General Politics

In Defence of Porn

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron has been caught with his pants down in his efforts to come across as the hard man of porn. His initial outburst was to attack Google for not doing enough to limit the accessibility of porn sites. He promised action and necessary legislation. This was watered down over the next few days to something more flaccid and puny amid peals of laughter and derision from IT experts – and teenager lads.

It would be all too easy to translate the recent tirade by the British prime minister against pornography and its access through the Internet as a clear expose of Cameron’s lack of understanding of how the Internet works, but there is another obvious conclusion, too: Cameron hasn’t a clue about pornography. Politicians love to simplify issues; it makes the illusion of problem solving so much easier. Cameron’s rhetoric on pornography is a classic case in-point.

Condemning pornography leads to a rather obvious knotty complication: Identifying what exactly is pornography. Cameron has called for images depicting rape to be made illegal. For some, images of staged non-consented sex is a turn-on. It does not mean, however, that such lovers of the genre will go on to commit rape and would not be shocked and sickened by images of real rape. Japan, where porn images of violence against women are easily accessible, has less rape crimes than the US where porn depicting rape is far less accessible.

A comparable example is that of violent film. The vast majority of those who enjoy violent movies are no more likely to commit gruesome murder than those who don’t. Adults, including teenagers, can make the unconscious distinction between real and fantasy; society knows and accepts this fact. If it didn’t, we would not have film classification that allows 18 year olds to watch Tarantino films which occasionally depicts violent acts on women.

Erica Jong, the American author who caused a scandal with her erotic novel ‘Fear of Flying’  in 1973 describes porn as being “someone else’s erotica that you don’t like” Cameron came unstuck when he admitted images of topless page three girls in The Sun ‘newspaper’ would not be included in porn filtering systems that he was proposing, much to the outrage of many pro-feminist lobby groups; thus proving Jong correct.

Identifying porn is an impossibility. The images used in this article are not from porn sites. The image of the breasts comes from a website about breast issues  and this site is a blogsite of a man recording his personal experiences of undergoing circumcision relatively late in life. It has an image of an erect penis that is hardly pornography.

When people talk of porn in a condemning voice, they cite concerns that porn is degrading to women; treating them like objects. They say porn teaches men to believe that sex seen in pornography is how women should be treated. Yet, Is it not the truth that regarding the act of consenting sexually penetration as degrading is, in itself, degrading to women? By regarding it as such, are we not teaching women to feel guilty and cheap when they enjoy this sexual act?

None of these questions and condemnation is relevant in a genre of porn that is enjoyed by millions of men the world over yet is rarely discussed in these debates: Homosexual porn. When a gay man watches porn, he picks the man on the screen he finds most attractive. He, then, fantasises about that porn star doing with him what he can see the actor doing with his co-star(s). In short, the man wanking off can happily imagine himself in the passive role – the role that anti-straight porn champions would regard as the ‘degrading’ role – as much as the voyeur could see himself in the ‘less degrading’ role of the penetrator.

To get the knickers of the anti-porn protesters even more into a twist, the porn star playing the ‘least-degrading’ role will at some point take up the ‘degrading’ position of giving a blow job and/or kissing the arse of his sexual partner; perhaps even indulging in the ultimate ‘degrading and objectifying role’ of taking his turn getting fucked; as enjoyed in the sub-genre of gay porn known as ‘flip-flop’.

To exclude gay porn from the debate; as politicians, media and lobby groups so often do, is insulating to the gay community. It also prohibits the opportunity for a comprehensive and truthful examination of the impact of porn on the individual and society. When it comes to straight porn, is it not possible for, at least some, women to enjoy the fantasy of being in the role of the female screen star? Can we really say with any certainty that all women do not view porn in the same way gay men do?

Masturbating in the privacy of our own homes to moving or still images of consenting adults having sex is not a bad thing; in fact it is perfectly natural. Every male from mid-teens onwards who has ever existed throughout the history of humankind, be they prince or pauper, has at some time in his life, with cock in hand, enjoyed the visualised images of his own sexual fantasies. Is it plausible to assume that even Cameron, himself, has indulged in watching porn – perhaps even his wife has masturbated herself while watching porn. There is plenty of evidence to suggest women enjoy porn, physically. Let’s face these facts, accept these possibilities and be honest with ourselves and each other.

By exposing the naked truth, we can examine the real issues in life and enable ourselves to find real solution. Cameron has plunged the UK into another war it can’t win: A war on porn; in doing so, he has made himself look very silly in deed. He has also done something far worse. Cameron’s impotent ejaculations on the subject of porn only serve to masturbate the fantasises of an increasingly puritanical society that oversimplifies problems, so is incapable of analysing the fundamentals of the issues of our time, let alone find much needed, workable, logical solutions that are grounded in reality.

Porn could be the saviour of UK society. It can bring a sense of release from the society we are creating for ourselves: A society of fear and unease. A society that thinks it is necessary to put warning signs at the entrance to art galleries advising people that ‘some of the art on display contains nudity’, as the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle on Tyne in the UK has done. A society that increasingly sees nudity and sex as something dirty and wrong unless undertaken exactly as prescribed by the unaccountable and ubiquitous moral majority.

Porn will be with us long after even necrophiliacs have stopped jacking off to the thought of Cameron. Porn is something that we all share, it unites us. Unintentionally, Cameron has reminded us of that fact. Whilst we can’t all agree what is acceptable porn, the huge majority of us can agree on what is not acceptable porn. Accepting and admitting we are all enjoy sex and images depicting sex of one kind or another can give us the courage to be true to ourselves and each other. Porn is a breeding ground for acceptance, tolerance and maturity. Porn is a springboard to other discussions Porn is a subject on which we can and should have an open and honest mass debate.

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