I want to say before this goes further that I'm not defending porn per se; rather I'm concerned about red herrings and other poor arguments being used against it, because they teach bad thinking and when people I otherwise admire use bad arguments, their credibility suffers.
Although I can't know another person's motivations for sure, I strongly suspect that when someone beats this "men need to drop porn" drum endlessly, no matter how many words they use, it really boils down to one or more of the following:
“Really, I wish I could indulge without trouble but my wife and/or my god doesn’t like it. So I have to say this. Or I don’t want you doing what I can’t.”
“I have a daughter and I don’t want to think she’s going to be showing her body to anyone or having sex.”
The Good Men Project, apparently doesn't have an official stance on porn since they regularly published pieces from Hugo Schwyzer, who was known as the "porn professor" while teaching at a community college. I can appreciate a website that appears to have an overall purpose (calling men to be better) hosting content with different opinions of how to achieve that purpose. Like I said, they published Schwyzer, but they also just published a "men are bad for enjoying porn" piece by Bryan Reeves, "5 Reasons Why Men Must Give Up Porn".
It should be noted that the headline can have two meanings. One is that ALL men must give up porn. The other is that if men have these problems, those men must give up porn. It is a very unreasonable essay if one takes the first meaning.
Notice that the subheadline is "Former US Air Force Captain Bryan Reeves on why giving up porn is essential for modern men who want to have great sex and be in a world that doesn't abuse women."
In my boyhood teenage days of yore, using pornography required patience, even imagination.Ah. So he's ticked that it is so easy for young guys to access now.
At this very moment, I — and most every other man in Western Civilization — have in my hands a little device loaded with the entire known universe of pornographic material ready to stir my lust and blow my loins wide open. I never have to wait for the mail again.And yet notice that crime rates, including the rates of incidence of rape, are down.
As a single man for the last four years, great sexual encounters with women have been a rare luxury.Hmmm. What is the traditional, time-tested moral code that would indicate pornography is bad but fornication is A-OK?
There were times I seemed to need it just to fall asleep. I used it so much that it once even gave me repetitive stress injury, messing up my otherwise formidable basketball game.So because HE had a problem with it, does that mean other men should not use it?
There's nothing wrong with masturbation. But modern pornography can be a serious detriment not just to men, but to the women we love, too.So if there is nothing wrong with masturbation (and, presumably, fantasizing), and notice it was masturbation that caused his injury, not what he watched, then much of the objection to pornography goes away. So, he needs to try to make a case some other way.
Here are 5 reasons why I believe men must give up consistent use of pornography for personal stimulation:Interesting choice of words. So… it is OK for women? Or it is OK for couples?
1) Porn can ruin our erections with actual women.Now when I saw that, I thought he was going to say that he'd worn himself out sometimes and couldn't get it up for the woman he was with (let's pretend it was with his wife.) Here's a fact of life: men want sex more than women. It is undeniable. It is why men pay. It is why the overwhelming majority of prostitution customers are male. Yes, there are wives who find themselves, at least temporarily, wanting sex more than their husbands, and not all of those cases are because she butched up, gained a lot of weight, or otherwise disrespected him. There are also relationships in which they pretty much want it as much as each other. MOST marriages will have a husband who wants it more than a wife, and in many of those marriages, she will explicitly reject him from time to time (or always), or she will make it clear she's only doing it out of obligation. A few will do a good acting job, and some will actually really get into in and allow themselves to have a good time. Some of these women are thankful when their husband doesn't "bother" them and more of them would admit they're glad he uses porn if they didn't feel pressured to react as though porn was some sort of insult to them or to think that it was going to turn their husband into a mass murdering child molester.
Different cultures around the world and throughout history have come up with different solutions to this, including allowing marital rape, one night stands and fling affairs, long term mistresses, prostitution, and polygyny. Are those solutions better than using porn to quickly masturbate? Notice he thinks masturbation is OK. Is use of any media acceptable to masturbate?
Anyway, I was thinking this point doesn't apply to men who never leave a wife feeling rejected or undesired. However, he went on to elaborate his point:
After I had been using porn moderately for about a year, I began to notice that I couldn’t sustain erections with women as long as I once could. I was horny as ever, but without the constantly changing visual erotic stimulation that watching video after video offered, one woman’s body couldn’t hold my erotic focus as effectively as it used to. To my frustrated surprise, real sex had become somewhat under-stimulating.By this reasoning, nobody who enjoys playing a sport should ever watch professionals play or watch a movie featuring that sport.
Since I gave up porn, even morning wood has made its return like an exotic tree rescued from the brink of extinction.As I point out above, morning wood is nothing more than a problem for some people. It is better to NOT have it.
2) Porn can train our bodies to premature ejaculation.Funny, didn't he just tell us what is essentially the opposite – that porn was making it more difficult for him to function? And again, many women clearly want it over as soon as possible. In those relationships, this isn't a problem. It is only a problem in relationships where women want their husband to have a longer lasting erection. And again, this is more about masturbation, which he says is OK, than porn.
I was tuning my body to quickly rise and climax. I can immediately stop moving my own hand when I masturbate. A real woman's aroused body doesn’t stop moving so fast.Uh, it’s called… communication. Aren't we always told me should be doing that?
I often couldn't handle her enthusiasm, and I started getting really concerned.Oh, sure, that's a problem a lot of men have – not being able to handle a woman's enthusiasm. And yet he will go on to tell us what so many others do - that porn gives unrealistic expectations. Among those is... ta-da... that women will be enthusiastic.
3) It's such a waste of time.So are romance novels and romantic comedies and soap operas and watching professional sports. And again, if masturbation is OK, porn can actually speed that up.
4) It creates unrealistic expectations of women.You knew that was coming. No pun intended.
I could go on and on citing all of the examples of media "creating unrealistic expectations of men", but yet again, nobody seems to give a rat's hind quarters. If this is a reason men should not watch porn, then women shouldn't use most media.
5) When we watch porn, we may be supporting human trafficking, slavery, rape, and blackmail of women all over the world.Seriously?
So does buying clothing.
There are accomplished, respected, successful Hollywood actresses who have their careers because of porn. So their careers shouldn't have happened?
What about home-made amateur porn? I guess this objection doesn't apply to all of that stuff, right?
Men, we've got to stop using porn. I know it's a quick fix. I know some couples even use it to spice up an otherwise fading sex life.Yes, let's voluntarily make life harder for ourselves. Stop using bicycles. Walk everywhere instead. Bicycles are low-hanging fruit. You can dance your way to where you are going. Get creative!
But let’s find other ways. Let’s get creative. Porn is easy; it’s low-hanging fruit. It’s beneath our brilliance.
Speaking of that, no vibrators for women! They make it too easy for them to get off. Points 1, 2, and 4 can all be applied to vibrators.
As you could expect, there were some great comments. Richard Grant Muir:
So, I mean this with all due respect, the heterocentric nature of the article bugs me. This article is essentially a retread of Judith Butler’s claim that “all porn is demeaning to women”. I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. Gay male porn has NOTHING to do with women.James Kelsey:
People (for women do it too) who have unrealistic expectations of either gender will have such regardless if porn is involved or not. People who do something to excess are always unhealthy, and porn is no exception. But I take umbrage at the claim that the mere existence and usage of porn is harmful to anyone.
Yeah, like watching 5 minutes of porn is worse than an episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, right? (Which wastes more time? Which one promotes more violence?)Heather:
I've done a lot of research on the topic and in South Africa, there is a fair amount of research linking perpetrators use of porn to violent acts towards women and children.Again, where porn is ubiquitous and easy to access, such crime has decreased.
Women are very definitely objectified in porn movies (men too) and the minute one starts seeing human beings as objects, it gives one licence to treat them as such.Almost all media objectifies people.
In my opinion, porn definitely needs to be regulated and monitored like any other addictive substance!I have a sneaking suspicion this translates to, "That would be easier for me than looking good and being an enthusiastic lover."
There is an old fear that men will replace their romantic/sexual need for women with porn. Not accurate, but it does take the edge off, and can allow men room to think about if a partner is really acceptable instead of settling.This may be another truth nobody wants to talk about. My fellow social/religious conservatives often DO want people to marry young and "settle" and porn might "help" them NOT do those things.
I think the biggest problem with pornography is the fact that it predominately caters to men.That is certainly a big reason why it is the punching bag it has been.
You see women performing sexual acts on/for men for the sole purpose of the man’s pleasure and men start to get the idea that they are owed these acts.You mean just like girls/women watching fairy/princess tales and romantic comedies thinking they are owed having a man pay their way through life?
Women like sex just as men do but most of us don't like being treated in the disrespectful manner female porn stars are treated!You mean getting paid for something that a lot of people do for free?
I agree with this article- for a lot of men, porn is an addiction, a constant struggle."Porn addiction" is a phrase used by counselors for job security, husbands who want an excuse for enjoying it after getting caught, and wives who think porn viewing is the same thing as physical adultery that they'd leave a husband over but do not want to leave their marriage. The phrase is a meal ticket for the counselors. It is a "get out of jail free card" for husbands. And it is a "oh, it's an illness and so I don't have to divorce him even though I equate this with adultery" card for wives. You'll find that very few, if any husbands whose wives do not mind him looking at porn become "addicts". Why do you think that is???
My biggest problem with porn from my own experience is that it contributed to inhibiting my relationships with women because I felt no need to pursue actual relationships or sex with real people when I could easily use porn to satisfy me.Consider that carefully. He's saying that the only reason to have a relationship with a woman is for the visual/auditory sexual stimulation she provides. I was about to write "orgasms", too, but he could have those without porn. So porn use removed any need he had for women. If he wasn't finding that women brought any more than that to relationships, then something was wrong with him (other than porn use), something was wrong with the women, or both.
I'm left with the feeling that the real problem for the "porn is bad" side contributing here is: that men are enjoying the visual/auditory sexual stimulation a woman provides without buying her dinner or signing a legal contract obligating him to pay her half of everything he'll ever earn.
What do people think was going before magazines and videos, for thousands of years of human history, when most people lived in very close quarters? People were watching actual nude bodies and actual people have sex, that's what - not pixels.
Again, I'm not making a blanket statement that, from a spiritual/moral standpoint, porn is problem-free. What's I'm saying is that I'm weary of silly arguments against it, especially when they're used to bash men. Are there an awful lot of husbands and churchgoers mixed up in this? Yes. But 2/3rds of Americans, including wives, husbands, and churchgoers, are overweight or obese. How much do we hear about gluttony? How many are in debt because they've bought things they don't need? And yet we don't hear much about greed, do we, or gossip for that matter. I wonder why???