Porn ““ To X or Not to X

Pornography is the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matters for sexual gratification. Well, that’s the basic definition of porn. But what does that really mean? I have been pondering this for weeks and trying to nail (PUN) down the definition and welp, I can’t.

Let me start by saying that I love porn. I think that erotic satisfaction is one of the most interesting and personal explorations a person can have. We find our turn-ons and attractions in all sorts of ways. I find Daniel Craig to be one of the finest specimens of man to ever grace the planet. I would probably run away with Salma Hayek if she asked me to. I enjoy reading erotica, I love watching two people, regardless of gender, having sex. I don’t have any qualms about partaking in any of that, nor do I begrudge anyone else for whatever turns their crank. I originally wanted to write a post about porn and those who enjoy it, but the more I tried to crack this open, the more complicated it became.

So here’s the $250,000 question; if the images, reading materials, films, whatever medium, are clearly racist, misogynistic, or clearly hetero-centered, are they bad? Initially, I would say yes, but the more I research this, the more confused I get. If a man wants to watch a man jerk-off to a woman’s face and neck, so be it, right? Except many interpret that scenario sexist and places the woman in an inferior position and if that is the case, does that make the male viewer sexist? Furthermore, is the woman in that scenario contributing to her own exploitation by allowing a man to cum on her face?

I wonder if we’re less concerned with the acts of pornography, but more with their intent, the awareness of the purveyor, or lack thereof, and what all of this means. Sex and related acts don’t exist in a vacuum. It’s easy to say two consenting adults can do whatever they want, but images, words, and portrayals have impacts on society at large. Human beings have sex for pleasure, intimacy and bonding, not just for procreation, so sex is a multi-tiered experience that affects its participants. Therefore, if a woman in pornography is portrayed as simply a hole that a man can stick his penis in, with no concern to her pleasure or safety or interests, we’re making a broader statement to our cares for women and their roles in society.

With that, I am going to write a series of posts about porn; one personal and about my interests, one interviewing a man who runs a porn Tumblr, and several discussing pornography and society.

So, Persephone readers, I open the floor to you, do you enjoy pornography? Let those fingers fly and this should be a fun journey.

13 thoughts on “Porn ““ To X or Not to X”

  1. I attended a summit recently where a woman made this profound statement.

    She said when you create an image for public consumption, you objectify the subject, and once you objectify the subject, you have dehuminzed it.

    I totally agree with that, and for that reason cannot in good conscious, support any kind of pornography. I find that it objectifies women, degrades them and exploits them.

    Now erotica, to me, is different. Erotica is art. I love stories that explore human relationships and pictures that show the beauty of the human body. I think sex is natural and beautiful and healthy. I just don’t think it should be “used” — does that make sense?

  2. I dislike most porn. Anything mainstream is usually so misogynistic or racist. I find that aspect of it revolting. Amateur porn is mostly fine, because it’s generally a real relationship and not people who are acting like they’re enjoying it. But most porn is just another tool of the patriarchy.

  3. I have heard pornography defined as that which creates a desire for its subject in the viewer. Which is distinct from art, where the viewing is an experience or meditation. Which I will submit is a rather loose definition, but where art is even looser, I can certainly see Rosasparks point.

  4. I recently discovered Jacques magazine, American erotica, and I have to say that a lot of the photos and themes are beautifully done. The new issue has an article on BDSM that I haven’t read yet, but hope they handle it well.

    I am interested in erotica and porn that involves all the parties enjoying themselves. Even when it involves BDSM, expressions need to be made that the submissive/masochist is enjoying any pain being inflicted. I am still trying to reconcile my pleasures with the feminist views I hold.

  5. I like reading erotic stories about scenarios that have nobody like TheBleach in them. Nobody in my life — no one I’ve dated, and I’ve been in some truly passionate, domestic, deep relationships — knows my taste in pornography and I think they’d be really offended/disturbed if they became familiar with it. But I don’t daydream about being an editor who comes home to make dinner in her cute rural apartment, so why would I fantasize about myself having sex the way I have sex?

  6. I feel like the idea of porn is defined solely by each person who views it. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t consider porn which a lot of people do. I love to look at the female form of any size–actually I thought Kim Kardashian’s nude picture was almost perfect, but I’m not big on discriminating. I’ve found through my own thought and introspection I’m not attracted to women per se, I just really admire the female form. It’s a beautiful work of art that I could stare at all day. I’m not into anything sexual that has to do with it, so I guess just nude pictures are my thing. I don’t consider that porn–to me it’s just nude art.

  7. I love some porn – and I think that’s the problem with many discussions about porn, is that they try to talk about PORN in general, and I think this is a topic that needs specificity. An amateur video on YouPorn is different than a video from one of Kink.com’s websites, which is different than a video from a site like Bang Bus, which is different than a DVD from the Crash Pad series.

    So for me, a man coming on a woman’s face in any of those examples is going to be slightly different. I would call a site like Bang Bus a perfect example of mainstream pornography, targeted at straight men, that objectifies women. But in (good) BDSM/kinky porn, it’s established that what is happening is just a scene or a fantasy and the people involved want to be in those submissive or dominant roles, not that women are or should be submissive to men in general. Some things that I love to watch in kinky porn or that I enjoy in my own sex life (like facials) make me uncomfortable if I see them in mainstream porn because I know that in my life my partner respects me and in kinky porn the fantasy is acknowledged, but mainstream porn seems to naturalize those dynamics (and only a certain version of those dynamics – female submissive, male dominant). (Does that make sense? I’ve only had one sip of coffee this morning.)

    1. Yes! That last part is exactly why mainstream porn makes me twitchy, but I could never articulate it. I have a really hard time finding porn I can stomach, and I find that the few clips I like definitely have a kink/fantasy element to them.

    2. Makes sense. It’s exactly how I feel too. Stuff like bangbus and other main stream porn is so formulaic in the degradation too. Okay, it goes boobs, vag, anal, atm, cum on face. Always with that ever-present penis, but no man. Unless he’s calling her names or slapping her around, which is also becoming “mainstream.” Yes, I like that stuff every now and then, but I look for it on kink sites. The kind of sites where pegging isn’t unheard of. Where the kink gets equally distributed. But the “mainstream” you talk about, to me they are trying to uphold some “traditional” ideal about men dominating. It’s probably also ABOUT humiliating/degrading the porn women because they “should” be humiliated/degraded for having sex for the male gaze. Like they’re being punished for doing their job, a job that the straight-bros request. As the viewer I feel like I’m supposed to take pleasure in seeing a WOMAN like that. I don’t get that feeling in the kink special sites.

      1. Exactly, I appreciate that explicitly kinky porn sites often have a wide variety of scenarios (although of course there are tons of sites dedicated to one specific act or one particular fetish) and it’s obvious that what’s going on has been negotiated by the people involved. I love watching porn in which the woman is submissive and the man is dominant because I really enjoy that dynamic in my own life – I just like when it’s clear that it’s fantasy, and sites like Bang Bus just make it the default, like that’s how sex is or always ought to be.

  8. I think in some ways porn, more than anything else, shows us our issues if we are willing to recognize them. Three people can look at the same thing and one will see a woman being exploited, one will see a man trying to get a job done, and the third will see two people having fun. Hell, one person watching something a second time can see it differently just because they have had a crappy week.

    This should be an interesting series.

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