Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Pervasive Presence of Porn

Does every guy look at porn? If a woman is looking to date a guy who hates porn, is she living in a dreamworld? So far, the only member of the male species I know who does not and has not looked at porn is my dad, WLF. He hated it. When my grandpa died, WLF finally got the chance to burn all his copies of Playboy. (Is there anything creepier than knowing that your grandpa was into that???) Every other male I know, from friends and brothers to coworkers and boyfriends, looks at porn and visits (or has visited) the occassional strip club. Is it too much to ask for a guy to not do these things? He'd probably just start hiding it, right?

Sassafras got me thinking about this subject today after reading her post. She recently discovered that her man has been looking at porn and she got upset. I can relate. When a woman finds this out about her man, she feels like she is not physically attractive or sexy enough for her man and he needs to go elsewhere to get his fix. It makes the woman wonder if she is bad in bed or if her man could potentially cheat on her. Hey, he's already looking at other women naked. It's just a hop, skip and a jump away for him to be touching them, too. And if your man looks at it, what does that mean about how he looks at you? Does it mean you aren't enough woman for him? Or maybe he's interested in one thing only and keeps you around just for one purpose--you are his own personal porn star.

I think it can be very degrading (see, I do have a teeny bit of feminist in me!) and it can be addictive. I can see how it would harm relationships and marriages when done too much or secretly. I half-way believe that it promotes violence against women and there are a lot of bad things involved with the porn industry--drugs, prostitution, diseases. I think it encourages men to view women as objects rather than human beings who are mothers and daughters and sisters. And it's definitely not the best tool for a guy to learn how to please a woman! (To any guy thinking that those women are enjoying it, just stop right now! Trust me, she's acting!)

Unfortunately, I cannot say anything to anyone about this without being a hypocrite. I have been to strip clubs and I have watched porn before. (It was just on! I swear! I don't rent it or buy it or anything!) And yes, in some ways I can see why it's so popular. It accomplishes what it sets out to do. I kinda sorta like it. But that doesn't mean I approve of it or feel good about looking at it. And it doesn't mean I will never again visit a strip club or view porn. (Actually, the stripper lifestyle fascinates me...it would make a good reality TV show, I think. Plenty of drama, I bet! But that's another post.) I can even see how it would be useful for married and committed couples to watch it together. But like many things, I think it should be done in moderation. Much moderation. It should stop before it skews your views. (ha! that rhymes!) And maybe it would be good to limit it to soft-core only? (If that's possible!)

You can say the same things about smoking cigarettes. It's nothing to be proud of, lots of people do it and it has a tendency to be addictive. It is a hobby that is not necessary for a society to prosper. Or is this a bad analogy?

We live in a society that is fairly over-sexed, in my opinion. They make thongs for little girls now, for Pete's sake! While it's great that we are more open than the uber-repressed Victorians, we are a little too lenient about this porn stuff, I think. I know that I have a tendency to look at it as "Oh, boys will be boys!" and laugh it off as yet another obnoctious male behavior. I assume that every guy I meet has looked at Jenna Jameson in action or visited a strip club--if not last weekend, then at least for their best friend's bachelor party. I wish this was not the case. Ideally, for me anyway, porn would be looked at with disgust. I wish it didn't exist. I wish it was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when I'm dating someone, but eventually I always find the new boyfriend's stash. No, I haven't found Repo's yet. But I know it exists because he told me he has some. And while I appreciate his honesty about it, I was kind of disappointed. To me, it is a character flaw, no matter how omnipresent it is among men. I guess this is just the way of the world. I'm sure men are wishing that women were virgins until marriage, too! Maybe this is a two-way street.

9 comments:

NML said...

When someone is addicted to porn, that's when it becomes an issue, but for most guys, the woman in the magazine, the woman with their bits wrapped around a lap dancing pole are a fantasy. They get off to it because it's 'dirrrty' or 'wrong' but for most guys, they don't want to go out with these images in reality. However the whole porn thing does nothing for me and I do think that the images are degrading of women and put in the wrong hands, you get some right weirdos out there. Unfortunately as long as women are prepared to let it all hang out for a wad of cash, the porn industry will continue to exist. Good post!

jennster said...

you know, i guess things in moderation are OKAY... and it totally depends on the guy too- what kind of guy he is. i'm not big on him whacking it off to porn, and neither is he. good lord, maybe he's gay?

jo said...

i totally agree with everything you've said. some years back i had a similar conversation with a friend bout guys and porn. and we came to a conclusion that despite how prevalent it is, we kinda do have an issue with it. i don't know how realistic i am but i hope for a guy who isn't into porn...

Samborera said...

90% of guys have looked at porn. The other 10% are liars [except your dad of course]. Seriously though, I don't know what it is about naked women that makes men want to look. In the context of a relationship, if a guy is constantly looking for porn, then I'd say that may not be the best thing for the gal. If he happens to stumble on the odd website, or his pals drag him kicking and screaming to a strip club, then that can pass.

Stuck said...

This is going to be long...

First, I simply don't understand why women are so insecure about porn. Men and women simply do not think in the same manner. What this means is that men fantasize differently. Men, when they fantasize, will typically depict very specific things/acts/positions. Women tend to fantasize in more abstract terms, such as emotions and feelings and sensations. Men are visual. Women are not. Hence, men like porn and women do not.

To compare yourself to the girl dancing on the stage, or taking the money shot on the slightly-tarnished silver screen, is lunacy. No man wants to take that woman home to their mom. No man wants a meaningful relationship with that woman. He doesn't even want to have sex with her. (Really, would YOU want to sleep with a chick that's been with Ron Jeremy? *shudder*) If he's in a relationship, there's a pretty good chance he's watching this and thinking about doing those things with his girlfriend.

To say that watching a naked woman is a hop, skip, and a jump away from touching them is also lunacy. Strippers and porn stars are not easy targets. They have men (mostly skeezy men, since a good man wouldn't want any of that) chasing them all the time, so can afford to be selective. Even worse, some of them will exploit this and get the suitor to shell out even more money, free dinners, etc and never give up the goods.

Finally, porn does not promote violence against women. In fact, I think it PREVENTS violence against them. You take the average porn-addict, take away his porn, make him go two weeks without spanking it, and see what happens. He's going to run out and molest someone, becoming one of the few rapists who do it for the sex and not the feeling of control.

----

Now, on to my advice about how to handle this. Call him out on his porn in a positive way. Ask him what kind of porn it is, what kind he likes, what he's into... This will give you some insight into what he wants to try in the bedroom. It will also be a test. (This, from the guy who doesn't give tests... ironic.) If he's uncomfortable talking to you about it, then something might be wrong and none of the things I said above apply to him. ;)

serially single said...

I agree with "Stuck" -- that was really well said and a good insight into why guys look at porn. Like I commented on Sassafras's post about this, just because he's looking at naked girls doesn't mean he isn't thinking about you.

Virginia Belle said...

wow! everybody left such great comments on this post. i am relieved to know that love of porn does not equal lack of interest in me. i feel a lot better. i know guys don't literally want strippers/porn stars, but we all have our insecurities that pop up now and then...aren't guys insecure about some stuff? wouldn't a guy get bothered if their girlfriend was really, really into anything starring Ron Jeremy? or if she had a HUGE vibrator?

Repo told me he hasn't had time to really watch any porn, between work, the gym and hanging out with me. whew! i'm never going to be a nazi about it or tell him what to do. it would only encourage him to hide it from me. that would be much worse.

good points, Stuckey. i am glad you commented. :) i will definitely ask him for some details....hmmm...that sounds like fun....

Stuck said...

If she has a HUGE vibrator, it wouldn't intimidate me at all. Size is something I can't change about myself (unless all those spam emails are true) so I choose not to worry about it. Instead, I would offer to include Abdullah the Butcher (for surely that is what she would name such a beast) in our bedroom play.

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