What Is Objectification?

objectification of women, Playboy magazine, women in porn, psychology of porn, psychologist feminist on porn, playmate vs psychologist, what is feminist response to porn, how men respond to porn, sexual fantasy psychological function

When a psychologist promoting her new book is interviewed by a Playmate for Playboy radio, she’s challenged to answer the question at the root of porn’s very existence.

I was recently interviewed at Playboy radio for my new book The Men on My Couch, True Stories of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy.  I was at the end of a media blitz, and enjoying the lull of familiar questions like, “Why did you write this book?” and, “What do men secretly want?”

I had all of my talking points memorized. At this point, I could do an interview in my jammy pants, before my first cup of coffee, as happened one morning when I had forgotten about an interview. The phone rang and I rolled out of bed and answered with a groggy “H–ello” to a booming voice on the other end that replied, “Good morning! You’re live on the X Show.” Yet, I pulled that one off with the clarity and ease that only comes with rehearsal.

I arrived at the Playboy studio and took a seat on the red velvet couch beneath a giant razzmatazz silver bunny emblem.  Across from me sat a ginger haired Playmate. “So, do you think Playboy is pornography?” she asked, snapping me right out of my soporific daze.

Whoa, I thought, this is a sassy question to ask a female writer. Does she want to have some kind of “Playmate vs. the feminist” rumble?

Truth be told, I’m delighted by impertinence but as much as I love a good debate, I didn’t want to insult this inveterate magazine, as I was obviously there to sell a product to their audience.

So, I mustered a vague answer, something along the lines of, “Well, it’s certainly not in the category of what most people now consume on the Internet that is referred to as pornography.” And then I mentioned my co-writer, David Rensin, a long-time contributing editor to Playboy, as if to say, look, I’m friendly to your kind. I thought I’d slipped past and perhaps now she’d give me a break and ask about one of the characters in my book.

His chest swells with the possibility that a soft, luxurious woman chooses him, says “yes” to all of his frustrated impulses. Indeed, this is objectification.

“Do you think Playboy objectifies women?”

There’s no way around it, I thought. She’s gotta know I’m gonna say yes. I am in some kind of gauntlet—with a salty sex kitten.

I answered with a categorical “yes.”

Then, I qualified my yes. I told her that when I talk with my male clients about their porn viewing habits, I’m curious about their personal relationship with the images. Pornography, whether you are for or against it, serves a purpose. Yes, we know that men are visual and that their bodies respond with sexual excitation to images of nudity and sex. We all know about the response of the penis. In fact, studies show that both genders exhibit sexual arousal to all kinds of sexual imagery. Getting turned on is clearly a natural, non-pathological response. But as a psychologist, I’m also interested in the response of his psyche. What does the self experience and express during sexual titillation?

Pornography taps into the realm of human fantasy. What is the psychological function of any kind of fantasy? It’s the expression of subverted parts of self: a blank canvas onto which we paint the content of our unconscious—most notably fears and wishes.

I told the interviewer that I noticed two popular themes in the sexual fantasies of the men I’ve worked with: women devalued and women idealized. It is because these women are not the real, up-close women men actually know that something very interesting happens. The mental distance of fantasy provides both contact with—and space from—one’s emotions. Porn, art, Playboy: it all allows for projection to take place. The contents of that projection are often what needs the most attention. Projection is revelatory of our core disappointments and greatest hopes.

I told her that the vast majority of pornography on the Internet contains themes of devaluation. Images of cum shots, gagging, gang banging etc. are popular. If the human body responds to a large range of sexual stimuli, then why is this one particular dynamic so profitable? I think it’s sort of a release valve for the natural anxieties men have about women. What man hasn’t been rejected by a woman?  Who hasn’t experienced performance anxiety or felt inferior compared to her past lovers or nervous about approaching a woman? Who wouldn’t like to just bypass all of that for a moment and get off unfettered by such trepidations? Porn that devalues, restores a man’s “right” to receive pleasure: the male is cast in the glorified position, and all sense of inferiority is projected onto the female. This is the psyche attempting to master anxiety through a mechanism called eroticization.

I didn’t go into this level of detail on the radio, but as I made a general statement about devaluation, the interviewer looked pleased. She nodded her head with exaggeration as I spoke, encouraging me to continue my explanation.

“The images of nude women in Playboy are idealized,” I continued. Why would a man need to spend time gazing at a faultless physical form, one that is probably different than the woman lying next to him at night? Perhaps there is a part of a man’s psyche searching to revere a symbol of womanhood: a modern Aphrodite, a goddess to worship. The gracefully posed pictures of nude women in Playboy can be the sacred vessel of a man’s wishes. This Goddess of Eros only smiles, or looks back at him with desirous eyes. For a moment, he won’t be let down. His chest swells with the possibility that a soft, luxurious woman chooses him, says “yes” to all of his frustrated impulses. Indeed, this is objectification. A “positive object,” I called it.

The Playmate looked pleased.

“But do you think Playboy is harmful to men’s perception of women?” she said, looking for more.

I explained why we have this polarity in our perception. Why do so many men have these tendencies to devalue and idealize? In psychology, we call this mental rending “splitting.” When we can’t handle the emotional complexities of another person, we begin to split them into easy categories. Bad. Good. Psychoanalysis has referred to this for a long time, often known as the good mother or the bad mother, the good breast or the bad breast.

We all feel the temptation to do this when we’ve been hurt. People tend to make generalizations when they’re scared. You know: men are assholes, women are bitches. This kind of thinking is dangerous. When my clients exhibit these beliefs, I look for that impulse to idealize as a lifeline. I want to access their hope, the hidden longing to adore.

Psychologists address this phenomenon of splitting by working toward what we call “integration.” This is the ability to hold onto the wish to view women as sacred in the face of an up-close reality: a woman with normal curves and breasts, and wrinkles and an edgy temper that at times, scolds and rejects. The real woman can be at once disappointing and hallowed. Merging these two concepts is difficult but is part of the foundation for a healthy relationship between the sexes.

The Playboy interview was one of my favorite publicity experiences. When it was over, the Playmate got up from behind her desk and untethered herself from a morass of wires to give me a big heartfelt hug. It was a real raucous conversation, and this real woman, Tiffany Granath, should be named, as she herself is certainly no object.

 

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About Brandy Engler

Dr. Engler is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in relationships and sexuality and author of The Men on My Couch:Trues Stories of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy. She has a private practice in Los Angeles.

Comments

  1. Warning, graphic depictions of sex…

    “I told her that the vast majority of pornography on the Internet contains themes of devaluation. Images of cum shots, gagging, gang banging etc. are popular. ”

    You call that devaluing a woman? Cumshots are not degrading unless they’re intended to, you can give someone a facial (male or female, from a male or female) and it doesn’t automatically mean it’s degrading. I am more than happy to have a woman cum on my face if she can and have heard plenty of women who think it’s ok. Gang-bangs don’t HAVE to devalue a woman either, and depending on how you view the act it can be an act of valuing her. She has multiple partners, those males have only 1 woman, for a promiscuous person she may be living the dream and her sexuality has a huge potency. Now if it’s filmed where she is purposely degraded, slapped, called a whore then yeah that’s bad but what if it’s simply just a bunch of people having sex? Is a woman who has a 3some with 2 guys devaluing herself? Is a woman that likes facials devaluing herself? Because what you are implying is basically slut-shaming because no good woman could enjoy it right? Some women enjoy gagging, some women enjoy being pissed on, these women who CHOOSE to do so aren’t devaluing themselves, YOU are devaluing them by judging their kink.

    “Who hasn’t experienced performance anxiety or felt inferior compared to her past lovers or nervous about approaching a woman? Who wouldn’t like to just bypass all of that for a moment and get off unfettered by such trepidations? Porn that devalues, restores a man’s “right” to receive pleasure: the male is cast in the glorified position, and all sense of inferiority is projected onto the female. This is the psyche attempting to master anxiety through a mechanism called eroticization.”

    I watch gang bangs sometimes, orgies, I enjoy seeing facials and very wet vulva, all the juices of sex, etc, and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with hating women, devaluing, etc. I just find the acts sexy IN FANTASY, I find it sexy in my fantasies sometimes to have sex with multiple women, swapping partners with another guy not because of some stupid idea of ownership but as a mutual sexual experience where everyone is just having lustful sex. The idea of the facial or the cumshot with the smile on her face is sexy because it’s part of my bodily fluids of love making that are being accepted, not disregarded as EWWW or shamed, but enjoyed just as I enjoy going down on women and getting a lot of HER bodily fluids on me, licking it up n what not. In the real world I wouldn’t do any of that unless I knew for a fact that she was 100% into it, and I have no interest in having orgies, maybe a 3some once but I would prefer just to be in love and have amazing sex that is considerate of both our feelings.

    What you say may be true for some but I highly doubt it’s the majority, isn’t it possible that maybbbee men just enjoy lusting over group sex because it’s taboo? Love is rammed down our throats harder than any cock in a porn is, it’s smothers us before we even reach 10 years old with all the Disney propaganda ideals of love n heroes, lust is seen as dirty, bad, sinful, disgusting, degrading, slut-shamed away, yet it’s a normal feeling.

    The most common theme in porn is actually ENTHUSIASTIC people who ENJOY sex, they’re both all over each other, even in 3somes n more the woman is pretty much ALWAYS completely enthusiastic and wanting more n more n more (granted it’s at a level that I doubt most women or men would be). One of the sexiest elements of porn is that enthusiasm for sex.

    ““The images of nude women in Playboy are idealized,” I continued. Why would a man need to spend time gazing at a faultless physical form, one that is probably different than the woman lying next to him at night? Perhaps there is a part of a man’s psyche searching to revere a symbol of womanhood: a modern Aphrodite, a goddess to worship. The gracefully posed pictures of nude women in Playboy can be the sacred vessel of a man’s wishes. This Goddess of Eros only smiles, or looks back at him with desirous eyes. For a moment, he won’t be let down. His chest swells with the possibility that a soft, luxurious woman chooses him, says “yes” to all of his frustrated impulses. Indeed, this is objectification. A “positive object,” I called it.”

    Or maybe a lot of men are not 100% monogymous? Hello? People range on a scale of monogymy to polygamy and porn is an acceptable way to experience partial polygamy enhanced with elements of taboo, fantasy, etc. Humans do this very regularly, both genders, when they walk down the street n notice someone they find attractive. Porn takes this to the next level. But then what do you say about the men who haven’t had much sex? I’ve had 3-5 sexual experiences in the decade of my adult life, I am involuntarily celebate, I know plenty of guys that get no where near enough sex and porn helps keep those feelings of lonliness at bay.

    The funny yet sad thing is the most objectifying language I’ve ever seen used against women has come from feminists who engage in extreme slut shaming over pornstars, the level of judgment against what women are consenting to in porn and treating it as automatically bad because some people don’t like it is extreme. Then the calls of extreme disrespect by saying they are degrading themselves to fit in with the patriarchy’s views of women, denying these women agency of their choice. I seriously don’t get it. What right do you have to assert those activities devalue women? You’re pretty much saying women who enjoy them enjoy being devalued, and asserting that men who enjoy it enjoy devaluing women yet here is a man, me, who has nothing but utter respect for the women and men I see in porn, I hold great value for them because I must be unique in this amazing ability to understand PORN does not have to be real nor a reflection of a person’s real interest in real world sex. Shocking I know, this ability seems to be so rare apparently that I can cum on the love of my life’s face and throughout the entire experience be absolutely head over heels in love with her, see her as an angel born on Earth, would die for her, hold her value probably above my own value. How is that possible?

    I’ve had someone swallow my cum before, I thought it was cute and was less messy than the alternatives, it felt great, she liked it, yet some will see that as degrading. Others will see the act of a blowjob as degrading, the fact someone is on their knee’s is seen as degrading, having sex before marriage is seen as degrading. Do blowjobs devalue women? Does a man giving oral sex devalue him?

    This magic ability to separate fantasy and reality I believe is in nearly every person. I fantasize about being James Bond, having sex with various “Bond girls” after putting my life on the line to help her in her quest, being shot at. I play games that put me in the most dangerous situations ever known, but guess what. THEY’RE JUST FANTASY. Who the hell wants to be James Bond? Fall in love, she gets killed, you’re always in danger, if you get caught you get ignored, disowned, you get tortured. It’s the shittiest existence I could think of, and he uses lust to sooth the lonely heart he has from having his beloved taken away. It’s fantasy, some elements are true because hey the Bond girls are extremely beatiful and it would be nice to have sex and a relationship with one but not at the cost of her and yourself being in major risk. It is possible to view porn, even lots of it, and not see objects but real men n women if you choose to do so. The problem with devaluing people is less about what is shown and more about the viewers mindset. I can watch a gangbang and still respect her, admire her performance and quite frankly ability to handle such a situation, I look at her as an equal that either enjoys sex a lot or simply gets paid to do a job that is no worse than a garbageperson and the garbageoperson probably has more risk with the hazardous materials, etc vs a porn star having sex with someone who’s been through STD checks and has a safe working environment. Hell if I had a killa bod, I’d probably do porn, I got no issues with people enjoying my body but then I see sex n porn differently to most it seems.

    Articles like these leave me completely disgusted in how the author views sexuality quite frankly, being so out of touch or maybe I am unique but the level of degrading thought the author has towards women who star in porn that have gang-bangs, etc to go n call it devaluing them just boggles the mind. If you want to say most women probably don’t like this, then go ahead, say that for many women it would be an activity they find devaluing but to speak for women as a group and assert it’s devaluing…is just wrong to me. Then to guess what men think in such a negative way actually devalues men and I start to question the authors view towards men as a group. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand there is desire in many people to look at more than one person sexually, and has far more to do with pologymy than anything. Seeing those acts as degrading heavily suggests to me that the author is in fact devaluing anyone that likes them, she has applied a negativity towards those acts and worded it to be degrading to women, by that logic anyone who enjoys it or partakes in such activities is degrading a woman right?

    Now being a female author, unless she was once a man how can she know what men think to such a definitive level? Are men a collective? A hive mind? Her views only show one lens in a multitude of peoples experiences.

    “We all feel the temptation to do this when we’ve been hurt. People tend to make generalizations when they’re scared. You know: men are assholes, women are bitches. This kind of thinking is dangerous. When my clients exhibit these beliefs, I look for that impulse to idealize as a lifeline. I want to access their hope, the hidden longing to adore.”

    Generalizations like…”I told her that the vast majority of pornography on the Internet contains themes of devaluation.”. Does internet porn, and porn in general scare you Brandy? That is a statement, stating it as fact, you’re saying most porn online has themes of devaluing, devaluing who though? Devaluing “vanilla” women? Devaluing women that do not want to have a facial? Devaluing women who ENJOY facials?

    • Hi Archy

      Do not invalidate women that tell you they feel what they see in hardcore porn online as cruel.

      As a heterosexual man you will one day share your life with a woman. It is more likely than not that she also see hardcore porn the way it is online in 2013 as cruel.

      If you think you can enter a love and sexual relationship with a woman without a baggage of memories from years of porn then you are wrong. It is impossible.

      You sound like a sweet guy Archy,and I like your emotion honesty. But the way you defend hardcore porn in all varieties disturb me because I feel you want love and a good relationship.

      I married a porn user,so I have experience with this.
      Later I met a man that had never watched porn in his whole life because he grew up I Muslim country. I say no more…

      Be careful Archy!
      THE REAL TEST for you and other involuntary celibate men, ( and the not celibate ones as well ) will come when you are in a serious relationship with a woman and want to keep the woman with you ever.

      If I had a magic wand I would bring a loving parter to all involuntary celibate men and women on this earth right now.

      • Hardcore porn to me is probably not hardcore at all, hardcore is simply graphic visuals, the detailed penis going into vagina. I simply watch sex and most often watch couples doing their thing, I avoid pro porn as the stereotypes, excess makeup n fakeness of many productions is a turn off. I have gotten on cam for female friends and become “hardcore porn” simply because they saw detail. Now if you mean EXTREME porn (gagging, and stuff that literally is cruel looking) then I will say that it turns me off 100% but I don’t judge those that watch it. Most of my friends probably look at porn, including the women, what you have to be careful of is invaliding OUR feelings on the subject because I refuse to allow others to tell ME that MY porn that I watch that they have no idea about is damaging or bad. Chances are my partner will probably look at porn themselves considering how many people I know that watch it.

        The issue is the type of porn they watch in combination with how they treat their partner, if they ignore their partner for porn then that is bad but if they watch it when the partner is away and the partner knows about it, allows it to happen then what is the harm? Chances are I probably won’t look at porn when I have a partner, no point for me if I have someone I can have sex with. There are plenty of people with terrible attitudes towards porn but we can’t throw out the far greater number of people who look at it decently without issue.

        What I defend is peoples choice to partake in and watch the porn they wish as long as it is consenting. What I severely dislike is being made to feel like I am dirty because I look at other naked people having sex because there is a lot of bad porn out there and that smears me because I look at porn and people guess it’s the bad stuff. The most recent porn I watched was a couple having sex, with major enthusiasm, they were on a webcam and controlled the show. How is that harmful?

      • Megalodon says:

        As a heterosexual man you will one day share your life with a woman.

        It is presumptious of you to declare for a certainty the course and events of somebody else’s life based upon that person’s sexual orientation. Even if a person is sexually attracted to persons of a certain gender, it does not necessarily follow that this person is interested in “sharing” their life with persons of that gender in some kind of long term, intimate association.

        If a man told a heterosexual feminist woman that she will inevitably “share her life with a man,” she would probably take umbrage and protest because of that man’s heteronormative prognostications about the course of her life.

        THE REAL TEST for you and other involuntary celibate men, ( and the not celibate ones as well ) will come when you are in a serious relationship with a woman and want to keep the woman with you ever.

        If a man is involuntarily celibate, it is doubly presumptious to assume that that person will inevitably develop a “serious relationship” with a woman.

        • Hi
          I was talking to Archy!y.
          And I write in my second language.
          We can continue the discussion in my language . Then I can express myself better.

          From what I have seen of Archy’s writing here on GMP I am certain he will find a woman.
          I was NOT talking to any man. I was commemting Archy.
          And frankly your hostility pisses me off.

          • Megalodon says:

            I was talking to Archy!y.

            Archy was responding to the article in general, and you felt free to reply to his comment, even though he never addressed you specifically. All commenters have that general reply liberty.

            We can continue the discussion in my language . Then I can express myself better.

            I do not think that I speak your first language. Sorry.

            I was NOT talking to any man. I was commemting Archy.

            You said to him, “As a heterosexual man you will one day share your life with a woman.” When you lead in with “As a heterosexual man,” it suggests that you are basing your relationship prediction about Archy solely on his sexual orientation, not on any particular or individual attributes which he may have. You did not say “As a unique, nice person you will one day share your life with a woman” or something to that effect. So the way your sentence reads, it sounds like you are saying that “any man” who is heterosexual will share his “life with a woman” by virtue of him being heterosexual.

            And anyway, you did not confine your remarks to Archy, because you went on to say “THE REAL TEST for you and other involuntary celibate men, ( and the not celibate ones as well ) will come when you are in a serious relationship with a woman.” You were addressing Archy and other involuntarily celibate men and the “not celibate ones as well.” It seems at this point that you were addressing…just about all heterosexual men. So, actually, it does seem that you were “talking to any (heterosexual) man.”

            • Hi Megalodon

              1:
              Archy knows I love him.
              2:
              Yes. Any human being that uses a lot of hardcore online porn as it found on the Internet in 2013 will have this a part of them for the rest of their life’s.
              3:
              I do not write well.. I never did and never will.
              Al my teachers agreed about that.

              I try as best I can not to insult men here on this website. But when we come to the subject online hardcore pornography some men have VERY strong feelings.

              As a women I do not understand why they value so highly. I don’t.

              And as far as I know most men like porn,wether they are in a relationship or not.

              It is a mystery to me that they love what they see.

              But I withdraw from this debate now.

            • “I try as best I can not to insult men here on this website. But when we come to the subject online hardcore pornography some men have VERY strong feelings. ”
              It’s an enjoyable activity that get’s heavy criticism, but worse is that it gets generalized against so heavily that there is a stupid amount of shame with the activity. I don’t think most men feel comfy intheir sexuality, I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen people refer to masturbation, porn, and especially male sexuality as perverted, sinful, bad, degrading. Then it’s extremely annoying to hear some women generalize about men viewing porn and how men look at the bad stuff, when you’re a guy that purposely seeks good stuff (as in basic sex, no violence, everyone gets off, everyone is enthusiastic n happy, how real sex should be). So it makes me and others defensive because we’re copping this stigma based on what someone else is guessing we look at.

              “As a women I do not understand why they value so highly. I don’t.”
              No idea how to explain it, might be partly biology which has men more easily turned on by porn and a stronger visual arousal system? I don’t understand some people (usually women I’ve noticed) and their desire to watch romance so much, watching romance on movies for instance usually makes me feel like shit and lonely because I don’t have a partner. Porn I can just watch, get off, and the orgasm completely blows away all negative feeling I have, I’ve used orgasms to calm myself down from a lot of anxiety before 3 surgeries (had a female friend flash me which helped calm me too!) so my sex drive has so much power that it can reduce my anxiety MASSSIVELY, and afterwards I am so much calmer, so it’s useful as a way to get rid of anxiety, jitters, even sadness. Porn simply just makes me MORE turned on, and allows for a more potent orgasm since more of my senses are engaged. And seeing as many of us guys masturbate with porn, it’s a very stress relieving activity which we do not wish to see gone and I’d hate to see porn disappear unless of course I had a partner cuz life would be worse without it, not like omg I wanna die worse, but just less just as I’d hate to lose movies, music, tv shows, flying my RC heli, etc.

              “It is a mystery to me that they love what they see. ”
              I guess you just don’t have a similar arousal system to us, nothing wrong with that but it’s hard to explain the allure…usually people have it or they don’t, it’s like trying to explain attraction to someone you like to an asexual person.


            • Archy

              When I say don’t understand some men’s love for hardcore porn that many women see as cruel then this has nothing to do with differences arousal system. You would be amazed if you knew all the different stimuli that can arouse women….

              In fact I am tired of men telling me about their strong sexuality,and their ” needs”.

              An author Knut Faldbakken may be close when he writes: female sexuality ( or to arouse a women) is a bit like pushing a locomotive into motion. It is slow int the beginning,but once it has started nothing can stop it.

              I am no expert on online hardcore porn. My computer will be infected with virus and malware if I should try to find those webpages you obviously have found with normal, everyday sex where women are sexually satisfied and not only the man or men.

              And guess what? My body gets aroused all by itself!
              And my orgasms are more than intense enough.

              Once in Sweden I went to a porn movie with a group of friends. Not many minutes into the film came my life’s first panic attack and I had to leave.
              That was scary.

              To keep positive pictures of men ( emotionally) inside,I choose to not watch porn. I value my inner pictures of men higher than more arousal or more daily orgasms.
              Maybe my testosterone level is higher than average.
              The length of my fingers on the BBC tests said so,but thar test is unreliable.

              So I stay away from hardcore porn to preserve my ability to LOVE men.

              Sex is important but in the long run love is even better, and I want both.

            • An author Knut Faldbakken may be close when he writes: female sexuality ( or to arouse a women) is a bit like pushing a locomotive into motion. It is slow int the beginning,but once it has started nothing can stop it.

              Not even my non-consent as I found out.

            • Archy

              You write:” I don’t think most men feel comfy intheir sexuality, I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen people refer to masturbation, porn, and especially male sexuality as perverted, sinful, bad, degrading”

              And I wonder is this a result of the culture in Australia today?
              I am surprised since you are young man.
              Where do you get this message ?
              Are boys circumcised there to reduse mastrubation?

  2. Let’s start a poll, who here finds facials inherently degrading? (as in the act alone as part of normal sex, no abuse, or other degradation) Yes or no? I say no.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think that they are inherently degrading, but that doesn’t mean that some people on the receiving end cannot enjoy them and be empowered choices to receive them.

      • The same is often said about blowjobs though. You’re on your knees so it’s seen as dominant, yet the act itself is neutral, I believe how a person acts towards someone before the facial is what truly matters. If they have discussed it with their partner, she likes it, then it’s not degrading, if he does it without her consent then he’s an asshole and committed sexual assault I believe, if he does it because he truly wants to try shame her then that is degrading but the act itself I think is neutral just like sex is. Sex can be degrading or a very loving experience.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I’m sure there are some men who are aroused by the prospect of a woman kneeling during a blowjob while he’s standing, precisely because she’s kneeling and he’s standing. That’s out there.

          However, in many cases the kneeling is just a byproduct of a man enjoying oral sex while he’s standing. Many men feel a distinct pleasure in have an orgasm while standing up, and it’s not primarily at the prospect of their partner kneeling, just the sensation of pleasure while standing up.

          Kneeling may be primarily about where penis and mouth line up. (I’m being gender indeterminate on purpose – I don’t think gay men find kneeling fellatio nearly as degrading as women might.) If he could get fellated while both are standing eye-to-eye, if there was a mouth at his partner’s navel, he would be just as interested. If earth’s gravity were a lot less, he wouldn’t mind a 69 position while standing. If blowjobs happened in zero gravity, there would be hardly any kneeling involved.

          Even if the man is lying flat on his back, his partner will most commonly have to kneel during fellatio. So, whatever is wrong with kneeling appears to be relative. Is degradation really just about whose head is closer to the ceiling?

      • So then you *don’t* think they’re in herently degrading. You think they are degrading for *you.* “Inherently degrading” means that there is something fundamental about the act itself that is degrading in all cases

      • wellokaythen says:

        There are also third and fourth possibilities, everyone. Perhaps in some cases, depending on how the recipient feels, a facial is neither enjoyable not degrading. It could be accidental or simply a byproduct that’s neither loved nor hated.

    • They aren’t inherently degrading. Degrading is defined as “causing a lack of self respect”. If the person receiving a facial does not feel a loss of self respect connected to the act (indeed, many women, men, and nonbinary individuals enjoy facials), then it cannot, by definition of the word, be degrading.

    • Hi Achy
      When you meet the love of your life,and you make love to her DON’T facial.

      • The love of my life would probably enjoy them and not care. I have very little interest in it though, I’d like to try it once but I prefer the tissue, condom or in mouth and spit/swallow method to be graphic. It’s 100% up to her though, her choice, her body, if she likes it then great, if not then great.

    • The message I get here about porn is that it is the viewer who does the objectifying; the Playmates don’t degrade themselves—they don’t become objects, aren’t humiliated—even if that is the fantasy in the mind of the viewer. So based on that, no, there’s nothing inherently degrading about any act; it has to do with how the psyches of the people involved respond.

      Speaking personally, I don’t like receiving facials because they’re kind of messy and gross, but I can see someone enjoying it because it pleases their lover, and they take joy in being able to provide that. I’ve certainly felt that dynamic, so it doesn’t seem strange to me that there are people in the world who enjoy it. I think the internet has a distorting effect on what people like: if it’s full of facials and devoid of vanilla PIV porn, you might get the impression that this is what people are doing privately. I suspect you’d have an even less realistic view of people’s sex than if you applied the same logic to watching reality TV, or sitcoms. You can learn something from us from our fantasies, but you can be pretty sure it isn’t how we live our lives.

    • I don’t think facials are inherently degrading. I think it depends. Some men may enjoy seeing facials because they see it as a way of humiliating or degrading a woman while others may like the udea that a woman enjoys it and finds it sexy rather than going “ew, gross”. Similarly, some women may find it degrading and some may not. I don’t think it’s degrading to give a BJ on my knees. Actually it’s more comfortable that way (with a pillow under my knees) than twisting my neck while he’s lying down. My BF is the one who gets mentally uncomfortable with me being on my knees because he’s afraid I might think it’s degrading. IDK, I think it’s best to do what turns you and your partner on and not stress about it too much. We all have weird stuff in our heads when it comes to sex.

      • “My BF is the one who gets mentally uncomfortable with me being on my knees because he’s afraid I might think it’s degrading.”

        See, that is what I am trying to stop. That automatic feeling of guilt because some people are so sex-negative that they cannot understand the context of sexuality and that things like a facial are neutral and not inherently good or bad, just like sex itself is neutral, not good or bad, you can rape someone and it’s extremely negative, or you can “make love” on your wedding night and have this magical experience of positive feelings. Something like a slap is more tricky, but if it’s consenting then it’s not bad. A punch usually has too much damage to ever really be ok unless it’s a fake super slow punch but I’ve never heard of someone getting off by playing mike tyson in the bedroom…maybe a pillow fight might get some folk in the mood.

        I find it horrifying that your bf is mentally aware so much that he’s anxious of degrading you, he won’t be able to 100% enjoy the blowjob because he’s worried of that stuff that others have put in his head (not you).

        • Somehow my BF got the idea that women think sex is gross and icky and degrading. He has a lot of anxiety about that. I’ve worked hard to convince him otherwise and we’ve made a lot of progress but it is still a little difficult for him sometimes. I think he’s learned now that women love sex but many women are conflicted about expressing their enjoyment of it because of our own negative social conditioning. I wish we lived in a society with healthier attitudes about sex.

          It occurred to me recently that if you are a guy, and you think women find your sexuality disgusting, you are going to feel angry at women at some level (perhaps consciously, perhaps unconsciously). Maybe that helps explains the popularity of the type of porn where women are shown being degraded or abused. Just a theory.

          • My guess is the degradation porn’s popularity is a mix of some being hurt by a woman that cheated, etc, some like kinky stuff like that, some may not think of it as degrading, some are turned on by taboo itself.

            Personally I find female sexuality, and male, to be beautiful.

            • wellokaythen says:

              One problem I think is that so many people don’t make room for multiple feelings about sex. You can have multiple feelings about sex or parts of sex that may not seem consistent with each other, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t compatible. It’s possible to find an aspect of sex kind of funny, kind of gross, and kind of beautiful all at the same time. Or feel differently at different moments in time.

              I don’t see why sex cannot be all these things: beautiful, disgusting, intimate, animal, lust, love, passionate, mundane, etc. If that’s too much of a stretch, then how about just making room for the possibility of sex being something besides beautiful or ugly? Perhaps sexuality, masturbation, and fantasies are neither angels nor demons.

          • Somehow my BF got the idea that women think sex is gross and icky and degrading.

            I think that’s the standard message. I don’t think that’s the intentional message that women put out, or even that they’re aware of putting it out at all, but just saying sex is great, or being into it when they have it, is not enough to counteract all the signs that women think it is gross, icky, and degrading. I’m talking about signs like:

            * Treating semen as gross, icky, and degrading, and more akin to bodily waste (semen or fecal matter) than other bodily fluids that aren’t sexually “gross” like saliva or vaginal lubrication.

            * Treating men’s sexual thoughts as gross, icky, and degrading. Lip service is sometimes paid to it being okay to “just look”, but every example I’ve seen men share of how they can appreciate completely non-interactive looking is still treated as objectification (if he’s sharing an example where the woman had no idea) or creepy (if she did).

            * This one may not be quite as common, but in a relationship (so we’re not talking about touching strangers), if a woman responds to unsolicited affectionate touch as a selfish gesture, like the man is just objectifying her or caring about his own needs, that signals that sex is gross, icky, and degrading, because if she found sex nice, pleasant, and generous, he would expect spontaneous affection to be endearing and welcome (as it would be to him).

            * Treating masturbation (especially the male variety) as gross, icky, and degrading. Per wellokaythen’s earlier comment in this thread, a lot of anti-porn arguments seem to boil down to being anti-masturbation, since many of the supposed dangers of porn wouldn’t be remedied if porn were abolished but masturbation continued. Porn expedites the fantasy process, but men have been fantasizing about the kind of stuff porn shows for long before they had easy (or any) access to it, and if all those orgasm-induced endorphins are causing brain damage, it’s not like men never discovered masturbation until porn came along.

            * Treating female sexuality as more precious and superior to male sexuality in just about every way.

            I think he’s learned now that women love sex but many women are conflicted about expressing their enjoyment of it because of our own negative social conditioning.

            I agree with that, too. It’s not like I think women, by virtue of being women, are destined to find sex gross, icky, and degrading, but that is part of the role that’s expected. Failing to comply with that role can have serious social consequences, whether it’s being regarded as a “slut”, or if she’s a feminist, being shunned by feminists who find her ideas about sex to be overly sympathetic to men.

            I wish we lived in a society with healthier attitudes about sex.

            Ditto. I’m not holding my breath, though, because I don’t think there will ever be consensus about what “healthier” would mean. Do you remember George Carlin’s joke about how when his dad would drive, every other driver was either a maniac or an asshole? “Look at this asshole slowing me down, why doesn’t he… [car passes him] Whoa! Look at that maniac go!” When it comes to a healthy attitude toward sex, it seems like just about everyone thinks they have at least an idea of what that would look like, but in sex driving, everyone else is either a prude or a pervert.

            • Megalodon says:

              Treating men’s sexual thoughts as gross, icky, and degrading. Lip service is sometimes paid to it being okay to “just look”, but every example I’ve seen men share of how they can appreciate completely non-interactive looking is still treated as objectification (if he’s sharing an example where the woman had no idea) or creepy (if she did).

              Bingo. Egalitarian sexuality critics usually indict male sexuality as predatory, degrading, hierarchical and oppressive. However, they assure people that there are ways for male persons to engage in their sexuality without being “gross, icky, and degrading.” They just never seem to mention what those ways are. And it seems almost every iteration or example of male sexuality can or does constitute “objectification.” The allegation of “objectification” is almost non-falsifiable. That is, there is no definitive way that a male person can disprove or refute the allegation that his sexual practice is objectification (even if it is entirely non-interactive).

            • Agreed Megalodon, and generally any sexual fetish, interest, or act that a woman is interested in will be treated as “empowering” or “liberating” for woman. As opposed to men’s sexual interests, fetishes, and wanted acts seen as “degrading”, “gross”, “objectifying”, or “perverted”.

            • Those are good points, Marcus, let me see if I can respond.

              * Treating semen as gross, icky, and degrading.
              — Many women feel that all bodily fluids, including their own vaginal fluids, are gross and icky. I know I did when I was a teenager and young adult. Not to get too graphic here, but I remember feeling incredibly horrified and disgusted by the fluids and the (normal) smell of myself “down there” when I got turned on. I was embarrassed the first few times a boyfriend touched my genitals. To this day, I still prefer to take a shower before sex or at least freshen up because I am paranoid about odor. So to the extent women think semen is gross, it is likely they also think their own fluids, sweat, and other bodily substances are gross. I have reached a point in my life where I am no longer grossed out by sexual fluids (except for the odor thing) but I was definitely not there when I was younger. I think this is a common experience for women, unfortunately, perhaps from how we are raised to think that normal bodily functions are icky.

              * Treating men’s sexual thoughts as gross, icky, and degrading.
              — I realize this is a tough issue and I’ve seen comment threads on the topic generate hundreds of comments. I just want to say that if I notice a man is looking at me in a sexual way, I have a large range of feelings about it — from feeling slightly flattered (I’m 46 so it is kind of nice to know I’m “not dead yet”), to embarrassment (am I dressed too provocatively? should I show so much cleavage?) to discomfort and a feeling of being too exposed and vulnerable. But I don’t think “ooh he’s having sexual thoughts, gross!” If I had to use one adjective, I’d say embarrassment about myself is the primary feeling. It’s a feeling that is focused on my reaction, not on him, if that makes any sense.

              * not enjoying “spontaneous touch” in a relationship.
              — That one is odd to me — who doesn’t like affectionate touch in a relationship? Not my experience so I can’t really comment.

              * Treating masturbation (especially the male variety) as gross, icky, and degrading.
              — Agreed, we have huge hangups about masturbation in our culture. I do find it interesting that most men enjoy the idea of women masturbating yet most women do not enjoy the idea of men masturbating. I don’t know what that is about.

              * Treating female sexuality as more precious and superior to male sexuality in just about every way.
              — I know what you mean and I don’t really know where this comes from. Maybe because men learn to appreciate and celebrate female sexuality whereas girls are raised to be afraid of male sexuality.

              I remember a female gym teacher my freshman year in high school who got permission to spend a couple weeks with the girls in the class, talking to us about issues like sexual abuse, STD’s, birth control and pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to educate girls about those issues. But I remember the class caused me to feel terrified that every guy I knew was going to try to date rape me at any second and I’d end up pregnant and infected with herpes. I don’t remember having any discussion in the class about our own sexual feelings and how it was normal for us to actually want sex as much as boys — it was all about fending off the boys so “bad stuff” wouldn’t happen to us. This was in the early 1980’s and our teacher was a very well-meaning woman who was coming from an “Our Bodies, Ourselves” 1970’s kind of perspective. I think for the time, the class was revolutionary. But in retrospect, it left me feeling a little scared and very guilty because I was starting to experience a lot of sexual feelings around that time, and I felt abnormal! I got the idea that normal girls wouldn’t want sex with those icky boys unless they were forced into it. I felt like, “What’s wrong with me?”

              I believe that the sexuality of teenagers is really scary to a lot of adults. Teenage girls, in particular, are the pinnacle of what our society finds to be sexual enticing and desirable. Many adult women — our mothers, aunts, teachers, who were the ones giving us information about these issues — were completely TERRIFIED of talking to girls about sexuality in a completely honest way. I don’t know what it is like now (maybe things have changed) but when I was a teenager, I heard a lot about consent and birth control and being safe — which are all incredibly, incredibly important things — but no one wanted to talk to me about how great sex is and how much I could enjoy it.

              I think our society has become more open about sex but I don’t see attitudes getting healthier. Girls seem more willing to engage in sexual activity than ever before, yet at the same time, the level of the discourse in popular culture about sex seems to have become ever harsher and more vulgar. I don’t think people have fewer hangups or issues around sex than they did 20 years ago despite all the porn and everything else. I’m not sure how we could get things on track but something sure seems broken.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Now we’re getting somewhere. See, everyone on the interwebs? This is how you do it, an actual honest discussion between men and woman about real-life stuff like sex and porn and masturbation. And look, the world doesn’t come to an end.

              I think the idea of semen as disgusting, toxic waste (instead of this thing without which none of us would exist) is related to seeing masculinity and sexuality as gross. I associate it with the way that people talk about testosterone as if it’s a deadly poison.

              Sorry, I don’t have much of substance to add to either Sarah or Marcus here. I just wanted to draw a little attention to people modeling good behavior….

            • More questions about body fluids.
              Do you have sex with a woman when she has her period,if she is OK with that?
              Are you comfortable with oral sex and her blood? After all it is only body fluids.

              To you think most men do?

            • I can’t speak for all men, of course, but I am comfortable with oral sex with men and women, and with incidental oral contact with menstrual blood. (Not lots of blood, thanks, but say with a tampon: sure.) I think this is unusual among men, but it’s something to consider if we are exchanging bodily fluids with one another, and know the relative risks for disease transmission and unplanned pregnancy, then isn’t everything else about the ick factor? We might not manage an ick-free lifestyle with our own bodies, much less someone else’s, but it’s something to strive for.

            • I brought this up because I can feel a hurt here in some men when they describe women:” they don’t like own bodies . They don’t like our body fluids….”

              Women have body fluids 20-25% all their adult life 24/7. BLOOD.Not a teaspoon full. Constantly .A body fluid that In most cultures makes her UNCLEAN 25% of her adult lifetime.
              A body fluid most men do want to NOT see,touch,smell or swallow. I guess they rather not even want it exists.( Fortunaltly some are OK with it.)

              But women on the other had are expected to love all men’s body fluid,otherwise we offend men. Facials, receive facials to show your love for men’s body fluids. Swallow it.

              Well deal with it!
              I cannot say I feel particularly sorry for you.

              What I do feel sorry for however is any man that feels his body and sexuality offend women.
              Then i think I :” what did your parents do to you?”.
              Sex is messy,it is wet,sweaty, and lots of body fluids.
              My cousin trained with moon jelly’s to learn to be comfortable with sex.

              And women even have hair on their genitals in real life. Is that IKY?

            • And women even have hair on their genitals in real life. Is that IKY?

              In the late 70’s when “Charlie’s Angels” was a hit, many women in real life didn’t have long, feathered hair. (But many did.) In the mid-90’s, many women in real life didn’t style their hair to look like the women of “Friends”. (But many did.) What people do with the hair on their heads is a matter of style and is subject to fashion trends and personal preference like any other style. I don’t see why the pubic region should be exempt from such influences, so it seems silly to me to argue that there’s only one acceptable standard and anything short of an unpruned bush is a sign of oppression, patriarchy, or whatever. It’s not selfish or perverted to want full bush, bald, or anything in between, so whatever you like for yourself, there are sure to be others out there who like the same thing, or simply don’t care as long as they get to touch it.

              I grew up where the only porn I saw until about my mid-20s were very occasional Playboys or Penthouses, at which time *all* models had full bushes that at most, looked trimmed. Never bare. I never felt disgusted by nor especially turned on by the pubic hair, but all that hair meant that when occasionally there was a glimpse past the hair to a crease, or even better, inner labia, I felt like I was really seeing something. Hair wasn’t gross, just an impediment to the bits I enjoyed seeing most. When pubic fashions shifted later in my adulthood to either completely shaved or at least shaved labia, I loved that (still do) because the hair, while not gross, is simply an extra layer blocking what I most enjoy seeing, touching, tasting. If there are actually guys out there who grew up on shaved-only porn and decline sex when they discover a willing partner isn’t shaved, then I think they’re idiots. I find it hard to believe that would be the case, given how enthusiastic most guys are to have real-life access to a willing partner, and how unlikely I think most are to reduce such opportunities by turning away partners because “Eww…pubic hair”.

              I don’t think all women should shave off all their pubic hair to please men. It wouldn’t work anyway, since some men don’t even like that. However, many women choose for reasons having nothing to do with “what porn makes men expect” to shave some or all of their pubic hair, with reasons ranging from how they like the look, to how it feels, to their own feelings about pubic hair being icky, and so on. I think it’s just as bad to characterize those women as unwilling porn star copycats as it is to expect all women to follow that fashion. I also think that in cases where someone doesn’t feel strongly one way or another about a particular style trend, it can be a considerate and sweet thing to follow the fashion their partner *does* care about, because it’s nice to please people we love, not because it’s an obligation. In such cases, I think pubic grooming preferences aren’t much different from preferences about facial hair, clothes, hair styles, etc., and it doesn’t seem to cause much controversy in those areas when a partner who doesn’t already have a strong preference adapts their choices to please the one who does. I also believe that like any other fashion trend, the most popular choices regarding pubic grooming are subject to change. Just because bare is the most common look in porn now doesn’t mean that can’t or won’t ever change. 20 yrs from now, there will probably be people complaining that they can’t go bare because men “expect” nothing less than a full bush because, “Eww…you can see the shape of the lips.”

            • I like shaven women because the vulva is one of the most beautiful things (Not sure on what word to encompass everything in life, including objects but also body organs, paintings, etc) I’ve ever seen and it also allows easier oral sex. A “bush” hides that beauty, so personally I dislike bushes but still it’s up to my partner to decide what she wants to do with it. I keep myself trimmed too.

            • I’m always touched when guys say they like seeing labia… I find them rather ugly to look at (aesthetically speaking) – weird lumpy bits of skin. Hmm.

            • “I’m always touched when guys say they like seeing labia… I find them rather ugly to look at (aesthetically speaking) – weird lumpy bits of skin. Hmm.”
              No way, they’re beauuuutiful.

            • I agree with Archy – they’re beautiful. I could write pages about why I think so, but in this context, I doubt it would be received favorably, so maybe some other time and place…

              One thing this tangent calls to mind is something I remember from reading “The Da Vinci Code”. That was a work of fiction that made up or stretched a lot of stuff, so I don’t know how factual the tidbit I’m thinking of is, but it sure sounded plausible to me. Somewhere in the theme of the “sacred feminine”, it’s pointed out (probably by the main character) that the common shape we call a “heart” and use to symbolize love does not look anything like an actual heart. What it does often resemble, though, are the labia minora. Now, if you look at a lot of explicit vulva pictures, the inner lips won’t always or even most of the time look like a heart, but its not at all uncommon for those lips to curve wider at the top and taper toward the bottom, such that when lying in an open “ready” pose, not straining or being pulled or anything, they form a heart. It is one of my *favorite* “poses”, if you will, both because it’s a pleasing shape, and if you can see that arrangement, it usually has the look of being ready and inviting, which is a very erotic thing to me. That’s not at all to say that I’m turned off by inner labia that *don’t* form a heart, but just like you might have some favorite types of food or music without that meaning it’s all you enjoy, I do love “hearts”.

              Whether they can make a heart or not, though, they never look exactly the same – even from one pose to the next on the same woman – so I’m endlessly perplexed by women (it’s always women) who talk about how porn makes women think they have to have that “perfect pussy” just like all those models in porn with perfectly symmetrical, small-lipped vulvas. It’s a point that’s guaranteed to come up any time labiaplasty is mentioned, and personally, it saddens me to think any woman would undergo that procedure for anything other than personal comfort reasons, which from what I’ve read, is rare. I have no idea what the women who aspire to some “perfect pussy” are looking at, or if they’re looking at what I see, then thinking they all look alike is…I don’t have a word for it…vulvist?

            • I am ok with her natural lubricating juices, and if she “squirts”, but no blood thank-you. I may have sex with her on her period but blood turns me off, I don’t expect her to start licking my wounds everytime I’m bleeding either not to mention we have built in fears of blood gained from the fear of transmission of diseases from popular media but also it’s a sign of there being a problem, a wound, so naturally some will find it icky. I find the natural lubrication of a woman to be quite sexy, I don’t find blood sexy. If it’s an arterial style wound and the blood is pulsing I actually start to pass out for some reason. I don’t get eww’d out by semen or female fluids of sexuality.

              If you want to compare the fluids a man is describing then you should compare it to women that squirt as the liquid is quite similar, not to blood. If I get a kidney stone and piss blood, I doubt a woman would be happy for me to expell that blood onto her. If she tries to guilt me about period blood, should I guilt her about not wanting to consume the expelled blood? How about next time I cut myself and ask her to lick it up like a lioness? Is that ok?

              Or maybe some of us just DO NOT LIKE BLOOD, don’t like the taste, don’t like the sight and that should fucking be respected and not shamed. Women that don’t like semen, well, don’t have any, but it’s got absofucking nothing in common with blood.

            • wellokaythen says:

              I would guess if a population of men was required to state a preference one way or the other, the vast majority would prefer no period blood. How MUCH it bothers men or how much they found it a turn-off is probably quite variable, however. Some preferences are mild preferences. Some are “dealbreakers.” A lot of men would see a difference between period blood during intercourse and during cunnilingus. I have no statistics on this, just speculating.

              I’d also add that just because I prefer something not be present doesn’t mean that I find it disgusting or a total turnoff. It doesn’t mean that I think that person’s body is inherently gross. It doesn’t mean that I would never ever have sex in those circumstances. When it comes to sex and bodily fluids there ARE other choices besides “beautiful” and “disgusting.” If I got to state a preference about bed sheets and sex, I would prefer sex on bed sheets fresh out of the dryer.

              Preferences are not necessarily criticisms or value judgments. If a partner takes a preference personally every time, then that person has some boundary problems.

            • I didn’t know that about vibrators. Fascinating!

              I actually found out about sex while visiting a friend’s farm when I was about 5. The mom took me and my sister out to look at their horses and there was a stallion in the corral who was obviously feeling a little randy. I asked what was that thing sticking out from his belly and got a very matter of fact farm woman’s description of penises, mating and where baby horses come from. I remember thinking, “oh, ok.” No big deal.

            • Hi Sarah
              I can not belive what I read! This is terrible.
              A sexologist T. langfelt once wrote:” We do not circumcise men in Europe. Europeans are too fond of sex to do that”.
              I am Scandinavian and I have NEVER met anyone that had issues about mastrubation. Never. What I read in this thread is unbelivable !

              When will anybody analyse the relationship between school shootings and sexuality in America?

              And here is Ted Bundy’s last interview before he was executed.
              About hard core pornography.
              I am sure psychologists and psychiatrist see it differently, but if this is his option it s interesting.http://www.pureintimacy.org/piArticles/A000000433.cfm

            • Megalodon says:

              Iben, one should be very hesistant before accepting the explanations of Ted Bundy at face value. First off, there were many other factors in Bundy’s background and upbringing which can be implicated in the kind of person he became. Secondly, Bundy gave inconsistent answers about his use of pornography and its influence of his actions. Third, Dobson clearly had some conservative anti-pornography agenda that he wanted to further by featuring Bundy as some kind of freak show. Whether Dobson actually believed Bundy or whether Dobson was just using him in cynical fashion, I do not know. Either way, the interview should not count as credible psychology data.

              The afternoon before he was executed, Bundy granted an interview to Dr. James Dobson, a psychologist and founder of the Christian evangelical organization Focus on the Family. He used the opportunity to make new statements about violence in the media and the pornographic “roots” of his crimes. “It happened in stages, gradually,” he said. “My experience with … pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality, is once you become addicted to it … I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far … where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give that which is beyond just reading it or looking at it.”Violence in the media, he said, “particularly sexualized violence,” sent boys “down the road to being Ted Bundys.” The FBI, he suggested, should stake out adult movie houses and follow patrons as they leave. “You are going to kill me,” he said, “and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”

              Researchers generally agree that Bundy’s sudden condemnation of pornography was one last manipulative attempt to forestall his execution by catering to Dobson’s agenda as a longtime anti-pornography advocate, telling him precisely what he wanted to hear. While he asserted in the Dobson interview that detective magazines and other reading material had “corrupted” him and “fueled [his] fantasies … to the point of becoming a serial killer”, in a 1977 letter to Ann Rule he said, “Who in the world reads these publications? … I have never purchased such a magazine, and [on only] two or three occasions have I ever picked one up.” He also told Michaud and Aynsworth in 1980, and Hagmaier the night before he spoke to Dobson, that pornography played a negligible role in his development as a serial killer. “The problem wasn’t pornography,” wrote Dekle. “The problem was Bundy.”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy#Pathology

            • First, I let Freudian typo slip in my previous comment – the parenthetical examples of bodily waste should have read “(urine and fecal matter)” not “(semen and fecal matter)”. Whoops.

              I don’t get the sense there’s much disagreement between us here, Sarah, but my earlier comment was prompted mainly by the “Somehow my BF got the idea…” phrase, which struck me as expressing surprise at an entirely commonplace belief. Maybe you didn’t mean it the way I took it, but I do feel like you could see where I was coming from in my response, and I appreciate that. One thing I’ll note that I didn’t explicitly say before is that in describing the reasons I think it’s common to think women think sex is gross and degrading, I don’t cast all the blame for that state of affairs on women, like it’s a conscious and malicious decision to think that way. Women are complicit in perpetuating those attitudes, but they’re also pretty much raised that way, especially when religion is involved. I think a lot of men are, too, but it’s more likely to manifest as guilt than “sex is gross”. I was raised Catholic, and though I never got fire and brimstone sermons about how lust was a ticket to Hell, the teaching that the *only* moral sex is “unitive and procreative” between a husband and wife was still enough to stamp every other kind of sex, including masturbation, as a sin to avoid and/or be ashamed of. I think it’s an uphill battle to spread “healthier sexuality” when an awful lot of what you and I would probably agree that means is considered an affront to people’s religious beliefs. It’s not just education – it’s religion…which also explains (in my opinion) why so many arguments against porn are really proxy arguments against masturbation (as wellokaythen suggested.)

              I’m too short of time and energy to reply in more detail to all of your comment, but I appreciated all of it.

            • Agreed, our society’s Victorian attitudes toward sex are at the root of a lot of this.

              Note that I said “Victorian” as opposed to “Puritanical” – I think most of our problems with sexuality actually stem from the Victorian era. Also, I have a theory that sexual “fastidiousness” (for lack of a better word) only developed when society became more urban. People who grow up on farms are not freaked out by sex or bodily fluids or being “dirty”. Just a theory.

              I had a relationship once with a guy from China and he is the only guy I’ve ever had sex with who really seemed to have no “ick” factor around sex. Not that Chinese society is perfect by any means (far from it). But it was interesting that he never seemed at all anxious about whether he, or I, or our sexual activities were “gross.” i have no idea if this is typical for people frm Chinese cultures or if he was unusual but it was something I noticed about our sexual relationship. It was kind of nice!

            • wellokaythen says:

              Good points. There’s a lot of historical context and cultural context involved.

              In colonial America at least, the “Puritans” were not especially sex-negative, no more than any other English or Western European communities of the era. They were preindustrial farm families living in cramped quarters, raising farm animals, conceiving and giving birth in the bedroom everyone shared. They saw sex all the time and didn’t think it was inherently gross and sinful in all cases. For them, it was a natural urge that could lead to sin when channeled in some ways, but just a basic fact of life or even a good part of God’s plan when channeled in the “right ways.” They thought sexual desire was part of life, which is one reason they were against the idea of clerical celibacy. They thought celibacy was distinctly ungodly and probably impossible anyway.

              And, based on the legal records of the era, the Puritans very often failed to practice what they preached. A third of their babies were conceived out of wedlock, and the most common crime, more common than every other crime put together, was “fornication.”

              I think you see similar attitudes towards sex in most “peasant” societies. They tend to be more matter-of-fact about sex. Maybe it’s because they’re overall less squeamish about *everything*. I suspect that even people who live and work on farms and ranches in the industrial world tend to have fewer hang-ups about bodily fluids. When your job includes castrating bulls and gutting chickens, a little period blood seems hardly noticeable.

              The Victorians had their blind spots about sex, but in some ways those blind spots were so big that they failed to notice a lot of things that today we would clearly see as sexual. For example, the late nineteenth century use of vibrators as medical instruments to induce orgasm, only the doctors didn’t think it was an orgasm. Electric vibrators were one of the first electrical handheld devices. In the early 1900’s, you could actually buy vibrators from mainstream mail order catalogues, in the section that sold all the household appliances. In some ways, present day people may be even more Victorian than the Victorians were.

            • a great read wello

            • Marcus, I just posted another comment which is in moderation, but reading it over I also wanted to reiterate that I agree with what you said in your comment and I wish it wasn’t that way. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves and our sexuality without being shamed for it.

  3. Hi

    This is interesting and makes me understand my own responses to men better.

    Some men on GMP tell us that they are not attractive.,and some even use a lifetime to find a partner to share their life with.

    Other men ask why lots of women seems to reject the ” nice men”.

    Dr. Engel just gave you some of the answers!
    Lots of women run as fast as they can when they see that look in a man eyes : IDEALIZATION. We just can’t run fast enough to get away…..

    Unfortunately some women also idealize and devalue men in periods. I confess have done of that.

    • Explain the look better? I am a bit confused on what you mean by it.

      • Martin Nash says:

        That would be any look that is filtered through several layers of preconception.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Let’s be real here.

          The “look in a man’s eyes” is, basically, how he looks to you. He isn’t doing anything to you, he isn’t invading your space, his eyes don’t emit rays like Superman, he isn’t actually doing anything except having a certain appearance. If you move away from a man because of the way that he looks at you, then you are moving away from him because of his appearance. You are coming to conclusions about him based on appearance. You are moving away because of the alignment of his eyeballs and tiny movements of his facial muscles.

          And, you can only know that look in his eyes by looking at him yourself. You cannot actually, literally feel someone’s eyes on you. They are not actually “on you.” You can only know he’s looking at you by looking at him.

          If you’re a waitress and I have that look in my eyes when I see you bring my food to the table, it could be I’m hungry.

          • Are you telling me that you never see feelings in the eyes of other humans beings and animals?

            And yes, I also look into the others eyes.
            But most of the time in the city we just rush past each other totally indifferent to others.

            And most of the time we have no feelings at all for all the persons we meet during the day. Like you have no feelings for the waitress. Of course .
            But I am sure that some times during that day,this waitress will also see feelings in a customs eyes when she talks with him or he talks to her.. That is not invading anybody’s space,it is not offensive or scary or bad. Feelings are not bad.

            We are human beings. We have feelings and we see feeimgs in each others.

            Maybe you never see any feelings in another persona eyes or in your dogs eyes if you have one. We differ in this sensitive to see feelings.

            I learned from a man in another tread that a person diagnosed with PTSD find it difficult to see feelings and that was a handicap in relationship.. So you are absolutely right, we differ.

            But I see feelings.
            Some say women tend to look at the eyes while men look at the body. Maybe we navigate more by what we see in the others eyes than men do. I am not a brain reaseacher obviously but I am 100% sure that I am not the only human being that see feelings in the eyes of others humans and animals.
            And I am not psychotic or psychic.

            • I believe he refers to that humans are complex and that their facial expressions can convey many different messages. I put on a neutral face or a stoic face a lot, it’s my natural default facial expression, I can be utterly happy inside but still keep a straight face (been told I would be good at poker because of that). I can throw down an evil as fuck stare at someone that appears like I’m ready to destroy them but I am in a playful mood and messing with them (I do this with friends when we’re joking around). Looks are subjective, you rely on your instinct + the sum of all people you know and how they send a facial expression to judge what a person is thinking by their face. The point we’re trying to make is to not put too much emphasis on a facial expression and that the person might be hungry or find you attractive.

            • “Some say women tend to look at the eyes while men look at the body. Maybe we navigate more by what we see in the others eyes than men do”

              some say, and I say bullshit..

            • wellokaythen says:

              Is the eye not part of the body? Is looking at a person’s eyes not looking at their body?

              I’ve lost the thread of a conversation with an attractive woman because I was admiring her eyes. Supposedly that’s better than losing my train of thought because I was looking at another part of her body, but I’m not sure why people think that.

  4. “When we can’t handle the emotional complexities of another person, we start to split them….”

    Deep stuff! Loved that you were interviewing a Playmate who was so thoughtful….! My ex used to put me on a pedestal, like I was a marble statue he was chipping away at and he was the sculptor, Pygmalion….when I would speak up or argue, he would talk over me and shush me or tell me I was being ridiculous….in the end, I couldn’t take it anymore and told him what I really thought and that I was ending it… which he could not accept at all…he would try to tell me his interpretation of my feelings, which I thought was ridiculous— because he couldn’t know that at all…. Long story short, he had a grown up version of a tantrum….all because Galatea was talking back to him!

    Very interesting article!

  5. FlyingKal says:

    Hi Iben,

    1) Didn’t you just strongly oppose to sweeping generalizations about “men being like this and women being like that”, in the “What Do Men Really Want in Relationships?” thread?

    2) How can they see the look of idealization in the eyes of a man, when they don’t even bother to look him in the eyes before the rejection?

    But if you insist on women rather have a man that is demeaning to them, than one who’s respectful and treat them like an equal human being, then I guess I’ll take your word for it.

    Best regards.

    • Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.
      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      Hi Flyingkale

      I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

      It is true I said in the tread about what men wants that i refuse to believe that most men want relationships mainly for recharging their batteries.

      And trust me Flyinkale I am not afraid of looking men in the eyes. I am my fathers daughter and know men have emotions. We were close.

      But you see
      where I live we do not have the costume of dating like you have in America. I lived for a while in America,and was invited on dates by strangers,but in my culture we socialize first.

      So the times in my life when I have seen that look in a mans eyes we already knew each other. We went in the same class in school, worked together or socialized in the same group.

      Men do not approach women the same where i live as they do in the US. But I have little experience from dating in America. Three dates.

      Writing is not my art form Flyingkale. I am sorry I expressed myself in a way that offend men. I tried to express the feelings that wells up inside of me.

      I have never actually RUN away from any man that talked to me,nor from any man I knew that got this look in his eyes. But I have closed a door emotionally and not responded.

      I am sure men have seen the same look in my eyes sometimes and ignored it.

      As I said,writing is not my art form and my high school English is not good enough to express my thoughts and feelings well.

      Nor do I want to ridicule men and their emotions. I live alone because of some serious hurt in the past,but I try to understand men. And even more importantly I have used many years of my adult life to conquer my fear of men and regain my love. This is an never ending project in my life.

      I agree with you,it is rude and insensitive to reject a man without looking in his eyes. Trust me I agree. But men look.
      Already when I was ten I could become pregnant and men’s look from then on was a daily part of my life.

      And I wish I knew how to communicate with you and tell you what I mean. It is hard in English.

      What I tried to say was this:
      Some men feel they are not attractive. But In fact they are, but they do not know it because they never get the validation needed.

      And for some of those men the reason why at least I withdraw is that I am VERY uncomfortable when I see a certain look in a man eyes

      Men have so many feelings in their eyes and that is a good thing. Maybe it true that most women read facial expressions better than men.
      And men have so many looks in their eyes:

      The Rhett Butler look…it only makes me smile.
      The longing……I love that look!
      The open honest look…..husband material ..
      The predator look….not good
      The puppy love look…
      come play with me look….nice
      and more….
      The idealization look..I feel:” oh no!”

      And in that situation we are animals ..
      No women are alike. I tell my it from my point of view.

      I doubt what I write here make you understand better what I mean. Sorry about that Flyingkale.

      • Interesting comment, I thought my browser was broken with the repeating:P
        The major issue of telling others to avoid having the Look in their eye, is that it’s completely 100% subjective to your experience. That look you see could be misread by you and to others it may mean simply he is looking at someone he thinks he recognizes n what not. It’s impossible to know the look you are referring to and shouldn’t really be told to be avoided because it ends up makign guys like myself feel even MORE insecure over how we come across, where we are trying to stop an unknown look from occuring to avoid making someone uncomfy. Now if you could say more on the features of that look, like an uncomfortable stare of 3+ seconds which is easy to avoid that would be great but the way you described the look gives me absolutely zero information on it. Or did you mean don’t view your partner metaphorically with that look, not actually a look in the sense of facial expression?

        • Hi Archy

          The last thing I want is to make you more insecure. Honest,I love your sensitivity and personality.

          You write:
          “The major issue of telling others to avoid having the Look in their eye, is that it’s completely 100% subjective to your experience. That look you see could be misread by you”.

          Do you remember the test we took online from BBC about female and male brains?
          A part of that test was interpreting facial expressions. Or in fact the expression in eyes.
          I scored 18 out of 20 so I am not perfect at readings facial expressions.

          What do I mean by the look in a mans eyes?
          It is same as reading your cat or your dog.
          A mans eyes can be so full of longing and tenderness,or cold, or playful or seductive…
          I mean the feelings I see in his eyes.
          And if you think it is 100% subjective then you are positively wrong.

          You write:
          “It’s impossible to know the look you are referring to and shouldn’t really be told to be avoided because it ends up makign guys like myself feel even MORE insecure over how we come across, where we are trying to stop an unknown look from occuring to avoid making someone uncomfy”

          Do not stop looking at other humans beings Archy. We look at each other ALL the time.
          And I do not tell you to avoid a certain look.
          It more that I tell you that your attitudes and feelings show. That is great! Just make sure you work on your attitudes.

          What is not great is idealization. Ask any celebrity how he or she feels when they are worshiped. They all know that the looker do not see the real person and do not want to see the real person. It is hard to explain this in words. Ask HeatherN, to explain, she is a capacity …..

          But back to you Archy. You write:
          “Now if you could say more on the features of that look, like an uncomfortable stare of 3+ seconds which is easy to avoid that would be great but the way you described the look gives me absolutely zero information on it. Or did you mean don’t view your partner metaphorically with that look, not actually a look in the sense of facial expression?”

          Archy
          I am not talking about an uncomfortable stare.
          I talk about how I interpret the feelings in a mans eyes. All human beings show feelings in their eyes. Dead eyes scares us .We all interpret facial expression all the time.

          But sometimes the men and women you met wants something more, to come closer, be intimate, be a sweetheart …. And you can see that in their eyes.

          I can remember a boyfriends once told me:” now you had the look in your eyes. I knew you coincided if I could be “the one.” The life long partner.

          I did’t know. But he was right. I had made a decision about us.

          Archy my friend, do not worry about women reading your feelings. But try to see any woman is she really is. Do not get intimidated by beautiful women,or well educated women,or women in power,or women with high status, or famous women…..

          See the person.
          It is nothing wrong if you like a beautiful woman( as I think you do). But try to see beyond it. Because there is more to her.

          I do not want you to become more insecure Archy, I like you.

          • I can read otehrs feelings well, but I am someone who is skilled at sending the wrong facial signals as a defense mechanism. I had people assume I was confident when I was really scared in highschool, that’s the thing. A look alone can mean multiple things and we need more time than a single look to judge a persons character. Thank-you for the comment though :)

          • FlyingKal says:

            @Iben:
            Myself, I am terrible at reading or interpreting other people’s feelings, facial expressions and looks.
            If you say that other people, especially women, can read me as an open book, I will be even more reluctant to interact with them, since I more often than not seems not give away a scary or creepy vibe, and I have absolutely no interest in scaring or creeping out other people…

      • Flyingkal says:

        Hi Iben, and thanks for your answer, which I guess got a bit longer than you intended ;-)

        I’m not in the US. And never have. Then again, I’m not really familiar with the dating scene anywhere since I never got into it. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And at 40+ it hardly seems worth the effort to keep trying anymore.

        And you are correct, not many people have seen me as attractive so my estimation of myself as unatractive is solely based on emphirical data. But what else can you do? Claiming that you are attractive while noone else think you are would be narcissistic, if not delusionsl, right?

        Yes, maybe it’s true that most women read facial expressions better than men?
        Then again, maybe you just think you do?
        If you reject someone based on the first impression of the look in their eyes alone and not bother to stop and talk to that person, how do you know that your interpretation of that look was correct?

        • Hi Flyingkale
          You say:
          “If you reject someone based on the first impression of the look in their eyes alone and not bother to stop and talk to that person, how do you know that your interpretation of that look was correct?”

          You are right! I may be wrong.
          Gems are overlooked.

  6. “I told her that the vast majority of pornography on the Internet contains themes of devaluation.”

    Source?

  7. The Onion has a good little article on objectification.
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/teenage-girl-blossoming-into-beautiful-object,31061/

  8. I don’t think I would be comfortable going to a female phsycologist to talk about issues with women. In fact, I specifically chose a male one, and I KNOW I wouldn’t appreciate my most private thoughts being material for some book by said doctor!

  9. “What man hasn’t been rejected by a woman? Who hasn’t experienced performance anxiety or felt inferior compared to her past lovers or nervous about approaching a woman? Who wouldn’t like to just bypass all of that for a moment and get off unfettered by such trepidations? Porn that devalues, restores a man’s “right” to receive pleasure: the male is cast in the glorified position, and all sense of inferiority is projected onto the female. This is the psyche attempting to master anxiety through a mechanism called eroticization.”

    I suppose it’s also possible that many men have legitimately been mistreated by women, and that not all of men’s issue stem from their own insecurities or failures. Sadly, even that possibility is not addressed here.

  10. I can tell you from experience that not all porn viewing necessarally has to do with sex. True story, I’m sitting in the local watering hole enjoying happy hour, shooting the bull with some regulars about anything and everything when this one guy starts talking about this Japenese sounding thing called Bukaki or something. Sporting my usual dazed and confused look, he proceeds to show me on his smart phone. Now, sometimes I’m truly amazed how, at 58 years old, I can be so ignorant of the world we live in! On a cell phone no less, there’s this naked woman, surrounded by naked men, and their all,what’s that word , facializing her! So, as I start sliding down the bar, putting distance between us, he starts telling me his life story about his mean , bitchy, female boss who he claims makes his life hell. Then he claims that while he watches this shit, he imagines that’s his boss at a board meeting! I told him he needs to find a new job!

  11. Do women objectify men when they are using vibrators? After all, one could argue they are reducing men to their genitalia, right?

    • Quite.

      At least in men’s titilation the women aren’t so disembodied.

      Four legs good, two legs better, as ever.

    • A huge amount of objectification is subjective. If a woman feels objectified, it becomes objectification regardless of the man’s intent. Quite frankly the most objectifying comments I’ve ever seen have come from other women who talk about objectification and treat porn stars like they are abusing themselves for doing such acts. The way they speak literally removes agency from these women in porn they are trying to save, it’s disgusting. But back to the point it’s subjective in how you see it….sex can be objectifying yet not to others, a zoomed in breast can be objectifying to some yet not to others, a man that desires too much sex can make a woman feel like a sex object, yet other women may not feel that way.

      If you look at porn and see a woman being treated like an object when she’s having consenting sex but it’s an activity you disapprove of (facials, gang bangs, etc) then the person objectifying her is YOU. Why is it I can look at those women and not see an object, but a real human female simply enjoying sex, playing a role she was paid to and chose to do? Something I DO find objectifying is the naked female rug, and coffee table ads, or when a porn really does treat her like a fucktoy and not as a willing participant (BDSM plays with this line, and the fake-rape stuff definitely does that), but a gang bang? You could see her as being the object of pleasure for a bunch of guys, or you can view it as her enjoying sex with multiple guys where she has enormous sexual power because she has that many willing guys. If she’s tied up, being fucked so hard she is crying, yeah I find that objectifying unless done in a certain way of her being respected and just roleplaying. But then there are women who do enjoy being treated like shit, does it make them an object for it? Does it mean it’s degrading to women because some women don’t like it? Depends largely on your mindset and how you view these things, could it be that only rape is truly objectifying? But the simple act of a woman in a porno naked having sex? No, not objectifying.

  12. Megalodon says:

    What man hasn’t been rejected by a woman? Who hasn’t experienced performance anxiety or felt inferior compared to her past lovers or nervous about approaching a woman?

    Homosexual men who never attempted heterosexual activity. Celibate men who never engaged or attempted sexual activity with other persons. I’m sure there are other examples.

    Or were these just rhetorical questions?

  13. QuantumInc says:

    Fundamentally objectification refers to the act of taking away a person’s ability to make decisions, have wants and needs, and their own internal life. So ignoring these, or treating them as less important as certain qualities, bending them to your own will, wants and needs is certainly objectification. There can still be a focus on positive qualities, even on their personality, but just because you admire a woman’s compassion, you could still objectify if you ignore her own reasons for being compassionate. Some men are shocked when a woman is nice to a Bum, but mean to the guy who smacks her bum.

    Needless to say there are horrible consequences to being objectified, if somebody ignores your own wants and needs, or if they attribute your actions to simplistic mechanisms, or some thing ineffable. For example if somebody said, “Women be Crazy! Men cannot understand women, So get her flowers, all women love flowers!” That would be objectification, and result in a woman feeling lonely and angry, and a vase of neglected roses. Often men’s needs seem to take priority.

    Though it can be easy to forget that considering the ways the word ‘objectification’ can get thrown around. Ironically 3rd wave feminists don’t use it that often.

  14. wellokaythen says:

    I think the author’s argument about the simple splitting between idealization and devaluation is a useful one. It’s clearly the case that porn images are to some degree vessels into which people pour their hopes, fears, desires, etc. It’s the fact that idealized images are not realistic that makes them so popular.

    However, what continues to amaze me is how many articles about pornography, even about the consumption of pornography, never mention masturbation. There is now this growing acceptance of discussing porn, analyzing what the images do and don’t do, how porn shapes people’s lives, but still the same old taboo about discussing masturbation. It’s as if everyone wants to talk about funerals without saying anything about death. Quite an intellectual feat, and somewhat disingenuous. I don’t see how anyone can really comment on the morality or political correctness of porn and say nothing about masturbation, particularly if they think masturbation with porn is disgusting but masturbation without it is perfectly normal.

    At some point, someone will need to explain what the difference really is between masturbating alone in private with a magazine, versus alone in private without a magazine. If doing it with a magazine is demeaning, but the images in one’s head are essentially the same either way, then aren’t they both demeaning? Is the crusade against porn in some ways a crusade against masturbating?

    The main reason that most men watch porn is that it is sexually arousing. Whether immediately or somewhat later, consuming porn increases the intensity of the pleasure masturbation. Or, in some cases, it makes arousal possible. (Yes, some people use porn together as part of their relationship, but this is probably a very small minority.) I don’t think most men viewing porn are doing so primarily to process their feelings about all women, or to get revenge, or to keep women in their place, or to worship the mother goddess.

    Sure, there may be some subconscious factors that determine what he finds pleasurable. But, if the subconscious is the deciding factor and is subject to analysis, then someone’s disgust at porn should also be analyzed in terms of subconscious factors. If you thing porn is demeaning to women, then perhaps you have some unaddressed feelings about your father or some bad experiences with toilet training or are limited by your over-commitment to some sort of Jungian archetype of the sexual beast or something. If the subconscious is in the driver’s seat, then it’s in the driver’s seat for everyone, no matter how you feel about porn.

    The prevalence of cum shots in porn is partly due to the nature of the visual medium and the fact that it is generally viewed during masturbation. It’s not primarily a political statement about the place of women in society. It’s more because of the nature of the medium. These shots establish a connection between the penis on the screen and the penis in the viewer’s hand. Visible ejaculation in one mirrors visible ejaculation in the other. As you can imagine, it’s really hard to get a good camera angle on ejaculation within the human body, and generally the viewer doesn’t have someone else there, so it’s like what he produces in real life is something the fantasy partner enjoys also.

    Explaining porn as a form of gender political discourse is somewhat limited as an explanation. It’s sort of like saying that every time I eat fast food I’m making an anti-environmentalist statement or that I’m consciously perpetuating corporate consumer capitalism. Or that ordering that Big Mac is a political act designed to perpetuate global economic inequality. Perhaps, but it could just be in that moment that it tastes good.

    • Megalodon says:

      At some point, someone will need to explain what the difference really is between masturbating alone in private with a magazine, versus alone in private without a magazine. If doing it with a magazine is demeaning, but the images in one’s head are essentially the same either way, then aren’t they both demeaning? Is the crusade against porn in some ways a crusade against masturbating?

      One pornography critic who has responded to that question is male feminist John Stoltenberg (who was Andrea Dworkin’s “partner”). He says “Yes” to all of your questions in his book “Refusing to Be a Man.” Stoltenberg says that when a man fantasizes about women and masturbates, even without aid of pornography, it still constitutes objectification and devaluation of women. Male sexual fantasy per se is objectification. For him, it is bad when a man masturbates with memories of and passing thoughts about women, even when these fantasies are not violent. For a man to conjure up a mental image of a woman, her body, or its various parts, is to view the woman as an object, as a thing.

      Stoltenberg’s view is probably shared by other male feminists like Michael Kimmel, and probably most other radical feminists. And really, how could it be any other way under their philosophy? If the “male gaze” is some objectifying, predatory thing, then any male person engaging or entertaining his desire to have sex with female persons must be engaging in objectification and demeaning those female persons. I guess it matters not whether those female persons are near him, in a magazine, on a computer screen, or entirely in his head.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Wow. I guess that’s where some of the logic ultimately will take you. Maybe that makes sense to Stoltenberg, but it sounds like a totally repressive and unsustainable way of life to me. That essentially means no masturbation whatsoever, and no sexual fantasies whatsoever, unless you can arouse yourself with strictly abstract notions of gender equity or can simply masturbate with a completely empty mind. Presumably you should not masturbate with your hand at all, because then the hand might be merely a proxy for the objectification of women. Pure thought, unpoisoned by fantasies about women’s bodies, without physical manipulation – that’s a tall order.

        The solution appears to be some sort of massive reprogramming on the order of a Maoist re-education camp. What he appears to be suggesting is something of a totalitarian internalized thought police.

        So, for Stoltenberg at least, there is no difference between “assisted” and “unassisted” masturbatory fantasy.

        • but it sounds like a totally repressive and unsustainable way of life to me.

          wello, to you and me.
          however, THAT is deeply arousing for a few humans

          • Indeed – good article below on Dworkin and Stoltenberg, aptly titles “The Prisoner of Sex”.

            http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/features/11907/

            I’m theorizing that the dopamine rush is just as strong and addictive for those that make it their life’s work to masturbate to the hatred of pornography.

          • wellokaythen says:

            Good point. There is a not uncommon self-denial kink. I can see the Stoltenberg scenario played out as a dom/sub role play. (For all I know, “stoltenberg” could be the name of an actual BDSM scenario.) Perhaps I should have said that such a way of life is not really my kink.

    • Excellent comment, wello. Masturbation is conspicuously absent from discussions of porn – particularly those that blame porn for all manner of brain damage. It’s not as though people weren’t masturbating and getting endorphin rushes from masturbation until porn came along, and the stuff that happens *in* porn has been happening in people’s fantasies way longer than the Internet came along to offer easy illustrations. It seems to me if you’re against porn on the grounds that “it changes the brain”, you have to be against masturbation and “unillustrated” fantasies, too.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I keep thinking that maybe sometimes the debate about porn is really unconsciously a proxy debate about masturbation. We can’t talk about masturbation openly, but we can talk about porn, so let’s use one to talk about the other. We can’t talk about death, but we can talk about which flowers are best for a funeral and which ones are inappropriate. Maybe that way we don’t have to deal with the fact that everyone dies, and we can pretend that not everyone dies. You know, everyone “dies,” everyone “does it,” if you know what I mean, wink wink, nudge nudge.

        I can buy the argument that internet porn is a more powerful brain stimulant, a purer sort of drug, than earlier versions of porn. But, you’re right, it’s a question of degree, not some entirely new invention. I also agree with the critics to the extent that I think there is some degree of feedback, that porn doesn’t just reflect people’s fantasies but also shapes people’s fantasies. But, still, if the internal fantasies are basically identical with and without porn, then what exactly is the moral or political difference?

        I wonder what porn opponents think goes on in the male masturbator’s mind when he’s not looking at porn. Then he must be thinking about all about the full intimate spiritual connection between equals free of objectification, transcending all physical limitations. Or how to make society a better place.

        Is the main difference the fact that your girlfriend might come across your porn stash but can’t read your mind?

        • “But, still, if the internal fantasies are basically identical with and without porn, then what exactly is the moral or political difference?”

          For me, the people in my mind aren’t real. They might be images of people I’ve seen, but in no way am I making them/paying them/pressuring them to do anything for me. The women and men in porn are real people but often aren’t treated well either in the industry or outside it. Given that corporate porn’s main goal would be to be sold-to make money-I’m not convinced that there isn’t potential exploitation of workers.

          I try to avoid that exploitation whenever I can, given that our country is full of it on multiple levels.

          I also agree that the internet and porn is a more refined and intense “hit” than magazines or erotica, and I think that kind of addicting behavior would prove true with gaming, facebooking, refreshing twitter feeds etc. The screen also can act as a kind of empathy reducer. People “out there” aren’t really real, just pictures.

          I’d prefer to use my mind whenever possible unless I’m pretty sure the participants were happy and purposeful about being in the film.

          • Megalodon says:

            What about animated pornography then?

          • wellokaythen says:

            What you say makes sense to me. It seems like we could make some reasonable distinctions based on this.

            What I’m hearing is that for you a big issue is the ethics of the porn production. So, presumably, if one could be a discriminating consumer of porn and choose “certified fair trade cruelty free” porn, so to speak, then you wouldn’t see much of a problem with someone masturbating to that porn? In a lot of cases, the images on the screen would be practically identical whether the performers well well-treated or not, so then it’s not really a case of the images being the problem but the source being the problem.

            From this perspective, masturbating to images of very highly paid supermodels in a magazine would not present an ethical problem at all. (Maybe that wouldn’t count as porn anyway.) The impression I get is that for some porn critics there’s a circular argument at the heart of their analysis – porn is degrading, so if it’s not degrading then it’s not porn, because porn is degrading. This is precisely why I think all porn is completely disgusting and immoral and I only read erotica…. : – )

            I can imagine some people not seeing a distinction when you fantasize in your head. That person you freely fantasize about in your head (coworker? stranger?) may not have given you permission to “use” them that way, so maybe that’s not ethical either. I don’t subscribe to that point of view, but I suspect there are anti-porn ideologies out there that are like that.

  15. wellokaythen says:

    I find the photo for the article somewhat disturbing. I keep thinking about how I once had an outbreak of athlete’s foot fungus in the webs of my fingers, so….ewww.

  16. Bay Area Guy says:

    Frankly, as other commenters have pointed out in older posts, “objectification” is just the modern, PC feminist version of “living in the flesh/the sinful temptation of lust.”

    In the end, like Marcus once said, it results in more don’ts than do’s, and has the overall effect of demonizing male sexuality.

    • I think you’ve got it wrong. Rather, objectification is something that the viewer might do in his mind—it happens no where else—and it’s a component of fantasy. Engler’s not saying fantasy should be forbidden. It’s a good idea to realize when you’re fantasizing, that’s all, whether it’s about a woman you’re considering making a pass at, or your wife, or the waitress or someone else who serves you. It can get easy to objectify the bus driver, receptionist, bank teller, sandwich artist, and every other person that I interact with. We have roles and sometimes I reduce people to their role. I don’t take away from this what some analysts would, that fantasy is dangerous or degrading. Rather, I take the lesson that I should be more mindful when I’m objectifying others, and to consider their desires.

      • Brandy Engler says:

        Hi guys. Just to clarify, I’m using the word “object” in a unique way. In psychology jargon, an object is an internalized representation or thought form that is influenced by our external relationships and internal wishes and feelings. The word object here is not pejorative, it’s neutral.

        When I talk about these two “object” themes, (there are many more than two but this is merely an article) I am referring to the personal relationship with porn and how the viewer perceives the material—not the material itself. The stated themes are extremely common in my interviews.

        • Megalodon says:

          I’m using the word “object” in a unique way. In psychology jargon, an object is an internalized representation or thought form that is influenced by our external relationships and internal wishes and feelings. The word object here is not pejorative, it’s neutral.

          A distinction without a difference. When the interviewer asked you if Play “objectifies” women, she certainly did not mean it in the allegedly anodyne, psychological jargon sense. She was using the term in the political and moral sense that is employed when people indict pornography and its users. And even if we qualify “object” as being neutral, you argued plenty of times in your article that most pornography and most men consuming it engage in “devaluation” of women. “Devaluation” is certainly not without moral connotation and most people take it to be “pejorative.”

      • When people say it’s easy to objectify…it sickens me. WTF is wrong with you people that you see objects and not real life people in front of you? I say thank-you to the bus driver, talk with them, treat them like a friggen human. I talk to soldiers, police, everyone I can when I am not super shy, even the women I saw at the wet tshirt contest once were all women doing something, not objects doing something.

        • Archy, I think you’ve mentioned you live in a small(ish) town in Australia? When you live in a major urban area, frankly it is just exhausting to try to have a meaningful personal interaction with every one of the dozens or hundreds of people you run across each week. I always try to be polite and respectful but I admit I don’t give much thought to what the bus driver might be thinking or whether that guy on the street is having a good day. If I did that, I’d just burn out.

          I got involved in a long comment thread once with Jules, I think, where I said I don’t like talking to strangers because I’ve had to many weird experiences to the point that if a strange man approaches me, I shut down the conversation as quickly as possible. I’ve had too many people (not just guys) talk to me about aliens or whatever. Jules took exception to that and said that he is open to people wherever he goes. Well I just find that exhausting, personally. There are too many people who I don’t really want to know!

          I wouldn’t say that I objectify random people in the technical sense but I don’t have the energy to think about them as full complex human beings every minute. I expect that is similar to what many men exoerience when they see attractive women – they just notice some attractive body parts but they don’t have the time or mental energy to see a complete person there. I think we are all guilty of living in a bubble that way.

          • Well for me if I have no time I still see humans. If I see a woman with a great cleavage, I see it as a beautiful woman with great cleavage and not just the object of cleavage. You don’t have to spend more than .5seconds to understand they’re a human, you see a human, you continue on your way. If you see someone who’s only worth is their job then that is a problem. For me I just see humans, the only objects I see with breasts are mannequins at the mall (which usually remind me of the movie in the 80’s, wondering if there’s a trapped soul:P). It doesn’t require any energy really to see people as people, not objects, you just have to realize they are humans and I think most people do this.

            • I think you must be an usually good person in that case, Archy! I think when most men notice cleavage, they notice cleavage and I don’t think they give much thought beyond that. In fact, men have said as much in other comment threads that I recall — “it’s just a physical reaction” “it doesn’t mean anything, I can’t help looking” etc.

              I’m not saying it’s bad to notice cleavage, just that I don’t think many guys give much thought to the woman behind the boobs in the normal course of the day. They are just walking along thinking “blah blah blah BOOBS blah blah blah…” that’s kind of the world we live in, at least in the big city.

            • For me I notice eyes first (probably partly to do with my risk assesment) then her face/smile, then on to the body/boobs/etc, clothing especially (electric blue dress is a magnet!), jewellery, etc. I do have that physical reaction, it’s sorta like noticing without realizing, your body is attracted and slightly turned on before you really realize it but for me I still know it’s a woman I am attracted to, and her face is what wins me over first n foremost anyway. A great smile can stop my thoughts dead in it’s tracks n throw me off, it’s weird that beauty n attraction can do that.

              If I am walking past someone I only have enough time to register the threat assessment + looks/beauty/unique characteristics and quick assessment n guesswork as to what kind of person they might be (eg a skateboard indicates their hobby). Not really enough time to ponder much about who they are, but you can still see them as human and acknowledge that in a split-second which is why you notice they’re human in let’s say 0.01seconds, you don’t shove, push, touch them, you alter your course of direction (and 99% of the time they do too, usually following the local road rules funnily enough) so you don’t walk into each other. Your mind knows they are human before you consciously register it, your brain has a visual pattern recognized to INSTANTLY pickout from memory the shape of the body, the face, basically I think it goes Human, Adult, female, threat yes/no, attractiveness, then maybe you notice their enthnicity and start to process the lil intricate details of them to memory such as the tattoo on their arm, the shape of their eyes. All this stuff happens before you start to consciously process them. For me personally this is the part that fucks me up because of social anxiety from bullying, mine detects threat when there is none (changing that slowly thankfully) but it’s also that time period where you notice cleavage, your blood goes to your penis/vagina if you find them attractive, and hence why people say it’s normal, it’s biological because it’s not consciously controllable.

              You cannot prevent a hardon/arousal, I’ve never known a single human that could, I get them starting before I have a chance to start thinking. It’s actually quite annoying and distracting at times, such as if you are at a meeting in in a round circle of chairs and a beautiful woman has a shortish skirt on, your mind literally has this incredible urge to look and your mentally using energy saying no, don’t, 2 parts of yourself fighting to look and not look because what is in front of you is beauty, attractiveness, someone very sexy and extremely visually appealing, the mere sight of them invokes positive feelings and the magnetic allure is quite powerful, it literally can distract some people quite a lot from their train of thought. Of course there is a way to lower the distraction and that’s to be around it more n more to normalize your mind to it (like nudists don’t care as much about nudity as those who aren’t). Hell I am sure there have been accidents because someone saw a great looking woman or man and felt that urge to look but looked too long. Of course you can control the looking but it’s a damn powerful urge, hence why it’s called natural, biological and some say they can’t help it because it takes willpower to avoid looking and not everyone has enough willpower….temptation is of course our downfall:P

              I dunno if women have this visual attraction as heavily but keep in mind if you wear a revealing outfit in a society which has sexualized cleavage then there is a stupidly high chance guys will be looking. It’s also why it’s probably better to avoid showing sexual areas in business meetings…I’m sure women may understand the distraction if a guy’s balls were hanging out:P. For me though the cleavage is only one of many things I notice, I am actually far more likely to look at a woman’s chest if she has a necklace on that is either blue gemmed (fav colour), has a very contrasting appearance on the skin and makes that V pointing downward (leading lines in art-speak), and if her top and her cleavage are very contrasting (pale women with dark tops). Contrast is one of the biggest ones because we’re designed to notice movement and contrast with our eyes, and I do think that the shape itself of the cleavage may have a heavy built in instinct of attraction for most males and some females. I think EVO-Psych refers to that feature as similar to the red glowing ass of the female baboon though not sure the validity there:P

              But keep in mind on a busy street there are hundreds of men n women so the men you speak to may only get enough time for a half second look, eyes darting from eye to eye to lips to face to cleavage in that short time so cleavage and face may be the only thing they really get to notice. Hell you can notice that stuff faster than you can read the t-shirt with more than 1 word, or in a font that isn’t so easy to read, and boobs are very very distinct shapes (as in the only time you see it usually is on a woman since we don’t design buildings n cars to have breast-shaped curves :P ) in our world just as faces are so they are easily spotted whereas a shape like a handbag is far far more common since rectangles are friggenn evvverywhereee.

            • Megalodon says:

              I’m not saying it’s bad to notice cleavage, just that I don’t think many guys give much thought to the woman behind the boobs in the normal course of the day.

              There really is not much of a way for guys to get to know anything about the “woman behind the boobs” unless they initiate communication with this person, which is a bigger, overt transgression upon her personal space. Or start stalking this person, which is supposedly an even worse transgression. With those methods off the table, I do not see any way that staring guys are supposed to familiarize themselves with the higher, intellectual, personality attributes of the “woman behind the boobs.”

              Unless, what? If a man notices a woman’s physical or bodily features, he should immediately balance out his prurient interest with thoughts like, “I wonder what she thinks about Hegelian philosophy?” or “I bet she has some fascinating ideas about John Rawls’ reply to Habermas.” Is that the way for him to partially redeem and cleanse his base, sexual interest?

            • wellokaythen says:

              How dare you reduce a woman to her philosophical or ontological thoughts. That’s just one part of the larger, holistic person. Is that all you men think about — thesis and antithesis? Dialectics? When will men start to treat women like actual people?

            • I said I didn’t think it was wrong to notice cleavage. I think it is a normal reaction that most men don’t think about that much. If a guy looks at my cleavage, I doubt he’s thinking about anything other than my cleavage, that was my point to Archy. I don’t freak out about it — I might feel embarrassed or I might just shrug it off. He sees me as a set off boobs, and I see him as a set of eyes looking at my cleavage. I don’t think about him any more than I think about any other random guy I walk past who I will likely never see again.

            • Megalodon says:

              I said I didn’t think it was wrong to notice cleavage.

              Perhaps you don’t think it is “wrong,” but you seem to suggest that it is somehow bad or regrettable that “guys” do not usually “give much thought to the woman behind the boobs in the normal course of the day.” Presumably, you think it would be better or preferable for male persons to give more “thought to the woman behind the boobs.” So am I just wondering how male persons are supposed to go about doing that? Especially in a crowded, anonymous setting in which initiating direct contact is considered inappropriate or even threatening. If they notice a female person’s physical attributes, should they balance out their lecherous attention by hypothesizing about this woman’s intellectual abilities and predilections? Mentally conjecturing about her possible background and biography?

              I don’t freak out about it — I might feel embarrassed or I might just shrug it off.

              Okay, so it is not something to “freak out about” and you can “just shrug it off.” But it still can cause you to “feel embarrassed”? If something can make you “feel embarrassed,” then presumably you still find that thing to be somehow bad, negative and not preferable? Perhaps you prefer that it not happen at all.

              But I really must wonder, how it would it be any less embarrassing if the staring man in question was also giving “thought to the woman behind the boobs.” If a person who is leering at someone’s chest announces, “I’m also wondering if you’re interested in particle physics,” does that undo or negate the embarrassment caused by his attention towards the person’s bodily features? Or perhaps there is some kind of eye or facial expression that says this person is also thinking about “the woman behind the boobs” as well as her chest?

            • mostly it’s my own issues – I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention. Also, I developed breasts early and so my breasts were always a source of embarassment.

            • Megalodon says:

              Hopefully time will heal that adolescent wound.

            • Where did my kickass comment go :O

          • @Sarah— I am in agreement with you…. Especially in NYC, you have to be careful who you talk to…. If they are lost tourists on the subway, okay— no problem…. If it’s a woman, then no problem…. But, yes, strange men who try to start up a conversation, I am very wary— and, you’re right, Iben, it’s a certain hungry or too eager look in the eyes that repels me…. It makes me wonder if they are thinking that it’s a smiling Lucy Liu or Kelly Hu off the cover of some lad magazine walking toward them or if they even stop to consider I am a real person on my way to work and that I have no time for such bullshit…!

  17. Hi Flyingkale

    You do not sound at all creepy to me. And I never use that word about men. I do not see them as creepy.((apart from one that once attacked me physically in a sexual way).

    Women do not read everybody as an open book.
    Don’t worry.
    But many see emotions in other persons eyes.
    I have known men that are very good at that as well.

    We can not read each other that easily. If we could , then persons like Ted Bundy would never find victims.

    Do not stop interacting with women. Just find the right arena,the right time and place. I do not know the cultural codes for this where you live. I hope you do. Otherwise ask someone that knows.

  18. The problem with breasts is that they exist in the same visual window as the face. This is why we have the two second rule, before objectification kicks in. Below the waist, there is no two second rule – objectification is almost instant. I would never be able to stare at a man’s crotch directly and especially not while also holding a magnifying lens.

    • Megalodon says:

      Probably not with a magnifying lens. However, there are surreptitious ways of staring at a person’s features, whether those features are above or below the waist. Staring from a certain distance, certain ways of tilting your head, wearing sunglasses so that the person cannot discern where exactly your eyes are focusing, etc. Plus, if the person is sitting or lying down (say at the beach or the pool), staring “below the waist” does not require the staring person to conspicuously move their heads downwards.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I’ve never heard of the two second rule. It actually sounds like an awfully long time for a quick glance. One thousand one, one thousand two. I would feel like I was staring if it was for more than a fraction of a second if I was in a conversation with the person.

      A man might get away with a little longer glance if he were to express interest in her necklace….

  19. Did you censure my comments or do you have technical problems?

  20. Women will never understand why men watch porn, because they are not visual, while we are visual. Yes you couldn’t understand what is really exciting and arousing seeing naked bodies, well because you never know how it feels to be a man, to feel aroused just by slightly looking at women breast, you don’t know how it feels.

    I ask you this, if porn for men is really about how men feel alienated with women, how we fear women, how we want to devalue and idealize women, why gay men also like to watch porn? Do gay men feel alienated with other gay men? Do gay men fear other gay men? Do gay men want to devalue and idealize other gay men? Hell they belong to same gender !!! So why gay men like to watch (gay) porn? Because they also visual beings and found men bodies are super hot and sexy, unlike women who think men bodies are boring ( even ugly ) and dont do anything for them ( except the body have sense of humor ). Now we know why we watch porn right?

    • You have no idea what turns women on. The very sight of a singular part of a man’s body can make me crazy for days. We just are sluts if we admit it.

    • Hi John

      I am sorry this is your personal experience.
      But you see lots of women like men,and desire them intensely.
      Their skin color is intoxicating,their smell makes me feel safe. And to be penetrated by a man you want is mind blowing

      Once I had a night with a woman. She was sensual and wild. But my body was only waiting for penetration. I missed a man. I am not a lesbian

      So please speak for your self and not for all the women in the world.

      .

  21. Comment to Marcus Williams

    Hi

    I agree ,it is good to be sensitive to the other about body hair.

    But today woman have started to remove hair permanently with laser. Genital hair.
    Determatolgcist tells us that they will lose some their feelings in that area as well. Sex will be less pleasant.

    That is not a positive trend.
    In some cultures women have removed all genital hair long before porn came on our screens,but today I fear porn makes women remove it permanently with a high cost in loss of pleasure.

    • Determatolgcist tells us that they will lose some their feelings in that area as well. Sex will be less pleasant.

      Source? I don’t claim to be an expert, but the only such warnings I could find with some preliminary Googling was that there might be some short-lived impact on pleasure due to redness and swelling that goes away shortly after each treatment. I didn’t find any reports of permanent “losing some feelings” due to laser hair removal. Consider, too, that laser removal is but one way of removing the hair, and I imagine it’s far from the most common, though again, I’m no expert. I expect shaving and waxing to be more common, both of which I’d expect to cause more frequent short-term impacts on sensations than laser treatment, where you’re done forever after however many treatments it takes.

      In some cultures women have removed all genital hair long before porn came on our screens,but today I fear porn makes women remove it permanently with a high cost in loss of pleasure.

      The first part of that sentence is an acknowledgment that there have been and are reasons besides porn that some women choose to remove pubic hair. (That’s true for men, too, though they’re not the focus of this conversation.) You again describe it as *all* genital hair, as though that’s the only alternative. Plenty of women shave, wax, or otherwise remove just part of the hair, like making the labia bare but leaving the mons untouched or sculpted into a “landing strip” or whatever pattern they like. In both porn and real life, there’s huge variety to how much hair is left or removed, so it’s not all or nothing. It’s also not permanent in most cases. Regarding the part you worry about in the second part of the sentence, I don’t understand by what mechanism you or anyone else thinks porn *makes* women do anything to their pubic hair. Again, it would be like saying Farrah Fawcet in the 70’s or Jennifer Aniston in the 90’s *made* women copy their hairstyles. To me pubic grooming is a matter of style and comfort, and those are areas in which taste will always vary from person to person, even if some choices emerge as popular trends for a while. I suppose porn is to pubic grooming what fashion shows are to clothing, but people aren’t compelled to groom or dress according to the latest trend. If people like what they see, they copy it. If they don’t, they don’t. Porn isn’t mind control.

      I think forced removal of anything attached to the body, known to result in a loss of pleasure, is a bad thing. That’s pretty much the argument against circumcision – male or female. If pubic hair has been shown to be as important as foreskin or the clitoris to sexual pleasure, that’s news to me.

      • Marcus,

        You said porn isnt mind control.

        On the surface it may not seem so.

        But educate yourself deeper:

        Book: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

        Book: The Porn Trap: The essential guide to overcoming problems caused by pornography

        And you will see just how much porn re-wires the brain, the mind, the body, the penis, and the sexuality.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Wow. So, porn rewires the penis as well as the brain? That’s pretty incredible.

          If porn is really that powerful, then we could actually use porn to “cure” people of homosexuality.We could turn hetero people gay. We could totally make people do anything we wanted.

          Maybe we could use porn to reprogram people to use their turn signals when they drive. (Associate orgasm with turn signals. A signal is a signal, right?) Or to sort their recycling better. Or to wipe off the exercise equipment after they use it.

          Ah, the great totalitarian dream of mind control…..

          • If you are interested you will find facts about this online.
            Porn has been used in prisons to help peo sexual persons change .

            If the man( or woman) had sex with say ten years old, he is slowly ….gradually given material with more and more mature girls or boys. The idea was to help the inmate develop sexually and mastrubate to images of persons that is adult.

            If this succeed or not I am not sure. You will all about it online.

            Sexuality is partly learned phenomena.
            Do you live in America? Are prisoners permitted to watch porn videos in your prisons?
            Are crimals doing time for sexual crimes permitted to watch any kind of porn in American prisons? Videos. Videos that is leagal outside for everyone.

            • If the man( or woman) had sex with say ten years old, he is slowly ….gradually given material with more and more mature girls or boys. The idea was to help the inmate develop sexually and mastrubate to images of persons that is adult.

              I don’t know how this went in Norway (I’m guessing based on where you’re from, but correct me if I’m wrong), but that would never fly here (U.S.). Even if it were considered an effective technique, the implementation, at least as it sounds from what you describe, would require providing child pornography as part of the program, even if the end goal was to condition the sexual urges to prefer adults only. While there are some 18 yr. olds who don’t look their age, I doubt you could “gradually” increase the apparent age in pornographic material from 10 to adult without either using kids as models, or appearing to. The latter wouldn’t be *as* bad, but still pretty disturbing to most, especially if the prisoner isn’t supposed to know they’re being fooled.

            • No. It is not done in Norway. But I read about it.
              I AGREE with you.
              What they do to sex offenders here I don’t know.
              But we have no Megan’s law.
              I can live next to a former sex offender of children without knowing it.
              The mother of a 8 year girl that was raped .tortured and killed 13 years ago fight now back at our system because the killer will be released now this spring.
              after years.
              I wonder what kind of therapy they gave him.
              The centence is 19 years,but 70% of all prisoners can leave after they served 2/3 time.

            • Everything I’ve read says there is no therapy that can “cure” a pedophile, anyone who claims otherwise is deluded.

              The only effective therapy I’ve heard of for pedophiles who are released into the community is “chemical castration” (drugs that eliminate the sex drive) along with constant supervison to ensure they stay away from children. Pedophiles who don’t want to go back to prison may have enough incentive to stay away from children that they won’t reoffend, but there is no way to change their fundamental sexual attraction.

            • Megalodon says:

              From what I have read, “chemical castration” has had mixed results in reducing the recidivism of sexual offenders. Not saying it is entirely ineffective, but there are serious questions. Also, the effects seem to vary based upon categories of sexual offender. That is, offenders like regular adult rapists respond different than clinical pedophiles, etc.

            • Not all pedophiles abuse children, and not all child sexual abusers are pedophiles. You don’t have to lock them all up for fear of abuse but find ways to stop their first abuse if it ever happens, you may be able to divert them to healthy adult relationships. I don’t fear the person that fantasizes about kids, I fear the person that wants to HARM kids.

            • Megalodon says:

              That sounds quite terrible, Iben. However, if a man who murdered 77 people in Norway only gets 20 years, I cannot be surprised that a man who murders 1 person gets an even lighter sentence.

            • Hi Megalodon
              This is hard on the mother. She can meet this man in her little town. He is educate as a baker in prison.

              It was two men that killed her daughter and another little girl. This one man was seen as a person that could be rehabilitated. A bystander . but he never helped the girls. I understand the parents despair.

              The other man lives in the same institution as Anders Behring Breivik and will not be released.

              It is not a prison . It is an institution for the most dangerous criminals ,with diagnoses. it means it is very hard or impossible to change them, rehabilitate them with the knowledge physiatrist have today.

              They can ask for evaluation and be released after 21 years . Some are released and never do any harm again.

              Nobody think Breivik will ever be released. Nobody will take on the responsibility to declare him sane and rehabilitated. As far as i know nobody rehabilitate him now. He is alone all the time. Maybe the priest speak with him.

              The wardens are changed all the time to prevent them from becoming his friends and be manipulated by him. That drives him nuts.

              And already he sends out complaints to EU and say he is toured in jail because they treat him like the dangerous man he is. Prisons life is not at all what he imagined. His plan was to write books in prison just like Hitler that wrote “Mein Kamp” in prison.

              He will not get out. We have laws that can keep him institutionalized forever.

              I am not so sure they gave him correct diagnoses. He may be delusional. Psychotic.

            • Megalodon says:

              He will not get out. We have laws that can keep him institutionalized forever.

              I know he will not get out, and that he effectively has a life sentence. However, his official sentence is still 20 years, and the government will have to hold periodic proceedings to continue his imprisonment indefinitely. I doubt it will be hard for the government to do so, but I still find it vexing that they must go through this absurd gesture of proving a mass murderer should not be released.

              Of course, we have some experience with situations like that in the U.S. Infamous criminals like Charles Manson committed their crimes when parole was still widely used, before the sentencing laws became tougher. So Manson and his accomplices are actually entitled to periodic parole hearings. However, they know that they have no chance of being released, and the parole hearings are really just a farce.

            • Megalodon says:

              Are prisoners permitted to watch porn videos in your prisons?
              Are crimals doing time for sexual crimes permitted to watch any kind of porn in American prisons? Videos. Videos that is leagal outside for everyone.

              The answer to all these questions is “No.” Even if the pornographic material would be otherwise legal for free people, prisoners would not be allowed to possess it.

              Almost all American prisons and jails prohibit pornography and most sexually explicit material as contraband. When people send mail to prisoners, they are not allowed to write or include pornographic or sexual material. Prison authorities read and censor all prisoner mail to make sure that it does not have such content. This usually applies to all prisoners, no matter what their offense.

              Of course, some prisoners do try to obtain pornography in the prison by smuggling it in, just like they smuggle in drugs and food and other contraband.

              Even if an American prison somehow had permission to conduct a sexuality study of prisoners like the one you described, I doubt they would do so. If the public learns that prison wardens are giving pornography to prisoners and studying their arousal, there would probably be a political scandal and public outrage.

            • Megalodon says:

              Iben, is there actually a published study about trying to change or redirect the sexual attraction of pedophile prisoners? That would really seem to go against the prevailing evidence.

              Most other research about clinical pedophiles or other “minor attracted” persons suggests that their sexual attractions develop by adolescence and that their attractions are usually static and not liable to change.

            • I don’t know.
              A short time I worked in prison and therefor I read a lot about it.
              But I know nothing about phedofiles . Our experts say the correct word is phedo sexual.
              Unfortunately it seem to be an endless stream of these cases here, and maybe in the US as well? Mothers and father…
              Nobody can help it if they are turned on by children and fall in love with children.
              But they have a responsibility about how they deal with it, as far as I see it.

          • What is so special about pornography that it can not affect our brains when practically everything else we do every do? Tell me!

            If you were raped. Do you think your brain is the same afterwards?
            Do you think soldiers that comes home from Afghanistan has the same brains as before they left?

            Why do athletes use mental training like visualization and tell us that it is powerful tool because the brain can not rally tell the difference if they run the track or only visualize it? I am sure you have heard of all the techniques they use.

            What is so unique about porn that it leaves no trace , no imprint in our brains, no memory, does not affect our values?
            The friends I share time with, the books I read,the films I see, the environment I live in does influence me.

            What is so special about hardcore cruel violent videos?
            Tell us.

            • “What is so special about hardcore cruel violent videos?”

              Look at how you discuss porn, you don’t discuss porn as simply just people having sex which is what the overwhelming majority are simply watching, but you talk about hardcore, cruel, and violent videos that very few people are actually watching. If you take the last 20 hours of what I have watched on tv, movies, etc, and compare it to porn, then you’ll probably have about 15 hours of violent movies (Ironman 3, just watched The Last Samurai 20 minutes ago), and 20 of 20 hours of the porn I have watched, hell the last 100 hours, has had ZERO violence (a mix between a solo female, and a couple on cam having sex, no anal sex, just vaginal + oral sex both him and her, and masturbation).

              Where I watch porn I don’t come across violence, except the occasional couple spanking each other which I don’t have interest in so I don’t watch that. I am about to play a violent game, seeing how much violence I play and watch yet I dislike violence in porn and don’t watch it, doesn’t that say a lot about this link to violence and porn? How can a man enjoy watching violent movies, playing violent games, and not like violence in porn? Maybe we’re far more complicated creatures than people think. Hell I’ve seen more violence in person, girls slapping boys and punching them in highschool is quite a common occurrence and in my teen years I was watching a lot of porn and I saw 1000x more violence at school than I did in porn. About the only violence I’ve ever seen in porn is BDSM which looks rough, yet they seem to enjoy it for some reason but it turns me off so I don’t watch it. I highly doubt most people are watching violent porn, I’d say the majority are watching Oral + vaginal sex or solo masturbation, maybe a 3some here n there, girl on girl, guy on guy, pretty vanilla stuff that you will see in many relationships around the world and no violence.

            • You know more about porn than me Archy.

              But others than you tell about a cruel world out there.
              I have watched maybe 120 minutes total in my whole life, but seen pictures on the photo changing MyOpera. Porn is forbidden there but often somebody put in photos . It is from Asia.
              Once I became curious and looked at all pictures in a series. It was five young men and a woman. They had fun in the beginning and she was was a actor like them. But then things developed, they became more and more cruel. They women looked uncomfortable and it developed into rape. She was terrified and suffered.

              The images still haunts me.
              If you manage to find healthy sex, then I am glad for you Archy.
              Still, of all the sex I have had in my life. It was nothing like what I have seen on porn.

              Are men vulnerable in porn?
              Any feelings ?
              Do they give themselves ? All of themselves?

              You see Archy. A woman that holds a man during inter course in a relationship experice something totally different from the women in porn.
              It is hard to explain.
              And yes I confess I am romantic and my best sexual expeiences I have had are sex combined with love.

              You are in a special situation Archy.
              But lots of men are in relationships with more than willing women and still use LOTS of porn.

              That is their choice.

            • For porn and me it’s just the basic lust I am using, I avoid the romantic feelings since they make me lonelier. You can find porn that has more lovey dovey intimacy but I prefer to see just sex, or sensuality vs a storyline. I save love for romantic movies that make my heart flutter or real life. :P Porn’s basic use is based on lust and sexual arousal, it’s hard to bring romance into it as I find romance hard to just see, for me romance has to be built over time where I know someone, know about them, but then you get the crush happening and the love and you desire them, always think of them. Porn however can tap into sexual arousal and that doesn’t need months to build. Porn is probably more similar to casual sex than anything else in the feeling it can invoke in the viewer, unless maybe someone who is watching porn of someone they love such as sexting.

            • @Archy,

              I think you’re naive about the actual sales of violent porn. Perhaps your definition of violence is off. Not to completely debunk your whole statements. You make some important points, particularly that people often do point out extreme cases to make a statistical argument. But violent, sadistic, and rape-fantasy porn is the norm according the dollar figures spent. Human sex slavery is second only to the Drug trafficking industry, and we face, in reality, not in just my opinion as so many people seem to speak, something like the economic challenge faced by the American Southern States prior to the Civil War: it’s too costly to stop the [sex] slave trade, so it won’t happen without a fight.

              This has been recorded in Biblical history as well- we are assured that at least 1 out of 12 people is totally perverse (whether violent, fetish, or whatever) sexually speaking. At some point that has to be OK to be functional as a world which promotes humanity… but extreme objectification and (worse) denial of what’s really happening doesn’t help.

              The solution is to accept and integrate, the things which religions are bad at as most of them tend to have taboo of some sort. Where there is taboo there is shame, and where there is shame there is dehumanization. That much is beyond religion, it is a human condition which Religion has institutionalized.

            • Sex slavery is not violent porn, it’s violent real-world sex. What is the dollar amount of violent porn sold + the % of viewers of free or pirated content?

              If 1 in 12 are perverse, than 11 of 12 are not. The majority would not enjoy violent porn would they? Roughly 30% of men AND women experience violence in relationships, it doesn’t mean the majority of men n women partake in violence in their relationship.

            • “But violent, sadistic, and rape-fantasy porn is the norm according the dollar figures spent.”

              Dollars spent is a crude measure of porn consumption. I have consumed enormous quantities of porn over 14 years and during this time I spent about $200 total on porn (a few magazines, 3 dvds and spent some money on a website). Over the past 8 years I have spent no money on porn. The most popular genres of porn are not violent. Go to fucktube, youporn to see what’s popular.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Considering how much free porn or practically free porn is out there, counting the dollar figures could be very misleading. I’m thinking just in terms of dollars and cents, a porn shoot with a lot of equipment is going to be more expensive. Good, comfortable leather can be really expensive….

            • What is so special about pornography that it can not affect our brains when practically everything else we do every do? Tell me!

              I agree with you, Iben, that in that sense, porn affects brains like everything else does. A living brain is not a static organ, and every experience you have affects it in the sense of having an impact on subsequent thoughts, feelings, and memories. This is why I don’t think the “porn changes the brain” arguments carry much weight, because it appears to be based on the assumption that if changes in brain activity can be detected from porn use, that’s evidence of pathology. As you say, everything affects our brains. There are probably studies out there examining how the brain responds to music, or perhaps how professional musicians’ brains respond differently to music than amateurs. How likely do you think it is that the differences between the two groups would be characterized as “brain damage?”

              Yes, porn affects brains. So does everything, as you point out, which is why it’s a value-neutral claim to make. For that to be a troubling discovery, there’d have to be an evidence-based argument that there’s a link between some porn-specific effect on a particular region or type of functioning in the brain, and the types of cognitive ability that rely on that region. That’s not an impossible burden of proof, since many areas of the brain have been identified, even if the understanding is far from complete, that are important to things like speech, vision, emotion, and so on. When someone can show that porn is like the railroad spike through a part of the brain that causes huge personality changes (look up Phineas Gage), then maybe there will be something to the “porn causes brain damage” argument. For bonus points, the damning evidence should specifically implicate porn as the brain damaging stimulus, because if the “pathology” occurs even with no-porn masturbation, the culprit would really be masturbation, or maybe orgasms generally, and not porn itself. If it turns out the endorphins we get from sexual stimulation are somehow bad for us, then porn would just be a patsy, right?

            • wellokaythen says:

              Right now in the A&E section of the GMP, there’s a list of great summertime reading in the field of erotica.

              I’m guessing reading those things changes the brain as well. I’m so confused about what objectification is and is not that I can’t tell if reading erotic fiction is objectification or not. Maybe when a man reads it then it’s objectification? I just don’t know anymore.

            • wellokaythen says:

              “Brain damage” can only be defined in comparison to a) an “average” state of the brain or b) a state of the brain that we have defined as “normal.” In terms of how little we know about the brain compared with how complex it is, either one is a somewhat dubious standard to use. Probably the best that we can do at the moment is define average ranges for various things and talk about unusual versus usual. That’s hardly a moral judgment, though. In a lot of cases, it’s a historical and cultural one – if you’re gay or left-handed or introverted, does that mean you have a brain pathology? Some generations of doctors said yes, some say no.

              If you compare a “resting brain” to a brain of someone who’s masturbating, I’m sure they’re quite different. Everything that’s pleasurable, including porn, is pleasurable precisely because it affects the brain. If your brain is unaffected, unchanged, and never rewired, it’s because you’re dead.

              It’s plausible to me that regular internet porn masturbation might have a bigger effect than unassisted masturbation. (It’s probably comparable to the contrast between weak beer and moonshine – more powerful concentration of the same stuff in a shorter consumption period.) The real question is not how much the brain changes but how to characterize the change. Is “rewiring” the brain inherently a bad thing?

      • Hi Marcus William

        It will be hard for me to find a reference in English.
        Professor Ole Fyrand( Ole Lennard Fyrand) at the University in Oslo. Norway.
        He wrote in Norwegian and the dear man developed Altzheimer. I can not send him an e-mail.
        His explaination was something about how the hair roots in that area is a part of sensation system .
        I can not explain it. Laser kills hair roots and interfer with nerves.

        I am not a doctor, but I have read that if you put your hand over a woman’s vulva lips and all , the totoal sensations she has in that area is similar to the mans feelings in all of his penis. And who wants to loose any of that sensitivity ?
        Profsesssot Ole Fyrand wrote a lot about skin and sensuality,smell,perfume and sex. He is unique. Born 1047

  22. OldFashioned says:

    If men were subjugated in the same fashion……..we’d have something to talk about. Penis responsibility seems to be the appropriate measure here………….as the penis has been used as a weapon throughout time.

    • The vagina hasn’t been used as a weapon? Men and women both rape victims in war to dehumanize them.

      • Women rape me in war? I have never heard of female civilians attacking enemy soldiers and raping them. Yet women being raped by soldiers is extraordnarily common. There were thousands of reports of American soldiers committing rape in WWII for example and we were the “good guys.”

        I have heard of instances of women sometimes being used as torturers of POW’s which may include sexual humiliation or perhaps even rape. I am also not denying that women commit sexual assaults on men but the rate of men raping women in times of war certainly vastly outnumbers the reverse.

        • come on Sarah- Thousands????? I’ve been reading history for 45 yrs and this is the first reference I’ve ever heard to US soldiers committing rape during WWII…. But dozens of references to them not committing rape as did the Germans, Russians and Japanese….

          • Rape has always been in war, part of the spoils of war were the women as the men often were just killed off, I think sometimes the children were killed off too from some weird stupidity about blood-lines, and probably occasionally the women were killed off too to just end that “people”.

        • Men n women rape people in war in the Congo and probably other places too, it’s seen as a way to dehumanize them. It’s STILL going on today.

          “The rape of men is also common. More studies are coming out to show that both women and men are the victims and perpetrators of sexual violence in the DRC.”
          ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence_in_the_Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo#Rape_of_men

          • Hi Archy
            What is gong on in the Democratic Republic of Congo is totally unbelievable!
            But we don’t really know much of about women raping men in other wars through history do we?
            I am not a historian but I have never hear of anything like it in Europe.
            And frankly I doubt it.

            • Most wars have the men fighting, the women at home so it’s far less common.

            • wellokaythen says:

              The vagina is rarely a weapon of war, but only if you count direct weapons. Birthing a son to go out and fight is a pretty powerful use of the body. If you told a Spartan woman that her womb was not a weapon she’d probably laugh at you while she kicked your ass. There are certainly lots of historical societies that treated the birth canal as a weapons production facility. I find it hard to believe that in all cases the women involved were not contributing to that social construct.

  23. Megalodon
    I said Breivik do not get any rehabilitation as far as I know. I forgot that he is permitted to study political science( to keep him occupied with something).
    First he has to finish high school.

  24. Hi Megalodon

    I agree with you.
    There is absolutely no reason why we should trust anything Ted Bundy said.

    I was surprised when I read the interview, but though maybe he is honest.

    I think he was the one he was before he read his porn magazine.

  25. What is all this crap about women shaving their genitals? I shave my face every day – I don’t feel oppressed or that I’m living up to any dehumanising cultural expectation.

    As for war – ‘soldier’ is the ultimate objectified male.

  26. I liked this article very much. I liked the delicate way Dr. Engler approached the subject as well as the way she explored the hidden depths of different sexual motivations. Such as separating each other into different categories out of fear. This makes a lot of sense to me and actually makes me feel more open to discussing this with men because it comes from a place that isn’t just tied into the animalistic pleasure that porn can provide.

    I agree with Dr. Engler that a vast majority of pornography contains themes of devaluation. Now, does that mean that if a man wants to ejaculate on his partner’s face that he automatically wants to do it to devalue her? No. But what happens in the porn world is often about depictions of showing women’s subordination and willingness to be open to sexual acts that make them emotionally and physically vulnerable to brutality. (Such as gagging, gang bangs, money shots and the likes of that.) What happens in porn is not the same thing that happens in the bedroom all the time. But you are never going to get women to feel safe and comfortable with male sexuality if it’s shown in a the brutish way it’s often shown through porn. If a man wants to his partner to be open to having his ejaculate on her face, he is never going to accomplish enough positive motivation for her to be open that by showing her the image of two pornstars, one who is most likely young, white, thin and big busted servicing some super buff stud while she moans like it’s the best thing that ever happened to her.

    So yes, I can understand why men may feel that their sexuality is not accepted. But men, you need to understand that you do not always create safe environments for women to feel comfortable with your sexuality.

    It’s like the looking at other women thing. Men can feel like they are being demonized for looking at other women. But they forget that women can easily feel threatened by him showing interest (no matter how mild he thinks it is) in other women. It’s hard to accept something that makes you realize that he rather sometimes look at or even think about being with other women. It makes you feel disconnected and cut off from your partner. It makes you feel like being less open and vulnerable with him when he is separating himself by his interest (even if it’s a few moments or seconds) in this other woman.

    If men really want to find a way for women to be more accepting of their sexuality, and I think that only positive things can come from that, then men need to take more responsibility for their sexuality and create safe places for women to make themselves open and vulnerable to it. We also need to stop shaming women for theirs through punishing sex or punishing language toward women that enjoy sex.

    I also find the role of needing to feel “accepted” by both men and women interesting. Obviously both men and women want to feel accepted. This is normal and natural. Especially when it comes to sex. And what I am hearing from some of the comments is that men sometimes don’t feel accepted sexually. I am sure there are ways us women can work on that. And I would like to hear more about that. But just from my viewpoint as a woman, it’s hard to accept every aspect of male sexuality because sometimes as a woman, it’s just so darn threatening. Threatening sometimes because I don’t always understand it. Threatening sometimes because sometimes aspects of male sexuality seem to be about quantity in women rather then the safety a woman needs to experience through being a man’s one and only woman. I am sure men can understand why that is threatening. And threatening sometimes because not all men even have great control over their sexuality and sometimes justify bad behavior on the back of it. Which can make women feel extra defensive when it comes to male sexuality. And which may also account to men feeling badly about their sexuality being seen as predatory. I don’t know how you bypass those feelings I know I have (and I know other women have) about male sexuality. Sometimes I feel like if I make myself completely open and vulnerable with a man, he will take advantage of that. And he won’t really appreciate it for the gift I think it is. And I think that is sometimes why male sexuality is not always accepted. Because women sometimes feel threatened by some of the elements of male sexuality. Male sexuality can be this deeply powerful and wild thing that can be very exciting. But it can also be scary.

    As for women wanting to experience acceptance, it’s a big different for women. I think a lot of women see these idealized versions of women in things like Playboy and they don’t feel accepted for who they are as a real woman. They see their male partners excited by young, beautiful, sexy women that never get older and always look great, and we as women don’t always feel accepted for who we are and the beauty we offer. So it makes us nervous and questions what place we have exactly. We don’t feel like we are accepted by our male partners who like these extraordinarily indulgent fantasy images of women. And then we see these women doing all kinds of crazy stuff that men just love. And we once again experience feelings of unacceptence about what we offer that may not come close to what men want or be nearly as exciting. We are not accepted as the women we are. We are the boring old drudges while the women in Playboy are these sex Godesses that men really want. Our beauty, what we are capable of giving is not good enough. It’s not accepted.

    So you have both men and women who basically don’t feel accepted by what they can offer.

    • I found this last night in a mans online diary.
      it is unclear who wrote it the piece below, maybe Bert Hellinger.
      Read it and remember the words: ” she can not forgive him for using her”.

      “The woman can be satisfied with one love, utterly fulfilled, because she does not look at the body of the man, she looks at the innermost qualities. She does not fall in love with a man who has a beautiful muscular body, she falls in love with a man who has a charisma –something indefinable but immensely attractive –who has a mystery to be explored. She wants her man not to be just a man, but an adventure in discovering consciousness. The man is very weak as far as sexuality is concerned –he can have only one orgasm.

      The woman is infinitely superior –she can have multiple orgasms. And this has been one of the most troublesome matters. The man’s orgasm is local, confined to his genitals. The woman’s orgasm is total, not confined to the genitals. Her whole body is sexual, and she can have a beautiful orgasmic experience a thousandfold bigger, deeper, more enriching, more nourishing than a man can have. But the tragedy is that her whole body has to be aroused, and the man is not interested in it, he has never been interested in it.

      He has used the woman as a sex machine just to relieve his own sexual tensions. Within seconds he is finished. And by the time he is finished the woman has not even begun. The moment a man is finished making love he turns and goes to sleep. The sexual act helps him to have a good sleep –more relaxed, with all the tensions released in the sexual activity. And every woman has cried and wept when she has seen this. She had not even started, she had not moved.

      She has been used, and that is the ugliest thing in life: when you are used as a thing, as a mechanism,as an object. She cannot forgive the man for using her. To make the woman also an orgasmic partner the man has to learn foreplay, to be in no hurry to go to bed. He has to make love something of an art. They can have a place, a love temple where incense is burning, no glaring lights, just candles… and he should approach the woman when he is in a beautiful mood, joyous, so he can share.

      What happens ordinarily is that men and women fight before they make love. That poisons love. Love is a kind of treaty that the fight is finished –at least for tonight. It is a bribe, it is cheating. A man should make love the way a painter paints –when he feels the urge filling his heart –or the way the poet composes poetry, or a musician plays music. The woman’s body should be taken as a musical instrument; it is. When the man is feeling joy, then sex is not just a release, a relaxation, a sleeping method. Then there is foreplay.”

      • The diary you quote basically tell than women are better than men. It is funny feminist want to have equality but what I heard and read from feminist is that they always tell that femininity that women have is basically superior than masculinity that men have.

        The diary you quote is a huge generalization. Maybe he ( the writer ) feel like the man, and assuming all men are like him, but not all men are like him. Me, for example, I’m not like the man he describe. I don’t fall in love with women because of her body, I fall in love with her personality. I love foreplay. I’m not focusing just on my own pleasure. I treat sex with my girlfriend as a loving journey when orgasm is not sole purpose. Yes I’m a man.

        I’m tired with all this generalization that comes from women and feminists. They said they want equality. But in their mind men are not equal to women, men are worse.

      • What’s your point in posting this Iben, seriously? The (presumably male) writer makes women sound like some sort of ethereal creature not of this world. Nothing new here, men have been writing stuff like that for centuries. So have women frankly.

        Do you agree with his assessment? I don’t. I don’t think men are like that at all. I don’t think women are like he writes either, frankly. My ex sure as hell wasn’t.

        • Hi Jax
          I agree. I should not have posted it. It is taken out of context.
          Read this short diary. I recommend it.
          http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=658.0
          But was wrong postiing it.

          I do not see women as better than men sexually. The best experiences I have in my life are sexual and given me by men. When I get old and look back at my life then I know that is what I will value most. i do not have children.

          But read the short diary. It is deeply moving and also disturbing because the man has problems NOT caused by porn.
          A group of men helping each other getting off porn.

    • Why are people so intent on seeing men n women as monoliths? There is no such thing as male or female sexuality that is universal, everyone has a wide range of kinks n likes, dislikes, etc. Then there is the issue of monogamy treated as the holy grail of a relationship. NOT everyone wants to fantasize n love n desire only one person, infact some find it impossible. They may want to spend their lives with one person but fantasy may wander at times, it may very well be a healthy way for them to satisfy any polygamous feelings without actually having sex with others. It might be a way to spice up their sex life, could very well just be a way for them to destress in a world they control, their mind, their fantasy. Seeing as how many people have partners n look at porn, look at others, I am not entirely convinced most humans are 100% monogamous. I think there is some polygamy in the majority of people, just enough to get turned on by the sight of others, the thought, the fantasy, but not enough to desire actual relationships or actually having sex with others.

      Why is it a man or woman is still attracted to others when they have a partner? I remember when I was in love that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, no one else was sexier, I still had the odd fantasy n attraction to others but no where near the same level as for her. Thing is I didn’t think all day about other women, I thought of her and maybe noticed an attractive woman here n there.

      I don’t think humans pairbond in the way a few people seem to think here, people that look at porn n others wouldn’t do that if they only had eyes for their partner, if they were 100% monogamous…There would be no temptation. If this is true then their very nature is in question when people show dislike over their porn habits or looking at others, a few people here truly want to own a man’s entire sexuality, be the only thing desirable to him and this may work for some but it won’t work for me, or some other men. I’m sorry but I literally cannot control who I am attracted to, I don’t sit there thinking “hey penis, that girl is hot, let’s inflate”, it just happens! What is controllable is watching porn n masturbating but even then should the man or woman stop it to please their partner? Their partner gets what they want, but they lose out on their desire. Maybe those 2 just really aren’t compatible and the mono should find another mono. Maybe porn is a fairly safe in most cases way to cater to the poly’s desires whilst still leaving them largely in a mono relationship.

      There seems to be 2 main types of people commenting on all these threads, those who are super-mono who only want to look at their partner, and those who are slightly poly and look at others but mostly look n desire their partner. Who is the more righteous? Some will say looking at others, looking at porn is disrespectful to your partner but if my partner did that I wouldn’t feel disrespected so who gets to claim superiority in whos idea of a relationship is more healthy? I see some are really pushing for the supermono lifestyle and acting like looking at others is degrading and insulting, but it’s not insulting or degrading to me. Maybe it’s more that they just aren’t compatible.

      If the majority of men look at porn, then porn is quite normal for men. A partner who is upset at her partner looking at porn has every right to be as her feelings matter, but he’s also got the right to be upset at her because she’s trying to claim ownership of his feelings, his desires, she’s trying to cripple his sexuality n mold it to be like her own. If he tries to get her to look at porn and she doesn’t want to, and he keeps at it then he’s doing the same. Why should he change to suit HER version of sexuality? Why not either find a happy medium ground, or find another partner? Wanting him to give up porn for you IS controlling, it IS treating your sexuality above his. You don’t have to be with him, try find the common ground but don’t try to control his sexuality. (these genders can be flipped every which way).

      “So you have both men and women who basically don’t feel accepted by what they can offer.”
      Quite frankly what you describe Erin are 2 people that aren’t compatible. If you want a partner that doesn’t look at porn, and IF more men in relationships look at porn than those who don’t then you are after a much rarer guy, and also means you aren’t accepting of the majority of men. If most women dislike their partner lookin at porn in this case then most women and most men are just not compatible, but neither is more right than the other. You can compromise, get men to find more desire in their partner + teach the women to be less insecure and not care as much over the pornstars looks (quite frankly I doubt most men hold anywhere near the level of desire for the pornstars than their women suspect).

      “We are the boring old drudges while the women in Playboy are these sex Godesses that men really want. Our beauty, what we are capable of giving is not good enough. It’s not accepted. ”

      His love, his being there for you is not good enough, you want to control his sexuality completely and be the only object of desire? And no, the women in playboy are not what men really want otherwise why would they date you if you are not a playboy bunny? If anything some men desire their partner the most, and also enjoy occasionally seeing pornstars, some desire pornstars more, some desire their partner only, and the world is a huge mix of complex people.

      Both people you talk about in your comment want something that the other is not. Try to find someone similar to your alignment on the mono-poly scale, that’s probably the only way to reconcile these differences or maybe both need to try hard to understand the other and care LESS about it, focus MORE on what that partner does for them. If he’s coming back to you and spends most of his time thinking of you then why would a woman think he “really” wants a pornstar? His actions are showing he “really” wants you, not the pornstar. If he spends far more time with porn then yeah either he has an addiction problem or he wants the pornstar more.

  27. Erin, if you have known that our sexuality is scary, why can you just stop interacting with men sexually? I cannot understand it. Because from what I read, you really know about male sexuality. And you don’t like it because its so scary for you. So why do you keep talking about it? You don’t like our sexuality right? Just have sex with women because they don’t have our sexuality. End of problem.

    Because what you talk is MEN sexuality , not some men sexuality. You clearly have a knowledge of us as a GENDER, not as an individual. So my advice is, just stop interacting with us sexually and have sex with women.

    • Mike

      Is that what you want? A porn industry that scares women so they give up men and choose another life style. Divorce and leave?

      What will be left for men ? ONLY PORN.

      • I rather have my porn than have a woman that always scare from my sexuality. Luckily I have found special woman that accept me, emotionally and sexually. But if you cannot accept ANY men sexuality because its so scary and predatory, just have sex with angelic creatures name women right? Why danger yourself to have sex with disgusting, mean, predatory, scary, and threatening creatures like men?

        • “I rather have my porn than have a woman that always scare from my sexuality. Luckily I have found special woman that accept me, emotionally and sexually. But if you cannot accept ANY men sexuality because its so scary and predatory, just have sex with angelic creatures name women right? Why danger yourself to have sex with disgusting, mean, predatory, scary, and threatening creatures like men?”

          Amen, I’d rather jerk off to porn than have some control freak try shame my sexuality because it doesn’t suit her particular needs and she shows a misandrist view of the world in which she doesn’t truly give a fuck about me. Luckily most women are not like that. Who the hell wants to date someone so afraid of your sexuality?

      • “Is that what you want? A porn industry that scares women so they give up men and choose another life style. Divorce and leave?

        What will be left for men ? ONLY PORN.”

        Men are not a monolith. Not all men look at porn from the professional industry, not all men care that much about porn, not all men even desire porn. If the porn industry scares women away from men, then the problem lies solely with the woman for generalizing about men and quite frankly she doesn’t deserve to have a man because she’s misandrist n shallow. YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND MEN SOLELY BY LOOKING AT THE PORN INDUSTRY, that’d be as stupid as thinking the entire world loves justin beiber because he is popular in music.

        If you think men are that scary, then buy a vibrator, seek a sex worker, stay single, or date women. Men deserve far more respect than to be assumed to just be cavemen treating women like shit.

        • Archy
          Of course we can not understand men soly by looking at the porn industry.
          What we can do however is listen to men that tells us:” this is our fantasies. We had these fantasies long before porn existed.” I have read that in many comments in different threads in GMP. Men telling us that porn the way we see it online today is nothing else that what men fantazise when they mastrubate.
          If it is men’s fantasies to treat women like they are treated on LOTS and LOTS of porn in 2013 then that is scary. Very scary.

          But luckily some men will have nothing to do with it. They see it for what is it. And those men are highly valued among women. Highly valued! We do not have to use vibratory, only find those men.

          And I hope the trend will be that amateurs take over. But since they also are in it for money they will produce what they think will generate money.

      • Megalodon says:

        <Is that what you want? A porn industry that scares women so they give up men and choose another life style. Divorce and leave?

        There will be divorce and separation, with or without pornography. Most men are reconciled to this. Or at least they endure the divorce and separation without committing suicide or harming others.

        What will be left for men ? ONLY PORN.

        Is that supposed to be some kind of threat? Lots of men are reconciled with that lot as well. And even if this trend comes to predominate as you predict, it is not without precedent. For lots of people today, the primary focus of their lives is television and/or internet media (non-pornographic media). The trend of fake, mimetic things becoming more important than real life things is as old as literature or fantasy itself.

    • “Because what you talk is MEN sexuality , not some men sexuality. You clearly have a knowledge of us as a GENDER, not as an individual. So my advice is, just stop interacting with us sexually and have sex with women.”
      EXACTLY. She wants men to change to suit HER. If she wants to be with men, and if men really are that bad, then both the man she dates, and SHE, need to change and reach a happy medium. But newsflash world, men are not a monolith!

  28. I guess my former comment to Archy was a little heavy on pointing out the categories on which most real-world dollars are spent… let’s see if the moderator get’s my connection between the way taboo behavior, and the inevitable way we are drawn to it, leads to a condition where shame is placed upon people. The human tendency to “objectively” qualify or create symbols to represent real things is at the heart of this good/bad black/white debate. There are 85 trillion or more shades of gray, but people argue about black v. white, because… why? Because it’s our nature.

    Likewise we have developed cultures to reflect our nature. Religion is one such culture, but so is the extreme objectification that pornography has induced in our society. It may be an upshot of something else, perhaps not the leading cause of our evolutionary drive to accept and understand symbolic reality, but the fact is, our language and number system- pretty much everything realized as “civilization” depends on this part of us.

    While I liked this article very much, I found it pretty soft on the issues. I don’t think any ground breaking insight into consciousness happened here, although a good job diplomatically handling the Playboy set for which the book was intended happened. Yet what kind of “lesser objectification” should be tolerated considering this issue. What kind of sex slavery should be tolerated? What kind of teen or child rape should be condoned in our culture?

    But then what to do with the 1 in 12 persons who are going to act perversely, according to the Old Testament (one of the 12 tribes was, perhaps, genetically predisposed to ultimate perversion). What kind of resources are available to the 1 in 12 Playboy readers who fantasizes about raping his own daughter, or his neighbors wife. What of the 1 in 12 rich people, or congressmen, or military leaders who are responsible for supporting the sex slavery rings either directly by organizing it, or indirectly by viewing it and contributing to the demand (a very lucrative and high-priced demand, by the way).

    Perhaps this article and even this forum is not adequate to address these things, however, in light of the discussion brought forth in which dangerously ignorant viewpoints are brought to light, it seems to me that the problem is beyond where the lesser objectification occurs, and it is a full blown societal problem that very few people are making human efforts to deal with. We will never have a safe and fun world where respect for a human body can occur until the reality of (at least) 1 in 12 is handled with compassion, rather than shame. That goes for Men and Women.

  29. wellokaythen says:

    A lot of the critique of objectification seems to be based on some very old and somewhat questionable assumptions. A lot of it reminds me of the old “Spirit vs. Flesh” dualism that has been such a huge part of Western culture, for better and for worse. (It’s ironic that so many feminists appear to be so close in agreement to Paul of Tarsus and Augustine of Hippo, men more frequently quoted today for their misogyny. Ought to make you think.)

    Some apparent assumptions:
    1. Everything boils down to two sides, and there’s a big separation between the two sides. On Side A is everything that has to do with objects, bodies, flesh, anatomy, the material world, and physical sensations. On Side B is everything that has to do with the spirit, mind, soul, ideas, ideals, personality, and humanity.

    2. These two sides are in competition with each other, and one is always the dominant one. You can only focus on one at the expense of the other. You can only achieve one by sacrificing the other.

    3. Side B is superior, better, what God wants, morally good, and makes you better person. Side A is at best a necessary evil, part of a test you have to pass, or something to be sacrificed for Side B.

    So, of course you’ll see objectification as inherently evil, if you think of “people” and “objects” according to this warped kind of binary. Treating people like objects is especially bad when you live in a society that treats objects so poorly. Thinking about a person’s body too much will seem especially bad in a society that treats the body as dirty, inferior, and evil. Now you throw in the assumption that a man can only think about one thing at a time, and you get the perfectly logical, seriously flawed conclusion that if a man is thinking about a body he cannot be thinking about a person.

    If this all sounds too New Age-y, or if the body/mind distinction seems totally obvious to you, consider the human brain. It’s a physical organ, and the mind is in there somewhere, but where? In the case of the brain, it’s really unclear where the boundary is between body and mind. The either/or distinction seems to break down.

    Even if we continue to believe in a rigid split between seeing objects and seeing people, we could at least consider thinking about objects in new ways. There is more to objects than practical, impersonal, soulless instruments. Objects can be sacred or symbolic or inspirational or mysterious.

    Before you respond, please note that it’s better to say “straw person argument” than “straw man argument.” : – )

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