I’ve never understood the moral hysteria about pornography. It’s an extension of the broader moral panic about sexuality in our culture, which stems from a fundamental conflict between our libido and the power structures established to control human nature for political means. This conflict results in the kind of abhorrent moral hypocrisy that leads the Catholic church to excommunicate the people associated with giving a nine year old girl an abortion after she conceived twins as a result of being raped by her stepfather.

The girl’s mother and doctors are being punished for their actions, but the church won’t excommunicate the step-father. He must be a ‘good’ Catholic. Apparently it’s better to rape a girl than save her life by preventing her from giving birth before her body is mature enough to do so. As I’ve said before, if only more Catholic priests and other male authority figures were raped and then denied access to health services more often, then perhaps their policies would change. But I digress…

The latest piece of moral drivel published by the increasingly socially conservative Age newspaper is about the ‘problem’ of pornography and how it supposedly wrecks heterosexual relationships. Never mind that the real problem in most long term heterosexual relationships is also recognised in the same article as a lack of communication about sex and the failure of couples to develop a mutual understanding about the place of sex in their relationship.

According to this article, porn is only used by men and women are always shocked and horrified by learning that their partners view it. This shock is portrayed as a kind of betrayal akin to infidelity that the man must then atone for: “When a man is discovered using porn there is typically shock on both sides. The woman is shocked by the discovery while the man is taken aback that she sees it as such a big deal.”

What utter twaddle. Just ignore all the information about the difference between the libidos of men and women as revealed in sex therapist Bettina Arndt’s new book The Sex Diaries. Ignore the substantial evidence that many women also use porn, which is discussed in the recent Australian study The Porn Report.

Arndt spoke eloquently on Lateline recently and came close to embarrassing host Tony Jones (you can download the video of the interview – 60mb MP4). Her calm common sense approach to sexuality is rare but fortunately she is not alone. Compare the moral tone of the Age article with that in the response to a reader query about masturbation and porn in a recent article in the Guardian by Pamela Stephenson Connolly:

It is normal and healthy to have sexual urges and, especially at your age, self-pleasuring with such frequency is common. I do not believe you are “addicted to sex”. Our society has somewhat negative attitudes towards masturbation and sex in general, so unfortunately you have picked up the belief that what you are doing is wrong and unhealthy.

Try to accept your very natural urges and, as long as you are keeping up with life’s responsibilities such as work or school, let go of your guilt and enjoy yourself. The internet and other media sources certainly provide a wide variety of erotica to choose from, and there is probably no harm in that – unless, of course, the images you are viewing happen to be illegal.

Sex is a hobby. It is a recreational activity. People like consuming media about their hobbies. If you like cars, you probably also enjoy viewing car media like Top Gear or Wheels magazine. If you like fashion, you like fashion media like Vogue magazine or Sex in the City. If you like sex, you like viewing sex media.

No one ever blames car magazines when young men steal cars. No one demands to shut down Vogue because it supposedly ‘forces’ young women to steal shoes. So why do people argue that viewing porn causes sex crimes? It’s yet another pathetic failure of causal logic. Sex crimes are perpetuated by people with unhealthy attitudes about sex, mental illnesses and an inability to empathise with their victims. Their obsession causes them to view porn, not the other way around.

I’ve watched every episode of Top Gear and have yet to destroy a caravan. The moral police can go get fucked, or not. That’s their choice. My choice is not to listen to their pathetic irrelevant anachronistic hypocritical whinging. Their inability to appreciate the natural phenomenon of sex is their problem, and I refuse to allow them to infect me with their retarded moral propaganda.

the moral hysteria about porn

7 thoughts on “the moral hysteria about porn

  • 15 March 2009 at 2:05 am
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    Well said.

    This article’s greatest crime is to try to pretend that the viewpoint it presents is universal. There no mention of Bettina Arndt’s work, or the Porn report; there is no mention of the sex positive movement; there is nothing other than inexcusable ignorance or a craven refusal to acknowledge any other side to the story. This in itself is lamentable for an article posted in a supposedly credible newspaper.

    Add to that the sexism of the piece including its condescension toward and simplification of the sexuality of both genders. For those who crave simplicity in all facets of life, the revelation that sexuality can be whatever you choose it to be must be threatening. But no cause for sympathy.

    I for one would like to see the deployment of an Australian Violet Blue.

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    • 15 March 2009 at 2:13 am
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      I have not read Violet Blue for ages, thanks for reminding me about that site!

      Reply
  • 15 March 2009 at 8:16 am
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    how is this connected to fitzroy specifically?

    Although I agree that the article did attempt to present things from a “female hysterical/moral” perspective.

    Not that I necessarily agree with the way they portray women or their moral point of view. I’m not sure how I would feel if my partner used porn, it’s not for myself personally- although i know A LOT of women who agree with the perspective given in the article.

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    • 15 March 2009 at 11:17 am
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      If you had read about the site’s purpose you would know that Fitzroyalty “features stories on the suburb of Fitzroy in Melbourne, Australia, and reflections on life from a socially libertarian, economically socialist, culturally anarchistic and radically individualistic point of view.” In my opinion a lot of people would agree with the article because they have been brainwashed with mmoral propaganda.

      Reply
  • 15 March 2009 at 1:31 pm
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    Lyntra: Even -if- this were the view of an overwhelming majority, that does not make it okay to present it as the only view, or the ‘correct’ view; or even a necessarily benign view.

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    • 15 March 2009 at 6:35 pm
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      The article does seem to have a moral agenda that it does not acknowledge or present as only one point of view.

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  • 17 March 2009 at 3:36 pm
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    Andrew and Brian, your comments are pretty much the reason why Julian Fleetwood and I were driven to create The Sex Mook in 07… because we were tired of reading horrible, one-sided, simplistic and morally panicked articles about sexuality and gender, particularly about sex and young people. We wanted instead to create a form of media that did the opposite, that tried to be inclusive, questioning and open. Exactly what you think the media should be anyway… note, I said ‘should be’.

    Reply

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