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kroika's essay: Pornography and Sexual Health
December 23, 2007
8:16 pm
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bevdee
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(((Worried Dad)))

I'm troubled for you if you think so.

December 23, 2007
8:36 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Hi Bev--If I think what?

December 23, 2007
8:44 pm
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bevdee
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"bit of bondage, flogging,.....can actually be healthy!"

December 23, 2007
8:59 pm
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Hi Bevdee,

Well, it was your source...

According to the APA:

"The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors" must "cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" in order for sexual sadism or masochism to be considered a disorder."

The BDSM people are playing a creative game with each other that involves mutuality and respect. If it makes people happy, brings them closer together, then who cares what people do in bed.

Hey--a not uncommon scenario is that a "dominant" might "punish" his "submissive" by withholding bondage and flogging.

"You aren't getting flogged until you learn some manners."

"She hasn't flogged me for months...is this relationship doomed?"

December 23, 2007
9:06 pm
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bevdee
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WD

Yeah that APA bit kind of confused me, since you have never made secret your distrust of the profession!!

December 23, 2007
9:56 pm
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Hi Bevdee,

I think that psychology is a young, immature science, and it is still outgrowing the cultural imposition of politics and religion to label certain things as pathological that really aren't.

So...Women needing clitoral stimulation instead of just intercourse to achieve orgasm? No longer considered a mental disorder.

Homosexuality? No longer considered a mental disorder?

And now, slowly, it is finally getting to the point of medicine recognizing: "Kinkiness?" Not, per-se, a mental disorder.

Also, I do not mistrust the profession of psychology or psychiatry.

*Certain* counselors have sure done their part to make my life a living hell, though.

December 23, 2007
11:03 pm
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bevdee
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"So...Women needing clitoral stimulation instead of just intercourse to achieve orgasm? No longer considered a mental disorder."

I never needed that! I like it, but it wasn't necessary.

Yep- shifting norms. shifting definitons.

I'm very sorry that you have had such bad experiences with therapists and psychiatrists. It would make me leery, too.

December 26, 2007
1:33 am
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bevdee
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I believe that in alot of pornography the purpose is to ridicule and dehumanize women: The gut distaste that a majority of women feel when watching pornography, a distaste that, incredibly, is no longer fashionable to admit, comes, I believe, from the gut knowledge that we and our bodies are being stripped, exposed and contorted for the purpose of ridicule to bolster that *masculine esteem* which gets its kick and sense of power from viewing females as anonymous, panting playthings, adult toys, dehumanized objects to be used, abused, broken and thrown away.

What has happened, what has caused the men who advocate porn, the men who need to defend degrading porn? Those men, IMO, have deep-seated issues within themselves, issues relating to their feelings toward females.

What sort of man would need to feel that sense of power over a woman by seeing her in a degrading position? What happened to that man to cause him to act this way? To defend an industry that profits from the degradation of women?

This has caused me to wonder if a man with deep resentments toward his mother, or one that, as a child has suffered sexual abuse from a woman, or multiple failed relationships as an adult might "need" to watch porn with women in degrading positions and circumstances. To feed his anger? To feel in control after feeling helpless and victimised by women as a child or as an adult? Is the degradation of women in porn just a natural progression of that early fear of or hatred of women? And has it become an addiction? Does the adrenaline from the fear and resultant anger become the addiction?

I agree with this quote.. " "Pornography implies that a woman's inherent seductiveness justifies any sadistic and/or sexual act a man wishes to commit against her." (Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them, Bantam Books 1988 edition, Dr. Susan Forward and Joan Torres, p 122) "

December 26, 2007
1:40 am
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Hi Bevdee,

"I believe that in a lot of pornography the purpose is to ridicule and dehumanize women..."

Could you explain why you think that. Interviews with lots of pornograpjhers who explain something to the effect of: "Well, in my films, I am mainly trying to ridicule and dehumanize women" would be convincing.

Or, could name the films, describe the scenes you feel were intended to dehumanize women?

December 26, 2007
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Interviews with lots of pornograpjhers who explain something to the effect of: "Well, in my films, I am mainly trying to ridicule and dehumanize women" would be convincing.

You know, WD, I really hate it when you get all disingenuous.

Let's say you criticize the Republican party for shredding the constitution of the United States. (I think I may be accurately paraphrasing some of your criticism of Republican policies.) How many interviews with Repupblican policy-makers do you think you would be able to produce where they say "Well, in our policies we aim to dismantle the social fabric of the United States as it has been known for the last few generations, and to shred its constitution by stealthily passing legislation which removes the rule of law and many rights which citizens had under those previously existing laws"?

December 26, 2007
1:59 am
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bevdee
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WD, why do you need me to?

December 26, 2007
2:29 am
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Hi Bevdee,

I don't "need" you to. I was just wondering what is the basis of your belief.

December 26, 2007
2:42 am
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Part of the basis for my belief is that I don't think for a minute a porn manufacturer is going to say that. He will say what he thinks needs to be heard to sell his product.

Part of the basis is the reading I did and shared, and from the porn conversations that have tuned into controversies since I started visiting here a couple of years ago.

It's not as if women don't have anything to contribute to the subject of porn and how it has affected their relationships. I find it a curious commenatary on the state of affairs, so to speak, and I will ponder the points I raised in my earlier post.

*What has happened, what has caused the men who advocate porn, the men who need to defend degrading porn? Those men, IMO, have deep-seated issues within themselves, issues relating to their feelings toward females.

*What sort of man would need to feel that sense of power over a woman by seeing her in a degrading position?

*What happened to that man to cause him to act this way? To defend an industry that profits from the degradation of women?

*This has caused me to wonder if a man with deep resentments toward his mother, or one that, as a child has suffered sexual abuse from a woman, or multiple failed relationships as an adult might "need" to watch porn with women in degrading positions and circumstances.

*To feed his anger?

*To feel in control after feeling helpless and victimised by women as a child or as an adult? Is the degradation of women in porn just a natural progression of that early fear of or hatred of women?

*And has it become an addiction?

* Does the adrenaline from the fear and resultant anger become the addiction?

How would any man like to see his mama, daughter or sister in one of those films? Tied up and getting whipped consensually?

December 26, 2007
2:43 am
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consentually?

December 26, 2007
4:09 am
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OK, here we go. I found an interview with a pornography producer. This is from Robert Jensen's 2007 book, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, Cambridge, MA).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A skeptical reader might ask: How can you be sure there is a relationship between pornography use and attitudes and/or behavior? One can't be sure, of course, without evidence and a theory to make sense of the evidence. But many people assume there is a connection, including the "father of gonzo", John "Buttman" Stagliano.

PORNOGRAPHY AND "A PSYCHOLOGY THAT I DON'T THINK IS HEALTHY"

At the 2006 Adult Entertainment Expo, I asked Stagliano if the gonzo pornography that portrayed ever rougher and more extreme sex worried him for any reason. He said that while he would never say the industry is heading in the wrong direction, "there's a lot more harder-edged stuff; there's a lot more stuff that I would consider unpleasant to look at, that I personall don't like." He quickly emphasized that the movies commonly criticized -- such as Extreme Associate's films with rape scenarios [2] -- were made with the full consent of all involved and, therefore, should be legal without question. But on the deeper question of what such films reflect about the culture and how they might affect people, he equivocated, saying, "I find that maybe feeds into a psychology that I don't think is healthy. But I don't really know that it's unhealthy. And for some people it may be a healthy thing."

What is the "psychology" that he isn't so sure about? Stagliano explained:

The psychology is that some people like to abuse other people, in real life, in real situations. And I worry that we're creating art that feeds on that, that kind of reinforces that and says it's a good thing, and makes people a little more comfortable with certain psychological things that I think they should be uncomfortable with because they're bad.

So, the father of gonzo (which is "art", in his view) is concerned that the more extreme varieties of pornograpphy could possibly reinforce and normalize attitudes that legitimate abuse. And if one is concerned about the effects of the roughest and harshest forms of pornography, well, then logically one should be concerned about the effects of all the industry's products, since there's no reason to assume that only the most extreme pornography might have such an effect.

In other words, in a candid moment, the head of one of the most well-known pornography production and distribution companies acknowledged what feminist critics have said for decades: A connection between men's use of misogynistic pornography and sexual violence is plausible.[emphasis added by kroika]

No doubt, Stagliano would disagree with feminists about how clearly such a link has been established and what society should do if and when such links are definitively established. But it's crucial to recognize that his comments acknowledge the fact that such a link makes intuitive sense, something that the pornography industry has long denied in its "pornography is just fantasy" line.

There's an implicit assumption in Stagliano's position that the films he creates and/or distributes are significantly different from the "harder-edged stuff" that makes him nervous. But such a distinction is hard to justify when one looks closer.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ more to follow ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[2] Lizzy Borden, who runs Extreme with her husband, Rob Black, described one of their controversial films this way: "A girl being kidnapped, being forced to have sex against her will, being degraded. Being called 'a cunt, a whore, a slut, a piece of shit.' Then being butchered at the end, and spit on. She's being degraded." Borden explained that the woman who performed in the scene was a good friend. "I know she can take it. She's a good actress. And I can abuse somebody that I know, but I can't abuse somebody that I don't know. So it's like, I know that I can hit her harder... And at the end I give her a hug, I take her out to dinner, and we go shopping." "American Porn," Frontline, February 7, 2002, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/porn/interviews/borden.html.

December 26, 2007
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To continue (Jensen, pg. 99):

Here's my summary of one scene featuring Krysti Lynn (once Stagliano's girlfriend) and Rocco Siffredi (one of the most well-known male stars in pornography) from the 1995 release Buttman's Big Butt Backdoor Babes, one of the films in the sample from my first study of video pornography:

Krysti "takes a meeting" with Rocco at the director's backyard pool. After running through the standard sequence of positions, Rocco tries to penetrate her anally but his first attempts fail, apparently due in part to the size of his penis, and as he pushes harder the camera shows her face with what seems clearly to be an expression of pain. Her "fuck me" talk gives way to a guttural sound of pain that sounds authentic. After a few minutes of anal sex, Rocco resumes vaginal intercourse [kroika's note as healthcare worker: if Rocco doesn't stop and wash his penis before doing this, this is a definite no-no in terms of UTI risks. Agree, WD?] before ejaculating onto her buttocks, slapping her buttocks with his penis, and spanking her. In the background, an ambulance siren on the street happened to be passing by, and the off-camera voice says, "Well, the ambulance is coming for you, Ms. Kryst Lynn. I know that was pretty rough." She then displays her anus and vagina for the camera, and the off-camera voice says, "Yeah, you've been worked over kid, pretty good."

Compare my description with the summary from a popular website for reviews of pornographic films, adultvdtalk.com:

Krysti gives Rocco a blowjob and eats his ass (nasty)! She, then, shows her ass to Rocco & the rest of us (by camera). Rocco eats her pussy & ass while she moans and we hear sounds of helicopter whirring. He lubes up her ass with his saliva and fingers her. Rocco fucks her from behind and then he takes her reverse cowgirl & cowgirl. Later, Rocco fucks Krysti in the butt while she sticks a dildo in her pussy. Position Swap: Missionary. Krysti moans wildly and then she turns over again. Here's the usual: The cumshot. Rocco cums all over her ass and spanks her in between her ass with his dick. Good scene. [3]

In that scene, not only did no one stop the action when it appeared that Krysti Lynn was in pain, but the director displayed the physical evidence of that pain and joked about it.

Stagliano can see the potential for negative consequences in the most extreme contemporary pornography, but presumable doesn't see that same logis as applicable to his own directorial efforts or the work he distributes, which now includes Siffredi's work as a director and performer. (Siffredi is an unusual man in the pornography industry; in addition to this hard-core work, he has starred in a mainstream movie, Anatomy of Hell, directed by Catherine Breillat.) Here's how a pro-pornography reviewer for the Village Voice described the "all-anal slutfest" film Rocco: Animal Trainer 10, released in 2002 by Stagliano's Evil Angel:

In the first scene, centered on a seven-sided bed, Rocco videos an English-accented, anonymous buddy; Bella ("Ciao Bella!" the charming Rocco greets her), who wears a rather large buttplug under her micro denim shorts; the elegant, quiet Sara, and a blond dressed as a dominatrix, who gapes at Bella's gaping asshole and Buddy's uninvited slapping, choking, and face-fucking. Bella, who I've preveiously seen perform some of the filthier acts I've witnessed, takes the brunt of this abuse, with tears streaming down her cheeks -- perhaps the simple physical result of having a large dick forcibly held down her throat -- and an insistent, not entirely convincing smile on her face. [4]

Whatever Stagliano really thinks is healthy or not, he knows what sells. He knows that Rocco sells:

I was the first to shoot Rocco. Together we evolved toward rougher stuff. He started to spit on girls. A strong male-dominant thing, with women being pushed to their limit. It looks like violence but it's not. I mean, pleasure and pain are the same thing, right?[emphasis added by kroika] Rocco is driven by the market. What makes it in today's market place is reality. [5]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[3] Victorio, review of Buttman's Bit Butt Backdoor Babes, Adult DVD Talk, September 14, 2001, http://www.adultdvdtalk.com/reviews/read_review. dlt/sku=1980/buttman%27s-big-butt-backcoor-babes.htm.
[space added by kroika to prevent margins being widened on this screen]

[4] Johnny Maldoro, "Dirty Pornos: Animal House!" Village Voice, November 21, 2002, http://villagevoice.com/people/0248,maldoro,40121,24.html.

[5] Quoted in Martin Amis, "A Rough Trade," Guardian, March 17, 2001, http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,458078,00.html.

December 26, 2007
4:48 am
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bevdee
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Miss Kroika

Have you ever read either of the books by Linda Lovelace? Star of the Deep Throat movies? She was held at gunpoint to perform many of the scenes filmed, as well as with a donkey in Juarez. (If my memory serves me well.

She had those silicone breast implants with the silicone just injected into her breast, with no capsule. The silicone separated and sagged, and she had to have surgery to try to get that repaired. It took her a while to get away from her abusive boyfriend/producer. (As best I can remember) Last I heard, she was an anti-porn acitivist and speaker.

I read that around 1986? It's an old porn story..

December 26, 2007
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hi bev,

Just caught your post before heading to bed. I have read references to Lovelace's books, but have not read the books myself, nor am I up-to-date with what she is doing these days.

I'll have a look for her books. Thanks for mentioning her.

December 26, 2007
10:21 pm
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Hi Kroika,

Thanks for digging up some disgusting material to discuss. I mean it really is disgusting and I am actually grateful that I didn't have to go find it myself.

Anyway, I have seen a Rocco Siegheil...whatever movie. It was in that 90's "Gonzo" style.

(Geezer Mode: "When I was a kid, we didn't have Gonzo porn. In my day porn had bad jazz soundtracks, goofy dialog and absurd plotlines...and the the lighting was really good. You kids today...you call that porn? That's not porn!")

I didn't care for it. Mainly because of the first scene which had this bizarre extreme oral sex with bananas thing. The woman gave a good impression of having a good time, and for all I know she did--I have learned that there are people who enjoy any darned thing we could think of, and lots of stuff we would never think of.

What turned me off is that Rocco was clearly acting out a misogynistic fantasy. Even though I understand that some women and men enjoy that kind of thing, it doesn't function for me in my identity as a sexual being, as a man and how I relate to women.

Mind you, I believe it is possible that Rocco and his female friends in a spirit of complete affection and mutual respect set out to tell a fictional story for entertainment.

But I got a vibe from the guy that really creeped me out. And as I was watching the scene it creeped me out to think "umm, some people want to see this?"

So I don't doubt that some pornographers make films that express their hatred of women. And I don't doubt that their are some men who find pleasure in watching that material.

I looked up Rocco and his ilk, and even among the raincoaters, that stuff was considered to be...gross, at least. Every form of media has its lunatic fringe, including porn.

Oh, apparently, Rocco's main early "body of work", was as a performer in Gay Male Porn.

Not that I have especially accurate Gaydar, but personally, I think Rocco is as gay as Julius Caesar. And Misogyny is a theme that comes up more often than you would expect with Gay men.

Summary: I believe that there are some sick people in the world, and some of them make porn, and what they find to be exciting is alarming and disgusting to me.

As long as they are fair and square about consent and consensuality, I have no need to stomp 'em. I can still criticize their bad movies though.

Moving right along, I also believe that your average person is, by definition, in every measurable way, average. And as best I can tell, your average porn movie pretty much reflects the values and desires of the average person--with proviso, that commercial movies are still more heavily weighted towards the average male, and less heavily weighted towards the preferences of the average woman.

December 28, 2007
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Here are some more ideas to consider -

http://www.everystudent.com/wi.....toxic.html

"In your search for intimacy and love, pornography is an empty substitute for real love.

Porn's outlook is shallow. Real relationships are not built on sex, but on commitment, caring and mutual trust. In that context, like fire in the fireplace, sex is wonderful. Being with someone who loves and accepts you, someone who is committed to you for your whole life, someone you can give yourself completely to, that is what makes sex really great.

Porn - A Big Business
It's a big business that makes a lot of money and doesn't care how. They'll show you whatever they think will make you come back and buy more. "There were 11,000 porn video titles last year verses 400 movie releases from Hollywood last year...[and] 70,000 pornographic web sites." (New York Times, May 20, 2001, "Naked Capitalists")
Porn's Image of Sex
One of the most vital parts of mental environment is a healthy idea of who we are sexually. If these ideas are polluted, a critical part of who we are becomes twisted. The porn culture tells you that sex, love and intimacy are all the same thing. In porn, people have sex with total strangers -- people they just met. All that matters is my satisfaction. It doesn't matter whose body I'm using, as long as I get it. Porn gets you to think that sex is something you can have anytime, anywhere, with anyone, with no consequences.
What Sex is Really About
The problem with porn's shallow perspective is that relationships are not built on sex, but on commitment, caring and mutual trust. In that context, like fire in the fireplace, sex is wonderful. Being with someone who loves and accepts you, someone who is committed to you for your whole lives together, someone you can give yourself completely to, that is what makes sex really great.
Effects of Pornography: The Lies of Porn
You can't learn the truth about sex from pornography. It doesn't deal in truth. Pornography is not made to educate, but to sell. So, pornography will tell whatever lies attract and hold the audience. Porn thrives on lies -- lies about sex, women, marriage and a lot of other things. Let's look at some of those lies and see just how badly they can mess up your life and attitudes.

Lie #1 - Women are less than human
The women in Playboy magazine are called "bunnies," making them cute little animals or "playmates," making them a toy. Penthouse magazine calls them "pets." Porn often refers to women as animals, playthings, or body parts. Some pornography shows only the body or the genitals and doesn't show the face at all. The idea that women are real human beings with thoughts and emotions is played down.

Lie #2 - Women are a "sport"
Some sports magazines have a "swimsuit" issue. This suggests that women are just some kind of sport. Porn views sex as a game and in a game, you have to "win," "conquer," or "score." Men who buy into this view like to talk about "scoring" with women. They start judging their manhood by how many "conquests" they can make. Each woman I "score" with is another trophy on my shelf, another "notch" in my belt to validate my masculinity.

Lie #3 - Women are property
We've all seen the pictures of the slick car with the sexy girl draped over it. The unspoken message, "Buy one, and you get them both." Hard-core porn carries this even further. It displays women like merchandise in a catalog, exposing them as openly as possible for the customer to look at. It's not surprising that many young men think that if they have spent some money taking a girl out, they have a right to have sex with her. Porn tells us that women can be bought.

Lie #4 - A woman's value depends on the attractiveness of her body
Less attractive women are ridiculed in porn. They are called dogs, whales, pigs or worse, simply because they don't fit into porn's criteria of the "perfect" woman. Porn doesn't care about a woman's mind or personality, only her body.

Lie #5 - Women like rape
"When she says no, she means yes" is a typical porn scenario. Women are shown being raped, fighting and kicking at first, and then starting to like it. Porn teaches men to enjoying hurting and abusing women for entertainment.

Lie #6 - Women should be degraded
Porn is often full of hate speech against women. Women are shown being tortured and humiliated in hundreds of sick ways and begging for more. Does this kind of treatment show any respect for women? Any love? Or is it hatred and contempt that porn is promoting toward women?

Lie #7 - Little kids should have sex
One of the biggest sellers in pornography is imitation "child" porn. The women are "made-up" to look like little girls by wearing pony tails, little girl shoes, holding a teddy bear. The message of the pictures and cartoons is that adults having sex with kids is normal. This sets the porn user up to see children in a sexual way.

Lie #8 - Illegal sex is fun
Porn often has illegal or dangerous elements thrown in to make sex more "interesting." It suggests that you can't enjoy sex if it isn't weird, illegal or dangerous.

Lie #9 - Prostitution is glamorous
Porn paints an exciting picture of prostitution. In reality, many of the women portrayed in pornographic material are runaway girls trapped in a life of slavery. Many having been sexually abused. Some of them are infected with incurable sexually transmitted diseases that are highly contagious and often die very young. Many take drugs just to cope."

December 28, 2007
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Kroika

I read that Linda Lovelace died a few years ago.

December 28, 2007
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Linda Boreman died in 2002 as a result of an automobile accident.

December 28, 2007
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Hi Bevdee,

You just posted an excerpt from an article that criticizes "lies."

Can you spot any "lies" in the excerpt you just quoted?

Hint: It is a time-saver just to extract the small amount of factually accurate, intellectually honest material.

December 29, 2007
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((((free2choose))))

Sometimes restraint gets pushed beyond our capacity to sit back and listen to garbage being spewed.

I don't keep this thread alive for my own amusement. I would rather forget about it all. But every few weeks new women arrive at this website who are hurting and upset over the effects that their partner's use of pornography is having on their relationships, and I want to offer them something I hope will help them make sense of what has happened to them. The way I tried to make sense of what happened to me.

And every damn time I bring this thread up for one of those women, Worried_Dad jumps on with his apologia for porn. So Erica, if you feel like a fish taking the bait, one only has to wonder why WD feels compelled to keep coming and putting bait out on this thread.

WD, you seem to need to dismiss arguments against porn. Why is that?

When I posted a brief excerpt from Robert Jensen's book, you, WD, said you found it "disgusting" and were grateful that you hadn't had to go looking for it. I'd rather I didn't have to read about that stuff either. But I'd say it's pretty intellectually dishonest of you to make apologies for an industry that you self-admittedly have not investigated the products of in the last 20 years.

I've called you disingenuous, and I think you are. You also seem to be able to intimidate a lot of people at this website and they won't stand up to you. Well, I will. And I'll ask you again, why do you need so badly to dismiss reasoned arguments against porn? I'm very interested in hearing an honest answer from you.

December 29, 2007
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p.s. I'm going to ask SC to edit your scream of anguish, Erica, to return the format of this thread to fit the screen better. However it's a weekend now, so I expect it will stay this way until Monday.

Take care, and thanks for dropping by. I miss you! (((((Erica)))))

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