As what most people would consider a conservative evangelical Christian, I'm apparently supposed to think, and warn everyone else, that porn is the most horrible thing in the world. Well, maybe not quite as bad as mass murder, but right up there. According to what some of "my peeps" say, viewing porn will most certainly lead to a crippling addiction that will transform the viewer into a bloodthirsty monster who will rape and murder children by the hundreds.
Bad arguments from "my" side make me cringe. Using them reduces credibility, and bad reasoning can literally be deadly. If someone is wrong about this argument, what else are they wrong about?
While most opposition to porn - and by opposition, we’re talking about people who are pushing for everything from voluntary installation of blocking/babysitting software on your own devices to people who want government censorship - is from very conservative Christian (and some Jewish and Muslim) sources, there are people of various religious and political affiliations who have objections to other people viewing porn. For example, some feminists don't like it because men enjoy it. (See here for more on why people harp on this.)
Why This Page Is Here
I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but I was finally prompted to add this page to my blog by a recent exchange I had with a Twitter account, @porntruth
Porn reduces sexuality to patriarchal tropes and reinforces archaic gender paradigmsSo I asked:
Even lesbian porn produced by women?
Even if porn isn’t overtly sexist, it’s still usually made by exploiting people and gives unrealistic expectations of sex.Then they blocked my account!
So, I guess they don't care if I can't read their very important warnings and thus inevitably become a criminal monster. But you can see for yourself (if they block you, you can make another account to see) that they recently had other gems, like:
Porn use leads to isolation and depression as well as warped ideas about sex, gender, and consent.If they hadn’t blocked me, I would have responded directly, but since they did block me, I'm putting it here.
Discovering a partner's secret porn use can cause feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and deep betrayal.
Your sexuality is plastic. It's affected by experience. Be careful what you teach yourself to like. It can lead to harmful ideas about sex.
Partners of porn addicts can experience isolation, depression and PTSD from their traumatic experiences of discovering the truth.
Secret porn use feels like cheating, regardless of how you try to justify it. It destroys trust and intimacy in relationships.
Higher porn use is negatively associated with enjoying sexually intimate behaviors with a partner.
They said porn is "usually made by exploiting people". So when it doesn't exploit people, it is OK then? And what exactly is meant by "exploit"? I'm interested if they can come up with a definition that can't be applied to most professions. As far as unrealistic expectations of sex, see here. What media doesn't give some unrealistic portrayals of something? "Star Wars" gives unrealistic expectations of space travel. So what?
"Porn use leads to isolation and depression as well as warped ideas about sex, gender, and consent." This, along with the first tweet to which I responded, makes me think they are either Leftist feminists or trying to appeal to them. I'd like to know what exact proof there is for the assertion that porn "leads to isolation and depression". I can believe there is a correlation, but as I've said before, correlation doesn't prove causation. People who are isolated and depressed may enjoy porn, especially if they aren't having sex. If that is the case, this account wants to take away something depressed, isolated people enjoy even though they haven't explained how that would be a good thing to do. They'd probably cite the "warped ideas" as harmful, but who decided these ideas were "warped" to begin with? And what are these ideas they think are warped? I realize Twitter is short, but follow it up with an example in another tweet, like "most women don't make those sounds while climaxing" or whatever.
"Discovering a partner's secret porn use can cause feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and deep betrayal." Only in someone who has allowed themselves to be conditioned to think that way. You know what a well-adjusted spouse would do if they walked in on their partner viewing (mainstream) porn? Say "That looks interesting. Maybe we can try some of that together?" There's definitely a problem if someone is using porn instead of being with a receptive partner (but then porn is the symptom, not the problem). But how many people are viewing porn because their partner rejects them? It's a nice little game... a wife keeps rejecting her husband, he turns to porn, she catches him, and then acts like she's been wronged. Oh, the poor dear. Now she can go tattle on him to everyone and treat him like he's a kid with monitoring software.
"Your sexuality is plastic. It's affected by experience. Be careful what you teach yourself to like. It can lead to harmful ideas about sex." I'd like to know specifics. What are they really talking about here? BDSM? I'd say this was more likely when people had to use whatever they could find, and they happened to find some fetish magazine discarded in an alley while on a walk. Some of the stuff might have repulsed the viewer at first, but it was the only porn they could find and so they taught themselves to accept it. With porn being ubiquitous and easy to find now, most likely people are going to gravitate to what they enjoy the most. And if what they like looks strange to someone else, it is easy to blame porn, isn't it?
"Partners of porn addicts can experience isolation, depression and PTSD from their traumatic experiences of discovering the truth." Well, sure if you’re talking about porn addicts, then I can see how this could happen. But if you're talking about a porn addict, you're talking about someone who has been 1) fired from their job for accessing/watching porn at work, 2) arrested for masturbating in a theater; 3) spending thousands of dollars on porn. All of those things (side spending, being arrested, being fired) are traumatic regardless of the reason. Now, maybe they are talking about finding out your spouse is a pedophile. It's disingenuous to apply that to all porn use. It can be traumatic to find out your partner is a pedophile. It is hardly traumatic to find out our spouse likes watching adults have sex. Very, very, very few people using porn could actually be considered addicts. Ever notice that "addiction" seems to happen where there is strong disapproval of viewing porn? This is probably because where it isn't considered so awful, their spouse "catches" them and either rolls their eyes or watches a bit with them or really gets into it, while the person "caught" where it is disapproved of has to plead addiction to keep their spouse from leaving. You see, they couldn't help it because it is an addiction.
"Secret porn use feels like cheating, regardless of how you try to justify it. It destroys trust and intimacy in relationships." How do they know how someone else feels? What if someone isn't using porn secretly or they don't feel like it is cheating? Is it OK then? As far as destroying intimacy, what about people who report it made their relationships more intimate? What if someone isn't in a relationship? What if the viewer has been rejected already? I'd say sexual refusal destroys intimacy.
"Higher porn use is negatively associated with enjoying sexually intimate behaviors with a partner." Which came first? You can be sure the latter came first in many cases. Someone has a refusing or unenthusiastic spouse and so they don’t enjoy sex and thus turn to porn. Correlation does not prove causation.
Sweeping Away the Red Herrings
People actually bring up things like shaving of body hair, makeup, plastic surgery, lighting, depictions of fornication, etc. as their objections. Those are usually red herrings. You can get to their core objection by asking if the person still objects to the following:
1) The porn is lifelike computer animation in which fabricated characters (not based on any single real people), a man and a wife of average appearance, engage in rather typical, mainstream lovemaking after a dinner date. The point-of-view is static and a couple of yards from the side of the bed. Both characters are presented as having found the session enjoyable and fulfilling. No character is hurt, nobody involved in production, who are all women except for one male voice actor who only spoke typical dinner date lines, were treated any less than well. They were all fairly paid and treated and none of them were hurt in any way.Is the production wrong?
This media is viewed by a happily married couple per genuine mutual interest in the privacy of their own bedroom and there is no possibility that any child will have seen or overheard it. Immediately and upon later reflection they both agree it was an enjoyable experience that enhanced their marriage.
Is the viewing wrong?
2) The porn is performed without anyone else in the room by married amateur actors who are portraying characters much the same as themselves - a man and a wife of average appearance, engage in rather typical, mainstream lovemaking after a dinner date. The point-of-view is static and a couple of yards from the side of the bed. The lighting is average. Both characters are presented as having found the session enjoyable and fulfilling. No character or actor is hurt, nobody involved in production, which is just the married couple.
This media is viewed by a happily married couple per genuine mutual interest in the privacy of their own bedroom and there is no possibility that any child will have seen or overheard it, and no possibility the viewers will ever meet the actors. Immediately and upon later reflection they both agree it was an enjoyable experience that enhanced their marriage.
Is the production wrong?
Is the viewing wrong?
If they say "YES" to any of the questions, ask "HOW" and "WHY?" This will provide great clarification about their core objection rather than dealing with things like “But the performers are fornicating!” The problem with fornicating is fornicating, not that a recording camera is present.
The fornication argument disappears if the characters and actors are married to each other, but chances are, the anti-porn person still objects.
Knocks on "the industry" don’t apply to material uploaded to free tube sites by the amateurs who made it.
See what I mean? So clear away the red herrings right away.
What Is Porn?
There’s a famous quote from a United States Supreme Court Justice about not being able to define porn, but he'd know it if he saw it. All kidding aside, if someone is going to argue about "porn" they need to make it clear what they're talking about. It isn’t honest to take things about, say, hardcore, violent kiddie stuff and apply it to romantic softcore material featuring adults. I'm strictly referring to material depicting, and made by, consenting adults.
So what is being talked about?
It's easy to classify a ten-minute video featuring nude professional porn performers having oral sex and intercourse as porn. But are we going to include written descriptions of sexual encounters? Romance novels? R-rated movies that have some sex scenes that needed some editing to avoid an NC-17 rating that run in major national cinema chains? Pre-2016 Playboy magazines, which feature full nudity? 2016-and-beyond Playboy magazines which don't feature full nudity but rather act as marketing for paid web content? The Victoria's Secret Catalog? Black and white photos of a single nude model in which there is no nipple, butt cleavage, or genitalia exposed? A lingerie selfie a wife took and sent to her husband? If the answer is "anything that arouses", then that is way too vague, because pubescent boys, for many decades before the Internet, used things like National Geographic and the Sears catalogs (bra ads) for arousal. This matters because when someone makes an argument against a fetish video, it doesn't necessarily apply to a classic Playboy centerfold, but the person making the argument might also be against the centerfold. There might be an attempt at "guilt by association" and you shouldn't let someone get away with that.
So it is important if someone is going to argue against "porn" for them to define what exactly they're talking about.
Male Sexual Nature and Female Sexual Nature Are Different
It is normal and natural for men to want to see/enjoy seeing nude women and women in sexual situations. You can argue it is part of a fallen nature, but it is nature for the time being. See this video by Dennis Prager about this very subject: https://www.facebook.com/prageru/videos/1001911959851660/
This might come as a shock, but men are also human beings, with worth. Something can appeal to men but not women and not be wrong, bad, or without worth. That a woman doesn't like a picture or a video (media) or doesn't react to it the same way a man does doesn't necessarily make that media wrong to produce or view.
I understand I'm painting with a very broad brush. There are men who have no interest in such media or are repulsed by it, and there are women who enjoy it. However, it is still overwhelmingly seen as a "guy thing".
There are women who protest that they and other women are just as visual, just as driven as men. It may be true individually, but it is demonstrably not the case in general. Women, especially women who are seeking dates through online services, complain about how common it is for men to send them pictures of their genitalia and/or ask for crotch shots and boob shots or general nude pics from the women. The average man, if sent an unsolicited close-up picture of a woman's breast or genitalia is going to enjoy it or get turned on, even if he has no idea who she is. Women who get unsolicited penis pictures from men, whether they know them or not, will usually be repulsed; a few will laugh.
Seducing the average woman usually takes at least alcoholic drinks and some smooth-talking, if not full romantic dates with dinner, or lots of money/power/fame, and she generally wants to feel a connection and/or that there could be a future together, especially with him being a provider. In contrast, seducing the average man is as easy as dropping your clothes and/or reaching for his privates or placing his hand on your breast. He couldn't care less what your job is or how much money you have, or even what your name is. He doesn't need to know. He could be watching a sporting event that is not the least bit arousing to him, pause it, have a complete sexual experience in less than ten minutes, and go back to watching the game.
Men still do, and are expected to do, most of the initiating/pursuing/seducing. More often than not, when a man first tries to get something going with a woman, he knows nothing about her other than what she looks like. Looks are what gets notice.
Men generally have more sexual drive. The worldwide history of prostitution is an indication that men want it more. Supply and demand has meant women outright selling sex. If women wanted sex as much as men, prostitution wouldn't overwhelmingly consist of men paying to have sex with women. In addition to prostitution, this disparity has been addressed various ways around the world. Polygynous marriages are one way (and yes I know there are other reasons for polygyny in addition to sex). In some cultures, mistresses are an expected part of life, at least for men of means. While not the equivalent of being with a flesh-and-blood woman, masturbation and porn do take the edge off if a man isn't getting all the sex he wants from his wife and he won't have sex with others.
Usually, men do not feel an attachment to the women depicted in adult media. The moment he's done looking/watching, those women are out of his head. It's not like he's constructing an elaborate ongoing daydream of having a life with any of the women.
As the video linked to says, men want to see female skin. Think of all of the advertising and marketing targeting men using female skin. You may think this is all nurture (societal conditioning), but it is the same with gay men. Gay men like the sight of male flesh and men having sex, and our general society hardly conditions men to be gay.
Men also tend to like variety in sexual stimulation, and a wife can only do so much to accommodate that. Haven't you noticed that some men with wives/girlfriends considered some of the most beautiful in the world are still caught cheating on those women?
Many of the arguments you'll find below (when I get around to adding them) are really about the nature of sex overall. Since men do want sex more than women; since men are supposed to pursue and push and it is up to women to resist if she wants certain boundaries kept; since the physiological differences mean it is men who enter women and women who receive men into them; sex is often seen as men "using" women or treating them like objects. Don't believe this? Consider that someone who criticizes media depicting two women with one man as a man being catered to in his selfish fantasies at the expense of women will often make the same complaint about media depicting two men with one woman. In either example, the women are said to be degraded and treated as objects, whether the women are on bottom or on top or regardless of what is going on. That they are having sex on video is somehow considered by the criticism as her being used or treated as an object or exploited (the male is hardly of any concern to the critic).
Unconvincing Arguments Against Porn
Many arguments against porn are arguments against sex in general, masturbation, male sexual nature, business in general, media in general, a specific combination of performers or a fetish that doesn't apply to all porn, or transitory things. An example of the last is how people used to object to "adult bookstores" because they "degraded a neighborhood" by "attracting perverts" and such. But now that so much porn can be found online, the "degrades the neighborhood argument" has vanished and has been replaced by "It's too easy to access privately!"
The claimed arguments currently against porn can be broken down roughly into four basic categories: Harms to the User, Harms to Someone Connected to the User, Harms to the Performers, Harms to Society. Some of these arguments can fall under more than one category.
Harms the User
"When you really understand intimacy and sex, porn doesn't have a chance!" Since most people viewing porn aren't doing so instead of lovemaking, the only way this can make sense is if there is reason to believe that viewing porn diminishes intimacy and sex in a net negative in accounting for any benefit in viewing porn. But what about all of the couples who say it has enhanced their intimacy? What if a guy is never going to get married (again)? If he's never going to have sex again, this objection fails by default, like saying the reason he shouldn't drink is that it hinders driving, but he never drives.
"It's not the same thing as intimacy!" Neither is eating cereal. So what?
“It raises the bar so that you won’t be satisfied with real sex.” Notice nobody says this about cooking shows, home improvement shows, exercise videos, dancing shows or televised sports. Your wife will NEVER be happy with the way you dance after watching "Dancing With the Stars"! The experience of millions of people is that they have been able to enjoy adult media (AM) and real sex.
“You need more and more extreme content to get the thrill.” If this is true, then there's absolutely no hope for marriage, because even if you never view AM, the thrill of marital sex will diminish, right? Then sex is doomed and likely the marriage, too, because you're going to want more and more extreme sex, right? People find their niches. It's like someone who visits consults ESPN and Sports Illustrated but eventually moves on to only consulting golfing news sites. Of course a lot of people start off with cheesecake photos and softcore stuff. It's the easiest to find.
“It alters the brain.” What experiences don't alter the brain? This argument, in and of itself, does not show adult media to be harmful.
"It alters the mind." Some people consider this argument indistinguishable to the one above, but I do believe the mind and the brain are not entirely the same thing. But again, what media doesn't alter the mind? And this isn't, in and of itself, negative.
"It's addictive!" Anything enjoyable can be habit-forming. Very few people who are called “porn addicts” are truly addicted to porn. "Porn addiction" is not real, at least not in most cases. It is a convenient concept that allows men who are caught doing something they enjoy an excuse to mitigate their wife's negative reactions and it allows women who consider it to be cheating an excuse to NOT leave their husbands. "He can't help it! He's addicted! Let's pay money to a 'treatment' program and that will make everything OK!" The simple fact is that if porn was addictive, there would be far more porn addicts.
"He lost his job for watching porn." This is not a problem with porn. It is a problem with him. People get fired for taking long lunches or spending their work time watching mainstream movies. You can get fired for evangelizing at work, too. It's wage theft. Don’t do it at work. I have a hunch that more men would avoid doing it at work if they could do it at home or on their personal devices without their wife insisting they get "addiction" treatment.
"This is self-abuse. We're not designed for solo sex." This is really an argument that is against masturbation, not porn. It is possible to watch porn without masturbating, although porn can make masturbation more enjoyable, and vice versa. If you think masturbation is a waste of time, porn can reduce the time it takes. The consensus among sex experts and medical professionals is that masturbation is a good thing, as long as it isn't done excessively to the point of exposing yourself to people who do not want to see it, hurting your genitals, or neglecting your responsibilities. Just about anyone opposed to masturbation is basing their opposition on their religion. I can't speak for faiths that have clear present-day authorities, such as Roman Catholicism, the LDS church, and Jehovah's Witnesses, but I do know the Bible, which Protestants consider unparalleled in authority, has no clear prohibition against masturbation. The case against masturbation by SOME Protestants is based on extrapolation of general principles, such as claiming you can't masturbate without sinfully lusting. Not all conservative, marriage-and-family-save-sex-for-marriage Protestant leaders agree; some say masturbation itself is OK.
The claim that we're not designed for solo sex begs the question: Why is does it work that way, then? It's very difficult to tickle yourself, but very easy to give yourself an orgasm (at least, if you're a male it is).
Both men and women naturally get aroused (erection for him, lubrication for her) every 90 minutes or so while sleeping, and absent masturbation, men will end up ejaculating ("wet dream") anyway. Men need to exercise their prostate, and if they aren't married or have a rejecting wife, masturbation does that.
People were masturbating long before the existence of what we consider porn now.
Harms to Someone Connected to the User
(Notice that none of these arguments apply to the unmarred and/or childless person.)
One of the claimed harms to others (spouse, children, etc.) is that it harms the user. See above for what those harms are claimed to be.
"It's just like cheating." We’ll get to "adultery in the heart" later. The claim that this is or is just like cheating is absurd. It can be wrong and a betrayal without being cheating. Any sane woman would rather her husband view AM than have an affair. A husband viewing AM does not put the wife at risk of being murdered, assaulted, or publicly embarrassed because of her husband's adultery partner or that partner's husband showing up in-person at their home, workplace, school, church, etc. It does not spread a STD to the wife, or result in an abortion, or rival heirs with claims to child support from the community property.
"Your wife doesn't like it." That’s an interesting argument. So if she DOES like it, as some wives do, it is OK? What if a man says he doesn't want his wife to watch a home and garden channel? Does that mean she shouldn't? The real question here is WHY doesn't she like it? Most women can't really explain why it bothers them that he watches AM anyway; they either think they are supposed to be upset and so they are, or they're jealous of pixels.
"It creates a lack of intimacy between husband and wife." Many wives have no idea their husband has been watching AM until they catch him. In many of these cases, the wives are very happy with the marriage and with the lovemaking. But then then they catch their hubby and it's as though the world has fallen apart, and THAT creates a lack of intimacy. Or, other women shrug, or even suggest they enjoy it together, and the intimacy isn't harmed at all. You know what creates a lack of intimacy? Sexual rejection, which is one thing that prompts men to view AM.
"Why are you consuming junk food when you have gourmet food at home?" What if the gourmet food isn't being served? What if he's 1,000 miles from home for two weeks and hungry right now? If you're going to use analogies, be prepared for all the implications.
"His body belongs to her." The idea that our bodies belong to Him and each other is a Christian (and perhaps Jewish) one. Feminists can't use these arguments as they certainly deny a wife's body belongs to her husband. If a wife's body and sexuality are entirely her own and she has no moral obligation to have sex with her husband then likewise she has no moral authority to object to his AM viewing. But if someone does invoke "our bodies belong to each other" then they should be consistent and, for example, never eat anything their spouse doesn't want them to eat.
"It creates unrealistic expectations." This is much like some of the arguments in the previous section. What media doesn't create unrealistic expectations? You don't see this complaint applied to the male characters in romantic comedies or romance novels, do you? What exactly is the unrealistic expectation? That some women will do these things on-camera for attention and/or money? Well, how is that unrealistic?
"Your wife should be enough." This is confusing viewing AM for lovemaking. They are two different things. It's like saying he shouldn't need ice cream because she should be enough. How many women who say this ever use vibrators and/or lubricants? Shouldn't her husband be enough???
"Your wife can't/shouldn't have to compete with that." In most cases, she doesn’t. It's a separate thing. Most guys who view AM don't choose AM over their wife, and when a guy does choose AM over his wife, as in preferring to view AM rather than make love to his wife, it is because something is wrong in the marriage. The preference for AM over lovemaking with his wife is symptom of the problem.
"It causes erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation." Well which is it? This is like when it is said that guys who use porn avoid dating AND they beat up on their dates. How is it possible to beat up on someone who isn't there? This kind of thing sounds like AM is simply going to be the easy scapegoat for any problems. I'm assuming this claim is based on some correlation? Let's all say it together now: "Correlation does not prove causation." Isn't it possible that men who experience these problems turn to AM for some relief? And yes, if a guy has just orgasmed/ejaculated to AM he might have a tough time getting erect for lovemaking. You know what the solution to that is? Before he can view AM, tell him you'll be making love and follow through. That way, he'll avoid masturbating himself to orgasm. But when a guy is rejected over and over again, he often assumes (usually correctly) that he's not going to be making love.
"Money was spent on it that should have gone to the family." This doesn't even apply to the ubiquitous free AM, but if we're going to talk about unnecessary personal expenses a lot of wives are going to have to cut back on a lot of things.
"What if your kids find it or find out about it?" You know, it is possible your kids might see you/be aware of you having sex. Is that going to stop you? (Actually, for many married folks, they've already stopped.) It's a good idea to keep AM away from the kids. So how about some privacy and private time??? I'm also reminded of the saying that just because a baby can't chew steak doesn't mean a man shouldn't be able to buy steak.
Harms to the Performers
(Notice that none of these arguments apply to “virtual” porn, in which the characters are created by animators, and some of them seem to be based on the premise that all women dislike exhibiting their bodies and fornicating. It also doesn’t apply to written erotica. Many of these arguments involve professional practices, not when someone posts their selfies online or when amateurs upload videos they took of themselves. Also notice how these arguments are usually only applied to female performers; few of the concerned critics seem to give a crap about male performers.)
“Porn is tied to human trafficking.” Unless I’m missing something, there are two basic possible meanings to this. 1) AM inspires guy who otherwise wouldn’t to abduct people. 2) People are kidnapped in order to be forced to perform in AM. The first notion is addressed in the next category. As far as the second notion, I fail to see how watching willing adult performers contributes to human trafficking. Sure, maybe they only appear to be willing performers and are secretly working with guns to their heads. But that could be the case for any media and just about any industries. The garment industry has a long and well-documented history of human trafficking, but I never hear people arguing against AM vowing to go nude. Some people include any nudity, sex, or sexual/erotic performance for which money is exchanged as "human trafficking" or "sex trafficking", but they usually don't explain this, because they know most people, when they hear those words, think of people being abducted, relocated, and forced into "sex slavery", so that went the antiporn scold says that watching porn is tied to sex/human trafficking, the ordinary person thinking of something softcore involving adult performers who are fully consenting is supposed to make a mental association with child rape.
“Some performers get sexually transmitted diseases.” Yes, some do. I don't know what the transmission rate is from performing (as opposed to transmitted in a private encounter). So if the same performers stick to performing with each other and never transmitting a disease, would AM be OK? I doubt it.
“Some performers are physically injured.” Yes, as happens with any media production and just about any profession. Professional athletes sustain a lot of injuries. You can’t watch football, basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, or just about any other sport if this compels us not to watch something.
“Some performers suffer psychological or emotional problems and/or abuse substances.” Again, how is this different than any other profession? How many of these problems were caused by performing?
“Some performers are stalked.” As are media personalities in general.
“Some performers are physically harassed by fans.” So is Mickey Mouse.
“Watch this video of this former performer talking about how awful it was and how terrible the companies are.” Again, how is this different than any other profession? There are always disillusioned former employees, especially if their lack of continued employment was not their choice.
“That’s someone’s daughter.” I’m not entirely sure what to make of that statement. So if she’s an orphan and/or her parents were awful people or they support her performing, then it is OK? This “argument” either depends on you already thinking it is bad or that you wouldn't want it for your daughter, or she’s owned by her father and not herself, or plays to incest avoidance by trying to get viewers to think of their own daughter or the performer’s parents when they see performances. Well, that last one isn’t going to work on the apparently many people who have an incest fetish. Also, when you make love to your wife, she’s someone’s daughter, too. So... this appears to be an appeal to "fornication is dirty or "exposing yourself is a bad thing", or to be really cynical, she’s owned by her father or the man who buys her from him and if you’ve paid for her by signing over half of your income to her in a legal document, then it is OK.
Harms to Society
General claims that AM harms society may be based on the other categories above.
Try this thought experiment. Imagine a guy marooned on a deserted island alone with no hope of being rescued, perhaps because it is being used as a prison sentence of solitary confinement. He’s got a bunch of AM magazines with him. Since he’s not going to have a woman or kids around, or anyone else for that matter, does it make it OK?
These arguments are used when the previous arguments haven’t been convincing, and to try to enact legislation.
“It turns guys into mass serial child rapists and murderers.” The claim here is that a murderer or abuser wouldn’t have committed his crimes if not for AM. Actually, the violent crime rate has decreased as AM became far more easily accessible. Yes, AM (and we are NOT talking about child porn) is often found to have been owned/accessed by violent criminals, but so has Cheerios and the Bible. Then there’s the "human trafficking" thing, as if people are inspired to do that because of AM. If AM was addictive and turned people into violent criminals, we'd have scores of millions more violent criminals.
“Money from AM is put to bad use.” This doesn’t apply to the free, ad-free stuff, but this is the sort of attack the person making doesn’t really follow, or there are many other things from which they’d abstain, but don’t.
“It exploits women.” Let's review what is going on here. A woman seeks out acting and modeling roles. Maybe she's persuaded by someone who scouts her out. She gets paid to do a little acting, get naked, perform sex acts. Where exactly is the exploitation, unless someone is a Marxist who thinks if this a private business it is inherently exploitative? How is this any more exploitative than another other job, especially in entertainment? How does this exploit women in a way it doesn’t exploit men? And is it NOT exploitation if the women on-screen are the owners and producers of the content?
“It treats women like objects.” All media treats performers, men or women, as objects. This appears to be a complaint about the nature of sex itself. How does a fetish video in which a man is restrained by a sadistic woman treating women like objects? How does gay male porn treat women like objects?
"It degrades women." Some of it does. Not all of it. The same could be said about The Bachelor or a Real Housewives show. There’s AM written and produced by women showing them as powerful characters.
“It lowers men’s opinions of women.” Not as much as hysterical ovary-acting about AM.
“Guys don’t seek dates because they’re spending their sexual urges on porn.” This says that either women have nothing to offer men other than visual and auditory sexual stimulation, or that’s what these men think. If men think that way, do you really want them dating? But let’s, for the sake of argument, accept this as true. So what people are calling on men to do is not view AM or masturbate, and instead either go on dates to fornicate, or deal with years of their drive being unsatisfied or suppressed only to finally turn a switch back on when they marry, which might be 20 years after puberty. A lot of people who see fornication as sin or otherwise unacceptable are getting married young, and I suspect this is one reason why. Getting married young often means getting married to the wrong person, being unable to fulfill professional and/or missional potentials, and getting divorced. I guess this is a long way of saying we should spend more time worrying about people marrying the wrong people or fornicating rather than if they’re watching AM and not dating as a result.
Priorities in the Church
There is so much that could be written here, and there will probably be more inserted here later.
It is understandable that Christian churches would warn against porn, since the traditional position of the church is to encourage modesty, discourage lusting after someone who isn't your spouse, and to promote moral tenet that sex is for marriage.
However, in Evangelical circles there has been a perpetuation of hysteria and a disproportionate focus. The fact is, there us nothing in the Bible about staring at pixels. There are explicit warnings about greed, gluttony, sloth, and gossip, but you'll probably hear and read more about "porn" in Evangelical circles than those four other things combined. This is despite the fact that 1/3rd of the average congregation is overweight, another 1/3rd is obese, and how many of them are buying things they can't afford?
What It All Boils Down To
Conflicting studies abound. Some claim that porn damages brains. If this is true, how is this possible without it being harmful for a husband and wife to make love with the lights on? After all, porn involves pixels depicting people nude and in sexual situations. If seeing that rots a person's brains, then surely we should be recommending that people only have sex in the dark.
If porn is harmful, if any does get addicted to it, it is easily possible that far more marriages have been damaged by wives overreacting to a husband's viewing of porn than there have been men who have been addicted to porn or physically or mentally harmed by viewing it.
There is so much more to be written about this. I plan to update this page with many more unconvincing arguments and my responses.
Here are some prior blog entries on the subject.
This is about the "human trafficking" argument.
I already linked to this answer to the "unrealistic expectations" argument.
I wrote about Game of Thrones and filtering, among other things.
Are Pixels to Blame For the Decline in Marriage Rates?
Boyfriends and Husbands
About a Woman Who Finds Our Her Man Watches
Crime is Down Even With Abundant Porn
Regarding the Addiction Claim
Distressed By Normal Masculine Traits
Massages vs. Lap Dances
Responding to an essay at Good Men Project