[identity profile] orchidia.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] mens_studies
Hi, all. I am a 27 year old female who has been married and divorced once, and then, I married again. I have never really taken on any 'titles' to my points of view. I have strong feelings about things, but I have never classified them into a group of other's beliefs. I have never found one system of beliefs that fit everything I think and feel, so I don't bother trying to find one. I don't believe in God or any spiritual entity, but I do have my own ideas about morality.

I am curious how different people in this community might feel about pornography. I am curious if one feels it is okay at a certain point in life when one is not married or in a relationship. I am curious about one's feelings of its use inside a marriage with or without a spouse who consents to it. I am curious how one thinks their spouse should react to it. I am curious if one thinks it affects how he/she looks at him/herself. I am curious if one thinks it affects how he/she looks at others. I am curious how one thinks it changes their expectations in real sexual relationships. I am curious if one thinks it creates intimacy issues inside a relationship.

There are many other curiosities I can come up with, and if you are curious about my own viewpoint, you can read my own personal journal entry on it, which was the last entry I made in my own journal.

I am curious about this, obviously that I am posting it in this community, in a male viewpoint, as pornography is mainly geared towards men, and I believe them to be the main consumers of pornographic material.

Date: 2006-08-13 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mediaprophet.livejournal.com
Pornography that is good (from a straight male): REALISTIC porn. Not realistic LOOKING people, but realistic BEHAVING people. I have never met a woman who acted like mainstream porn women act.

This is NOT how sex really happens (or should happen):
Woman Begs For It->Oral->Oral->Missionary->Oral->Rear-Entry->Cowgirl->Anal->Facial->Woman looks satisfied->End.

Yet this is how mainstream "Teen Tramps 25!!!" porn portrays it.

Luckily there's some porn out there that's more realistic to how people actually behave in bed - whether a one-night-stand or a 10 year marriage.

As for couples watching porn...

"The internet has allowed such easy access to pornographic material and others who are interested in the same thing. You no longer need your spouse to find sexual gratification nor do you need to look to your spouse to determine what you need and want sexually"

If a person does not need their spouse, they shouldn't be married. I sought a woman (my wife) out because I need a real person in my bed. Masturbation should not be regulated in a marriage. The husband/wife should not have any say in when/how/etc their spouse masturbates unless it's causing a logistical problem ("those were SILK sheets!") or illegal ("not in front of the bay window!"). If you're bothered by your spouse masturbating, then you need to get over it, or take care of his/her sexual needs, or both.

And finally, mainstream porn for men is a characiture of what men in this culture really want. The porn shows women often-literally begging to be used as objects and loving it, which is an exaggerated form of what men really want. Men want (moderately) attractive women who genuinely want to have sex with them -- sex for the pleasure of sex or desire for the man, not in exchange for money / gifts / flashing a nice car / having a good job -- and aren't too afraid / prudish / proper / catty / shy / manipulative to show it.

If there's honest communication between spouses about what their expectations are and what they intend to GIVE each other in bed, then there's no problem. But NOBODY can be totally up-front about sex, because very few people know what they really want or what they are really capable of giving comfortably (or enthusiastically).

Porn has benefits to communication, too, if a couple watches/reads it together. Often, people are nervous about saying the words "cock" "pussy" "dildo" "clit" "head" "shaft" "lips" "balls" "doggy style" etc. in a real, intimate context because they're only ever used in perjoratives, rough slang, and dirty jokes. And "proper conversation" words like "labia majora" "vagina" "marital aid" "scrotum" "glans penis" etc. are too awkward and scientific because they're technical terms used by doctors and gynecologists. But porn uses them, and allows a couple to get used to hearing and saying them. In addition, porn introduces couples to alternative sexual practices that might bring them more pleasure. Gone are the days (if they ever truly existed) where a couple only has sex in the missionary position because that's all they know; now couples can see examples in HD! Plus, there's a porn for every kink, so couples can experiment with fun new things.

I disagree with a point..or two

Date: 2006-08-14 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celticacid.livejournal.com
"Plus, there's a porn for every kink, so couples can experiment with fun new things."
Except for masturbation control which "should not" ever happen, or
the objectification of the woman? Right? I am QUITE enamored of my fiance literally begging to be used as an object and loving it.

Re: I disagree with a point..or two

Date: 2006-08-15 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mediaprophet.livejournal.com
Ah, the internet; where anything you write can and will be misinterpreted by the most reactionary minds ever honed to the purpose of anonymous argumentation...

I never said that people shouldn't control their own sexual impulses. I said that people should not control their spouse's desire to explore their own sexuality on their own. Do you want your fiancee to dictate when you can and cannot touch yourself down there? I mean, other than in some D/s relationship, in which I suppose the kink is the domination, in which case it's voluntary submission anyway...

The objectification of women happens completely outside of porn. By objectification, feminists mean that the woman is the object of sexual desire while the man is the subject. As in "subject-verb-object".

In exact terms, that means that a man - according to this culture - has desire for a woman; not the other way around. Women are not supposed to show desire for a man - it's part of the passivity implied by objectification.

Pornography is a symptom of the objectification of women and also a cause; this is because it facilitates the "meme" of the active masciline and the passive feminine. Take the "lucky pizza boy" scenario. The pizza boy arrives. The woman is in a bathrobe. She offers to play with his tip. He succumbs to the desire. The pizza boy is a subject of desire for the object (woman). But it can also be used to portray women as subjects of desire and men as objects (the pizza boy scenario reversed), or a more balanced distribution (everyone is an active, agentic subject).

Such pornography exists, and is often called "fem positive" and other things. Oftentimes you'll find it under [real] amateur [as opposed to just "novice"] porn. It's designed for women or couples, and usually shows women being positive, active agents (and usually men too). Or it's not designed professionally at all, and it's made by women who've got an exhibitionist streak and want to show off their sex lives. Some of their motives are best described as "desire me" but some are honestly similar to the men [obviously with no intention of running for public office] who video tape their one-night stands and post the tapes on the internet (occasionally turning their randy sex life into a profit-seeking venture).

A lot of mainstream porn that portrays women badly also shows women as subjects of desire, but what it actually does is objectify the desire because the men (and women) consuming it actively seek fantasies of a woman's desire for a man.

I like the idea of women being subjects of desire, not objects. A lot of men do - that is, a lot of men are subjects of a desire for women (objects again) to be subjects of desire.

That's possibly one reason why porn is taboo; it often displays situations counter to the culture's norms ("slutty" women).

Sex positive feminists will tell you that the word "slut" could be a compliment, just like "player" is for men, if we didn't have a double standard that expected women not to be subjects of desire.

Sorry if I misinterpreted anything you said. Sarcasm comes across very poorly in text, and it seemed you were being sarcastic in many parts of that comment.

Re: I disagree with a point..or two

Date: 2006-08-15 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celticacid.livejournal.com
No, there was no sarcasm intended it was probably just a distaste I have for pomo-feminist dialogues. I find it entirely riddled with the stench of postmodernist non-thought. I seem to be the only male not subscribing to the politically correct truisms of this brand of feminism on this community. Human society is not an infinitely malleable ball that feminist or whoever else can mold around for whatever purpose they want. Meme's despite what Susan Blackmore (who advocates the giving up of identity to the mysteries of ones genes and memes), or Steven Pinker might say, are in my opinion inherently tied to the biological and chemical situations in the human mind (The human brain is a Turing machine, with less than limitless configurations). While your goals of making porn more couple/female friendly is admirable, the current situation probably exist for VERY good reasons(It being sold primarily to men, who are visually oriented sexually is a good start (hence a good reason why it would be in a format that was male-centric)).

Re: I disagree with a point..or two

Date: 2006-08-16 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mediaprophet.livejournal.com
I don't subscribe to thoughtless feminism, and I've been in countless flamewars confromting the hypocracy of a lot of idiots who think of themselves as feminist yet have contradictory or unabashedly narrow mindsets. I'm sociologically trained, though; so I have the vocabulary, and I use it.

Very few people actually understand what "objectification of women" actually means - male or female. In their failure to understand what it means, they fail to understand how it hurts men as well.

Your personal beliefs stem from a sort of home-brew functionalism. That is; if X is, look for the factors that cause X. Functionalism tends to conflate reasons with justifications, however. Just because biology plays a large part in men and women's sexual habits does not justify certain kinds of dehumanizing pornography. Granted, the among the first writing ever discovered, over 8000 years old, there was pretty much only pornography and receipts for trade (pretty much what you find littering the streets of Las Vegas, today); that's still an unaccountably short time for evolution to occur in. Our mating impulses explain our porn tastes, in a circuitous manner, but they do not justify it. Otherwise they would justify clubbing women over the head and dragging them back to our condo, too.

Agriculture led to fixed, large societies; which led to the social contract; which led to a society of mammals that deny their biological impulses in order to increase their numbers and capitalize on their ability to store extrasomatic information for use by future generations in social theory discussions on the internet.

Date: 2006-08-14 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] musicpsych.livejournal.com
I have a very "live and let live" relationship with people & porn. If you enjoy it, I don't see anything wrong with it.

Inside a relationship, I would almost want to separate one's identity from his porn, just because they're not necessarily related. If he needs certain "elements" within porn to turn him on, it doesn't make him a bad person. I think that having porn with those elements might allow him to keep them secret, if he's ashamed of it. I think it could create intimacy issues, but I also think that his partner could try to non-judgmentally accommodate them within their own sex life. Dan Savage has written a few things about this in his column "Savage Love." I can't find them right now, but I think they're worth checking out.

Date: 2006-08-15 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mediaprophet.livejournal.com
"risked his marriage to go out and find what he needed/wanted in pornography"

Do you seriously think porn would be a reason to leave him? If not, then it's not a risk. Lies are another thing, entirely; on the other hand, since porn is very taboo, a lot of people are very uncomfortable talking about it. He may be evading and hiding because he's embarassed, not because he wants to decieve you. Trust is a two-way street; he has to trust that you will not make him feel bad if he talks about the porn. That means you have to talk about it in a positive way, avoiding negative terms and closed or disapproving body language. A therapist will do these things with you, so that may help.

The tension from your feelings of disconnect and lack of intimacy due to your feelings of mistrust may make him MORE likely to seek alternative outlets for his desires (But he seems like the kind to watch porn instead of dog around on you, which is good! That should make you want to trust him more!).

"I thought that within time, I would begin to see an inner person. Either he is not allowing me to know his inner self, or there just isn't one.... I am never getting to see a soft underbelly, the vulnerable 'I need you' side."

He sounds like a typical masculine male. Men express their emotions differently than women. When a woman expresses emotional pain, she cries, talks, screams, sulks and presents a host of nonverbal cues. When a man expresses emotional pain, he drinks, fights, becomes irritable or critical, becomes absorbed in a hobby or work, and perhaps takes stupid risks (like DUI and drugs). This is because men are supposed to be masculine, and masculine people don't cry, talk about their feelings, or otherwise become visibly upset (other than angry). Masculine people also don't express joy as easily, so watch out for that, too. Latino men, by the way, tend to be very VERY high on masculinity scales. His family, his father, are probably just as stoic as he is, or moreso.

That has almost nothing to do with pornography. The pornography issue is just an instantiation of the transnational gender relations that happen to be a factor in your marriage.

Read Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus or get really deep into gender sociology, or women's studies, or men's studies, or gender psychology. I'd recommend the book.

Date: 2006-08-15 03:08 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
A relationship counselor seems like a good idea. Um, if I were your husband and knew you were so dissatisfied with my mind, it would definitely strengthen any barrier I felt about being intimate and vulnerable with you. Good luck.

Date: 2006-08-14 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dionysus1999.livejournal.com
I take issue with the term pornography. I'd prefer the term erotica. Pornography has a negative connotation, but one person's porn is another's erotica. There's definitely a lot of bad erotica out there, which degrades the woman and certainly doesn't do much more for the man, typically reducing him to a meat stick. Of course, like most people, I still use the word porn to mean sexually explicit material.

I'd challenge your assertion that erotica is only male-focused. Most VISUAL erotica is male-centered. Research indicates men are hard-wired to respond visually to sexual stimuli. Most cultures reinforce this by covering certain areas of women's bodies, which emphasizes those body areas as being special in some way.

Women, from what I've read and know from female friends, tend to enjoy written erotica more. Fanfic is a great example of erotica written by and for other women. One friend wrote erotica when she was a young teen to aid in sex fantasies.

I don't pass judgement on anyone who uses erotica. Being in a committed relationship doesn't shut off a person's sexuality. Masturbation is something most people do, whether they are not dating at all, or are dating multiple people.

However, I have heard about people that become sexually obsessed about erotica. I've heard a few men say it interferes with their ability to have sex with their partner. Some people are prone to obsessive behavior, sexual obsessives are a subset of this group.

Date: 2006-08-14 05:53 pm (UTC)
firecat: cat nose (curious cat nose)
From: [personal profile] firecat
My view is that any porno or erotic material that isn't made by exploiting people is fine to use, and that spouses don't get to object to it any more than they get to object to what novels their spouse reads for fun.

I also think that it's rude to read your novel if your spouse wants to interact with you, and rude to read your novel aloud to your spouse if your spouse doesn't want to be read aloud to. The same goes for porn: If you like it and your spouse doesn't, then consume it when you're not around your spouse. (I don't mean be secretive about it, just don't rub their nose in it.)

As for how porn affects how people look at themselves and others, and how it changes people's expectations of real relationships, and whether it creates intimacy issues...this depends on the people involved. Insofar as consuming media affects these things for the worse, I believe that all media and not just porn can affect these things. So it doesn't make sense to single out porn for criticism.

By the way, I am 44 years old, female, and I consume more porn (mainly comic books) than my male life partner, with whom I have a good intimate relationship.

Date: 2006-08-15 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mediaprophet.livejournal.com
Is it yaoi? Women reading yaoi manga is an issue that interests me. In "typical" mainstream porn, there is a man and a woman, and the viewer - usually a man - looks at it and often imagines himself in the position of the man in the film or pictures. In traditional mainstream porn with no men in it (hustler, "lesbian" porn for straight men, strip bars) the action and shots are posed explicitly to show off attractive women so that men can desire them and imagine (desire) having sex with them.

Yaoi, which is commonly consumed by some friends of mine (and my wife) has no role for the woman to imagine herself taking. Do yaoi-consumers imagine themselves to be one of the men? Which one? The seme or the uke? Either? Both?

My theory is that the story interests the consumer as much as the dirty drawings. This is related to why women consume smutty romance novels. Women are turned on by something in the stories in yaoi and the stories in romance novels. It may be related to a gendered desire for a protector or provider; there's an element of relationship building (which implies emotional and physical support) in both romance and yaoi, and in yaoi, the physical support can often manifest as literal physical defense against attacks.

Date: 2006-08-15 03:04 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
No, I don't read yaoi porn. The porn I read has male-female and female-female sex; both women's and men's bodies are depicted but the women's bodies tend to be more on display than the men's. Insofar as I "imagine" myself into the story I am identifying with all the characters.

I assume you know about slash fandom?

Date: 2006-08-15 09:42 pm (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
Yaoi is a term for Japanese porn, often in comic book form, that depicts sex between men.

You aren't missing anything essential to your sex life by not consuming porn, any more than a person would be missing something essential to their food life by not consuming peanut butter.

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