DOES PORN KILL LOVE?

Pornography is a very controversial topic that many prefer to pretend doesn’t exist. However, with increased access to the Internet and a society that has downplayed the importance of relationships between people, porn has become an outlet for many to turn to for comfort. Consuming porn, especially in this way, has caused many to wonder if porn presents a serious health risk. Beyond the consumers, pornography actors aren’t always provided with the best work environment—some don’t even receive humane treatment. Does porn need to be regulated to protect the actors, as well as the consumers from themselves? Perhaps even made illegal? Or does society need to help its population by shifting focus to connection and relationships? While porn and porn addiction is certainly prevalent, exactly how to combat this problem is difficult.

The trouble caused by pornography expands even further. “Fight The New Drug,” an American nonprofit organization to raise awareness on the harmful effects of porn, presents other issues such as porn killing love. Below is a civil discussion from social media that helps to illustrate a few perspectives of this debate. I have changed the names of the people to Greek gods to keep them anonymous.


 

ORIGINAL POST BY ASTRAEA: In light of the recent events of Hugh Hefner passing and comments on my water bottle from different sides of the “I agree” spectrum in the gym, work, and class this past year I wanted to shed some thoughts. This is not a post about what “liberation” really entails in our society. This is not a post bashing on Hefner as a person. This is a post standing against the objectification of the human person. Furthermore, I cannot and will not stand for the inevitable and absolutely malicious byproduct of this industry pertaining to rape in our culture, sexual exploitation/abuse of minors and human trafficking. This is not, in any way shape or form, a liberating step in any direction but backwards. Speak up about this subject and change the direction of the conversation.

 

 

Himeros: I think porn only kills love when it’s an addiction. Which it can easily become.

 

Astraea: I’m glad we can agree on its addiction. I just don’t know how an industry that aims its “interviews” towards exploited young women in need of money, fame, or some other desire unfulfilled at the time can at all be an advocate towards that?

 

Himeros: You just described a job. People in need of money or other desires are hired to complete the job or service. If both sides are willing adults then what’s so bad?

 

Astraea: Because of what happens off-set on half of these casting couch interviews. There’s a lot of anecdotal testimonies from ex-porn stars describing their abuse on sets. This isn’t to mention the coercing of the women on set to do something they previously said they would not do. Sometimes this literally happens in the middle of scenes, and “consent” is something that happens during it out of fear. Sound vaguely familiar to a bunch of college lawsuits? There’s a lot of stories through Fight the New Drug based on that but you were wanting the problem with consent, which I thought was gonna be your reply.

 

Himeros: I’ve never been on a porn set. I’m sure plenty are bad as you’ve described. But not all are bad. And most porn on the Internet isn’t professional. What about the amateur stuff? I bet you’ve released a few videos yourself.

 

Astraea: You always were a funny guy you know lol. Consent is good. We’ll leave it at that for the sake of being concise in my reply. However, amateur videos still got posted on a majority of corporate porn sites and guess who’s pockets get filled when you click a visit to their sites? The investors and producers of those professional sets. It’s a perpetual cycle that leads back to exploitation which is not good.

 

Himeros: I wouldn’t imagine most amateurs were making videos for the money, just for fun. So if they end up going through those sites it’s not a big deal. That happens with many business, especially the big businesses. I understand this has an extra moral value component for you and many others, but back to the initial debate of killing love—outside of becoming addicted to it, I think it doesn’t hinder love and could even help it grow between partners. With proper use, just like most other things. We aren’t debating about mobile phone use despite it being a more common addiction and detrimental to love.

 

Astraea: True as your analogy to phones and what its addiction does to relationships, the main reasons porn is made versus the main reason phones are made are vastly different. And to side step slightly, the real reason porn is such a massively lucrative industry isn’t because people are trying to engage in healthier relationships. Subscribers and investors pay for specific material they want. Let’s be real. It gets to the point where partners are no longer as desirable because of the content showing a different reality than that of which the partner cannot match which ends up being detrimental to the relationship before one even starts. This comes back to the point of people genuinely not thinking it can be addictive (which I’ve actually convinced people about in the past) and they unknowingly end up hurting themselves. I’m glad we can agree. Speak up about that. However, your thinking porn can be used in relationships in a healthy way doesn’t match with the statistical evidence of infidelity, divorce, and feelings of inadequacy in a relationship due to it. I can understand your reasoning that maybe some people can control that. Without even engaging in this from a moral standpoint, the responses from people that have tried that say otherwise.

 

Himeros: It just takes some emotional intelligence and awareness. People aren’t aware of how they’re feeling or why they consume porn, leading to much of what you’ve mentioned. The problem here is not so much a problem of porn (porn has been around for centuries), but a problem of low emotional intelligence in more recent times.

 

Tyche: Although I don’t know either one of you, I feel drawn to comment on the civility and maturity of the conversation. Also, though my two cents were not requested, I’m hoping I can add to the conversation.

My fear in today’s modern time spans much broader than just porn, but society in general. Many people have genuinely lost the interpretations of the impact love, sex, and marriage play into each other. Though porn does impact that, so do music videos, celebrity affairs, movies, etc.

The main reason I believe porn kills love is that it is a detriment to the value of sexual stimulation and release. I whole heartedly believe, along with scientific evidence of the impact on the human brain, that it transforms the value on sex from the most intimate act of love and procreation, to a meaningless release of pleasure.

I can see arguments for both sides, however statistics lend itself to one side rather than the other. To me, the increase in accessibility of porn and the decrease of healthy marriage are far too connected to be considered a coincidence. Thank you guys for the open ended discussion. 🙂

 

Himeros: Welcome Tyche. I’m glad we can agree it’s society as a whole driving this. Porn addiction is a symptom of what people are lacking emotionally from partners. And along with that is the more meaningless release of pleasure as you mentioned. Not just with porn but also the casual sex culture that has come up the last couple decades.

Saying that, all of those problems wouldn’t be much of a problem if people understood themselves. How they feel and what they need to feel fulfilled. AKA emotional intelligence.

At least this is how I view it.

 

Astraea: Hey Tyche, thanks for chiming in! I don’t post many controversial topics on social media but this is particularly close to my heart.

I too agree with your idea that porn (and other forms of entertainment) are degrading the value of marriage and sex for what it’s worth. I purposely decided to leave that out of my points because my friend Himeros knows my view on it – I wanted to speak solely from statistical and anecdotal evidence for my responses. I’m glad we can share that same viewpoint.

As for Himeros, I don’t see why both your description of flawed human nature and porn can’t both be the problem. From what I understand you seem to be insistent on the idea that it can be used for sexual health. That’s important. There’s trained therapists for that sort of thing. Looking to amateurs to improve relationship health is like taking layman’s advice on a medical problem instead of a professional – it could hurt more than it help. The main play makers of the porn industries are the big money websites and magazines. Not the amateurs. And the face of the porn industry seems to objectify people down to a “category” of taste. Would it be possible that amateur videos are not what are essential to a healthy relationship and we’re searching for a foundation in the wrong place?

 

Himeros: Not everyone has the need or resources to have a therapist. So something that anybody can do is work on their own knowledge. Of sex, porn addiction, and their feelings. People can always make themselves better. Even referring to your medical professional reference, people should learn as much as they can about their conditions and circumstances. There’s a level where you can’t handle things with knowledge by yourself, and that’s where you seek medical professionals, or therapists. But even in that circumstance, your personal knowledge about yourself would aid the professionals.

 

Astraea: True. But at the end of the day, is it worth clicking that site when we know for a fact all the drug abuse, scandal, exploitation and objectification going on in the industry?

 

Himeros: Do you eat any meat? Do you use any cosmetics? Do you recycle? Do you support the Catholic Church? (Of course you do, but you know there are corrupt and respectable sections and people in the organization as a whole).

 

Astraea: “Barely legal”

“Cheating spouses”

“Humiliation”

“Rape”

The difference between your examples and mine are what they entail. Porn is a sexual depiction of people and things not otherwise meant to cause arousal. I’m sorry, but those popular categories speak for themselves. Sexualizing young women to a “barely legal” description. Entertaining the fantasy of “cheating spouses”. I don’t have to talk about the last two things. But why is it that if porn should be so healthy, those become some of the most viewed and sought for material? You said yourself you think the problem is Hollywood, advertisements and our culture twisting our ideas of what relationships should be. Porn absolutely has to be a part of that.

 

Himeros: We cannot judge what some people find to be arousing. Lots of people have fantasies that aren’t realistic or legal, and as long as they don’t pursue those outside of the law, I see no problem with them gaining pleasure from it. If the thought of a rape fantasy or being humiliated, etc. gets them going, then let them enjoy themselves as long as it’s legal. And based on the audience is how these companies decide what to provide. It’s a business. So they make those types of videos because there’s a market/desire for it.

 

Tyche: At what point can we judge when something brings someone arousal? Devil’s advocate?

Rape, molestation, child porn, abuse, murder for that matter?

Though it is a stretch, when does it become an issue when they are not the ones performing the act? How acceptable does it have to become before it is no longer acceptable?

 

Astraea: And with that, it appears we’ve met an impasse. The second this turns into a topic of morality is when I recede from the conversation – it’s a topic best served in person.

My closing thoughts: We all have the power to change the flow of our societal norms based on our passions. When it comes to this topic, I stand adamantly behind my moral beliefs and especially for the preservation of human dignity.

I appreciate our discussion and all its worth. I’m glad to have a friend that can debate in a civilized manner and refraining from all-caps and excess punctuation to prove a point; I’m sure everyone reading this appreciated that as well.

 

Tyche: Absolutely. I’m so glad I ran across this post. You guys are solid individuals.

 

Himeros: Not sure how you found it Tyche, but glad you joined in and enjoyed it.


 

The goal of this article was not to provide an answer for how to handle pornography; it was to raise awareness that there is an issue, show that even emotionally-charged topics can be discussed with civility, and provide the reader with some different perspectives on the topic. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions; just keep it civil.