Monday, July 18, 2011

The Porn Myth

I was reading this article earlier that mentioned this article in the New York Times calledThe Porn Myth. The article was published in 2003, but it's still getting comments. I know these kind of posts create lots of controversy and feelings. I recognize that this article might be a bit extreme, but my personal/professional opinion is that pornography in a relationship is risky. I'm seeing more and more relationships where pornography has contributed in some way to harming relationships. I've seen couples in therapy that viewed it together to spice up their sex life or where one spouse didn't mind that their partner engaged in it and it still ends up leading to hurt feelings in one or both partners eventually. Granted, these couples are the ones in therapy. The recent research is leaning more toward porn being detrimental whereas a few decades ago, therapists used to prescribe couples view porn together to enhance their sexual relationship. There still are some people, however, that advocate porn use in a relationship. It's a hot topic.

You can go to the site to read the entire article, but here are a few quotes:


The Porn Myth: In the end, porn doesn't whet men's appetites-- it turns them off the real thing.
-Naomi Wolf 


"The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized. Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.

The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” 

When I came of age in the seventies, it was still pretty cool to be able to offer a young man the actual presence of a naked, willing young woman... Your boyfriend may have seen Playboy, but hey, you could move, you were warm, you were real. 

Well, I am 40, and mine is the last female generation to experience that sense of sexual confidence and security in what we had to offer. Our younger sisters had to compete with video porn in the eighties and nineties, when intercourse was not hot enough.
The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman.

You might want to rethink your constant access to porn in the same way that, if you want to be an athlete, you rethink your smoking. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity.

After all, pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on. The ubiquity of sexual images does not free eros but dilutes it.

For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn."

Some of the reader comments were a bit interesting, too. (Most of these are just partial comments without full context)

"The reason WHY I hate [porn] so much is because I allowed myself to be immersed into it, become a part of me. I'm married now, have two kids, and I've divorced my wife remarried, have been through so much pain in my life, and I attribute it to precisely what Ms. Wolf has explained in this article. Even now, my mind has been desensitized, and I work my way through it."

"Porn is a young man's way of counterbalancing the weight of feminism. It's a direct, albeit crude, reaction to forced change, bringing men back to a more primal place where they feel in control, and thus, more powerful."

"Bottomline, if some porn can destroy your relationship, it wasn't very good to begin with."

"Porn is like food for a man's soul."
"Women cannot compete with the digital and surgically enhanced sex machines on the internet, open twenty-four hours for your convenience."

"Most men are sick of the typical eighties and nineties porn stars (girls with big fake breasts, guys on steroids etc) and are instead opting for more realistic porn, usually videos of couples recording themselves with home video cameras."

If you want a good blog to read regarding pornography addiction, I suggest "Love You, Hate the Porn" by Mark Chamberlain

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