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Author Topic: Is it really just about porn?
Heather
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Because we've had a rash of posts lately about conflicts with partners and pornography, it seems like we may want to talk about some of this more generally.

I've actually been thinking about these posts quite intensely for the last week, talking with a lot of others about them, even engaging community dialogue on some of these posts in other areas.

While porn absolutely has its issues, and absolutely can create conflicts -- and for those who do not want it in their partnership or lives, having it appear is obviously a big problem -- what's troubling me is that what I'm observing is that porn seems to be something put forth as THE issue, when often not only are other issues at play, but really, they're often more serious issues.

Like say, serious problems with self-esteem and sexual esteem, with body and self-image.

Like abuse or borderline abuse in the relationships, separate from the pornography.

Like passivity in partners who KNOW they do not want certain things in their lives and partnerships, but who are either simply falling for the crappy framework women are often given in which we are lauded for "standing by our man," or putting up with what we don't want, but being "loyal" by doing so (which is such a pack of lies, really, and so designed to keep women down), OR or just feel unable to be alone, unable to be without a romantic partner, and/or unable to only accept and nurture what they really want in their lives and partnerships.

Why might, say, porn or insecurity felt about a partner viewing other women be a bigger issue than being treated well? Or a bigger issue than feeling safe and having trust? Or a bigger issue that having low-self esteem, something which can really disable ALL aspects of a person's life?

Why might, say, anyone be inclined to make the women in porn seem like the big enemy, or the media the big enemy, rather than examining if a partnership is really healthy, balanced, equitable and fulfilling? Why might sometimes you (or someone else) be quicker to demonize or set oneself in competition with porn actresses than to hold partners accountable to agreements and thinking in the best interest of a relationship, BOTH people in it?

So, talk, eh? Let's look at some of this stuff: it's important.

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thathollygirl
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I <3 teh pr0n. Just thought I'd get that out there.

But anyway, I was in an abusive relationship a few years ago. At the time, I was Christian and anti-porn. The bf had what he described as a porn addiction, and that he could not stop looking at it.

Long story short, he used his lack of self-control as an excuse to force me into sexual activity.

I've struggled with some body image stuff for a long while, and it especially angers me that I felt like I was being compared to the women in porn, and in fact just being used in their place.

Porn *can have* a place in a healthy relationship, though. Sometimes, you *may want* to have a bit of fun with yourself, and *I think* porn is a nice way to do it.

*edited for me not being all like, omg only my opinion matters!*

[ 12-05-2006, 10:17 PM: Message edited by: thathollygirl ]

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Heather
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quote:
Porn definitely has a place in a healthy relationship, though.
Can we just alter that to "CAN have" a place?

I have to take issue with simply saying it does: it's possible to a have a fun, healthy sex life without it, possible to have same with it, but it's really very individual (and very much often dependent on what porn we're talking about, even among generally porn-friendly people), and there is SUCH a pervasive message out there that tells women (and men) who don't feel it has a place in theirs that they're just big sticks in the mud, and it's a really fallacious, one-sided message that doesn't help anyone.

Thanks!

So sorry you had a coercive partner, thathollygirl.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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thathollygirl
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Whoa, not what I meant to say. >< *editing*

Oh, and also, yeah. There's some really, really horrible porn out there. I don't know how I feel about this divide between fantasy and reality. I mean, there's a lot of stuff people watch in porn but don't really want to do themselves--though a lot of people do enjoy bondage/other fetish activities in their rl sex lives, and it's absolutely no one's business but their own--but is rape porn really something that I, a compassionate human being, can approve of?

So much grey area here. *sigh*

[ 12-05-2006, 10:23 PM: Message edited by: thathollygirl ]

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000
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this may be related, but I personally, because of the culture where I grew up and stuff, feel like there's a lot of confusion of "unhealthy sexuality" with just "open sexuality" in general. I suspect a lot of people don't really believe there's a difference, or draw the line between the two in much more conservative places than a lot of Scarleteen volunteers.

You hear a lot of this "oh men are just more sexual than women", "it's in their nature", "they have the instinct to dominate things" kind of beliefs and then suddenly, anything that makes an open attitude about sexuality seem okay becomes the enemy (that allows men's true nature to be shown, allows women to be taken advantage of, what have you). Like my parents will say point blank, that they don't think parents should openly accept their teenagers being in a sexual relationship because most guys are just looking to have sex with as many people as possible and girls are going to get used. They imply that accepting sexuality is paramount to endorsing that.

My understanding is that in the second wave feminist movement, porn became a big issue for talking about how women are oppressed in society. And while certainly not /all/ second-wave feminists believed pervasive sexuality in culture would always give men the upper-hand, there were certainly some for whom that was a very central part of their beliefs. I think that sort of sensibility still exists for many people, in some ways.

I think young women may focus on to porn as the problem in their relationship because porn is talked about fairly often in media, in their homes, what have you as being a problem, sexist, dirty, etc. The more explicit details of other intimate abuses, and the fact that abuse can exist even in a "loving" relationship, are not talked about so frequently and openly, in general. I'm sure Scarleteen volunteers know all about the conspiracy of silence, so I won't elaborate on that point too much. But I'd think the reason that more serious abuses often aren't recognized and acknowledged in relationships where a partner does consider /porn/ to be a problem would be the same reason that those abuses aren't recognized in a lot of other relationships.

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Heather
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quote:
My understanding is that in the second wave feminist movement, porn became a big issue for talking about how women are oppressed in society. And while certainly not /all/ second-wave feminists believed pervasive sexuality in culture would always give men the upper-hand, there were certainly some for whom that was a very central part of their beliefs.
Just so you understand the second-wave's take on that a bit better, the issue really wasn't a concern about pervasive sexuality in culture. Rather, it was about both exploitation and that pervasive sexuality in culture generally meant -- and generally still means -- sexuality as benefits/is represented by men. So, under patriarchy, pervasive sexuality would mean (and again, often does) that women's sexuality is usurped, invisible, or directed by men. And per those aims, the second wave didn't accomplish much: the profoundly, untilaterally anti-sex stuff we see in the world is more from conservatives and the rligious right than from second-wavers (who were, by the way, the same women doing things like getting information about the clitoris out there, doing workshops for women to see vulvas, etc.).

That said, I think you make some excellent and interesting points here, iheartdc.

I want to be sure, by the way, that we try and have this post be less about those of us who don't have these issues theorizing and more listening to young women for whom it IS a big conflict, and who also have some of those other issues at play, okay? [Smile]

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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000
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k. for whatever it is worth, I have been exposed to porn in my life in instances where it /did/ bother me. but my problem was more about the attitudes of the guys' watching it. that's all I'll post here
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Heather
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...well, maybe you can talk about that aspect of your discomfort, and talk about this in a more personal way?

Because I think it might actually be a pretty big deal in this conversation. Go first-person narrative, go!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Well, once when I was in 9th grade, we got out of class early and everyone in my class sat around a computer and looked at porn on the internet (I know, I went to a really bad HS for awhile, where no one really gave a sh**). So my memory is that they were just pictures, some people engaged in intercourse and some not, but nothing particularly kinky going on. Everytime a picture of a woman's vulva came up, a few of the boys would groan "eww..." That gave me a bit of a complex for awhile about my own body; that and the fact that my girlfriends in 10th grade made lots of comments about how female masturbation was so gross. Mostly got over that 12th grade and freshman year of college.

I've looked at porn multiple times on my own and with other people. Most of the time it didn't particularly bother me and sometimes I enjoyed it.

The other thing I distinctly remember making me uncomfortable was this past summer I was interning at a local non-profit. All the guys were really personable. One who was involved in the hiring process of a new employee talked about how he'd like to hire a female (he was doing it in an affirmative-action kind of way, but I actually laughed about it b/c currently the small non-profit was split 50/50 male/female). Even though I thought he was a pretty cool guy with some very strongly-held and nuanced beliefs on how society was sexist, he would also occasionally make fairly misogynistic jokes. One joke, I don't know that I'd call it misogynistic, was about watching porn; and honestly, I don't remember it that well. I think it just had something to do with how important porn was to men, and how if a man was watching porn and got into a car wreck he'd wait for the "money shot" before he'd let the ambulance take him, or something. Both the guys in the office at the time thought it was really funny. I didn't feel overly offended, I just felt sort of left out, and like somehow jokes like that weren't conducive to an extremely female-friendly work environment, like that one guy professed wanting to have. (I guess if I was to further analyze it, I could talk about how that was just some guys I knew reinforcing what I already know a lot of porn is about, how male orgasm is the most important thing. The kind of porn they were talking about was probably the kind of porn that was geared towards males, so I think you're upping how acceptable it is to objectify women a notch when you're using it for casual office conversation. I mean, they certainly weren't giving explecit details about their /own/ sex lives ever, so it's almost like this patently artificial version is less taboo/more acceptable to talk about than the real thing.)

Another thing I generally don't like is those cheap-o internet porn sites that make blowjobs such a big deal (they typically just don't seem very erotic to me, but then I think it's rare you're going to find a chick whose idea of a satisfying sexual encounter centers around a blowjob). I've sort of been squeemish about oral sex for a long, long time though, and I really couldn't tell you if porn contributed to that, or if I developed it independently of exposure to porn and that's the reason I don't like porn that features that. Kids in middle school and high school talk about blowjobs with the exact same tone as the pornos, after all -somehow casual, while still managing to be degrading/gross, but still somehow often expected. Certainly I have a difficult time picturing myself performing fellatio and separating that from the kinds of images and ideas depicted by those sorts of pornos (i.e. it just seems like "servicing" and kinda icky).

I mean, certainly I don't think that having highly artificial sex on screen and portraying girls "just dying to taste a man's cum" or "take it (painfully) hard" or a number of other things that the average woman probably would not enjoy to a large extent irregardless of their culture, contribute to healthy male sexuality. I'm sure that problem is exacerbated with insufficient accurate sexual education. I've mentioned a few times I have this friend who was raped, by an acquaintence. The guy liked to watch porn, and a lot of the things he did with her seemed as though they were out of a porno. My friend and I don't know for sure whether this guy, who was kind of immature and raised in a conservative Christian family, thought he was having normal sex or not.

In terms of body-image issues, though, I've really only got a few of those, and porn has never brought them out (even though I hardly look like a porn star). It's just that, you know, when I'm with a guy my mind goes more like "well... if he /does/ have some sort of a problem with my super-small breasts he shouldn't be all over them and /d*** that feels good/ ***stars***"

[ 12-06-2006, 12:41 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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PenguinBoy
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I think part of the problem at least with my experience, is that so many things that I've been told or lead to believe are moral rules. Have turned out to be simply things that I now disregard. So it's easy to do the same with porn.

Allot of men do have gigantic sexual drives, but as they've learnt from insults and ridicule. Masturbation is not acceptable. So when they finally reach a sexual drive in their adolescents that overpowers the immense fear they have of masturbation. And Come to terms with it, there's a thought process like "Oh right, the rules were wrong". And we have to learn to do these things secretly, and you learn from that, that it's ok to do it so long as no-one knows. And so it's the same with porn. The morals of the porn-stars, their consent, isn't even considered, because in that secret moment we'd already disregarded morals.

It's through that it creeps into our lives. If people were more able to discuss their sexuality prior to adolescence. If they were able to know that more of their sexuality was ok, they wouldn't have to block of their moral detectors. And were forced to actually consider the sex drive we'd have to battle.

I think also that porn does create allot of effects for relationships. Allot of people i know, from what I've heard, learn sex from porn. Everything they learn about sex is based on how the characters in porn conduct sex. They grow to have little perception of how to make the other person feel, and seek out what they've learned happens when they have sexual pleasure, they just want sex how it is in the porn.

I, as i said in another post, do not watch porn. And i used to. But i stopped really, because of discussions like this that made me think about what was actually going on. Not that i was just told it was a sin that i had to accept but instead i stepped back and gave time to actually establish what my personal beliefs were.

quote:
Originally posted by PenguinBoy:
On the porn issue i say:I personally don't watch porn anymore, (ironically i quit just when i got broadband, which i always used to hope would make my porn experiences AMAZING), because i really do not know how they are regulated, or how those models actually feel inside. I think you really have to know someone, to know that they truly consent. from Porn

If i hadn't found sites like this i'd probably still be watching it, against what in fact are my strong personal views, which I neglected. (Betraying yourself is BAAD).

If it was more acceptable for men to talk about sexuality, and discuss things and question things, then they'd be able to clarify what their position on the subject actually is.Then maybe they would not allow it to take them over.

Sexual pleasure really is addictive, and i just say to myself when i'm feeling tempted "trust sobriety". If i've never agreed to something when clear headed, then i use that as my basis for making my decision. The addicted mind can lie to itself to get what it wants. So I try hard to revert to what i'd do unclouded. I dno if that could help someone, but it usually works for me. But the more i drive it in, the more it will work in the future.

It's a difficult difficult scenario.

That's what i think so far, i may add to it. Or be convinced otherwise, but for now, that's my thoughts.

PENG.

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PenguinBoy
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quote:
Originally posted by iheartdc:
I mean, certainly I don't think that having highly artificial sex on screen and portraying girls "just dying to taste a man's cum" or "take it (painfully) hard" or a number of other things that the average woman probably would not enjoy to a large extent irregardless of their culture, contribute to healthy male sexuality. I'm sure that problem is exacerbated with insufficient accurate sexual education. I've mentioned a few times I have this friend who was raped, by an acquaintence. The guy liked to watch porn, and a lot of the things he did with her seemed as though they were out of a porno. My friend and I don't know for sure whether this guy, who was kind of immature and raised in a conservative Christian family, thought he was having normal sex or not.

It's also probable, that mens brain learn to associate pleasure with porn-cues. So they bring them into real sex, cos they know it turns them on.

But also it's quite selfish. Porn is associated with masturbation. Whereas sex is totally different, and in involving 2 people it ties in both their emotions and needs. It's much more complicated so can't simply be sorted out with a porn-formula. "Foreplay-blowjob-intercourse-cumshot".


i said i'd add more [Big Grin]


EDIT: OOPS, i didn't read the word rape,i just thought it was in a relationship. in which case, it's worse than just "selfish"!

[ 12-06-2006, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: PenguinBoy ]

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Heather
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Glad to hear you weigh in on this, Penguin.

Just a word of caution, though -- I know, I'm caution lady these days.

Saying sexual pleasure is addictive is precarious. Ultimately, it's really not, and if it is, it's addictive in the same sort of way that jogging is addictive. Certainly, sexual habits and behaviour can easily become compulsive or obsessive, but that's actually different than addiction.

quote:
If it was more acceptable for men to talk about sexuality, and discuss things and question things, then they'd be able to clarify what their position on the subject actually is.Then maybe they would not allow it to take them over.
I see a big hole in this theory, though. Considering it is far, far LESS acceptable for women to discuss sexuality, and women as a class do NOT have problems with compulsive pornography use, or with adapting patterns of use in relationships fairly easily, this doesn't strike me as a valid explanation. Too, I have a problem with, per usual, porn being attributed with some sort of power above and beyond the power and agency of whomever is choosing to watch/use it.

(Which is always an especially pernicious approach, since when that one is taken, it's -- big shock -- the women in porn being blamed for their control over men, rather than the men who make, market and profit most from it.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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logic_grrl
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Considering it is far, far LESS acceptable for women to discuss sexuality

I do think it's fair to say, though, that although it seems to be pretty much socially compulsory for men to talk and brag about sexuality in particular situations, it's only acceptable to do so in very limited ways.

That doesn't necessarily allow a lot of room for honest discussion, or for voicing feelings and desires that don't fit the stereotype.

So it strikes me as a potentially valid point to say that this may make it harder for men to question and think about porn use.

Just as the social restrictions on honest discussions of female sexuality can make it harder for women to question and think about some things in our lives.

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Heather
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Oh, for sure.

But, not only do the same limitations apply to women, talking about even "acceptable" sex and sexuality or "bragging" is off limits to women as a class.

Not to mention, of course, that women have a double fear in doing so: not only is it about lack of acceptance from peers, etc. but it's also about fear of sexual harassment and violence. A men who brags about his sex life isn't likely to be cornered in the back of the bar where he did by a woman or another man demanding he give some of that up.

(But, we're digressing.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Because the concern-with-porn posts just keep on coming (we often have plenty, but lately, it seems we have more than usual), I thought that I'd give y'all some resources and books with varied explorations on/approaches to the topic in case you're interested in looking deeper.

Dr. Diana Russell's extensive research
dianarussell.com
(Russell, for the record, when talking about porn, is not talking about all erotic/sexual media -- she differentiates between porn and erotica)

Linnea Smith
http://www.talkintrash.com/

The WebMD blog on porn and relationships

Some books:

Laura Kipnis, "Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America"
Ariel Levy, "Female Chauvinist Pigs"
Pamela Paul, "Pornified"
James Elias, et al. "Porn 101: Eroticism Pornography and the First Amendment"
Lynn Hunt, "The Invention of Pornography, 1500-1800: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity"
David Loftus, "Watching Sex: How Men Really Respond to Pornography"
Susie Bright's "Full Exposure," and "Sexual State of the Union"

Too, there's also a lot to be learned if you have any sort of museums around, per differences in more modern/capitalist pornography and older, more personal or singular pieces. Some of the issues that come up around pornography now aren't just about sexual media: they're about capitalism, about pervasiveness, about on-demand-sexual-access, lookism, etc.

[ 12-06-2006, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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PenguinBoy
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I didn't necessarily mean that it's harder for men THAN women, to discuss sexuality. But that it is hard full stop.

I think that if public discussions more reflected discussions like those in the content of this site. Then plenty more people would be actually consider their own moral beliefs in terms of their sexual activities, rather than shoving it under the carpet or shove it in a box labeled "stuff we don't talk about".

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Gumdrop Girl
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i've been thinking about the porn issue, and by golly, i think the porn had something to do with it.

he watched a lot of pornograpy. spent a lot on it. i think he's still buying the stuff, even though doing so violates his probation. it's a problem.

i think his dependence on pornography gave him some unrealistic expectations about what i (or anybody who wasn't 40% silicone) could possibly provide. he got ot be so critical of me. my breasts were too small (they're 34DD, should they be the size of basketballs?), i didn't dress provocatively enough (my office has a dress code), and my hair was too short (he said i looked like a little boy, and he wasn't a pedophile).

i hate to blame porn. i like porn. but i can't deny it's had a negative influence on him. i just hope he doesn't get caught with it on him, or he could go back to jail.

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jay_d
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One joke, I don't know that I'd call it misogynistic, was about watching porn; and honestly, I don't remember it that well. I think it just had something to do with how important porn was to men, and how if a man was watching porn and got into a car wreck he'd wait for the "money shot" before he'd let the ambulance take him, or something.

Well, if it helps, you have my full permission to call it misandric, heterocoercive, coercing narrow-spectrum gender roles, and probably a handful of other things...

...not that you need my 'permission,' but oh well.

Does sort of bring up a question that popped into my mind, though...

Everytime a picture of a woman's vulva came up, a few of the boys would groan "eww..." That gave me a bit of a complex for awhile about my own body;

Do you feel that your reaction would be similar, or different, if society wasn't heteroassumptive?

It's just a question that popped into my head alongside a few speculations... that it's actually fairly natural for a homoerotic/zooerotic/necroerotic/etc/etc male youth to not be aesthetically enraptured by a genital closeup of a living member of the opposite sex of the same species, while from a person of presumptive heterosexual status, it may be percieved more as commentary of normative and desireable body image in heterosexual relationships than had it come from someone who is not at all likely to lean towards a physical heterosexual relationship...

...but I do not know if that is so or not, so I figured I'd ask your views.

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In regards to the second issue, it is my experience, even now that I'm older, in college, that men are far more vocal about sexual issues in general than women, when in coed groups. Men are also highly likely to do it in a "stereotypical way" (what precisely do you mean by "heteroassumptive")? For instance, the other day a sex educator came to talk at school and used pretty explicit details. Whenever oral sex or manual sex or boob sex or something like that on a man was mentioned, the boys in the audience would kind of laugh in a boisterous way or smile or make comments. The girls stayed fairly quiet, comparitively. Whenever oral sex or manual sex or female sex toys were mentioned, guys would stay silent or occasionally make groans or uncomfortable laughts. (groans were mostly for the sex toys) Girls stayed silent.

I mean, it was a big audience, so obviously you had a variety of responses. But I think I definitely perceived some trends.

Girls often report that when asked in public in HS if they masturbate, they are expected to say "eww" or something to that affect, whereas everyone simply assumes that boys masturbate. There are some differences. It is not uncommon to find younger female teenagers who are sexually active who are more willing to touch boy bodies than to touch their own body, who think of their vagina as "gross". I dare you to find several teenage boys who are less comfortable touching their own body than a partner's body. I do think this is cultural.

I do not see how the first story you cited above was misandric at all. Maybe not mysogynistic. Maybe simply coercing narrow gender roles, but not misandric.

Of course, all of this only relates to the original post about porn indirectly. So we should probably try and stick to porn, instead of flying all over the place.

[ 12-12-2006, 03:15 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Heather
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I presume that by heteroassumptive, what jay_d means is the usual interp, per assuming anyone to be heterosexual, or to be framing others in a heterosexual context/view.

So, in other words, if a male says around a woman that a vagina is "eew" or some such, it is in some way, heteroassumptive to infer that means anything about you, or general male responses to women's bodies.

Which I agree, is totally part of the issue. However, by my way of thinking, since whether any of us likes it or not, the hegemony we all live under is in and of itself heteroassumptive, even when an individual situation is not coming from that place, overarching male negativity about women's bodies or sexuality -- while it may be heteroassumptive -- isn't something that the women can be exempted from -- by themselves or others -- by not being so themselves. And you've spoken to some of that right here in this last post of yours, per your masturbation example (though it also applies to how, of course, men are often expected to act in the company of other men per how they regard women, too: same coin, different sides, both crappy to everyone, even though obviously often less crappy to those less oppressed by it or culture-at-large).

(If you follow: that was sort of convaluted phrasing on my part. I'm really tired today.)

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logic_grrl
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I do not see how the first story you cited above was misandric at all. Maybe not mysoginistic. Maybe coercing narrow gender roles, but not misandric.

I'd guess because the assumption that men are so fixated on porn that they'd risk death rather than miss a "money shot" actually presents a very negative view of men, if you think about it.

Jokes like that are often told by men in a bragging way, to justify particular forms of sexual behaviour on the grounds that men are "controlled" by their sexual urges and "can't help" acting in particular ways.

But you could argue that this really doesn't do men any favours, and is an example of how patriarchal gender roles can be harmful to everyone, female and male.

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Heather
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...and to boot, just like misogyny is not limited to men, misandry isn't limited to women. Because something created by or perpetuated by men is male-hating doesn't mean it's not misandry.

And personally, yeah: I'd say that qualifies, for the reasons logic_grrl just stated and then some.

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000
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Well yeah, and I assumed all that.

I guess though, like you said, the joke was in a bragging way. And men saying that men can't control themselves seems to be used in men's favor around here as often as against it. So, in that sense, I just would not call it misandric. Misandric is infusing the comment with a value judgment that would not necessarily be shared by most people.

Usually when I call someting mysogynistic, I think it is generally not something that many people would often say as though it was a neutral thing or brag about it.

But really, we're debating terms. I can see both sides.

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PenguinBoy
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Whoa! we could do with a Scarleteen glossary. (my dictionary just got a beating).

Anyway.

I've still been thinking about the porn thing, and not really reached any conclusions. I was on youtube looking at some every-day content, when a dancing girl in a small bikini popped up. And the next thing i knew i was into animal-mode my eyes widened and i was suddenly in the mood. (I didn't go onto any porn sites or anything after that, of which i'm very proud). It just made me think about whether my reaction was triggered by instinct or by relating the images to previous arousal, and making my brain adapt to sex-mode.

I said that really i didn't care about morality of porn, that the models wouldn't do it if they didn't want to anyway, that they were highly regulated. I didn't care about them anyway. I'm a teenager, I have sexual needs, and they're not met because of the shape of society, the taboos of sex, harsh parenting.

Then, I just forced myself to exit the browser and the rest is history.

I really feel sorry for men who can't resist it. (It is EXTREMELY difficult) I would be one of them, if i wasn't constantly working hard to keep myself sexually aware. Even my resistance to temptation is on a tight rope.

I have a relatively illusion-free psychology, but men with issues about themselves and who tell themselves simple lies which are not easily denied. It's not surprising that they can't snap out of it.

And although it's not as people have said: a chemical addiction. I can't deny that it is as addictive as other substances even if non-chemically. And for that reason, some empathy, in my opinion should be given to people who use porn. Although they make a concious decision to do so, my experience is that decision is allot harder to make when "craving".

I think that building people's will power and confidence would actually help their pornographic tendencies.

Someone in another thread said that their boyfriend actually agreed with her and disliked porn, and she found found himself using it a number of months later.

If I were to say I could never see myself in his situation that would be a dangerous denial. But to admit it I feel like I have more control over it.

I dno if this changes anyone's mind or helps any understanding.

Thankyou anyway [Big Grin]

[ 12-13-2006, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: PenguinBoy ]

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Heather
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quote:
I said that really i didn't care about morality of porn, that the models wouldn't do it if they didn't want to anyway, that they were highly regulated. I didn't care about them anyway. I'm a teenager, I have sexual needs, and they're not met because of the shape of society, the taboos of sex, harsh parenting.

This comment gives me pause and concern.

You know, I committed to vegetarianism myself when I was 10 or 11. I could just as easily say that at the age of 11, that I was hungry, and because of that -- a more intense and basic drive than sex, I might add -- I couldn't have cared less about animal rights, etc.

Our drives -- even the most basic: food, water, rest, shelter, sex, sleep, what have you -- don't own us, nor do they shut our brains down or override them. Just like I could, at that young age, choose to care about the rights of animals, a teenager can choose to care about sex workers and those who are exploited.

I say that because I just am profoundly uncomfortable with the usual sort of approach to this in terms of the workers that sets them aside, dismisses them, and uses any number of invalid reasons to make them not matter, or say that it's a given not to care about them. In line with that is also the presumption that our personal ethics do or must live in some separate box from our sexuality when, in fact, our sexuality is part of our whole self, not something set apart. Now, if we're apathetic about something already, then obviously, that apathy will likely extend to our sex lives: but if we feel very strongly about something, it's very UNlikely it isn't part of our sexuality.

Mind: in saying this, I am not saying everyone HAS to care, nor that everyone has to eschew pornography or erotica use or purchase TO care. I just am not comfy with apathy (or heck, leack of understanding, knowledge, what have you) disguised as something else.

(One last thing: I also really want to make sure that we're not talking about problems with pornography as if the ONLY users are men, or that these problems are just about men. In fact, that was sort of the whole point of this post, to try and look at the OTHER problems in relationships, in partners bothered by a partner's porn use, that seem to often live in conjunction with porn-use problems.)

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jay_d
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(what precisely do you mean by "heteroassumptive")?

Heather got it right... the applications of feminist theories of presumed class to notions of queer theory.

Presumably, if a gay queer who happens to be male finds the normative adult female genitalia outside their aesthetic preference - it's almost definitional, really, and says nothing about the genitalia in question.

In contrast, if an unknown male is presumed to be heterosexual, and if society predicates self-worth on heterosexual desireability - then it might have more of a regrettable impact on self image, perhaps.

I apologize for interjecting such a random thought... I just wonder alot at deconstructing the ways in which our assumptions... starting with, say, heteronormativity, and continuing with, say, externalized homogenicity of the presumed traits of heteronormative desire, for instance... affect our self image.

I do not see how the first story you cited above was misandric at all.

Again, logic_grrl and Heather pretty well covered this one - but just to borrow a little language in stating it...

I observe that the male is objectified entirely as sexuality, to a point and degree that all other human capacity - philosophy, arts, interpersonal relations, everything, including the worth of his very life - is completely negated and denied, refusing him the opportunity of any part of his humanity which is not servile of sexual expression.

If I were to go around objectifying women like that - would I be misogynistic?

Like I said, Heather and l_g pretty much covered it; there's just something about speaking of gender image and relations in the language of critique of gender that somewhat serves as a highlighter.

It is not uncommon to find younger female teenagers who are sexually active who are more willing to touch boy bodies than to touch their own body, who think of their vagina as "gross".

Wow... I find that... inexpressibly sad.

If I might ask... do you have any ideas on how to change that? I'm... honestly more used to female teenagers who are perfectly comfortable touching themselves in front of other people if they happen to feel like tossing off while others are around, so I'm relying on others for this one...

Of course, all of this only relates to the original post about porn indirectly.

Well... in my defense, I *did* try to throw in a critique of the externally-imposed monolithic nature attributed to hetersoexual attraction... so at least *some* of it has direct bearing on the porn industry.

Seriously, though... sorry to get a little off topic, but thank you for the insights.

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Heather
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quote:
If I might ask... do you have any ideas on how to change that? I'm... honestly more used to female teenagers who are perfectly comfortable touching themselves in front of other people if they happen to feel like tossing off while others are around, so I'm relying on others for this one...
Well, young teenage girls -- today, but also in general -- who feels the way you've observed, especially in North America, tend to be more the exception than the rule, so I'd say your experience is certainly out of the oridinary.

Per how to change it...well, would that we knew. I mean, some aspects of change that need to happen are pretty obvious: en masse body image problems that just keep becoming worse and worse culturally, woman-hating at large, ignorance about one's own body and sexuality, stepping into sexual partnership before one is really ready for the mind of vulnerability and intimacy involved, partners who don't encourage or enable those sentiments: these are all issues pretty well supported in feeding this sort of thing, but they're also very large, pervasive issues that take time to repair both individually/interpersonally and culturally.

So, with the sort of thing we do here we try and change those things, absolutely, but obviously, to really fix them, we're talking about everyone helping to make some pretty sweeping cultural changes through various avenues.

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jay_d
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Well, young teenage girls -- today, but also in general -- who feels the way you've observed, especially in North America, tend to be more the exception than the rule, so I'd say your experience is certainly out of the oridinary.

It usually is, honestly, but 'bi teens who never socialize outside the poly community whose major hobbies include animal rights activism and prisoner advocacy' seemed a bit too unwieldy to type, honestly. Some of my friends are less 'officially mainstream'...

...so, yeah. I tend to presume it's a different perspective than some people. [Wink]

Per how to change it...well, would that we knew. I mean, some aspects of change that need to happen are pretty obvious: en masse body image problems that just keep becoming worse and worse culturally, woman-hating at large, ignorance about one's own body and sexuality, stepping into sexual partnership before one is really ready for the mind of vulnerability and intimacy involved, partners who don't encourage or enable those sentiments: these are all issues pretty well supported in feeding this sort of thing, but they're also very large, pervasive issues that take time to repair both individually/interpersonally and culturally.

So, with the sort of thing we do here we try and change those things, absolutely, but obviously, to really fix them, we're talking about everyone helping to make some pretty sweeping cultural changes through various avenues.


Ahh... "don't hate the media, become the media." [Smile]

Some of these strike me - perhaps arrogantly - as having relatively easy solutions. "Chubby-chaser awareness month" would probably do wonders for at least some aspects of body image... and distracting - in this culture, girls - from their body as their value with random things such as math, science, computer-aided manufacturing, whatever tangibles might interest a person might probably do well for the remainder; people's self-worth tends to look better in more than one dimension, usually.

...on the other hand... would you happen to know anything about the psychological construction of... I hesitate to say "hating," as it might screen out related complex of similar effect, but... that woman-hating you mentioned, by any chance?

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Heather
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quote:
It usually is, honestly, but 'bi teens who never socialize outside the poly community whose major hobbies include animal rights activism and prisoner advocacy' seemed a bit too unwieldy to type, honestly.
Well, right there, you've also just listed young women who I'd say are outside a lot of risk factor per who often gets hit the worst with body image issues: not heterosexual, not locked into traditional gender roles, not isolated, and involved in activities/relationships other than just romantic endeavors.

quote:
"Chubby-chaser awareness month" would probably do wonders for at least some aspects of body image.
Gotta disagree there. Not only would fat activists tend to disagree with you, knowing someone fetishizes a given body type tends not to result in positive body image. Heck, even just knowing there are those who find oneself sexually attractive tends not to help much, however much those who struggle with these issues think it will: when your body image is very poor, you can't hear positives (when they are positives), and to boot, objectification tends to be a negative, not a positive. AND, more and more focus on attractiveness -- even in validating it -- doesn't tend to do much in the long-term, since a lot of body image issues are ultimately esteem issues, and OVER-focus on the body tends to underfocus the larger esteem areas that contribute to this when they're low.

quote:
istracting - in this culture, girls - from their body as their value with random things such as math, science, computer-aided manufacturing, whatever tangibles might interest a person might probably do well for the remainder; people's self-worth tends to look better in more than one dimension, usually.
...just like that. Though, I'd not call it distraction, myself, but rather, balance.

Are you asking about psychological drivers for misogyny?

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jay_d
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Well, right there, you've also just listed young women who I'd say are outside a lot of risk factor per who often gets hit the worst with body image issues: not heterosexual, not locked into traditional gender roles, not isolated, and involved in activities/relationships other than just romantic endeavors.

[Smile] I've always found it a better world to be in...

Gotta disagree there. Not only would fat activists tend to disagree with you...

I should probably apologize; my political/media shorthand is almost universally brutally terse and profoundly cynical. It'd probably sound better as "promoting awareness and celebration of the universally polylithic nature of the beauty within each person"...

...though, ironically, when I wrote the former, I was actually most worried at the tine by noticing that the term "chubby-chaser" is sort of demeaning to... well... chubby-chasers, though I couldn't come up with a replacement.

...just like that. Though, I'd not call it distraction, myself, but rather, balance.

You've probably the better description; again, I apologize for profound cynicism in politics and psychology...

...usually, I'd adapted it as a technique in counterbalancing/counteracting the effects of targeting in social violence, starting with one example as the notion of books-to-prisoners projects and such... when one cannot remove the negative/attacking force (usually, the state), drown it in a sea of positive depth...

...but I ramble.

Are you asking about psychological drivers for misogyny?

Yes! [Smile] Very much so!

Psychology is visual communications is power is change, after all.

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Leabug
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Not that I'm against intellectual debate, but can we please keep the vocabulary here at a level more people can understand? I'm no dummy, lol, I've almost earned my BA in English, but even I'm busting out the dictionary and wikipedia just trying to figure out what the heck is going on here... [Razz] It's an interesting debate but it seems like some of its meaning is lost in the big words, unless you're well versed in theory!!

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James the Dark
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I, as a man who views pornography on a frequent basis, understandably have no bias against it. Of course, of the top five starlets in my eyes, three of them are A-cups, none of them have hour-glass figures, and one of them keeps her hair shorter than mine (which actually became something of a turn-on). Porno isn't all big boobs and flat tummies. It's also tiny, flat-chested redheads from Montreal who are overflowing with sheer attitude, and women who have a face you'd entirely expect to see in a small town anywhere in North America.

To say that all porno exacerbates the existing body image problems of women is an overstatement. There exists a heady market for erotic material which stars women outside the 18-30 years old bracket, who don't debase themselves for a man's delight, and don't make me feel like a douche on behalf of my gender for watching.

That said, if I ever do end up in a relationship, I'd probably still use pornography, because its intended purpose for me has always been expediating sexual release. As I cannot possibly expect any potential partner to be able and willing to 'service' me any time I feel an erotic urge, this means I have to take matters into my own hands, figuratively speaking. And since without accompanyment, I sometimes have to go on for hours (Really. Once, it took three hours of trying. There wasn't much else to do, as I'd been snowed in), and I don't always, or indeed often, have that kind of time, I'll take the path of faster resolution.

Of course, that's just my opinion. Pornography is for titilation. I really don't understand why women feel threatened by it, though. That's just a wonder of mine.

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Surferchk07
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I dont think its just about porn but the porn tends to be the final straw. Atleast thats how it was with an ex and me. I went out of town for 2 weeks came back and he was staying at my house cause he had no where else to go and i found out he had been looking at porn on my computer. So basically it was the final straw and I told him to get to steppin.

Its like why have porn when whoever im with has me, and usually can see my body whenever they want. so what is an image online or in a magazine gonna do when you can have the real thing right then and there. lol

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summergoddess
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Porn used to be an issue before 17. When coming to terms that I was a bisexual at the age of 17 (even though that sexuality had existed since birth), I had a better understanding and liking towards porn. Porn didn't seem so much of an enemy. I had also learned more about pornography through university classes.

Porn to me isn't problematic to me as an individual and to us as a couple. Porn does stands as an healthy position of our lives. I like looking at girls and guys, and how sex is protrayed. My husband likes looking at girls but over time, his use of pornography has decreased because he has me, and doesn't really care much for other women. We use porn occasionally as an aid to enchance our sexual pleasure with each other.

My husband has said that porn was his learning to sex and I actually thought when we first had sex that he wasn't a virgin, but he really was. He was just so amazing at giving me sexual pleasure. I'm very sexually comfortable with myself. The majority of our love making as me on top and we rarely have missionary and of course, we do other sexual positions.

The one thing that I had to come to understand in the beginning though is that it seems that in porn, men and woman like to do oral sex BUT in reality, not ALL men and women like to perform oral sex. My husband just doesn't like going down on me a whole lot, and I'm perfectly fine with it (i used to wonder what was wrong with that but that's all been solved a long time ago) and I don't perfom a head job or a blow job on my husband much either but I do like doing it. I just feel that doesn't need to be done often, and my husband is fine with that.

I feel that porn is a great way to express your sexuality, and find how you want to have sex. I think when people look at porn, they also have to consider the reality that not all men has or want a beautiful blond, blue eyes babe or not all woman want or have a sexy hunky guy with muscles and short hair. I have seen that porn has gone beyond those standards with girls. There are women with curves, brunette/dark hair and what not.

I believe that with my porn understanding has also come from the sexual experiences that I have had and I appreciate what i have learned and know about porn and what it brings to me and my partner.

I also want to add on that i believe that porn is only an serious enemy to society when forced sexual acts are brought on to children. Children do not have consent really, and that is so wrong.

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