The problems with porn

Whether porn instigates violent behavior is highly debateable.

Will Martin had some valid points in his Oct. 25 guest column, “Pornography Isn’t Evil.” Erotic material has been around for most of human history, and that is not a negative thing. People should certainly be able to express themselves sexually. But modern porn no longer simply depicts and glorifies real sex as it did in the past. It is increasingly violent and corrupt, and this is where the real problem occurs.

Martin states that porn objectifies men as well as women. This statement grossly oversimplifies the type of objectification that is going on. What type of objects are men versus women made into? I think the disturbingly common scene of choking women during oral sex and ejaculating in their faces is a fairly clear indicator of who the aggressor is and who is being used for sexual gratification. In addition, the variance in “types” of women is astronomical (pick your size, hair color, fetish, etc.), while the variance in men is minimal. To chalk it up to “sex is objectified” ignores specific messages about whose pleasure is important and whose is secondary (if taken into account at all).

Whether porn instigates violent behavior is highly debatable. What is for sure is that within the porn industry itself there is a great deal of violence. A PBS documentary titled “American Porn” tells the story of a female porn star who is driven into the country for a shoot. She is not informed that the “plot” involves her being violently beaten until the shoot is taking place and it is too late for her to protest. Storylines like this are becoming increasingly common as the bar for what is “kinky” continues to be raised. The fact is that until safety measures are put in place there is no guarantee that the woman on your screen hasn’t been abused or mistreated. That’s enough to turn me off.

Violence aside, I challenge proponents of porn to truly consider the effect viewing such material has (or will have) on their sexual relationships. When compared to porn stars who have been plumped up on top and surgically trimmed-to-symmetry down low, real women’s sense of sexual worth is compromised. Naomi Wolf’s article, “The Porn Myth,” equates an orgasm to the ultimate Pavlovian reward. If you associate endless images of submissive, surgically and electronically enhanced women (or men) with orgasm, then that is what will turn you on. It’s easy to see why this can have a negative effect on sexual relationships with real, live human beings.

Hypothetically, pornography is a positive outlet for sexual expression. Unfortunately, the reality of modern porn does not conform to this ideal. I strongly encourage people to educate themselves on what they are actually looking at. Chances are it is far more than a bunch of ridiculously well-endowed people having sex for fun.

Andrea Lichtsinn is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]