Technology, Shame, and the Death of the Porn Store

Technology giveth, Chuck Rudd writes, and then it taketh and giveth again.

It is important for us to remember that pornography is a byproduct of technology.  Without technology, we literally wouldn’t have porn, and if we didn’t have porn we wouldn’t have any of the discussions over whether porn is detrimental to men, relationships, or society.  The printing press, transportation, the camera, television, video, computers, the internet, digitization, and broadband have all contributed to the ubiquity of porn.  In turn, porn has also provided a profit motive for the development of various forms of technology.  For example, VHS, the internet, and e-commerce payment systems were all tweaked and improved by the market demand for porn.

If my experience with porn is at all normal, porn watching often comes paired with shame and guilt.  Even those men who think that a certain amount of porn viewership is a normal and even healthy expression of sexual drive can wonder if they are addicted or if they are doing something wrong.  Our shame may possibly develop into a larger self-degradation and latent self-esteem issues.  My question:  has access to faster, freer porn diminished the shame instinct?  I believe that just as porn has become economically cheaper to consume, it has also become psychically cheaper.  And this is a good thing as we negotiate between the virtuous cycle of technology and the vicious cycle of sexual self-gratification.

Think of how porn was consumed through the dark ages of VHS, DVD, and dial-up on through to the broadband era and “tube” porn sites.  It goes without saying that porn has mostly been consumed in solitude, and it seems to me that the lengths that men go to in order to ensure privacy feeds back into the level of shame he feels.

With VHS and DVD, men had to actually go to a store and buy porn.  Like a schlub, he’d rub elbows with and divert his eyes from – let’s be honest – junkies, lowlifes, and other salty characters he wouldn’t trust his money, child, or wife/girlfriend with.  This was a very demeaning process, and, on a side note, it probably gave rise to the “Adult Novelty Store” concept.  If porn store owners threw some dildos on the wall and lingerie on a metallic rack the store wouldn’t just seem like some outpost for lonely, horny men.  Just to rebuff any argument that the porn store didn’t carry a connotation of shame.  Save those few that cater to couples or women, if you’ve ever been into a porn store (and I have), have you ever witnessed a conversation?  Did any of the customers talk to each other like two acquaintances crossing paths in a Wal Mart?  That porn store shoppers value privacy over everything else indicates that shame and guilt are carried into and out of the store in obscured brown paper bags.

The internet hasn’t totally killed the brick and mortar porn store.  They still exist – mostly on interstate highways and in seedier parts of town – in other words: places with spotty internet connections.  But in the internet’s infancy, the porn procurement process was arduous.  Besides getting caught in the process of watching porn – which is a problem regardless of the method of obtaining it – one had to download it and store it. This requires two forms of work – both which have a psychological impact which feeds into our shame reservoir.

First, spending time to download porn is debilitating as sexual shame mixes with shame over unabashed self-gratification and general futility. The user thinks of what else he should have been doing instead of tickling his own fancy, and, it leads to post hoc self-directed anger.  The dial-up nature of the internet played in to this.  It could take hours to compile enough material to make it through one “session”.  This was true for me during my teenage, dial-up years – replete with 56k modem screechings and grainy porn clips – and I’ve surveyed other male friends who’ve said the same.

Second, users had to either store the material or had to scrub their computers clean.  Storing porn probably has the same mental impact as storing anything else you don’t want family members, kids, spouses, girlfriends, or friends to see.  To be extreme, if you bury a dead body in your back yard you’ll probably always be fearful that someone will dig it up.  My strategy was always to hide my stash from my parents and, later, from my girlfriend in a misdirection folder with a title that was designed to fit seamlessly into the file directory.  “School stuff” always worked.  But hiding things is rarely psychically healthy.  Add all of this slinking around and hiding – which was also done with VHS or DVD – in with actually watching the material, and you have several layers of shame stacked on top of each other.  And it is shame, male guilt, and the feeling that we, as men, have no moral standing that has led to the types of conversations taking place on this site.

But what has changed?  Free, ubiquitous porn.  Porn at your fingertips which requires almost nothing to procure.  All you need is your computer, your other hardware, and some privacy in order to, as my old high school basketball coach used to say, “get it on and get it over with”.  None of the extra time and privacy costs.  The increased use of these “Tube” style porn websites has helped streamline the porn procurement process.  No waiting; no downloading; no purchase necessary; no hiding; no scrubbing.  All of this adds up to less shame.

To sum all of this up:  technology gave us porn, which gave men other issues to sort out.  Technology, it seems, giveth, and then taketh, and then giveth again. And we’re just here trying to maintain.

Sources:

1.“Pornography, Technology, and Progress,” Jonathan Coopersmith.  http://history.tamu.edu/faculty/coopersmith/coopersmith%20personal/pornography%20technology%20and%20progress.pdf

—Photo ojbyrne/Flickr

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About Chuck Ross

Chuck Ross is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. He blogs daily at Gucci Little Piggy where he writes on economics, social commentary, and men's issues.

Comments

  1. wet_suit_one says:

    I gave up shame over porn about a decade ago. Nowadays, I have boxes of porn that I never look at (burned a lot of DVD’s back in the day) and have a drive or two full of the stuff. I tell women up front I enjoy porn and it ain’t going away. If they can’t handle it, that’s their problem.

    Society needs to grow the eff up. I have no intention of denying my enjoyment of the female form and sexuality. I can be monogamous and enjoy these things. I will feel no shame and to hell with all the controlling tyrants who say otherwise. It’s my life and I’ll live it as I see fit.

    If only more people took this stance and voted this way, the world would be a better, freer place.

    The Wet One

  2. You know what else causes shame in Men Chuck? Having to rely on porn to self Medicate feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. As long as Rape statistics are on a downward spiral, I don’t see the point obsessing on the lack of social interactions of Men U seem to consider “junkies, lowlifes, and other salty characters.”

    You sound condescending and sanctimonious but good luck on your crusade.

    • budmin,

      I don’t think that porn is something that only men with a lack of social interactions deal with. Most men use porn in varying degrees, and I believe that many of these men are faced with feelings of shame and guilt over its use. This is especially true when those men are in relationships. Hiding these things or slinking off to a porn store merely reinforces those already-existing feelings of guilt and shame.

      I didn’t mean to come off as condescending in this article. I just wanted to hit home on the feeling that shopping in a porn store creates in the customer. I’ve gone to porn stores before. Few men walk in there like they would into a Starbucks or a Wal-Mart with their heads held high. It is a relatively shame-filled experience, IMO. And whether it is true that the other shoppers are junkies or low-lifes, we have a tendency to project that onto the overall experience and the other men who might also be shopping there.

      And other than that, I have absolutely no crusade against porn. I’m pretty value-neutral on porn, being a user of it myself. This article is just my attempt to understand men’s relationship with porn. It’s something I’ve sorted through in myself as well.

      • It seems that you haven’t given fear of women a fair observation as a possible cause of porn addiction or shame. Me personally, I have never felt ashamed of going to the red light districts of New York City. From 1994-1997 going to “Naked City” was like going to the Doctor. The pain I felt came from not believing that I was good enough for ANY woman period! That I couldn’t protect them, I couldn’t provide enough wealth for them, I couldn’t stop them from cheating on me, I couldn’t satisfy them in Bed..

        That’ Real shame, & it’s present even when you’re in a relationship.

        • budmin,

          I don’t want to discount that aspect of it, but I’m writing more to the men who infuse porn into their lives because they just happen to like porn. And from that there are perhaps feelings of shame and guilt from its use. I don’t believe that men usually use porn because of feelings of inadequacy. I think it just provides a quick stimulus. It’s like a drug, and I guess it has two different components to it as well. Some people use drugs because they don’t feel worthy; others use drugs just because they enjoy the high.

  3. I agree with most of the article. However, the author misses one of the advantages of using porn instead of hookers or pick-ups. Freedom from disease exposure.
    Unfortunately, there is a popularity of “bare-back” videos available. I wonder if this satisfies a need since it is merely virtual. Or does it create a desire to have un-protected sex by its repetition?

  4. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    I see your point here. But I have another one.

    Why is it that men are always being shamed for their sexuality? Meanwhile, when it comes to women, they have those in-house Tupperware-type gatherings for sex toy buying called “Passion Parties” with little or no shame there. This speaks to a larger issue of society shaming men for the same thing it celebrates in women. You’re looking at her semi-covered boobs? Pervert! Yet no one stops to think of the time and effort it took women to get those boobs set out like that to begin with. Considering the amount of premeditation on each end, who are the real “perverts,” men or women?

    The reason for the “shame” around porn probably has to do with the fact that men who consume(d) it “couldn’t get anything better.” But now that you don’t even have to download it — you can just stream it — it’s a matter of convenience not incompetence with women. I think porn now is seen for men as a matter of laziness — witness some of the rantings of female writers complaining that porn has turned men off real women.

    I agree with your point about technology. But just as the Internet has changed the way we consume music, it’s changing everyone’s sex lives. As for porn stores, they’ve long been a place for gay men to meet other men, where they have liaisons in the “viewing rooms.” Straight guys flocked to strip clubs — and I wonder if they’ve seen a fall off in business since you can now see nude women gyrating with a few mouse clicks without having to put up with watered-down drinks and cliche R&B music.

    • Days of Broke Arrows, I think women are constantly shamed about their sexuality. (I don’t know any women that are running around holding up the dildos they just purchased from a “Passion Party” either). We certainly experience shame. From the way our bodies should look to the actions we should be doing in the bedroom to be the elusive “fantasy” men seem to place on a pedestal over an average girl that the average girl wants to live up to in fear that he will be unhappy with her.

      Right now I can think of so many derogatory words that are used regularly to shame women for their sexuality. I can’t think of as many that do the same to men. Infact, many of those words for women are often used in porn itself on a level that simply isn’t done to men. Women are certainly shamed for their sexuality. And one of the biggest propionates of this shame for women seems to be porn itself.

      Its actually one reason why I dislike porn. (You might be blowing me off as one of “those” women that write about how porn has turned men off of real women.) I see so much shaming of who women really are, how women really respond, how most women really look at war with with what men are soaking up through porn. Porn seems to get it’s jollies from shaming women and their own sexuality and their bodies. For one thing, so much porn calls women names, calls women’s body parts names. Makes it seem like women are only a function of masturbation. Makes it seem like women just love verbal abuse. Makes women appear rather secondary. Attaches a standard of looks and sexual actions that boyfriends and husbands DO infact ask for sometimes. If you really pay attention to how the women in porn act, they pretty much act like men when it comes to sex. They are aggressive, they are forever horny and they have perfect cartoonish playmate bodies to over compensate for the very masculine way they approach sex that apparently appeals to men through porn. Everything about what porn shows about women makes me feel shame for who I am as a real woman. Because what happens in porn is so at odds with what I and most women are. And it tells me that men rather enjoy a fantasy of a woman then the reality of a woman.

      My sexuality is going to be less exciting then porn for the simple fact that I can only offer myself as a human being and porn can offer a million different options in women as pure sex toys that aim to please. My body is always going to be less exciting because I don’t have a perfect one and I only have the same old one where a man can seek out any body type and flavor that tickles his fancy at the moment. So I feel shame too. (I suspect a lot of women do.) For just being a regular girl with a regular body that wants a regular sex life about mutual enjoyment and doesn’t want to have to live in the shadow of 18 year old school girls getting called four letter names, with implants, letting strange men do stuff to her for the visual excitement when most men logically know in real life those things done to a real girl wouldn’t feel good at all.

      I certainly don’t want men to feel shame for their sexuality. But I also hope that male sexuality is bigger and better then what is showcased in porn. And while I don’t want men to feel shame for their sexuality, I am sick of all the shame that goes on in porn about women and their bodies and the increasingly obvious expectations men are infact placing on women when it comes to porn and sex. I would feel more encouraged if men where more excited about getting to know and relate to real women instead of spending time in pornoland.

      • Erin, that was a very insightful comment. Porn is a very complex issue, especially for women. I wish men would try to be more understanding of how porn can make women feel entirely inadequate.

        On a positive note, pretty much every man watches porn. Despite this, there are many men who are great and caring with sex because they do view porn as unrealistic and a less meaningful substitute for a real woman.

        • I think a part of reason we aren’t more understanding of women when it comes to porn is because of the insecurities that surround men and porn in the first place. Its hard for a guy to be understanding of women’s feelings when it comes to porn when he is engaging it under the premise that its a shameful act that one does in a dark corner. (Yeah you can “talk about porn” in a joking almost dismissive manner like talking about how “hawt lesbian porn is” but a real conversation about liking something that isn’t “approved” like porn with old people much less the shame involved with porn watching? Never). I wonder is there anything that’s built up as a defining part of being a woman that a woman would seek to fulfill it by any means possible no matter how dark and shameful that means is? That’s about what were looking at when it comes to men and porn.

          One thing I often see/hear is people saying that, “Real women are better than videos and pictures. Why not pursue real women?” This is near the begining of the shame around men watching porn. We’re told to just go and date and have sex with living women as if its as simple as buying a real car instead of playing driving video games. Its not.

          From there there is a sense of, “I’m watching and masturbating to porn because I have no success with women.” Sure you can argue that the porn watching could get to the point where it actually does interfere with interacting with real women but bear in mind that its not like it started that way. It takes a lot of shame, descent, and other things to get to the point where a man would prefer porn to living women.

          And I think this may be where the hostility comes from when people try to talk to guys about porn. It might feel good to tell them, “no one is trying to take your porn away”. but please bear in mind that for a lot of these guys they ended up in that dark place with porn because of a lack of success with living women in the first place and now people (especially women) want to come and question what little they do have?

          Now obviously this doesn’t account for all guys that watch porn but I think it accounts for a good chunk of them.

          • I do agree there is way too much shame placed on porn-viewing and masturbation. You are right that there is an assumption that people only masturbate if they can’t get a real person (which just isn’t true). I can see how that treatment would make men uncomfortable about talking about why women are uncomfortable with porn. Thanks for the insight, Danny.

            Honestly, I think our society is generally ashamed of sexuality and it really inhibits honest conversation about porn and sex.

            • I do agree there is way too much shame placed on porn-viewing and masturbation.
              And it doesn’t help that even the people who call themselves wanting to know what men think about porn and why they watch it tend to respond less than respectfully when they get an answer that doesn’t subscribe to any predrawn conclusions they may be already carrying. And there some of those folks even in our midst on this site. As long we (men) keep it strictly to how somehow secretly don’t think very much or women or how we watching porn means we enjoy the idea of women being degraded then they are okay. But mess around and talk about how we got this way and all of a sudden we are trying to hide, run away from the question, or some other accusation that amounts to us not being “honest”.

              So if they want to hear why we do it they better be ready to handle our answers or else they are wasting their time and our time.

              You are right that there is an assumption that people only masturbate if they can’t get a real person (which just isn’t true).
              Actually its more of, “Its okay to masturbate, as long as you have an active sex life. We may joke about you doing it but at least you are having sex with women. ” That fits in with the notion that men are so horny that an active sex life just can’t keep up with it. Then the “But if you are mastubating and you aren’t in an active sex life, then you are a pathetic loser. At which point its not a joke and you’re doing it because you have no luck with the ladies.” That fits in with the notion that a man’s manhood is (at least partially) measured by how much sex he has with women.

          • Random_Stranger says:

            “I wonder is there anything that’s built up as a defining part of being a woman that a woman would seek to fulfill it by any means possible no matter how dark and shameful that means is?”

            I think the closest women get to this experience is their menstrual cycle. I understand many/some women believe they are made to feel uniquely unclean relative to men for that feminine function.

            Even then, I don’t believe a perceived “dirty” body function rises to the same level of mind f*ck that the male sex drive imposes on its owner. I’d take the physical over the mental any day.

        • Correct me if I am wrong Artemis, but your post leaves me with the impression that you are minimizing my earlier comments because of all the, “many men who are great and caring with sex because they do view porn as unrealistic and a less meaningful substitute for a real woman.” Even if they are, this does nothing to address all the ways women are regularly and often shamed through porn.

          In my opinion, the “shame” that goes on is a bigger issue then the idea of inadequacy. Because inadequacy only comes into play after the shaming happens. People simply don’t feel inadequate when they are enjoyed for who they are. I do not think men or women are feeling enjoyed for who they are. Instead, I think they feel huge blocks of pressure to live up to standards that they simply can’t live up to. And they feel disconnected when the are told they should be happy despite that.

          I understand that there are many good men out there that view porn and maintain sex lives with their partners. I however don’t think this alone denies the superfluous amount of shaming that goes on in porn regarding ideals about how women should act and look sexually to appease male fantasy. The conversation can be further extend to the “ideas” men are getting to bring into the bedroom with their partners. This adds another complicated layer. The fact that some men can carry respectful relationships with their partners while also viewing porn does not negate how much male entertainment and media shames women for who they actually are vs the fantasy men want to project of who women are.

          I also don’t think we are giving the topic justice by giving the standard answer women have heard for years. That answer being, “yes men love porn and watch it but they love their real women more!” This answer doesn’t hold much weight for me anymore because I see a society directly opposed to comment. Where men are looking at more porn, where I hear about wives complaining about husbands that no longer want to touch them, or young men that are 30 years old and have no clue how to function in their interactions with real women, or men that are asking (or just doing) things to their female partners that are leaving their female partners baffled. (I’ve been in that group.)

          Neither gender seems to want to listen when the other gender tells them something makes them feel disrespected and shamed. The standard response is “but there are so many good men/women out there that this point is mote!” It is because there are so many good men and women out there that this discussion is so important. Some of the men here say they feel shamed for their sexuality. Yet they are doing it on the back of something that shames women for theirs. That’s the strange part to me.

          I’ve been around long enough in this discussion to see a shift in the way men talk about this topic. I use to hear men say, “I don’t look at porn that much.” I don’t hear men say that at all anymore. And frankly, as a woman, I am simply tired of the juggling act many men engage in, in conjecture with their real life relationships and pornography. Trying to keep the little woman happy while using and enjoying a medium that does it’s best to shame women about everything from their bodies to how they act or engage with men sexually.

          I have also experienced a rise in men trying more porno-like sex on me instead of engaging with me as a person. So I am not convinced that as many men today, as men in the past, realize that porn is a cheap replacement for a real woman. I don’t think it’s about that anymore. I think it’s about men using porn and real women together as means to self gratify. It’s no longer about real women being better. If it was, we wouldn’t see the cornucopias amount of porn we do now.

          • Well I wasn’t minimizing what you were saying, I was slightly disagreeing with you. My statement was more to say this: if 99% American men watch porn (I don’t know how many, but I think it’s fairly universal), then it’s a control factor. It is the thing they all have in common. And yet we see huge degrees of variety in men’s sexuality and in their treatment of women. So it does not seem accurate to say that porn influences all men equally, and would make all men not appreciate women as people, but as sex toys.

            Your last paragraph is interesting to me, just because I think your experiences would probably be the most indicative of the influence of porn. I have only had sex within a single relationship, so my sampling size is rather small (obviously). I don’t know your own background, but I would imagine that sex outside of a relationship may prompt more porn-like sex behavior from men, maybe because they don’t really know you yet. Not that that is a good thing, but it would explain why you and I don’t really seem to agree.

            Honestly, in my personal experience, I have not had any ill effects from my boyfriend being a porn-consumer. At least none that you suggested would negatively impact women from men consuming porn. So that is probably a big reason why I don’t entirely agree with you. That and I also watch porn, so… yeah.

            But I also don’t know if you understand how many kinds of porn are out there. There’s couples porn and romantic porn and cunnilingus porn, and everything you could want. Porn is a vehicle, it is not in and of itself bad, it’s just what people make with porn that can be bad. And the guys who watch degrading porn would probably be interested in degrading women sexually anyways, that’s why they watch them.

            “Neither gender seems to want to listen when the other gender tells them something makes them feel disrespected and shamed.”
            The problem is that no one gender has a universal voice. You as a woman do feel disrespected and shamed. I, also as a woman, do not feel disrespected and shamed. If the only porn in the world was terrible to women, then perhaps. But I really don’t know how a video of a woman masturbating is disrespectful or shameful to me. It seems to be more of a personal, case-by-case basis.

            I don’t want to shoot down your comments, Erin. I really do appreciate you adding a countervoice to the very pro-porn stance we have here. It definitely allows for some insightful understanding of why women may feel uncomfortable with porn, which is not really discussed at length, I have found.

            • I hope by “pro-porn stance *we* have here”, you mean specifically this article and not the website itself Artemis. There have been a wide range of articles addressing the porn. GMP appears neither to be “pro” or “con” on the porn issue itself.

              I do get that there are many kinds of porn out there. However, my comments generally apply to the grand majority of what I see porn comprised of, and the grand majority of what I suspect men are watching when no one is looking. And I will tell you why I think this: simply because the grand majority of porn that exists appears to be degrading or objectifying to women on varying level. And that level of degradation and objectification have seem to increased from what porn use to be. Through discussions with other people of older generations, they remarked on the stark contrast between porn from the 70s and porn today. How porn from the 70s was more about real bodies and wasn’t too serious about itself. But how now it’s hard to find something that isn’t about “punishing” a woman in some way.

              Most porn does not seem to be about “couples”, “women receiving oral” or “romance”. Yes, this kind of porn exists. But is this the kind of porn most men are watching most of the time? My guess is that it’s not. Since it’s not what the majority of the industry is made of. One movie of a a woman receiving oral vs 20 videos showing men receiving oral (or more accurately, pushing themselves down a woman’s throat) does not make the industry “equal” or balanced. The fact that some movies exist of a woman receiving oral does not negate the ones of men receiving oral that dominate the industry. And it appears that much of the oral sex that goes on in porn today where men are on the receiving end is often abusive to varying degrees. I would safely bet that no one is a stranger to the kind of porn I am referring to.

              Look, I understand that there is “romantic” porn out there. However, what do you think the majority of men are watching most? Romantic porn? Couples porn? Porn of women receiving oral? What is the age and body type of the women they are watching? Are they mostly watching young women? Women their own age? Older women?

              When it comes to men, I think *most* are watching young hot women in hardcore porn. In *most* cases. Certainly not “all” cases. Maybe they pull out the romantic movies to watch with their partners so not to threaten them. But what are men really looking at when no one is looking? That’s what I want to know. Because I think the industry reflects what men are really looking at. And the industry seems to often reflect a lot of negative stereotypes and objectifications toward women that seem to shame women for their bodies or actions sexually. I simply don’t see a balance in the industry that it appears others are alluding to. I don’t see a majority of “healthy” depictions of sex between men and women in porn. And that’s bound to have some influence.

              I do want to be clear on this, I don’t think porn influences all men equally. But I do think it has influenced enough men that it’s changed sexuality so that people aren’t simply having sex anymore so much as they are looking to mimic what they see through porn. And in my opinion, that’s a less authentic way to relate to sex. It doesn’t even seem like people believe they can be sexual or have sexuality if porn is not included somewhere in the mix.

              At the end of the day, people aren’t just buying sex from porn. They are buying ideas that have been formulated and sold to them so that people that run the porn business can turn a buck. And what turns a buck is sensationalism and fantasy and upping the anty over your competitors, to draw the costumers in. So this isn’t just about pure sexuality. It’s about buying into an entire industry that pray on fundamental human sexual desires and manipulate them to draw the biggest and quickest and fastest reaction they can from their viewers. The next step after that is people copying what they see. This eventually does change sexual behavior.

              Without porn, wouldn’t people eventually figure out what they liked? Wouldn’t they be happy with what they figured out without the aid of porn?

            • I guess without any actual research into what guys are watching, we would just have to make assumptions if they are watching good/bad/whatever porn.

              I think your assumption that watching porn will change sexual behavior is not a universal fact. I will say it is definitely true for many people who watch porn (and the homogenization of sexual behavior is a serious turnoff, no one likes a person who lacks creativity in the bedroom), but not all. I would find it much more plausible that men who watch porn earlier in their lives, before any non-solo sexual activity, would be more likely to just mimic porn, rather than figure out what they like. I don’t know. I would advocate for people figuring out what they like before consuming porn, but then that would probably just lead to really early sex. Kind of hard to completely ban the internet. :/

              I know you have pointed out the whole type of a woman that always shows up in porn, but honestly, even without porn, men would have a perfect prototype of the woman they should be attracted to just from witnessing tv/movies/advertising. I don’t think this bothers me mostly because I am in a relationship and I know my value as a girlfriend is more than how I look. So I can’t really be threatened by my boyfriend watching women who are more attractive than me having sex because that’s not really the only criteria for dating people.

              I do really want to know what your criteria for degrading porn is, but I don’t know if that’s a conversation for a comments section on GMP, haha.

              I honestly think that the only reason we can’t agree is because of our own past experiences. Clearly we are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I will agree that porn affects some men negatively (which will then affect women negatively as those men will have expectations of women that are unreasonable or hurtful), but I can’t agree that it will affect all men negatively. Men who really enjoy female orgasms will watch those videos, men who are into younger women will watch those videos, men who like the older ladies will watch those, men who like the punishment sex will watch those. I’m not entirely sure if that is an effect of porn so much as a reflection of their tastes.

            • My assumption isn’t that watching porn WILL change sexual behavior, but that it already has. Statistically, on average, a boy sees his first porn between the ages of 9-11. So I would safely bet that a great majority of the young men today see porn before they actually have sex, before they actually figure out they like independent from porn. My guess that it’s been like that since the early 90s and has exponentially grown as technology has grown. Which would make boys that grew up in the 80s and beyond, have a different perspective on sexuality then men from the 70s and below. Since boys seem to see porn at such young ages, it does seem boys are spending many formative years with porn. Formative years looking at porn and not actually experience real sex. Porn that with technology, has also grown in content and hardcoreship. And I would safely bet that most parents are nor having long, continued conversations about porn other then the obligatory and gruff, “You know porn isn’t real right son? Well good. Happy jerking.”

              I agree that men would have prototype of the “ideal” woman regardless of porn. Because entertainment in general does play into it as well. But just like men don’t like to see themselves portrayed as idiots, I think it’s reasonable to understand that women don’t like to be portrayed certain ways either. Porn included in that. If men want respect, then they have to give it. And the same goes for women too!

              While I agree there is a certain amount of things a man will naturally gravitate to due to whatever his sexual make-up is, there is also things that go on in porn that do infact give people “ideas”. Ideas that might not have ever been there. Especially since porn is a competitive market and producers of porn are pretty candid about how they need to keep pushing the envelop to get the same level of responses. It’s that old age question of nature verse nurture so to speak. Whatever a person’s sexuality may be vs what is cultivated through what they see based on the ideas of others. It’s not simply a fact of if a man likes women with big boobs will only see out this porn. he might be looking for big boobs and come across something crazy he never even thought of before and be hooked on that. People are exposed to things technology wise that for better or worse, shape us.

      • Random_Stranger says:

        “Right now I can think of so many derogatory words that are used regularly to shame women for their sexuality. I can’t think of as many that do the same to men”

        Erin, ever heard of the word “pervert”.

        I think women have it both ways on the sex front. I would agree that there is definitely a traditional perspective that holds women solely responsible for sex and shames female sexuality in an effort to keep it scarce. But, there is also a progressive, dare I say feminist, perspective that is as equally vociferous in celebrating female sexuality and seeking its liberation.

        It seems like the dominant civil discourse on human sexuality is whether a woman will own her sexuality for her own pleasure or whether it should remain a tool of control for religious or commercial interests. But male sexuality garners no nuance or discussion. At best, we considered children ruled by our base needs; an innocuous nuisance that needs guidance lest we hurt ourselves. At worst, we’re considered potential sexual predators, just waiting for a victim to sake our lust. At any rate, we consider men sexual dummies ripe for manipulation with sticks or carrots.

        In the mean time, the fight between feminists and conservatives over control of female sexuality is ultimately, who will have power over men. Men…I think we should have ourselves a Pervert Walk.

        • These conversations appear to be more like pissing contests about who has it worse then a real attempt to understand each other. I responded to share how as a woman, you can feel shamed for who she is in comparison to the things men often enjoy. You can take from that what you will. You can either acknowledge I said it and think about it, or look for points to argue with me about who has it worse.

          I don’t remember the last time, if ever, I saw a female centric media form where women were getting off and masturbating to men being called “perverts” or other names. I do know of a crap load of male centric media that often debases women regularly that a lot of men get off to. And what was I told in response? That it’s OKAY that men look at porn because they love their partners. That it’s OKAY that men look at porn despite the gross amount of shame that is centered around making women feel inferior from everything from just having regular bodies and not being an exciting porn star. Well that response isn’t good enough for me anymore. Because even if a man loves his partner and does right by her, his affinity to look and contribute to media that sets shameful standards about women isn’t fair. It’s not right. And his ability to treat his partner well does not cancel out the fact that he drives and supports this kind of material.

          Perhaps we need to start looking at these issues independently of what each other personally suffers. Because if we don’t, I fear that all our conversations are only going to amount to this. Pissing contests about who has it worse and who feels more shame, hurt, anger..and so on.

          • Random_Stranger says:

            “I don’t remember the last time, if ever, I saw a female centric media form where women were getting off and masturbating to men being called “perverts” or other names”

            Well…that…actually does exist, but I’ll return to that later. In the spirit of understanding your perspective, if there existed a medium that encouraged women to take sadistic pleasure at say, news reels of Serbian soldiers pulling unarmed men and boys from buses and gunning them down in cold blood or images of young American conscripts lying maimed and wounded in Vietnam, then yes, me and every man on this site would be left cold. If that is your experience of porn, then you definitely have my sympathies.

            But, I would ask you to consider two things.

            First, there is a difference between reality and fantasy. Pretending to kill men and boys is just good old, prime-time, rated PG entertainment. It irks me, but I accept that it’s just fantasy. And, while many men have domination fantasies that porn certainly serves, many women have rape fantasies which erotica often serves. No one would suggest women are consequently developing an inclination for real rape, why conclude men are developing a taste for real sadomasochism and misogyny?

            Second, and to echo Artemis’ point, porn is actually as diverse as the human sexuality it serves. I don’t understand how you can proclaim your unfamiliarity with it on the one hand, and then credibly declare it monolithic and ubiquitous in its form and utility on the other. You seem to suggest that an inflexible porn medium will ultimately squash diversity of a malleable human sexuality. If anything, the consumption of porn by an increasingly large and diverse population (including increasing numbers of women) will yield an increasingly diverse medium.

  5. Normal Straight Man says:

    I think if men want to do something, it must be OK, and we need to understand that they’re just following their hearts in doing it. We need to encourage that, and empower men in doing whatever their hearts tell them to do, because it’s good to follow your heart. Following your heart and being empowered makes you happy, as any embittered hostile elderly fat feminist will be happy to tell you after she’s done cleaning the litterboxes.

    • Normal Straight Man says:

      If that wasn’t enough to get me banned, I’ll be happy to take another swing at it.

      • Are men following their hearts when they look at porn?

        Maybe you can try to understand why women may feel the way they do about porn and what they see happening with men and porn rather then chalk us all up to “embittered hostile elderly fat feminist”. And so what if a woman is fat or older or a feminist. Does this make her less of a person worth hearing an opinion from? Or do the only opinons that matter are from 21 year old women with perfect figures?

        • Normal Straight Man says:

          How much do you care about the opinions of overweight lonely comic guys with poor hygiene and no social skills?

          Not one bit, right?

          Right. Well, fair’s fair. Except I also don’t take much notice of the opinions of 21-yo hotties.

          Meanwhile, if your man prefers porn, maybe you’re making the same mistake the comic guys are making: If you want the opposite sex to drool over you, earn it. Be droolworthy. You can’t realistically demand attention when you offer nothing in return. The comic guys offer nothing that will ever interest a woman, and they wonder why they get no interest.

          Merely being born with a pussy isn’t enough to hold a man’s interest, any more than he can hold your interest just by having been born with a schlong. Takes a bit more than that, and it’s easier for women than men because everybody actually knows what men want (N.B. to any comic guys reading this, go read a blogger called Heartiste, read all his archives, and don’t come back to GMP until you’ve sincerely mastered the art of liking every woman you meet, without ever taking any of them seriously).

          A relationship takes effort from both sides. That means you AND him, not just him alone. A lot of women can’t seem to figure that out nowadays.

  6. Chuck seems to think that the fact that we don’t have any accountability for the porn society is watching is making men (all of us?) less ashamed for our sexuality. I couldn’t disagree more. I think porn itself is doing a lot more to cause shame for real sexuality then help break us of any bondage from taboos of sexuality.

    I think there is an odd duality taking place right now where porn is more in the open but more shame of sexuality itself is taking place in larger amounts. Why do I think this? For one reason, there is more anger toward women cropping up in more porn. There are more overly dominate and humiliating depictions of sex going on in porn between men and women. And I don’t think that’s about sexual freedom so much as gender anger toward women.

    I also think more sexual shame is actually happening because I don’t think most people are truly honest about everything they are watching porn wise. Sure, they might mention how they are into porn and how ‘healthy’ that is and blow it of as no big deal. But they aren’t getting into the specifics of what exactly they are watching.

    What we do, what material we take in when we know no one is going to know, tells a different story then what we present to the world. This is a real dangerous slope. It’s the exact thing that’s made child porn grown expondetionally with the internet along with legal porn. It’s the thing that makes it no longer shocking to hear of porn where women are being made to take a penis so far down her mouth that she is clearly in pain herself. People are being exposed to things they simply don’t need to be exposed to. And they aren’t using self control because they simply don’t have to because they don’t have to be accountable for it and they can find it anytime, anywhere they want as long as they got the internet. This isn’t making people less ashamed. This is a breeding ground for shame.

    Porn is unfortunately shaping and defining our sexuality for us through the internet. A penchant to find porn to look at and masturbate to isn’t taking charge of your sexuality if you ask me. It’s more about buying into what you are being sold about what your sexuality is about.

    I don’t see less shame about sexuality today. I don’t see more freedom. More obvious in your face sexuality does not equate to more freedom in sexuality. More availability to sexual material hasn’t created more freedom. I see less impulse control. More chaos. A more aggressive and selfish response to one another. I think people are finding themselves exposed to things that they could have happily lived without being exposed to. And I think it’s spreading and exposing things that are sexually unhealthy. I think we are seeing more shame, more anger between the sexes, more “in-your-face-FU” to the other gender. I think the fact that porn does come into the home completey free with only being a couple clicks away has shifted the way men and women view sex and shifted it for the negative. It’s no longer about connecting to each other as people. It’s about how much porn you can look and taking pride living in “fantasy” rather then having to deal with the complicated reality.

    Sorry Chuck. I think you got this all wrong.

    • To be fair, Erin, there is A LOT of porn that is not at all like you describe. I watch porn and the vast majority of what I find is not violent or aggressive. At worst, it is a little one-sided, with more focus on what the man wants. But I think internet porn is allowing for more variety, so while there may be violent, degrading porn, there is also more pleasant, couple-y porn. However, it seems like whatever website I go to always has ads for that one site I hate so so much which seems to always be “punishment” porn, which is deeply disturbing to me.

      Also, though I argue that violent, degrading porn is not as ubiquitous as it may seem, I will point out that porn which is violent and degrading is exclusively violent and degrading towards women. I have not encountered in any form a heterosexual porn clip that focuses on the acted-out rape of a man or focuses on his pain, as I have seen in ads for porn sites. Perhaps in the BDSM categories, but the clips that are violent and degrading to women are not just in BDSM categories, but just lumped as any other category (brunette, anal, groupsex, etc.).

      • Also, though I argue that violent, degrading porn is not as ubiquitous as it may seem, I will point out that porn which is violent and degrading is exclusively violent and degrading towards women. I have not encountered in any form a heterosexual porn clip that focuses on the acted-out rape of a man or focuses on his pain, as I have seen in ads for porn sites. Perhaps in the BDSM categories, but the clips that are violent and degrading to women are not just in BDSM categories, but just lumped as any other category (brunette, anal, groupsex, etc.).
        I sometimes think there’s a degree of descension involved with the guys that watch that kind of porn (no matter what category its listed under).

        As I’ve said before there’s quite a bit of shame heaped onto to guys watching porn, either from the angle of “I’m an oversexed beast that can’t get enough of it”, “I’m a sad loser that has no success with women and this is where I find solace”, or possibly from other sources.

        When you feel that way it is entirely understandable/natural (notice that I DID NOT say “right”) that over time a desire may arise that comes out in the form of:
        1. “I’m an oversexed beast and I can’t get enough, but I want something more extreme” (actively wanting something more degrading),
        2. “I’m an oversexed beast and I can’t get enough, but I don’t care where it comes from” (truely not caring where it comes from, even it is degrading),
        3. “If I’m left to feel this way I’m going to take it out on someone” (feeling that since they are not successful with women, they are going to take it out on women in less direct ways, this person may never actually harm a woman directly but may grow to get off on watching others do it.)
        4. “If I’m left to feel this way why should I care how others are treated” (feeling that since they have been hurt by women and its apparent that women don’t care about him why should he bother being midful of women’s feelings)

      • Artemis, we might have different opinions of what constitutes as degrading porn. However, despite that, I think we can agree that most porn isn’t exactly positive regardless of that.

        Whenever I’ve done my own research on this topic, it seems like A LOT of porn is exactly as I describe. And whenever I make this point, there is always a man that points out how he watches the “positive” kind of porn I fail to ever see from my searches online. I do agree that there is a certain among of variety of porn on the net. However, most women in porn remain to be of a limited body type and age and position (submissive) compared to the man. I’ve done this test regularly. Where I’ve goggled “porn” and clicked on the very first site I came across. Sure, there might be one middle aged woman, but most of the pictures are of young hot babes with perfect little bodies servicing men or the likes of that. And the titles? Don’t get me started on the titles. It’s always about how the women is a whore, or stupid, or easy or cheap or worthless in some way.

        I fail to ever find this “positive” porn that so many men often talk about when I point out how shameful porn can be toward women.

        • I will agree on your points. Though I will also point out that amateur porn normally has more variety than professionally produced porn, in terms of porn stars. But yes, on average, all the women are pretty much the same, which is the case in all forms of media/advertising/TV/movies, what have you. And yes, I am quite tired of it.

          And the titles are totally weird! I had sort of forgotten about that, as I just don’t look at them anymore. But you are right, that is a very degrading practice.

          You know, a lot of professional porn is as you describe. But with the internet, a lot more amateur porn and a wider variety of alt porn is available, which is much more positive. And I have also found that not all porn sites are created equal, some are better than others. Maybe you should ask people where they are finding their positive porn. :)

          • Well I would be interested to see what people are watching. I say it’s degrading, other’s say that’s not the kind they look at, but neither of us have a point of reference. I am very very curious about what people look at when they think no one is looking. Not just the stuff men or women pull out when they are going to be with their partners or when they are having a discussio nabout porn itself.

            The amateur porn stuff brings up a whole other bag. How many people do you reall think know there is a video of them online? How many are really “amateurs” or perhaps they are professionals being sold as “amateurs”? Maybe there is more variety in body types but is it enough to make it “equal” ?

            Thanks for the discussion Artemis.

            • Yeah, I’m sorry we are talking to each other in two different threads, I’m repeating myself a lot.

              I am sure that different people have different interpretations of what degrading is. It does suck that people are so ashamed of porn viewing that we can’t have an honest discussion about it. It would be more helpful it we knew what people actually watched and why.

              The questions on amateur porn I don’t really know any answers too. I suppose maybe they could be actors, but really the entire set-up and filming is pretty different, so enough if they are actors, it’s still a contrast to the mainstream porn productions. I can’t speak to the variety of bodies, but they are more realistic than porn stars. They look like people you would actually know in real life. The question about whether the people know about the video does honestly worry me. That’s why I don’t go to the ex-girlfriend sites, because that disturbs me. So I don’t know how to handle that whole issue, it is a bit of a moral conundrum.

            • I’m not familiar with ex-girlfriends sites. But I do wonder how many people know what is being posted of them. I suspect it’s something that women have doen to them more then men.

    • “Why do I think this? For one reason, there is more anger toward women cropping up in more porn. There are more overly dominate and humiliating depictions of sex going on in porn between men and women. And I don’t think that’s about sexual freedom so much as gender anger toward women. ”

      Is there? There’s all sorts of nasty variations of porn out there (S&M etc). Additionally, I can point out that there exists an uptick in the domination and humiliation of MEN cropping up more in porn.

      It seems to me you just have an axe to grind, and are missing the point of the article and in doing so hamper discussion that the author intended; shame about the consumption of porn.

      • Yes yes, we all know there are different kind of porn out there. We all know a small chunk of porn shows men being humilated. But I have never, in all my life, see men called names and debased in porn nearly as often as women are. I also am not sure how the fact that there is more porn that humilates men solves any kind of issue.

        I do have an axe to grind. I think we are getting sexuality all wrong as a society. I think porn has become way too overly inundated in our lives. I have seen a change in people because of it. I have experienced a change in it within my own romantic relationships. I see a change in the discussion people are having where it use to be that porn was a ‘once-in-awhile” thing, a “lark”. Now it’s a 24/7 hour thing. And no one wants to acknowledge the affect it’s had on sexuality because of that.

        I also am trying to point out the ways porn shames women for who they are. Again, something else that is barely getting acknowledged.

        I understand that men can feel shamed for their sexuality. Even for their consumption of porn. But I am trying to point out that the thing men feel they are being made to feel shamed for, their consumption of porn, is the same thing that acutally shames women in many ways for who they are.

        I also think men and their sexuality are SO MUCH bigger and better then anything seen in porn. And that we don’t need porn as much as we seem to think we do.

        • An overwhelming majority of men watch “normal” porn and don’t watch porn to see women dehumanized. Men just want to get off; that’s it. You’re trying to bring exceptions into this conversation which is about the average man’s use of porn.

          • Chuck, I think the issue is not so much the intent of men, but what they are subconsciously picking up when they watch porn. Maybe sometimes it’s not bad, but maybe sometimes it is. If all the porn a man is watching is a woman masturbating, I don’t think he’s going to pick up anything bad from that. (my opinion) But even with normal porn, a man is going to start internalizing what he thinks “normal” sex is and may confirm his suspicion that sex really is all about what he wants.

            These are not intentions or conscious activities. Things like media and advertising affect how we view genders, it makes sense that porn would work in the same way.

            I would generally advocate not watching porn until a person has already had sex, so that they can form their own opinions of what is normal and what they like during sex, but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. :/

            • I would generally advocate not watching porn until a person has already had sex, so that they can form their own opinions of what is normal and what they like during sex, but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. :/
              And even if it were possible for a person to “not watch porn until they have already had sex” you would basically be hinging their watching of porn on them performing an act with another person. In fact let me give an example.

              I was about 3 weeks shy of my 30th birthday before I performed my first sex act (oral on a woman FYI). And to this day I have performed no other sex acts since then. Based on your line of logic I should have held off on watching porn until I was almost 30 (and depending on what you mean by “already had sex” you might not think one instance oral counts).

              You then say you support this for the sake of them forming their own opinions of what is normal and what they like. Obviously one act of oral isn’t enough to learn much. And bear in mind my genitals never came out, meaning I’ve not had the chance to form opinions of what is normal and I all I can say about what I like during sex is that I like goind down on women (correction, a woman). Yeah I can experiment with myself but solo experiementation can only carry you so far in comparison to being with another person.

              I’m certain you don’t mean this to say that a person should never have access to any sexual pleasure but I would not be surprised by anyone who took it that way.

            • Yeah, you are correct, I would definitely not say that a person should never be able to access porn. I was thinking more like… until mid-college or something. Getting some years in masturbating while fantasizing, I think that helps a person figure out what they like. And if a person has sex around college age, which is average, I think it works. But maybe in that case it is just a maturity thing.

              So yes, it would have to be case-by-case. I would not apply it to your case, I’m sorry to didn’t really detail my logic there. :/

          • Chuck, how do you know what the average man is watching? When I look at porn, I see much more porn that is negative in it’s representation of sex and women then is positive. I naturally conclude that this is mostly what men are looking at. What is “normal” porn anyway? It does appear very much that plenty of men want to see women dehumanzied. Even punished in some way.

            • I’d ask you how you know that the average man is into porn which dehumanizes women? I think you’re checking out those sites with the intention of confirming your bias that porn is dehumanizing towards women. I’m not going to say that it shows women or men in a great light, but porn is mostly about getting off while watching two people have relatively kink-less sex.

              It’s pretty easy to discern which genres are most popular. The front page of the mainstream porn sites will show you that a straight man and a straight women doing the whole oral-oral-missionary-doggy-cumshot routine is most popular. Since most pornos feature that dyad and that order indicates that it’s the most popular routine.

              A book came out within the past couple of years called “A Billion Wicked Thoughts”. It looked at the porn habits of a very high number of people – it somehow gathered data from Google I believe. The biggest takeaway from the research was that men pretty much look at the type of porn that I’m arguing they look at. “Teen” and “mature” are popular genres. The kinky stuff, the BDSM, and the dehumanizing porn is at the margin.

            • Also, I would like to point out that BDSM is not necessarily bad. I think it gets lumped in with bad categories. BDSM between consenting adults who both enjoy it is as healthy as any other sort of sexual activity. You can have rough sex in porn without it being dehumanizing. BUT some places decide to take rough sex into the “sex as punishment” form which is really disturbing. and it’s disturbing to me that ads for that show up on every porn website. (anyone want to take a guess of which website produces “sex as punishment” porn? I feel like most people know)

              Also, Chuck, some people view the whole cumshot routine as being dehumanizing or degrading. So if facials are the norm, mainstream, average porn vid (which, really, they are), then yes, all those videos would be considered degrading. I really, really hate facials, I always end the video when I know they’re coming, ugh.

            • Not at all Chuck. I don’t specifically check any site. Whenever I’ve done this, I’ve simply gone to “google”, typed in “porn”, and clicked on the first link to come up. Within that first link, I don’t see positive porn. I don’t see porn that is about women and men being equals. I see mostly young women. Mostly women giving orla. Mostly women in doggy style. Mostly women being called four letter names. Lets stop pretending the industry treats men and women equally. Yeah, believe me, I get that porn is about getting off. But that no longer is enough of a justifier why porn is the way it is.

              I can’t comment on the book “Billion Wicked Thoughts”. I don’t know anything about it. Although I do know that whenever I’ve done my own experiment, it is disgustingly easy to come across porn that sends very specific messages about women and their position compared to a man. And that these women tend to be young more then they tend to be “mature”. What does “mature” mean anyway? Anyone over the age of 25? Anyone not a teenager? If the dehumanizing porn was a margin, it wouldn’t exist to the extent that it does. And it does exist to a huge extent. So much so that women being slapped, gagged, called names doesn’t really even shock people anymore. And lets be honest, 9 times out of 10, it’s the woman being slapped, gagged and called names. Not the man. So don’t tell me that everything is “equal” in porn. And that what goes on in porn is healthy. Of that boys that start looking at porn since the tender age of 11, that grown into men, are not infact influenced by what they are seeing.

      • WP, I pointed this out downthread:

        “Is there? There’s all sorts of nasty variations of porn out there (S&M etc). Additionally, I can point out that there exists an uptick in the domination and humiliation of MEN cropping up more in porn. ”

        S&M is not in itself nasty. Some people like rough sex, some people like being tied up and whipped or whatever. As long as both people like it, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, so I wouldn’t characterize it as being nasty.

        However, the porn that shows domination of women or sex as punishment for women is not the fringe stuff, it’s the mainstream stuff. It doesn’t get lumped in with BDSM categories, but just the regular categories (like threesome, brunette, whatever). When going off of those categories and not going to the BDSM categories, I have not once seen domination or humiliation of men.

        This indicates to me that domination and humiliation of women is considered normal enough to be lumped into the rest of the non-BDSM categories, while the domination and humiliation of men is still considered kinky and fringe.

        I take issue not with the fact that this porn exists (because you know what, some people like to be tied down and called names and whatever), but that the domination and humiliation of women is considered normal in porn while the domination and humiliation of men in porn is considered kinky and BDSM.

  7. Charlie you didn’t get out of the door until you made a grave error. You made unfounded assuptions. The first being that porn is an artifact of technology. That’s true only in the broadest contexts. What is true is that porn is the cutting edge of technology. 15,000 years ago it was little clay dolls. Two thousand years ago it was papryus scrolls. Ask any archeologist they come across tons of it every day.

    Erin your ideas are interesting but you have got to remember one thing.everyday more and more of the Internet Porn companies are run by women. Also porn stores haven’t gone away. Dedicated Male oriented stores are pretty well gone. Female porn is alive and well and living high on the hog. Go into any large grocery store, say Krogers, Publix and go to the “newsstand” it’s usually three-fourths romance novels, and that is a nice label for Female oriented porn. In fact, there are a lot of men that quietly read it too, otherwise writers like LK Hamilton and Kim Harrison wouldn’t be as popular. (They are both good and Hamilton is proud of smashing genre fiction boundries.

    One thing you learn in the people business (psychiatric wards is that people live in a whole lot of gray and almost no black and white!

    • Jimmy,

      I say right in the first paragraph that porn is both a byproduct of technology and a technology-shaper. Porn increases in use as porn improves the ways in which it can be used. The VCR and the online pay system would not be what they are without porn.

    • James, Lets be hoenst about how many porn companies are owned and run by women vs how many porn companies are owned and run by men. Lets also be honest about what kind of porn most men will be watching. Porn made by women or porn made by men? I think the answer is obvious if you ask me.

      I am not going to get into a debate with you about romance novels and porn. I’ve heard this used as an example before and for many reasons, it does not ever fit into the puzzle for me. Lets stick to what the topic here addresses instead of bringing outside variables for now such as romance novels and them being “female porn”.

  8. My question: has access to faster, freer porn diminished the shame instinct?
    Yes and no.

    I think for some the shame instinct has diminished in the form of them being more open about the porn they are into and you can see this play out in how casually porn is talked about in order forms of media like sitcoms.

    On the other hand there are those whose shame instinct increased (probably over the increased fear of getting caught) resulting in hiding even further into the dark recesses of the internet, or at least the dark recesses of one’s computer.

    But I think even with former there seems to be a way to hide the shame of watching porn by making a joke out it. Just like masturbation men are taught that while it happens often it still a mark of shame if done under the wrong circumstances.

  9. wet_suit_one says:

    I really have to link to a 400 or so message length thread on another board (a rather male friendly one) on how many men simply drop out of trying to date and be involved with women. But I can’t right now.

    Also, how does porn shame women, when it’s never really consumed in public or available for public portrayal? It’s mostly a private thing in a private realm, not a public one.

    By comparison, there is all kinds of public commentary on how creepy, disgusting, perverted, etc., etc., etc. the patrons of porn shops are in mainstream media, the news, and everyday talk. For my part, I never really hear anything said in porn, while having sex said in the public arena except in the comments sections by the less civilized amongst us who are pretty much disregarded by most people. As for the desire for the young women with implants, well, that’s present in just about everything. Let’s start with the fashion industry, television in general, the check out counter at the store (which magazines are NOT directed at men’s interests as a rule) and so on. These all tell women what they should look like and so on (as Erin discusses above) and these are what women and society in general actually see on a day to day basis. This is compared to porn, which in this day and age, you still have to go and find cause it sure as hell ain’t like it’s at the checkout counter at the grocery store.

    So I don’t see the shaming of women in porn. I see fantasy. Rick Santorum seems to want to shame women (given what he says and what his political leaning indicate, you had sex and got pregnant?!?! Then damn what you want, you must have the child so we can shame you you tart!!! Or alternatively, a Virginia law that requires a completely unneccessary vaginal penetrating exam before a woman can have an abortion). Rick Santorum and his ilk shame women (and only women if you didn’t notice) about sex and with real world serious repercussions (like a child you didn’t really want even though the condom broke).

    Porn does absolutely none of these “shaming” things. All kinds of ridiculous words (hurtful ones to be sure) are used in some porn (not all by any stretch), but porn says nothing about whether a woman should have reproductive control or not. Porn does not scream at you every time you’re at the checkout counter to lose weight and buy this or that product ’cause you’re ugly. That’s mainstream media, women’s magazines and the fashion industry. There’s a few things you could perhaps lay at the feet of porn. I don’t see that shaming women is one of them.

    On the other hand, shaming men for using porn, well, historically we were all about that noise. Nowadays, because it has become ubiquitous and it’s so obvious that all men (at any rate) and a fair number of women are total hypocrites on their “anti porn” stance, the shaming is laughable. Just remember, the most “religious” states have the highest rates of porn use, as well as divorce and out of wedlock child births (wonder why that is… Hmmm…. Least rights for women to control their reproduction maybe? Naaaa…. Can’t be that could it?).

    Porn ain’t the problem. So look at it, read it, beat off to your merry content and tell the shamers to go blow it out their arses. They’re full of it.

    The Wet One.

  10. wet_suit_one says:

    Some links to back up some of my comments above:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/02/17/conservatives_bloggers_debate_whether_or_not_to_hold_their_own_to_their_own_prudish_standards_.html

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=B7F23932-4A4E-4649-A192-38A7EB9DF36A

    And this one, which is so over the top effed up, words fail me:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/02/virginia_ultrasound_law_women_who_want_an_abortion_will_be_forcibly_penetrated_for_no_medical_reason.html

    How on earth did that one ever come to a vote?

    You’re telling me PORN shames women when the Virginia state legislature wants to literally show something into your body to remind you what a dirty girl you’ve been because you now need to have an abortion.

    Porn shames women?

    I just don’t get it. But then again, there’s so much I just don’t get. It sucks being stoopid… Sigh…

  11. One argument is that porn (and its increased ubiquity) has been a net positive influence on men and women from a hedonistic perspective. How? Increased orgasms, particularly from the latter group. Contrasted to 100+ years ago, I would venture that men and women today are able to know what it will take to achieve orgasm, and are more able to speak/express it.

    One may even argue that sex 100 years ago was uninteresting, probably most for women, because men didn’t know how to help their partner achieve orgasm (which is also dependent largely upon the woman’s mental/emotional state). Wonder why sex was a “duty” for a wife…probably because it wasn’t very exciting and/or rewarding.

    Sure, there’s shame in porn consumption, but its also been a great teacher to the masses.

    Sidenote: I mainly speak of ‘typical’ porn, not a big fan of the raunchier iterations.

    • An ability to know what makes you achieve orgasm and speaking about it is not a by product of porn.
      There was a lot more going on in regards to female sexuality and not achieving orgasm then having a video to “show them the light”. There was general desrespect for women enjoying anything sexual because of social rules that women where constructed to live under back in the day. Porn didn’t give women this freedom. Women gave it to themselves for exploring their own sexuality.

      People can easily figure out their own sexuality without having to watch it and learn about it from and industry like porn. Even babies know they must suckle to drink the milk. People aren’t that inept. They are sexual beings. I think everyone is buying too much into what porn is selling them about themselves and defining sexuality for us. When we start saying porn teaches human sexuality because humans alone couldn’t figure it out, we got problems.

      • Is porn not the one medium where we see men performing oral sex on women? I know for me that I was first exposed to this through porn as a young man. I don’t want to get into the feminist-dominance/submission aspects of fellatio or cunnilingus, but I think that you ignore that men perhaps have become more skilled and more attentive lovers through their exposure to porn. Of course, balance is always key.

        • I have never before heard a man claim that he learned how to give good oral because of porn Chuck. Infact, I have heard a lot of women complain because porn gave men the wrong idea about what good oral was.

          I do not think porn has made men more skilled and attentive lovers. I think it’s made men more selfish, less attentive, and less skilled. This has been my personal experience with men. I’ve seen a change in men since porn has become increasingly more available and used like never before. And that change hasn’t been for the positive. Most of what goes on in porn isn’t for geniune pleasure for women. It’s done to please men first. Ther is nothing in porn that supports more kindness and attentiveness to a lover.

          By the way, I just did a quick search of porn and clicked on the first link that came up. On the first page, I don’t see one example of a man performing oral on a woman. But I sure do see lots of examples of women performing oral on men. I supect that there is a crap more load of porn with men getting serviced then the reverse.

          You say balance is key. But who says what balance is? Men use to only look at porn once a month when the lastest edition of Playboy came out. They actually had to go to a movie store to get a movie. The fact that porn now comes into the home, basically free, and you can find anything you want, kind of threw balance out the window a long time ago.

        • Uh, I don’t know about that. Both my boyfriend and I had not watched porn until we got to college (he didn’t have any internet at home and I just wasn’t interested), but we both came to the shocking conclusion that tongue+clit=awesome before watching porn.

          People are more creative without porn, honestly. I would seriously doubt that porn would be the impetus for making men think of giving oral.

  12. Erin seems like a bit of a dingbat but there might be a kernel of truth somewhere in there. Unfortunately it’s buried in a lot of vague statements that sound more like feminist propaganda than real life experience. A lot of feminist angst seems to stem from a visceral concern that some man somewhere is enjoying something without having to ask a woman’s permission.

    Just like the pill and sexual liberation allowed women to have sex without a husband, now broadband internet porn is allowing men to have sex without a girlfriend. For some, there were negative consequences of each – freedom means freedom to make choices that some people don’t approve of.

    Anyway with regards to the shame issue I think it’s more complicated than Chuck presents here. There are many different facets of shame surrounding porn that probably affect different people in different ways. When porn was more public, there was at least some kind of public acknowledgement of it. Now that it’s all completely private, we’re free to be infinitely hypocritical about it. That probably strengthens the shame factor substantially.

    • Erin seems like a bit of a dingbat but there might be a kernel of truth somewhere in there.
      Hold up. There’s got to be a better way to say that without comparing her to a dingbat is there?

      • A better way to say what Danny? How is there a “better way” to call someone a name?

        Way to have a mature conversation Mike. I don’t name call and I don’t respect those that use name calling. When you want to have a respectful conversation, let me know. Until then, your first sentence has completely undermined anything else you’ve gone on to say. And that’s a real shame because you did that to yourself.

        • A better way to say what Danny? How is there a “better way” to call someone a name?
          Simple:

          “She may not appear to know what she is talking about but….”

          “She may not have all the facts straight but….”

          “She may not be in the right place but…”

          “I don’t agree with all that she is saying but…”

          When I said, “There’s got to be a better way to say that without comparing her to a dingbat is there?” I meant that as “There has got to be a better way to say you don’t agree with her without insulting her isn’t there?” I just said the “comparing her to a dingbat” because those were the literal words. I wasn’t trying to say that its okay to insult you, as long as its not with dingbat.

          Unless you’re saying that if Mike had said, “I don’t agree with everything Erin is saying but there might be a kernel of truth somewhere in there.” you would still respond with what you just said and him saying that instead is still a sign of a lack of maturity and respect? I hope not because I don’t think your response would fit he he had.

          • How about simply forging all those, which all sound really condsending to begin with an saying something like, “I don’t agree with this but I agree when she said that…” or as you said, “I don’t agree with everything Erin is saying but there might be a kernel of truth somewhere in there.” It would also be nice if he actually shared what he did agree on but he didn’t so that either.

            • How about simply forging all those, which all sound really condsending to begin with an saying something like, “I don’t agree with this but I agree when she said that…” or as you said, “I don’t agree with everything Erin is saying but there might be a kernel of truth somewhere in there.”
              Which comes back around to my original question of, “There’s got to be a better way to say that without comparing her to a dingbat is there?”

              I probably should have said something more direct like “Was it really necessary to insult her like that?” but that is what I meant.

            • Fair enough Danny. :) Sorry to give you a hard time. You’re intial reponse rubbed me a little the wrong way but I understand what you are now daying.

            • Cool.

  13. wet_suit_one says:

    With respect to the whole “porn makes women” feel shame debate, can anyone help me understand how my private viewing of porn relates to the definition of shame:

    “shame (shm)
    noun
    1.
    a. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.
    b. Capacity for such a feeling: Have you no shame?
    2. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation.
    3. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy.
    4. A great disappointment.”

    From: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shame

    I personally don’t understand it. Can anyone help me out here? How does my watching porn cause “guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace” in any woman who doesn’t know I’m watching it? Even if she does know I’m watching it, what does what I do cause “guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness or disgrace” in a woman? I can sort of feel unworthiness, but why would anyone feel unworthy based on what I do or think? Aren’t women possessed of sufficient sense of self and self worth to not immediately crumble into “unworthiness” based simply on the fact that I look at porn? Am I wrong in finding that a little weird, or what is it? Also, if this is in fact the case, what on earth taught women to feel this way in the face of porn? As the feeling isn’t a universal, there must be something that teach women to feel “shame” and “unworthiness” based on what men do or think. What the heck is that and why isn’t that under attack rather than porn? Porn doesn’t teach that (in my view), because it’s hidden for the most part or was historically. What changed?

    Also, why is it that I can choose not to feel shame about looking at porn, but women can’t choose not to feel shame because I look at porn? That’s really really weird to me. I understand that it’s a real phenomenon, but I don’t get it. It’s like trying to shame black people simply for being black. Most blacks don’t really accept that nonsense anymore even though the media tries to make that idea stick. North Americans fundamentally disagree with that whole concept, yet it still exists. Why can’t the same thing work with porn?

    Also, if this is a shame issue, why was there such a big deal about Playboy back in the day? If nothing else, Playboy treated its subject females with the utmost respect. No derogatory language was found there.

    All of the foregoing simply results in confusion in me. I honestly don’t understand what the issue is. As a result, due to the enjoyment that I derive from porn, the porn use continues. I can’t be beholden to something that doesn’t make any sense. I just won’t give in to the opinions and attitudes of others on that basis. There’s gotta be something that I can understand out there before I can be convinced to give it up. That said, in acknowledgement of the fact that there is a real feeling of harm out there, I haven’t paid for porn in well over a decade. I’ll go that far in helping kill the economic basis of porn. I don’t expect any thanks for that small (though not entirely insignificant) step.

    Anyways…

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Could be that women internalize disgust for someone else’s action as shame that they are with that person? It’s hard to live with the cognitive dissonance of feeling resentment or anger at your partner for his private actions and wondering how he can love you AND do the porn thing. So a woman might choose to internalize that as “something must be wrong with me?”
      I don’t know if that’s the case, it’s just a wild guess at this point.

    • Yeah, to characterize men’s use of porn as bringing shame onto women is wholly incorrect. Men’s use of porn should be recognized by women as competition. Competition does not bring on shame. It might bring on anger, frustration, or hostility, but it does not create a shame response. Shame is something that someone feels for their own actions, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, etc. Historically, people could bring shame to their families if they acted outside of social norms, but that was way back when shame was transferable – when people were part of a larger collective.

      • Yeah, to characterize men’s use of porn as bringing shame onto women is wholly incorrect. Men’s use of porn should be recognized by women as competition.
        I wouldn’t say incorrect. Different maybe but not incorrect.

        I think Julie’s question of:
        So a woman might choose to internalize that as “something must be wrong with me?”
        Could fulfill the “great dissappointment” definition that wet_one brings up. Said woman is disappointed in her self because she feels inadequate in her own body and abilities. Such a woman is probably wondering if she is looking at porn does it mean that she is not good enough?

        Which is not too far from the shame that leads men deeper into porn (or perhaps into porn in the first place). A great dissappointment grown from inadequacies in his own body and abilities. Such a man is proabaly wondering since he has little or no success with women does that mean he is not good enough?

        • wet_suit_one says:

          So why do 4 year old boys (like me) start off with the lingerie catalogue?

          I’m reasonably sure it’s not about shame Danny. As well, the way that shame has been discussed in this thread seemed to relate to simple use of porn in private. Not in a relationship. Not that that matters.

          After all, if the woman is the only one who knows that the man is using porn, what is there to be ashamed about? It’s not like he was convicted of a crime with his name splased all over the news media. That’s seems consistent with the disappointment that shame connotes. But being ashamed of something that happens in private, unknown to the world? Whaaaaa??!!?!?!? How does that make sense?

          Maybe women are being fed some kind of intellectual Kool aid that suddenly makes the private actions of a member of the opposite sex shameful to them so that they have to go hide themselves in shame. Except that doesn’t make any sense. But I’ve never said I was very bright, so I’m not surprised if I miss a step or two in figuring this out.

          Anyways… There’s nothing new under the sun. This concern too shall pass, and no doubt arise again like a Pheonix. And I have not doubt whatsoever, that the behaviour that gives rise to such concerns shall continue endlessly.

          So it goes…

          • I don’t understand what you are saying wet_suit_one. I will explain the “shame in women part.”

            Per the first part of your definition: “A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.”

            Men viewing porn in such a ubiquitous fashion as they do now can can cause feelings of unworthiness or embarrassment in women because porn sets impossibly high standards for women. These standards can become perceived by men as being the norm, or necessary for sexual enjoyment. When women are aware of this, they can easily feel as though they can never compare and so are unworthy of having sex with such men (or at least that the men will view them as such) and are embarrassed for not being perfect little porn stars.

            I really don’t think it’s that radical of a concept.

            Here’s an example: if I were to hook up with a random guy right now, I know he watches porn, everyone does. I know what women look like in porn. So I would be ashamed of my own body not meeting those standards, or my sexual preferences not meeting the standards of what women act like they enjoy in porn.

            In some cases, extreme horniness can overcome these feelings of shame, but really it’s not that strange. It’s all about feeling inadequate compared to the virtual women porn provides, which makes a woman feel unworthy or embarrassed of her own body or sexuality.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              How does porn set the standard for women? Men actually do live in the real world and not a porno world (only porn stars live in porno world). They know what real women are like as they work with them, go to school with them and realize that what’s in porno is not what they are going to get. If they don’t realize this, porn is not the problem, but a serious psychological derangement.

              What I hear you saying is that women are shamed by something that men consume in private as fantasy. Or, women are shamed by men’s fantasies. That’s just weird to me, as nothing that women fantasize about shames me or really has anything to do with me. I don’t judge myself based on women’s fantasies. I might, from time to time, alter my behaviour to fit their fantasies to better please them, but I do not judge my self worth by their fantasies. Why would I give them that power? Why would I judge myself based on what they think? Their fantasy could be utterly moronic and unrealistic (it is after all, fantasy right?) so why o why would I, as a rational, thinking, human being care one lick about their fantasies except that I choose to fulfill them or not?

              Or do women not think like that? Is that really what it is? Is women’s desire to please men so great that the mere suggestion that they can’t be his ultimate fantasy the real threat? Is the fact that they can’t be his be all and end all a real problem for women? Didn’t they realize from the word go that they, more likely than not, were never going to be absolutely perfect in every way for any man? Have they never heard and taken to heart the truth that “No one’s perfect”? Or am I the one living in a la-la land of a gritty reality where things are what they are and fantasy is something produced by commercial entities to take us away from the drudgery and mundanity of real life?

              In short, I still don’t understand where the shame comes from, perhaps because I literally cannot think like women do. Is there a comparable male experience where men experience “shame” due to female fantasy that is analogous to how women experience shame through my or men’s private porn use? If you can give me that example, I might better understand.

              BTW, I appreciate you taking the time to try to answer the question. I still don’t understand your answer, but at least it suggested another line of inquiry that may bring the light to my benighted eyes…

            • Even though you work with and talk with real women, I am assuming you’re not having sex with all of those women. How do you know what to expect in terms of female sexuality or how women look naked or should look naked? The obvious answer is porn which is not always an accurate depiction of sexuality or the female body (you know… like women have pubic hair). Some people do use porn as a form of sexual education, because no one talks explicitly about healthy sexual behavior.

              I think if you don’t understand what I mean, you probably never will, which is not a slight on you, just that your experiences are so different that I don’t think this will ever make sense to you.

              “Is women’s desire to please men so great that the mere suggestion that they can’t be his ultimate fantasy the real threat? Is the fact that they can’t be his be all and end all a real problem for women?”
              Yes. It really is. I am not kidding you. There is an implicit message that women receive throughout media/advertising/movies/tv that women are only worth as much as men value them. for them to not be able to fulfill the ultimate fantasy of a guy they love or even just be disappointing for a guy they want to have sex with, is really devastating. And I don’t think that will make sense to you, because it’s really not rational unless you have been indoctrinated with that idea of value. And it’s hard to get out of that mindset.

              I have managed to get over that, by accepting that I am not perfect, but also by accepting the fact that men don’t necessarily want the fantasy to be reality. Some of that came from exploring my own fantasies and porn myself. A LOT of it came from being with a man who loves me regardless of whether I have just waxed myself to look like a porn star or if I look like Bigfoot. Part of it came from the realization that while, yes, I am going to fantasize about the shirtless scene in Thor, I would still prefer to have sex with my boyfriend.

              But here’s the sad thing. Even though I have logically rationalized it out, and it doesn’t bother me on a rational level, I can still really easily tap into that feeling of inadequacy, like I will never be able to meet those fantasy expectations and am somehow letting my boyfriend down. I don’t, because that would just open up a horrible can of worms, and I think that is where the jealousy issues and the insecurity issues start, and I really like my relationship without those issues.

              I don’t know an analogous male experience. I guess. Imagine, I suppose. Imagine that all women watched porn and all the porn they saw were just men with the chiseled abs, waxed chests, like 8″ penises, who spent the whole time pleasuring women and just never orgasming, because it’s just not that important. And you knew every woman was watching that. Would you not be more insecure about your own body and your own sexual ability if you hooked up with a woman? Like she would find you more disappointing because you’re not even close to what she sees from the porn stars. I don’t know if that’s just impossible to imagine. I don’t know.

              I’m not sure if this is something that can be understood cross-genders, just because of the different socializations women and men receive.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              Huh…

              I’ll have to chew on this for awhile. I can see some evidence of what you speak. However, I still find it hard to believe in some ways.

              Can any of the other women here speak to this response? Is what Artemis says, specifically this:

              “Is women’s desire to please men so great that the mere suggestion that they can’t be his ultimate fantasy the real threat? Is the fact that they can’t be his be all and end all a real problem for women?”
              Yes. It really is. I am not kidding you. There is an implicit message that women receive throughout media/advertising/movies/tv that women are only worth as much as men value them. for them to not be able to fulfill the ultimate fantasy of a guy they love or even just be disappointing for a guy they want to have sex with, is really devastating. And I don’t think that will make sense to you, because it’s really not rational unless you have been indoctrinated with that idea of value. And it’s hard to get out of that mindset. ”

              Correct?

              I’d really appreciate hearing from you Erin, because so much of what you say will make more sense if you agree with this. However, I’d appreciate hearing from as many women as possible.

              This is really weird to me. To live so fully for others is ummm… Bizarre. Kind of admirable, but creepy in a way. I suppose it would explain many things I’ve seen and experienced. I wonder if males do the same thing? I’m inclined to say no, but then I don’t know. Is that why males feel shame about their porn use (just to bring it back to the original article)? Hmmm….

              I will have to try to digest this and see if I can’t obtain something from it. It seems a difficult nugget to digest as it’s so freaking bizarre, but I do not doubt there is value here.

              On the other hand, I’m inclined to say “Free your mind!” and cast of the chains of expectation and be free. But I know that’s hard. Took me awhile to achieve it myself…

              Thanks for this Artemis. I appreciate your reply.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              So I guess I can agree with Artemis. If I was newly in a relationship and discovered my mate was watching lots of porn, I’d have to check myself and my reactions for the “I’m not turning him on, I’m not enough for him” dynamic.

              And this is soemthing I think has less to do with “am I sexy enough” and more…”wow, men really think about sex at a 180 to women and no matter what I do or who I am or how hot I try to be, he’ll still want other women.”

              And that can make a person feel hopeless especially when it’s sort of played off as “Oh you know how men are!” And when women who want more than one partner, or like to watch other men or want other phallic toys are considered slutty too. I know that if a man found out his gf was watching lots of male focused porn, looking at other men a lot, the man might feel insecure too.

              I”m not sure that’s shame per se, but there is something hopeless making about realizing no matter how much you try to be this sex goddess, your fellow doesn’t really get fulfilled by it, and doesn’t see the big deal about wanting other images.

              I’d say in all honesty men and women both look around and fantasise about others. But we also seem to both carry this “I need to be the only one” deal which proves to be destructive.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              For my part, I don’t think I really have the “I need to be the only one” idea. In fact, I often tease the sweetie by asking her if she finds xyz guy hot or not, or who she fantasizes about. Inevitably she says she has no sexual feelings except when provoked by myself. I think that is a warning sign of something given what has been discussed above. Another factor that I think supports my concept that I need not be the “only one” is that the idea is just so shocking to me. It’s truly alien thinking to me. I mean like really alien. Hmm…..

            • wet_suit_one says:

              Really, my only expectation of myself vis a vis women (not just sex, but the whole relationship) is to do my duty vis a vis her. In other words, I will be faithful; I will make her reasonably comfortable; I will bring home the bacon, and I will treat her decently (better than most for sure, but not like a goddess). That’s it, that’s all. If that’s not good enough for her, well, to hell with her, too much of a hassle and not worth the effort. I think a significant fraction of men behave and think pretty much the same way. If they aren’t a billionaire, George Clooney look alike who treats their woman like a goddess (in all ways in the sack, on the street, in the house etc.), they’re pretty much ok with that and it’s no skin off their back. In fact, they aren’t going to compromise their happiness or sense of well being if they aren’t those things. I get the feeling and I see that women aren’t like that. This is why the disconnect I’m experiencing is so huge. And yet, on reflection I’ve seen this very thing (what Artemis has described) play out before. I’ve just never connected the dots before. It’s startling how powerful the feeling is in women. Like truly startling.

              A friend of mine who I shared this with, thinks that women who display such characteristics are in the minority and simply have “daddy issues” (such women are often driven and thrive on male attention as a general explanation of what is meant by daddy issues). I don’t know if that’s true or not. What do you ladies figure?

            • Julie Gillis says:

              You have to remember that many women are taught how “special” sex is supposed to be. We teach girls here in Texas that True Love Waits, that ab only is the most important sex ed, that sex is this special pure thing.

              That if a man loves you he’ll wait, you’ll wait, etc etc, that your vagina is a precious flower and if you have too much sex you’ll be ruined.

              Funny thing, it was taught less in the 80’s and 90’s but man the rhetoric in schools (in the south at least) around the preciousness of virginity and purity is compelling.

              So then perhaps you wait, find that man and give him this “gift” and then he watches porn. Which I can see makes that woman feel very very devalued. Ashamed that they waited maybe, ashamed that they chose a man who doesn’t seem to care if it’s porn or her, ashamed that she gave up opportunities to slut around…I don’t know, those are guesses.

              Now understand me, I don’t think it’s the right thing to teach women, just that it is taught.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              I really hope Erin responds to this. I’ve canvassed the question and answer with my sister and my best friend. So far, they both find it a ridiculous point of view.

              For my own part, I see evidence of what Artemis is saying all over the place. In most of my relationships, in various articles all over the place. It’s a seriously big deal. And it’s downright odd to me, but it is what it is.

              I agree with your final paragraph Julie “Now understand me, I don’t think it’s the right thing to teach women, just that it is taught.” I think that women are being fed as children a bad batch of Kool Aid in a big big way. Sad…

            • Julie Gillis says:

              I’m all good with teaching women those good things about sex. I want men taught too, that women who have sex aren’t sluts, that being her “first” isn’t as important as being someone important in her life. That her having more partners doesn’t make her a bad person.

              It’s got to be a deprogamming both ways.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              I’ll agree with that Julie. It’s such an odd, odd world we live in. It’s akin to religious belief in some ways or finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real.

              Just to stir the pot some, I’ll share a response I got from my friend about this. Yeah, I like to be a bit of a dick that way (especially when I’m safely anonymous). However, this is fair, IMHO, and honest response to the line of discussion here:

              “I just find it laughable, sorry. The strong women I know would laugh you off the face of the earth. They aren’t trying to make a man happy. In fact, even the notion that you can make another individual happy long-term is false. The best unions are two happy and fulfilled people coming together. Oh, and just because you asked a question and someone answered it doesn’t make it more true than if you asked a math question and someone gave you a wrong answer. Fools abound.”

              Interesting non?

              So it goes…

              In my view, my friend is failing to appreciate the subtle influence that this desire to please has on relationships. In other words, I don’t think he’s 100% correct about his “The strong women I know would laugh you off the face of the earth,” and “Oh, and just because you asked a question and someone answered it doesn’t make it more true than if you asked a math question and someone gave you a wrong answer.”

              Perception is reality to a large extent. As a result, his latter comment is missing the mark entirely. As for the “strong women” comment, let’s just say I have my doubts, but I do not know.

            • wet_suit_one says:

              And just because it isn’t entirely clear in my comment above, I totally agree about the deprogramming of males thing. I’ve met more than a few women who aren’t held in the highest regard by society in general. Without a doubt, most of them were just average people just like everyone else and most of them were unique simply because they didn’t have the same hangups and shame about their bodies and what they do with them that everyone else does. I have nothing but the utmost respect for every last one of them (except for those who ripped me off). That’s just how it should be, but is not in fact how it is. It’s just bizarre. Of course, the ultimate expression of the bizarreness is guys like Rick Santorum and some of the truly assinine policies that he and others of his ilk (and there are states full of these people in the U.S. from the looks of it) who actually make laws based solely on their prejudices and beliefs.

              It’s downright weird, and in the political arena, scary!

              So it goes…

            • wet_suit_one says:

              I’m pretty sure that whatever I thought I took away from what Artemis said, is, on reflection wrong. There’s some substance to what she said, and I have no doubt that ubiquitous porn use is a problem for her. I still don’t understand why and I still don’t see how it can lead to shame. In fact, I’m not sure that it does lead to shame in women as it merely asserted by one person and not proved as such. I know that a number of women feel that porn (or any image for that matter) sets the standard of what men will accept, but I know for a fact that that is just crazy. Men really don’t care that much. They fantasize about Playboy models and pornstars the way they fantasize about becoming Jedi Knights and Great Heroes in fantasy novels. They know that that is not the real world and they know that the chick they had a crush on in grade 6 or 9 or high school is what is real and what is achievable in the real world and can accept that. If they don’t accept that, they generally become rock stars (who have a real shot at the supermodel woman) or as rich as they possibly can. They do not, however, expect pornstars, nor do they expect women to be like pornstars.

              They will, of course, get the best woman they possibly can. And if a man only considers how a woman looks and how she behaves in the sack in deciding on a woman (and yes, such men do exist, but they aren’t the majority), they’re complete morons because any reasonable or sane man knows there’s more to a woman than her looks. There’s a song by the Northern Pikes called “She Ain’t Pretty She Just Looks that Way” which is about this very point. A man either learns this the easy way or the hard way. Either way, most men learn this, even though (like any rational happiness maximizer) they still try and get the most attractive woman they can. Note, the men seeking the most attractive woman possible predated porn (remember the Trojan War which was caused by Helen, the face (ass, breasts, legs and all the rest of it too no doubt) that launched a thousand ships?

              Anyways, I think I’m done with this thread. It’s been a slice!

              Cheers!

            • wet_suit_one says:

              Oh brother. Now I’m causing my very self some serious disgust. But I just couldn’t help providing this link in light of the discussion in this thread.

              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105339/Sexpresso-Wives-ban-husbands-visiting-Italian-cafe-busty-barmaid-serves-drinks-skimpy-outfits.html

              It’s not completely related to the discussion, but it’s not totally unrelate to the discussion either IMHO…

              I’m leaving now. Seriously, I am! I won’t be back! I promise! (Why do I lie to myself like this? In public no less! Daaaahhh!!!)

            • “There’s some substance to what she said, and I have no doubt that ubiquitous porn use is a problem for her.”

              heh, actually it’s not. I watch porn, my boyfriend watches porn, I’m mostly okay with it. There are aspects of the mainstream porn industry that I dislike, but not porn as a concept. There’s so much variety that I can’t really be uncomfortable with porn overall.

              However, I think I am a fairly secure, confident woman who is also comfortable with her own sexuality. But it takes work to get to that point. Women are socialized to value themselves in terms of how valued they are by men and also not told to accept their own sexuality (hence all the various terms for “loose” women, sigh). This tends to make women think sex is all about men, and that they have to keep their men happy with sex. As a society, we are gradually moving away from it… but so slowly. Otherwise I don’t think there would be debates about contraception in 2012. :(

              Unless a woman gets over that, she will probably be very uncomfortable with the ubiquitous porn consumption. I know my boyfriend’s previous girlfriend didn’t really like him watching porn and she was also very jealous of girls talking to him. She also had body image issues. Honestly, I think this is really common for women.

              The reason I said it could fall under your definition of “shame” was because of the first definition you posted. A woman can feel that she is not fulfilling her bf/husband, or even just not conforming to the expectations of female sexuality with a one-night stand, and that can make her feel ashamed.

              So, I would say those “strong women” you mentioned were merely women who were able to overcome this bundle of issues.

              “They will, of course, get the best woman they possibly can. And if a man only considers how a woman looks and how she behaves in the sack in deciding on a woman (and yes, such men do exist, but they aren’t the majority), they’re complete morons because any reasonable or sane man knows there’s more to a woman than her looks.”
              So, I really doubt he would be happy with me quoting him on here, but my boyfriend told me something once that I had really mixed feelings about, but am now happy with. We were talking about women in porn and he said something like when he went to college and got access to the internet and porn, he didn’t pay as much attention to women’s attractiveness, but more to their personality in terms of who he would be interested in. Because no average woman was going to look like a porn star.

              That could be a load of bs, haha. At first it sounds bad, like porn made him not as attracted to women’s bodies because they couldn’t compare. But, whatever, it seems more important to me that someone is attracted to a PERSON. Obviously looks are a part of it, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor. So it’s like porn contributed to him not determining the “best woman” as the person who s best in bed or the hottest.

              I don’t know, there are other things, but it’s too long now, haha

      • Chuck, to address your comments, think of it this way. Today there is a big conversation about how men are shamed for their masculinity or the perception of lack of masculinity, when they don’t conform to social stereotypes about men. GMP has a hand in wanting to keep this conversation open so that masculinity is not only defined within a narrow set of ideals that society was originally created for men to live up to. Often, ideals about masculinity have the ability to make men feel ashamed for who they really may be so that they fit into that conformed ideal. In this case, porn plays the same role about how it conforms perceptions of women on how they should look or act to be sexy and attractive. Which is why I talked about how as a woman, I easily can feel shamed for the woman I am which is so at odds with the fantasy of what men want women to be. The fantasy that is often projected in porn about women. The perceptions long upheld in porn about how women should look and act in regards to sex. Also the element of all the name calling that goes on that is usually mostly directed to women. Shaving female pubs off didn’t become popular until it was first seen in porn. Setting a standard on how women should look. Before that, in the 70s, big bushes where very popular. Big bushes are pretty natural to women’s real bodies. Because you get pubic hair when you hit puberty. But now, most women keep it neat or shaved down there. They were taught what was sexy through media. This is just one example. I am not saying shaving your pubs is right or wrong. Only that porn does uphold certain ideals that do have influence. And that these ideals are not exactly healthy perceptions of everything real women are. And that many of the ideals stereotype and objectify women and shame them for who they really are or what they may be in comparison to the fantasy men want them to be. The fantasy that is often depicted in porn which is driven mainly by male viewership.

        • I think this is the best post from you on this, Erin.

        • Erin,

          I’m not sure why you want to turn this particular topic into a discussion about how much shame women incur by men’s use of porn. There are plenty of discussions all over the internet on this topic so I wanted to explore a different angle on it. Perhaps the girlfriend or wife of the man in question isn’t aware of her boyfriend/husband’s porn use – though he is still ashamed of it, and he is even more ashamed because he’s hiding it. Regardless, what you’re calling shame which you say women feel is actually inadequacy. Women may feel inadequate because of men’s porn use. But women may also feel inadequate by TV commercials or the attractiveness of a proximal beautiful woman.

          But to my post, there are different shame vectors worth discussing, and my piece was about one in particular. The increased ubiquity of porn may make men feel inadequate. That is one direction. But hiding their use of porn may create another psychological conflict which piles shame and fear of being found out on top of these feelings of inadequacy. So I’m saying that men who are using porn are going to find ways to use porn. It’s now a matter of which mediums they obtain porn through, and if they can obtain porn “quick and easy” then the shame they feel might be diminished to an extent.

          • Chuck, I am kind of disappointed that you seem to be suggesting that women do not experience shame about porn but only feelings of inadequacy. Yes, clearly women can feel inadequate when pitted up against porn. (Can you blame them? I can’t.) However, that is not anything close to what I am talking about. Please go back and read my very first post to see how I talk about how women might feel shamed for themselves, their own regular sexually and their own regular bodies in the light of so much porn that makes women a commodity where the next woman is always the bigger better deal who is always doing the more kinkier and wilder thing. We are also not talking about TV commercials. We are talking about porn specifically and shame associated with porn. Porn does a lot to shame regular women for who they are in all their normal regularness when pitted against an industries that sells a fantasy of what men want women’s sexuality to be compared to what any one woman’s real sexuality is.

            I responded to talk about the possible shame women can experience from porn to illustrate how it might play into the shame men feel about porn use. I think some men might feel shame about porn because they know it does not really represent women all that well. That it’s not particularly healthy in it’s depictions of sex or sexuality much of the time. If men feel less shame about material they know shames women, I’m not convinced that is healthy. And I think porn does shame women. Most men do not want women they love to get into the industry. Most men seem to understand that how porn showcases sex with women is unrealistic and often unhealthy or not even pleasurable for a woman since men often make the distinction between what they would do with a woman in the bedroom vs what they see in porn. I think these are important things to discuss when talking about shame men may feel about their own porn use. I also think it’s important to note the shame women can feel about porn especially in relation to talking about how men feel less shame for their porn use. If women are shamed through porn for their regular sexuality and their regular bodies, and yes, they are infact shamed in both these ways, and men are feeling less shame for their porn use, that only drives a bigger wedge between the genders. While I support men feeling less shame about sexuality. I do not support less shame about pornography. I do not think pornography is healthy. I do think sex is healthy. I do not think that more open and available porn is making men more sexually healthy.

            By the way, I do have a question for you. Lets say that men are feeling less shame for their porn use (which I think they are, we just disagree about how healthy this is), what does a wife or girlfriend do with whatever knowledge he wants her to know about him and his porn use? How is she suppose to feel about that? Do you think that a man sharing how he likes teenagers, or asians or fake boobs is going to endear him more to his woman? Make communication about sex healthier? I don’t know these answers. I just know that men today are looking at a lot of porn. And a lot of porn shames women for who they are naturally as real women with real needs. Not fake fantasies with perfect bodies who stay young forever. And I am am kind of tired how much men seem to be growing a desire to have relationships with porn more then they do real women. In a very short time the conversation of porn has changed. It is no longer a “once in awhile thing”. Now men jsut seem to want their porn and they want it all the time. And as a woman, you’re just suppose to think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I simply don’t get it.

  14. “By the way, I do have a question for you. Lets say that men are feeling less shame for their porn use (which I think they are, we just disagree about how healthy this is), what does a wife or girlfriend do with whatever knowledge he wants her to know about him and his porn use? How is she suppose to feel about that? Do you think that a man sharing how he likes teenagers, or asians or fake boobs is going to endear him more to his woman? Make communication about sex healthier? I don’t know these answers.”

    Shoot, really, no one wants to take a stab at answering this?

    • Regarding your question as to how a woman is supposed to feel about her man watching porn; women aren’t “supposed” to feel anything. Some women will be offended, some will be intrigued, some will be indifferent, and some may even find it endearing. There is no one way women are supposed to feel. It depends entirely on the woman and her preferences.

      Finding out your boyfriend likes teenagers or Asians sounds like an interesting excuse to buy a school girl outfit or buy make-up to make yourself look Asian (assuming you aren’t already Asian). Regarding fake boobs, you could purchase skin colored silicone gel bras with nipples. If they don’t have nipples, then you can use pasties. If your man really has his heart set on implants, then you are going to have to weigh your options and make a decision, and your boyfriend will have to accept whatever decision you make. Your body, your choice.

      In terms of making sexual communication healthier, I was always under the impression that no communication is unhealthy communication. If he is communicating his desires, then you have the opportunity address them. This seems like the better alternative to him repressing his desires, which may eventually resurface as negative behaviors. And if you choose to satisfy his desires, then chances are he’ll be more than happy to satisfy yours.

  15. Well to me, it feels like women get crapped on no matter what we do. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If our boyfriends/husbands are expecting us to do all this other crap just to keep his interest so he doesn’t “act out” in other ways. That’s ridiculous. AND immature.

    And how many times Carter have you doe the likes of what you suggest? Made yourself an entirely other nationality to please your woman or pretended you were a fresh faced teenage boy? My guess is men don’t do that crap because women accept them for who they are. How come men can’t do the same? How come men need to hunt out all these other things and then tell women they need to dress up or get implants for goodnesssake to make him happy. That is entirelly creepy.

    Lets be honest. There is no expectation on men to be anything other then they are. Yet when women are confronted with this issue, all the sudden the woman has to turn into a sexual maverick and pull out all bells and whistles to keep her man happy. He can’t just be happy with her. And if she doesn’t keep him happy, then it’s her fault because she if forcing him to “repress” his desires that will end up turning into real negative behaviors. That’s a nice little corner you back women into.

    Perhaps if a man learned to appreciate and value what he had instead of seeking out everything he didn’t, he would already find himself more satisfied and find that his own partner was more eager to satisfy him in return. It’s a two way street. I don’t think most women want to have to be sexual mavericks where they have to dress up and be all kinds of other women to keep her man interested. No offense but I don’t want to be with a guy that has kink for teenagers or Asians. And being with someone that would even suggest that women should consider breast implants to keep her man happy is beyond disgusting. Perhaps men should be getting chest implants of their own to make themselves look better. But women NEVER ask men do that. Yet men are continually asking women to do crazy things to their body to stastify some built up porn fantasy. Thanks alot.

    Your response solves nothing for a woman. What it does tell me is that men want their porn and they want their women to dress up like their porn. THey don’t want real women with real bodies. So depressing.

    • My response wasn’t supposed to “solve” anything. I was simply responding to your question. And thank you for demonstrating to everyone what a straw man is. Show me where I said that women should do whatever men want them to do in order to avoid him “acting out”. I simply advocated honest and open communication. What a woman does with that information is entirely her choice. You even said yourself that you wouldn’t want to be with someone who had a kink for teens or Asians. How are you supposed to know he has those desires unless there is honest and open communication? Would you rather have him keep that information to himself? This may come as a shock to you, but men matter; and their sexual desires are just as legitimate as a woman’s. If he wants something in bed, then he has a right to ask, and you have the right to say “no”. And that is a two way street.

      In the future, unless you can provide sources, you should begin all of your sentences with “In my opinion”. And by the way, “real” women? Doesn’t that imply the existence of “fake” women? I don’t make the artificial distinction between “real” women and “fake” women. All women are “real” women. Are you sure it’s porn that’s dehumanizing women?

      I feel the need to apologize to Chuck Rudd. My comments have been completely off topic.

Trackbacks

  1. […] have a post up over at The Good Men Project titled “Technology, Shame, and the Death of the Porn Store“.  In it, I riff on a topic that I’ve mentioned before – the waning of shame […]

  2. […] Technology, Shame, and the Death of the Porn Store […]

  3. […] Rudd – “Driving Drunk in Fishtown“, “On Under-Reported Tips“, “Technology, Shame, and the Death of the Porn Store“, “Katie  Roiphe Defends the Indefensible“, “Freed Into Oblivion“, […]

  4. […] now, former man and now turncoat sellout Chuck Rudd has written for them. Here and here, thus far. And Chuck is proud of this: see here and […]

  5. […] is an interesting topic and something I’ve touched on before albeit with more of a focus on the impact of technology on our use of porn and the shame that we […]

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