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Book Review: Ethical Porn for Dicks


Here at The Unlaced Librarian I love having conversations about porn. I want to find as many resources as I can to help individuals understand the role porn plays in their sexualities, help couples communicate to each other about how porn fits into their relationships, and untangle the stigmas society has placed on porn and sexual expression.


Ethical Porn For Dicks: A Man's Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure (Three L Media, 2016) by Dr. David J. Ley is an excellent resource for all of the above.


The first thing I like about this book is that it is targeted toward men. Even though I don't have a dick attached to me, I do talk to a lot of guys about sexuality and, specifically, about pornography. I think men, especially straight men, feel left out of a lot of the resources that have been published or outlets where these issues can be discussed in a balanced way. Most of the places I've seen that target men directly are movements trying to get men to stop watching porn no matter what. I'm not trying to be stereotypical but most of the people that seem to have the hardest time integrating pornography into their sexuality and into their relationships in a healthy way are straight men. Though Ley also talks about gay men as well as trans men and women, I like that there is a focus on straight men's desires and fantasies.


The overall tone of the book is conversational, down to earth, and flows well. The author uses humor and a great balance of compassion and assertiveness when discussing many complex issues.


I have read a fair amount of books about porn, I've talked to a lot of people about porn, and I've had access to many different resources regarding porn, but there were still questions I had about porn that were answered in this book. This book covers things that I have not seen in other publications and offers a detailed list in the back of researchers, psychologists, and individuals within the adult industry that are working toward an ethical and open approach to making and viewing pornography.


This book confronts a lot of taboo topics in the discussion of pornography. With sections titled, "Guilt, Religion, and Porn," "Children, Teens, and Porn," and "When Porn Really Can Ruin Your Life" readers don't just get the sunshine and roses view of porn. Ley discusses difficult issues in a realistic and balanced manner. Other sections include "Dealing with Porn-Related Problems," "Porn and Your Relationship," and "Porn, Fantasy, and 'Real Sex'" that dissects more common anxieties surrounding the use of pornography. At the end of the book, the author talks about things consumers can do to help support ethical porn and reshape the adult industry. 


Overall I recommend this book not just because I agree with much of the philosophy and psychological foundation of this book. I recommend this book because I think it is useful. I think Ley offers a perspective and models conversations that will make it easier to understand the social and psychological framework at play, empathize with different viewpoints, and have compassion for all parties having the conversation about porn – especially if that person is yourself.


Check out more about the book from the publisher Three L Media or find it on Amazon.

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