make anyone get along. But if I can express my opinion by writing, reviewing great books in the field of sexuality, and be able to answer questions or provide resources for people in their own explorations, then I am hopeful that I will be able to live peacefully among those who do not share my views.
And since I have also never met a couple that did not have at one time a dispute over porn, I will continue to advocate for education and choices for people in the realm of sexuality, including porn, so we might all find peace and understanding with our partners and the people we live with and care about.
What do you think? How do you feel about porn? Where do you think porn plays a role in intellectual and individual freedom?