Porn: Harmful or Helpful?

December 6, 2009 at 10:44 am (By Amba)

They threw a study of male “porn virgins,” and nobody came.

Mind you, the sensational title of the article — “All Men Watch Porn, Scientists Find” — is misleading.  The study was done at the University of Montreal; the subjects were in their 20s.  That means they were Canadian (insert bad Canada joke, e.g., what else is there to do up there?), and members of the Internet generation, for whom parental controls are not hard to circumvent and porn is just a mouse click away.  Indeed, the average age of first exposure was 10 — an age when peeping is motivated more by curiosity and mischief than by deeper, darker currents, which might nonetheless draw a 10-year-old in.

So, do all men watch porn?  Or, better put, have all men watched porn?  Have some sworn never to watch it, the way some people never smoke a cigarette?  Has anyone watched it once and never again?  Are there men who have watched it, found it dangerous or repellent or boring, and quit?  Is it possible to consume porn regularly and not become addicted, or desensitized to real sex with real women?  For those (if any) not at risk of addiction is porn even useful, as a harmless (no risk of disease, no actual infidelity) safety valve for the alleged innate superabundance and variety-craving of male desire?  Note that frequent ejaculation appears protective against prostate cancer (though not against benign prostate enlargement).  Are the possible benefits outweighed by spiritual and emotional harm?  Or is that a lot of puritanical fussing, making a mountain out of a molehill?

I’m really curious about this issue.  You might even want to set up an anonymous e-mail account so you can comment frankly.  (It will be like a masked ball — we can try to guess who’s who!)

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65 Comments

  1. CGHill said,

    I have no problem putting my name on this.

    The first issue I run into is definitional. There is stuff that everyone agrees is porn, and then there is stuff that probably some people might think is porn, and then there is stuff that hardly anybody imagines could ever be considered porn. (Examples, in order: hardcore video; Playboy and the lad mags; fashion mags like InStyle.) I have discovered over the years that I can find some level of arousal from all three groups, though frankly I am much more comfortable with it the less porn-like it seems. I’ve bought only a handful of what used to be called “X-rated” tapes (no DVDs). On the other hand, I’ve subscribed to Playboy since 1983. It is less of a must-read than it used to be, which I attribute to the fact that at 56, I have less interest in 19-year-old girls than I used to. I had no success with 19-year-old girls when I was 19, for that matter, but that’s another issue.

    I don’t think it’s affected my attitudes toward women, but then those attitudes have been frozen in place for decades. (Short version: I absolutely adore them; I can’t think of any reason why they should have any interest in me.) You can argue, I believe, that too much of this stuff gives men unrealistic expectations of women, but I suspect that men often have unrealistic expectations of women to begin with, and porn merely provides amplification. And I’d also point out that women often have unrealistic expectations of men.

    The only downside to frequent ejaculation, I am inclined to believe, is that it increases the frequency, and hence the cost, of doing laundry. Actually having a partner would do the same, but then there are other factors involved.

  2. amba12 said,

    The definitional issue is a good one. Maybe the more active input from imagination it requires, the less it’s “porn” and the more it’s “fantasy” — my bias would be that that’s better, the way my bias is that make-believe play is better than prefab action figures. (Of course, fantasy, like anything else, can be benign or malignant. And what about make-believe play with prefab action figures?)

    I can’t think of any reason why they should have any interest in me. Um, like maybe that you’re smart and funny?

  3. CGHill said,

    Offset by disagreeable and surly.

    Erica Jong, who wrote some pretty fair erotica herself along the way, once said this: “My reaction to porno films is as follows: After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.”
    This suggests a desensitization threshold, though certainly it will vary with the individual viewer.

    I suspect there’s also a sensitization threshold. Someone who is never exposed to anything even remotely erotic might respond to something that would make other people shrug. To some extent, this has been institutionalized: your nude-recreation types are quick to point out that at their resorts, there is no hanky going on. Or panky. I’ve never been to one, but I appreciate the dynamic, having experimented along those lines myself.

    The one aspect of this I cannot understand in the slightest is the personal sex tape, which seems to be gaining in popularity for some reason. I can’t think of any reason why people would film their own sexual escapades: aren’t these events memorable enough on their own? I actually sat through a couple of these, and beyond “Oh, that’s what so-and-so looks like,” there really wasn’t anything exciting going on.

  4. Charlie (Colorado) said,

    It’s almost inconceivable that there would be no one, no where, who has never once seen “porn”, just because in a large enough population almost any aberration will show up at least once.

    But then, what’s “porn”? The Konark Temple? Shunga? Sailor Moon’s transformation? They always seem to start naked. Maxim magazine and other non-nude cheesecake photos?

    The point is that I think the question presupposes a lot of things I’m not sure I’d be willing to presuppose — starting with the notion that what a little boy feels at 10 is really qualitatively different from one who’s 54.

  5. amba12 said,

    Maybe it’s not qualitative, only quantitative — the volume gets turned way up. Not (as far as I know) having been a little boy . . . I do know that I have had males as young as 18 months to 3 years unmistakably come on to me. They seem already to know. I find that quite mysterious.

  6. CGHill said,

    Children are born sensual. They can’t help it. They have these brand-new bodies that respond in all kinds of ways which they understand only at the level of “This feels good.” It’s our job as adults to destroy all that. :)

    About a decade ago, I was living in an old apartment complex, and one day I wandered outside of the laundry room, spin cycles being rather uninteresting, to discover a couple of neighborhood boys I’d never seen before, maybe seven and five, skinny-dipping in the pool. I talked to the older one briefly — the younger one retreated to a corner for the moment — before returning to work. Somebody, not me, eventually complained to management, and the kids were propelled from the premises; a few weeks later a brick wall was erected around the pool, because God forbid someone should see such a horrible thing. Besides, there are perverts out there.

    Which I suppose includes me, because the morning after this incident, I did a few laps in that same pool, sans swimsuit. Inspiration is where you find it, I suppose.

  7. Jason (the commenter) said,

    The most harmful thing about pornography is how misleading it can be. For instance, Debbie never goes anywhere near Dallas in Debbie Does Dallas. It’s infuriating!

    But other than that, I see nothing harmful about it. Considering how much porn influences modern culture you’re almost some sort of illiterate if you aren’t familiar with it.

  8. amba12 said,

    Influencing modern culture may not be such a great advertisement for not doing harm.

    And if you’re right about that influence, and I think you are, then we are familiar with it whether we seek it out or not.

  9. Jason (the commenter) said,

    Influencing modern culture may not be such a great advertisement for not doing harm.

    If seeing nudity were bad for human beings then we wouldn’t exist, because that’s how we started out. Think Adam and Eve or evolution.

  10. Jason (the commenter) said,

    What’s worse, men with porn or women with Twilight?

  11. amba12 said,

    Where did I say seeing nudity was bad for human beings? BIG gap between nudity and what I’m talking about. What about seeing perfect bodies that make people with ordinary bodies feel ugly? Split beaver shots with shaved pubes, such that ordinary women get their labia plastic-surgeried to match? What about the depersonalization and “using” of others to get off, both in the fantasy of porn and in the real world of the industry that produces it? Guys ejaculating on women’s faces? What about the sexualization of barely-legal girls inspiring middle-schoolers to dress like sluts?

    There is a big definitional problem here! You’re assuming that because I have some doubts about the cultural effects of porn, I must be prudish about getting nudish! Even “porn” covers a wide range from the square to the seriously sick and everything in between.

  12. amba12 said,

    Oh, there’s no question that romance is porn for women. Women tend to like their sex wrapped in an emotional and personal context, both in fantasy and in real life. (That may be partly nature and partly nurture. Bacchantes and the like were reportedly frenzied participants in anonymous fertility orgies.) I suspect that both porn and romance are attempts to console both sexes for the eternal misfit between them. That may be their usefulness.

  13. CGHill said,

    The difference, of course, is that possession of romance generally won’t get you sent to the Big House.

    Still, we’re seeing a broadening of the term “porn” to reflect more obsessiveness and less sexuality: I know people who refer to the HGTV network as “house porn.”

    “Eternal misfit” is a phrase I will someday steal. I just know it.

  14. amba12 said,

    Case in point: friends of mine run a site called foodporn.com.

  15. Jason (the commenter) said,

    What about seeing perfect bodies that make people with ordinary bodies feel ugly? Split beaver shots with shaved pubes, such that ordinary women get their labia plastic-surgeried to match?

    People who think they look ugly generally are.

    Considering our problem with obesity I find it strange to hear anyone complain about someone else making an unhealthy person feel bad about being unhealthy. And considering how popular amateur porn is, I’m pretty sure what you’re concerned about isn’t a real problem.

    What about the depersonalization and “using” of others to get off, both in the fantasy of porn and in the real world of the industry that produces it?

    How is wanting to have sex with someone depersonalizing them? Lots of porn stars have huge fan bases. If they show up somewhere their fans will show up just to see them. Dildos and vibrators–these things are about depersonalization–not pornography.

    Guys ejaculating on women’s faces?

    That’s what towels are for.

    What about the sexualization of barely-legal girls inspiring middle-schoolers to dress like sluts?

    That isn’t porn’s problem. People that age used to be looking to get married and start a family, or they had jobs and were earning a living. Parents wanting to extend their kid’s childhood as long as possible and idolizing that period of life is a holdover from the 50’s.

    What about fun? What about women who don’t want to have sex when their husbands? What about all the people who want to see new things? The glass isn’t always half empty.

  16. wj said,

    Like Amba, I don’t think merely seeing nudity qualifies as porn. And, at least in the 1960s (the last time I saw one, so I can’t comment on more recent content), that was about as far as Playboy went.

    That said, I’d have to say that I’m a heterosexual, happily married male who has never seen porn. And doesn’t have any particular desire to. It’s not that I’ve sworn off it or something, I’m just not interested. Which would seem to demolish the “All men” position. Now if they want to modify it down to “Most men” perhaps they could produce some evidence to back that up — but it would require a much more serious attempt to gather their statistics across a substantially broader cross-section of the population.

  17. amba12 said,

    You’re doing your usual straw-woman thing, and only seeing half the post (the empty half?). The question is not “Why is porn harmful,” but “is it harmful or useful?”

    And you are dead wrong about people who feel ugly being ugly (although people who feel beautiful tend to look attractive even if they’re not conventionally so). Quite a lot of attractive people are delusionally obsessed with how ugly they are.

    Amateur porn exists side by side with the bizarre phenomenon of women (and I bet men too) getting surgery on their genitals to look more like porn stars. That’s a far more depressing world to me than amateur porn, which is exhibitionistic but kind of endearing.

  18. amba12 said,

    People that age used to be looking to get married and start a family, or they had jobs and were earning a living.

    Not as a prostitute, though, if their parents had anything to say about it.

  19. PatHMV said,

    I know of very few men who think to themselves: “I have no interest in women, so tonight I’m going to stay home and look at porn, instead.” I suppose there likely are such men, but despite their existence, there seems to be plenty of sex still going on out there, so I don’t think it’s causing many women to go without.

    As for body-image issues, how much of that is due to porn (which remains far more watched by men than women) and how much is due to Cosmo and similar magazines? I’m not suggesting that porn has no effect along those lines, but I’m willing to bet that the number of labia-plastys being done is significantly less than the number of nose jobs, tummy-tucks, face lifts, boob jobs, botox injections, etc., etc., etc. I would bet it’s main impact is on the trimming style of the hedges, as they say.

    It would be interesting to compare the relative impact on romance novels for women and porn for men. Men look at a lot of very good, naked female bodies in porn, doing all sorts of things to the men in the movies, all of which are fairly unrealistic about what “real” women look like and are willing to do..

    On the other hand, how many women get an unrealistic view of men based on how men are portrayed verbally in romance novels? How do “real” men live up to that comparison, always saying just the right thing, always being just attentive enough, but not overly attentive, being manly and strong, but also emotionally open and vulnerable (but only for the heroine!)?

    I think the 2 are fairly comparable. If we assume it is true that men are more visual and women more verbal, then they would seem to be largely equivalent in terms of fantasy. The male fantasy “literature” focuses on the visual, while the female’s focuses on the verbal and the emotional.

    Men can see fairly quickly and easily that lots of women do not look like porn stars. How long does it take for women to realize that men can’t live up to any expectations they may have based on romance novel heroes?

    Not that this is 100%, of course. Plenty of men like verbal porn (I’m not opposed to a good letter to Penthouse from time to time myself), and of course there are women who get into watching porn movies. But as a generality, I think my point is pretty solid.

    Oh, and I think Playboy does still count as porn, because it focuses on nudity. It’s not like a bit of nudity shows up because they don’t bother to censor stuff; the magazine exists to show naked women. I’m not by any means saying that all pictures of naked women constitute porn, but Playboy is hardly a magazine for aficionados of artistic nudes. Look, if it shows nude bodies, and lots of people masturbate to it, it’s porn. That’s not an all-inclusive definition (consider — briefly — those bizarre “smush” videos of women in high heels squashing bugs and stuff), but as a basic definition, I think it’s solid.

  20. amba12 said,

    Men can see fairly quickly and easily that lots of women do not look like porn stars. How long does it take for women to realize that men can’t live up to any expectations they may have based on romance novel heroes?

    You beat me to it; I was going to say something like that — that both porn and romance could create unrealistic expectations, those of romance perhaps more insidious — but you said it first and better.

    I’m thinking that as safety valves for the frustrations both sexes feel with each other (and maybe being gay is another?), both porn and romance may be useful if not taken too literally. As recreation, they allow both sexes to indulge aspects of their nature that the real world and real relationships often frustrate. Not that the frustration is necessarily a bad thing either — getting out of fantasy and getting real has its rewards — but an unrelieved diet of it is, well, pretty unrelieved.

  21. amba12 said,

    P.S. If the definition of porn were what people masturbate to — well, LOL! Vacuum cleaners, raw liver … let us not make a list.

  22. PatHMV said,

    Hey! I said to, not with. ;-)

    Agreed with your last paragraph of #20.

  23. Rod said,

    If you want to discuss the effects of pornography, I think your definitional issue is much larger than the preceding posts acknowledge. If we all agree that photos or videos of people engaging in intercourse or stimulating genitals is pornography (and I’m not sure we could get a consensus on that), the posts have mainly explored the soft edge of pornography, where it blends into the more conventionally erotic.

    At the other end of the spectrum are kiddie porn and sadism. Considering those items, we ought to be dividing the effects of porn into two categories: Effects on the viewer and effects on the participant.

    When one of the participants could fairly be called a victim, we cross a line beyond which the law should step in. I would include the above categories, as well as the creation of videos of sexual partners without their knowledge.

  24. Danny said,

    My dad’s late brother, Marvin Miller, was a porn kingpin back in the day and there were two Supreme Court cases against him. The result of one of them, the “Miller Decision,” ruled that obscenity was not covered by the First Amendment and established the “Miller test” for deciding what is obscene. All a hoot when you compare it to what constitutes porn today. I remember when my sister and I found a box of my uncle’s publications in our basement when we were kids. A lot of it was porn masquerading as marital self-help aids and was probably tame enough to be sold at Wal-Mart today.

    Sad that my family’s claim to fame is this crazy porn test. According to the Miller Decision, something is only obscene if the following three conditions are met:
    –the average person, applying contemporary community standards, finds that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
    –the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law,
    –the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. (This is also known as the SLAPS test–Serious, Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific–can you believe that name??)

    All vague enough to cause lots of problems in future court decisions (which it has).

    My comment about porn today is a worry that the porn so easily available on the Internet tends to be so much more violent and graphic than what we were excited to look at when we were kids–namely, Playboy magazines. Say what you want about the depiction of women in Playboy, but they were generally very happy and healthy-looking women without, I think, artificial breast augmentation or any other surgeries. (I’m talking 1960s and 70s.) Dare I say they looked quite “wholesome?” I doubt that’s what you’d find in an average porn search 14-year-olds are doing today. As far as whether it’s helpful or harmful, I think it can be helpful to many but obviously harmful if the person is addicted to porn and it takes the place of human interaction, especially when the porn they’re looking at is so violent.

  25. PatHMV said,

    Wow, Danny… I had no idea you were related to the Miller of the Miller test. Sad to say, I’ve forgotten enough of my first year of constitutional law that, while I of course remember the case and the test it established, I don’t remember whether your uncle passed or failed the test. Was his conviction upheld, or did the court find in his favor?

  26. Danny said,

    Pat, my uncle’s conviction in California was upheld by the Supreme Court. He was sent to the slammer. Siding against him was Chief Justice Warren Burger along with Byron White, Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell, and William Rehnquist. The dissenting judges were William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan, Potter Stewart, and Thurgood Marshall.

    In later years, my uncle spent more time in the joint for fraudulent charity scams. Oy. But I got to meet Jayne Mansfield’s kids at his funeral.

  27. Jason (the commenter) said,

    amba: You’re doing your usual straw-woman thing, and only seeing half the post (the empty half?). The question is not “Why is porn harmful,” but “is it harmful or useful?”

    All you want to talk about are the harmful bits. You don’t even notice when I mention the positives.

    Quite a lot of attractive people are delusionally obsessed with how ugly they are.

    Most people aren’t delusional. I don’t know why you always have to point out what crazy or delusional people are doing. They’re crazy or delusional and they’ll be doing crazy or delusional things regardless of what happens to them, other than maybe death.

    Amateur porn exists side by side with the bizarre phenomenon of women (and I bet men too) getting surgery on their genitals to look more like porn stars. That’s a far more depressing world to me than amateur porn, which is exhibitionistic but kind of endearing.

    Is it bizarre? Women where bras to make their breasts stick out. Before that it was corsets. And corsets moved around internal organs!

    You say you’re not prudish about getting nudish, but I hear someone who is outraged because other people choose to do things which you wouldn’t choose to do.

  28. amba12 said,

    Danny, between your uncle and Charlie, you’re the celebrity here. Can I have your autograph?

    I too have someone in the porn industry in the family — though not a blood relative — and behind the camera!

  29. amba12 said,

    All you want to talk about are the harmful bits. You don’t even notice when I mention the positives.

    Actually, I think you brought up the negatives first. I’ve talked quite a bit about the positives, though maybe not the same positives you’re talking about. I don’t understand why you’re on such a rampage. I feel completely misread by you, and I don’t know why you bother to come over here to get pissed off by stuff that isn’t what you think it is!

  30. amba12 said,

    “Outraged because other people do things I wouldn’t choose to do”?? Outraged?

    Depressed, uncomprehending in some cases — but outraged?

  31. amba12 said,

    Through Jason’s eyes, I look like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. It’s bizarre. Are you the one who has a problem with people not agreeing with you?

  32. Jason (the commenter) said,

    Through Jason’s eyes, I look like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. It’s bizarre.

    I don’t see you as a Glinda, more an Aunt Em. She’s all weary from her life on the farm, almost faints when she hears Dorothy laugh for the first time, but she’s really alive and caring once Dorothy awakens those feelings in her. And you know, Aunt Em ends up living in Oz eventually.

    Are you the one who has a problem with people not agreeing with you?

    I’m passionate; sometimes. You don’t realize all the posts I see that I don’t care to comment on.

    And I like pornography. I remember going to see some antique movies they had found in a local politician’s attic; they were funny! And the Sex Museum in New York City, and Shortbus, and Pink Flamingos. All treasures.

    I feel completely misread by you, and I don’t know why you bother to come over here to get pissed off by stuff that isn’t what you think it is!

    Well, I am sorry. It’s a very nice blog you have here, I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

  33. CGHill said,

    I thought Pink Flamingos was really too funny, or too off-putting, or sometimes both, to be good wank material.

    Which suggests another question: does it work better if there’s no interest other than the purely sexual? The so-called “gonzo” films, which concentrate on individual scenes at the expense of anything resembling plot, would seem to suggest so.

  34. Donna B. said,

    Jason (the commenter) seems to view porn as a strictly black and white issue, though I’m absolutely sure he’s seen it in color.

  35. amba12 said,

    Jason: thank you for your kind words. Please continue to bring your passion here! I really wanted to hear that you like pornography, more than that you think I hate it! I am curious (yellow, blue, whatever) — really! I have emotional responses and sometimes conditioned reflexes, but I try not to let them close my mind.

    I just thought you’d taken a dislike to me.

    I suspect there is porn I would like. I’ve glimpsed a bit of it.

    does it work better if there’s no interest other than the purely sexual?

    I bet a lot of women would really like movies with plots that also got explicit. You know, historical dramas with lots of petticoats to lift up or take off. In other words: x-rated romances. I hear women are directing X-rated films now and I’m very curious to see them. I also wonder how men would react to them: boring or exciting?

  36. amba12 said,

    Another thing is, can porn be witty? Jason seems to suggest it can.

  37. Melinda said,

    Now I’ve gotta go read the rest of those Oz books.

  38. Donna B. said,

    My husband, after hearing a report on TV about internet porn, wanted to see some. I told him “NO WAY” on MY computer, as I figured that was the best way to get a virus ever.

    Isn’t it strange how some virtual things mimic real life… or vice versa?

    There came a time when I was going to upgrade some hardware and install a new operating system. Before I did this, I told my husband that here was his chance to view internet porn.

    We spent a couple of hours looking at various sites and learning that any fetish or perversion (these are not synonymous, IMHO) had specialty sites catering to them.

    Oddly, neither of us was particularly “turned on” by anything we saw, though we both appreciated the rare occasions when the photos actually celebrated the beauty of the human body. Perhaps this is the difference between pornography and erotica.

    Ultimately, our conclusion was that erotica is stimulating, while pornography is numbing. That’s not a statement of good or bad, harmful or not, but merely an understanding of the way we, as a couple, felt.

    Using our interpretation, erotica (soft porn?) is more prurient than the the hard core stuff… which really turns the Miller Test on its head, doesn’t it?

  39. Ron said,

    I bet a lot of women would really like movies with plots that also got explicit. You know, historical dramas with lots of petticoats to lift up or take off. In other words: x-rated romances. I hear women are directing X-rated films now and I’m very curious to see them. I also wonder how men would react to them: boring or exciting?

    A guy named Zalman King has tried mightily to do this…his most famous flick is “Red Shoe Diaries” Looks like perfume ads to me, but some like it.

    Can porn be witty? I think the legendary Ron Jeremy (aka “The Hedgehog”) is pretty funny, both in and out (ahem) of his porn oeuvre… I can’t think of a funny or witty female porn star though…

  40. dustbury.com » If it’s uncut and unsubtle said,

    […] news item has been circulating for a while; Amba throws the topic open for discussion: Do all men watch porn? Or, better put, have all men watched porn? Have some sworn never to watch […]

  41. OD said,

    I am a regular visitor and, on your advice, I did create a new email address to respond.

    I am a male, 52, sex addict and have been in recovery, via 12-Step groups, for over 10 years. There are many reasons that people become sex addicts, many because of sexual abuse as a child. That was not true in my case. I think I turned to porn at an early age due to lack of nurturing as a child because my parents were incapable of providing me it to the degree necessary. They had 8 children!

    I can’t speak for others but I know that porn and sex addiction is primarily an emotional intimacy issue with the opposite sex. We find fantasy, porn, and masturbation MUCH easier than real relationships with real women.

    Most sex addicts I know, were exposed to “lite” porn at a relatively early age and it gradually progressed to using more hardcore or deviant varieties as time went on. The internet opened the door to rampant abuse and I am aware that some men (and women I’m certain) can become addicted “like that.” Very fast.

    There is currently a show on VH1 which deals with sex addicts in treatment with a Dr. Drew Pinsky. It is very interesting and provides a first hand look at the issue as it has affected others. Oprah very recently had a show where she dealt with the issue. There is a lot of ignorance out there about this issue. We’re not all perverted. We don’t all molest children. We are professionals, business owners, working people… we are churchgoers, we just happen to be living with a problem that we wish we didn’t have.

    My addiction contributed to losing my first marriage. It contributed to losing a huge amount of money from a severance package when my former employer found inappropriate pictures on my computer after they laid me off.

    There are 12-Step programs that can help men and women deal with the issue of sex and pornography addiction:

    Sex Addicts Anonymous
    Sexaholics Anonymous
    Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
    Celebrate Recovery (Christ Centered 12-Step Program)

    Porn is NOT benign. It can have a hugely negative affect on people. It may be OK for some. But it wasn’t for me. I don’t crusade against it because that is pointless. Instead I do my best to help others that come to meetings seeking help for their addiction and I am trying to raise a son for whom pornography will not become an addiction like it did for his dad.

    By the way, I am doing fairly well these days in my recovery, one day at a time, with the help of God and my brothers who are in the “program” with me.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  42. amba12 said,

    What a valuable contribution!! Thank you. That perspective needed to be part of this conversation.

    It’s as if we were discussing and joking about alcoholic drinks, from Colt 45 to Chivas (although, show me the Chivas of porn if you can), and a member of AA came to remind us that for some people they are seriously dangerous. Can you tell early enough to save yourself a world of grief if you’re one of them? If it makes you feel TOO good, it’s bad??

  43. amba12 said,

    There’s no question that porn, fantasy, and masturbation are EASIER than relationships. So whether that makes them riveting or merely diverting — or ultimately disappointing — depends, I guess, on the rest of your life.

    We haven’t yet heard about porn as PART OF relationships.

  44. CGHill said,

    There was a chap on Yahoo! Answers the other day, asking about the addiction potential of nudist photos.

    Now if you’ve ever spent any time looking at these things (disclosure: I am a member of AANR, which is not even slightly to be confused with AARP), you’d see that they’re about as sexually explicit as TV Guide. But most folks don’t wander about in their birthday suits, and should they see photographs of people doing so – well, you can see where this is going.

    Which is by way of saying that the potential for addiction has less to do with the degree of explicitness than with the susceptibility of the consumer. It may be like alcohol in that regard: if you’re an alcoholic, Mike’s Hard Lemonade is just as bad for you as Everclear, and you must avoid both.

  45. amba12 said,

    The cruel thing about addiction is that those who most need to avoid the substance or experience are also the most likely to be strongly drawn in. And unwary!

  46. amba said,

    Apropos of my earlier comment (#35 ), I’m watching a promo for Gone With the Wind on TCM. Imagine an X-rated version of GWTW!

  47. PatHMV said,

    GGWW! Girls Gone With the Wind! Woo hoo!

  48. amba12 said,

    THAT’S THE TITLE!! Brilliant.

  49. PatHMV said,

    As God is my witness, I’ll never go topless again!

  50. PatHMV said,

    There’s your plot. Rather than nearly starving to death foraging for food, Scarlett is forced to become an exotic dancer, maybe worse, to feed herself and her child. When she finally saves enough (i.e., after a sufficient number of lurid scenes and money shots), she declares that she will never go topless again.

    But then of course she will have to put out for Rhett, prostitute herself one last time, in order to get the money she needs to start her own porn production company.

  51. PatHMV said,

    Of course, that plot’s likely not quite in keeping with the tenor of your post #35,…

  52. amba12 said,

    And, of course, she was acting all prissy and respectable in front of Rhett, and doesn’t want him to discover that — just as he’s always taunted her — she is really no such thing. But he gets her to go wild just once before walking out — that’s the part women would like.

  53. PatHMV said,

    Now that sounds like porn a couple could enjoy together!

  54. amba12 said,

    The great divide in a Puritan culture — the big gap between priggishness and licentiousness — has ruled out some really fun stuff!

  55. Donna B. said,

    One of the least recognized parts of GWTW is that Scarlett did love and crave Rhett, but no one witnessed it… therefore it didn’t happen. That’s the true tragedy…

    Though it’s been years since I’ve read any romance novels, IIRC, it was often a plot device to have the couple realize… witness… their love and craving for each other before a true tragedy of irreconcilable differences pushed them apart. Or at least that was one subset of romances.

    More recently (the last 15 years!!) I’ve been more interested in history, anthropology, and linguistics. For several years before that, murder and spy mysteries were interesting.

    Now I’m thinking that perhaps I should look into those romances again… could there be a social anthropology written on the evolution of the romance novel? hmm…

    Not for me to write, I’m not that organized. But I’m willing to research this area of porn for others :-)

    ……..

    Addiction is a strange subject because it is, I think, often confused by those not subjected to it as a submission to pleasure, whereas it is more often a compulsion that yearns for a release to realize pleasure — an ability to submit to pleasure… and it doesn’t always happen. Addiction is when it happens to unhealthy stimuli, or when the subject interprets the pleasure as caused by an unhealthy stimuli.

    That is, of course, just another over-simplified theory of addiction. The major neurochemicals… dopamine, norepenephrine, serotonin, oxytocin… and how they interact with each other is extremely complicated. That any of us are “healthy” is amazing, is it not?

    However, it’s not that far-fetched to think that any or several combinations of these and other chemicals in certain combinations produce feelings we want to re-create and that we are willing go to extremes in behavior to do so… even if that behavior is ultimately destructive.

    Fortunately for mankind, most of these feelings are easily recreated in socially acceptable ways. Were they not, civilization would not be possible. It’s also possible that we owe much of our advancement to those who found this recreation difficult and requiring of more stimuli.

    When boiled down, reduced to essence, it is still the pull of “good” and “evil” and the recognition that… without the existence of both, we would not exist as sentient beings.

    OK… enough of that, I’m off to bed now :-)

  56. CGHill said,

    “As God is my witness, they’re not going to lick me.”

    Somehow that seems different now.

  57. amba12 said,

    *snorts milk across the room*

    Wait, that seems different, too . . .

  58. trooper york said,

    Everybody loves porn. Who are you kidding?

    If you ever need guest blogger to post some porn, I am your guy.

    Just say the word.

  59. trooper york said,

    Of course my special area of expertise is 70’s porn.

    Wait. That’s the decade they were made in not the age of the participants.

  60. trooper york said,

    Not to get any of youse guys all hepped up or anything.

  61. trooper york said,

    And a lot of those porno’s were prescient to the max.

    I mean I remember “Hannah Does Her Sisters” has the exact same plot as what happened to those two foreign language teachers in Midwood High School this week.

  62. trooper york said,

    I remember in “Sorest Rump” this “slow” guy snuck into a state dinner at the White House and got his picture taken with the President.

    He ended up being photographed in the strangest places.

    So to speak

  63. trooper york said,

    Titus always loved to talk about his favorite movie “10 Things I Ate About Poo.”

  64. amba12 said,

    *unable to type straight*

    Troop, I bet you could tickle a body to death. That’d make a good XXX.

  65. trooper york said,

    Yes there was a ’70’s era porno staring starting center of the Utah Stars named Zelmo Beatty in a tickle porn soft core flick called ‘Tickle Me Zelmo” which was the inspiration for the toy of a similar name.

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