A Better Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by NewStart19, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Yeah he said he's making ten and that's it... but you know how that goes.
    I liked that kid as well.
    Thanks for the kind words. Only drank once in the last 7 weeks or so. Like you've mentioned, quitting P without quitting booze is almost impossible. At least, it seems to be in my current environment.
    Good job on your current run.
     
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  2. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    I've read and taken notes on a few sections of The Porn Myth, and I would like to include them in this topic. Here they are:

    Introduction (pg. 15)
    • The author’s definition of pornography: “Pornography…consists of visual materials containing explicit displays of sexual organs or sexual activities, whether real or simulated, in order to arouse erotic rather than aesthetic sensations. Or more briefly, pornography is material that depicts erotic behavior intended to cause sexual arousal.” (pg. 17)
    • Porn is a big industry – Its websites are often searched for and get a lot of traffic, its businesses are corporatized and run on sophisticated business models, their websites are cutting edge and high-performance, and it utilizes advice from mental health clinicians to snag more customers: “…pornography is a huge industry…The porn industry generates $13 billion each year in the United States…of the one million most-trafficked websites in the world, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam [found]…42,337 of these are sex-related sites. After their analysis of the top 400 million web searches, researchers concluded that about one in eight searches is for erotic content…Blaise Cronin and Elisabeth Davenport, writing for Information Society, say that it is universally acknowledged by information-technology experts that the porn industry has been on the ‘leading edge’ when it comes to building high-performance websites…The porn industry’s big players are multimillion-dollar giants—not just household names such as Playboy and Hustler, but Time Warner, Hilton, and Rupert Murdoch…Stephen Yagielowicz, senior editor for XBIZ comments: The corporatization of porn isn’t something that will happen or is happening, it is something that happened—and if you’re unaware of that fact then there truly is no longer a seat at the table for you…Jack Morrison, writing for Adult Video News, says porn companies have sought the advice of clinicians who help people to overcome cyber-sex addictions on how to attract more customers to their websites. Companies that heed the advice have the potential to turn huge profits…Andrew Edmond, CEO of Flying Crocodile, a $20 million Internet porn company, stated, ‘A lot of people [outside the porn industry] get distracted from the business model by [the sex]. It is just as sophisticated and multilayered as any other marketplace. We operate just like any Fortune 500 company.’” (pgs. 17-20)
    What This Book Is Not (pg. 21)
    • The purpose of this book is to explore whether porn should be criticized more and if the quality of sex can improve without it; it is not a religious treatise, a call for censorship, nor a questioning of the legality of porn: “Lest I be misunderstood, the purpose of this book is not to rob us of the pleasure of our sexuality but instead to insist that perhaps sex can be more pleasurable when it isn’t on tap or made-to-order…This book is also not a religious treatise on the evils of pornography…Furthermore, this book is not about censorship, nor does it argue against the legality of pornography…The assertion I’m making in this book is not whether porn should be denied as a form of protected free speech…but, rather, whether porn is a form of expression deserving of tough criticism.” (pgs. 21-22)
    What This Book Is (pg. 22)
    • The goal of this book is to debunk commonly-believed myths about porn: “The goal of this book is to expose the myth that pornography is good or at least not that bad. Along the way it will debunk the most commonly held beliefs about pornography, either explicitly stated or implicitly understood.” (pg. 22)
    • The premise of this book – sex—used and consumed out of its natural context—does not to lead flourishing for an individual or on a larger scale: “This book rests on one fundamental presupposition: if you want something to flourish, you need to use it in accordance with its nature…don’t rip sex out of its obvious relational context, turn it into a commodity, and then expect individuals, families, and society to flourish.” (pgs. 22-23)
    The Purpose of Sex (pg. 23)
    • Porn flattens our sexual experiences and omits a key purpose of their drive – bonding and intimacy: “It has been said—and I agree—that the real problem with pornography isn’t that it shows too much but that it shows too little. Too little of what? Too little of the human person. Porn treats sex one-dimensionally, by reducing people to their sexual organs, and then uses them as a mere means to an end. As a result, it cannot offer the experience of real intimacy that we long for.” (pg. 23)
    • Neurochemicals like oxytocin and vasopressin are what make us experience feelings of attachment to a partner, to another human being: “Thanks to advances in the biological sciences, and especially in neurology, we know that the neurochemicals oxytocin and vasopressin are among the key players in our bodies for creating feelings of strong attachment…In human beings, these neurochemicals are released slowly during lovemaking and in large quantities during orgasm, neurologically ‘bonding’ a person’s memories to the source of sexual pleasure.” (pg. 24)
    • The human brain differs from (many?) other animals in that it’s built to forge enduring romantic bonds, which, along with reproduction, is the purpose of our sex drive: “Paul Zak, founding director of Claremont Graduate University’s Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, says…the human brain differs from the brains of animals: we are built for long-term romantic relationships. These neurochemicals are meant for forging long-lasting romantic bonds…This bonding, plus the biological purpose of procreation, is the purpose of our sexual drive—it is our sexual nature.” (pgs. 24-25)
    Celebrating the Human Body (pg. 27)
    • The author views pornography not as sexual expression, but as a reduction of the people depicted within it as a mere collection of anatomical parts: “Those of us who oppose porn’s objectification of human beings are not opposing sexual expression. We stand against pornography in order to stand for the honor of the human person. Anytime we capture the image of another—be it for artistic purposes or for entertainment—the display of that image should lead others to celebrate the mystery and depth of humanity, not encourage them to treat the person as a cheap assembly of body parts.” (pg. 28)
    Porn Culture (pg. 29)

    1. Porn is just “adult” entertainment. (pg. 31)

    • Porn, and other sexual services, are marketed as being for adults or as mature, but they aren’t suited for this age group either: “…if you said you were going to a gentlemen’s club…Today in the United States…it is assumed that you will be paying to see a striptease…if you said you were going to the adult section of the public library…Today people would assume you were looking for something pornographic…Pornography is often classified as ‘adult’ entertainment—something for ‘mature’ audiences—as if this form of entertainment were merely ‘not suitable for children’…The truth is, pornography isn’t suitable for adults either.” (pg. 31)
    • What is meant by mature/adult? They either refer to reaching a desired/final state or having grown past certain behaviors or attitudes: “This leads us to ask: What exactly constitutes an ‘adult’ or a ‘mature’ person? Do these words refer merely to one’s age, as in, at least eighteen, the legal age of maturity?...one way we use the term ‘mature’ is when talking about reaching a final or desired state…We also use the word ‘mature’ to speak of those who have ‘grown up’ in their behaviors and attitudes—they no longer display the impetuousness and naivety of youth.” (pg. 32)
    • Maturity in a neuroscientific context makes reference to the prefrontal cortex; this area has matured when it can regulate emotions and impulses so that we can better control ourselves and make better decisions: “Ask any neuroscientist what a mature human brain looks like, and he will likely mention a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. It is directly behind the forehead and serves as the managerial center of the brain. It is responsible for our willpower; it regulates our behavior by making decisions based on judgments about good and bad, better and best, and so forth. When emotions, impulses, and urges surge from the midbrain, the lobes in the prefrontal cortex exercise executive control over them. By the age of twenty-five, this region of the brain reaches maturity, meaning that, by that age, thinking becomes more sophisticated and regulating emotions becomes easier.” (pg. 32)
    • Continued overstimulation in the brain through excess dopamine physically changes it, and this is true for drug and porn abusers; one type of change is hypofrontality, an atrophy of one’s prefrontal cortex that inhibits executive control and impairs decision-making; does this process really lead to an adult transformation?: “As the brain responds to sexual stimulation, surges of dopamine are released during sexual encounters (including pornographic stimulation) giving the person a sharp sense of focus and an awareness of sexual craving. Dopamine helps to lay down memories in the brain…But scientists are now seeing that continued exposure to porn gives the brain an unnatural high—beyond what it is wired to handle—and the brain eventually fatigues. Anatomy and physiology instructor Gary Wilson notes…that chemical overstimulation brings about significant changes in the brain—both for drug abusers and porn users…One of those changes is the erosion of the prefrontal cortex—that all-important center of executive control. Neurosurgeon Donald Hilton explained what scientists are seeing in their research…‘So we have four studies, two drug and two natural addiction studies, all done in different academic institutions by different research teams, and published over a five-year period in four different peer-reviewed scientific journals. And all four studies show that addictions physically affect the frontal lobes of the brain.’…If the frontal lobes of the brain are weakened, when the craving for porn hits, there is very little willpower present to regulate the desire. Neuroscientists call this problem hypofrontality, in which the person slowly loses impulse control and mastery of his passions. The point is this: the region in the brain that, when mature, is the mark of adulthood is the very thing that is eroded as people view porn. It is as if viewing porn makes the brain revert and become more childish. ‘Adult’ entertainment is actually making people more juvenile.” (pgs. 33-34)
    • Attempts to present porn consumption as a mature activity can be traced back to Playboy, which also included markers of upper-class life to give it an aura of respectability and sophistication: “Since the very first issue of Playboy hit the magazine racks in 1953, Hugh Hefner’s strategy was twofold: to distributors he would market the magazine as soft-core porn, but to the target audience he would market it as a ‘lifestyle magazine’ for upwardly mobile men. This began the cultural change in porn’s public image: ‘When the editors addressed the reader, the pictures were just one of many attractions, rather than the attraction. The reader was invited not to masturbate to the centerfold but rather to enter the world of the cultural elite, to discuss philosophy and consume food associated with the upper middle class…The markers of upper-class life, which appear casually thrown in as afterthoughts (cocktails, hor d’oeuvres , and Picasso), were deliberately placed to cloak the magazine in an aura of upper-middle class respectability. Just as Playboy would have died without the naked women lining its pages, so it also would have died without its articles and advertisements, which gave permission to the self-defined middle-class American male to indulge in porn.’” (pgs. 34-35)
    • What’s more mature, flooding your brain with pleasure-causing (and desire-causing) neurotransmitters for hours merely for a high, or instead using your sex drive to connect with and love another imperfect being like yourself?: “Which activity sounds more ‘mature’ and grown-up: making love for a lifetime to one real flesh-and-blood woman whom you are eagerly serving and cherishing, despite all her faults and blemishes (and despite your own), or sneaking away at night to troll the Internet, flipping from image to image, from one thirty-second teaser to another, for hours on end, pleasuring yourself as you bond to pixels on a screen?” (pg. 35)
    • The author’s conclusion - porn and commercial sex are not befitting the words “adult” and “mature”: “No, indulging in pornographic media and other forms of commercial sex are hardly befitting of the adjective ‘adult’.” (pg. 36)
    2. To be anti-porn is to be anti-sex. (pg. 37)
    • In the ‘80s, sex-positive feminism emerged as a reaction to the perception of some feminists that being anti-porn meant you were shaming women and their capacity to enjoy sex: “The 1980s saw the birth of the term ‘sex-positive feminism’…‘Sex-positive feminism’ emerged as a reaction to anti-porn sentiments that were common among some feminists…Ellen Willis, the author who coined the term ‘sex-positive feminism’, reflects on the genesis of the idea: ‘We took on the anti-pornography movement, which had dominated the feminist conversation about sex: As we saw it, the claim that ‘pornography is violence against women’ was code for the neo-Victorian idea that men want sex and women endure it…feminists who were against porn had gotten in bed with patriarchal prudes who put women in a subservient place to begin with. In essence, to be against porn is to tell women, ‘You shouldn’t be like these women in porn—women who portray characters that enjoy sex. Shame, shame.’ To be against porn, they say, is to play into the hands of a patriarchal culture that tells women that they live in a man’s world and that sex is a man’s thing.” (pg. 37)
    • Being against porn doesn’t mean you’re anti-sex; the two terms are not synonymous: “The issue is whether we can speak out against pornography as a degrading medium and not be anti-sex…Saying that we need porn to avoid sexual repression is like saying that we need gluttony to avoid anorexia. Pornography is as much a celebration of sex as gluttony is a celebration of food. In both instances, that which should be appreciated isn’t appreciated at all but is twisted into something unhealthy and dangerous. By placing sex—any kind of sex—into the medium of pornography, we gorge the masses on industrialized, commodified sexuality. This does not celebrate sex at all. It cheapens it.” (pg. 39)
    • The different forms pornography takes doesn’t change them at their core; it's about the commodification of bodies and sexuality to maximize profit: “When journalism professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas visited the 2008 Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) in Las Vegas, amid the myriad of porn-company booths, he happened upon the purveyors of an Australian website that bills itself as ‘real, passionate, unscripted’ sexual activity by ‘happy, healthy, regular girls in their normal environments’…[These] women looked different from the porn-star caricature, but their girl/girl action…didn’t look much different from the industry norm, and the men who were watching behaved the same as other fans on the convention floor…That moment provides an important reminder: Pornography, at its core, is a market transaction in which women’s bodies and sexuality are offered to male consumers in the interests of maximizing profit. Market niches vary, but the bottom line does not. In the end, it’s about attracting the most ‘wankers’ possible. Some of those men who wank to these images like porn-star caricatures. Some like the girl next door.” (pgs. 39-41)
    • Pornography is an industry that commodifies people’s bodies for profit by one-dimensionalizing them into objects of masturbation; to stand against this does not mean you stand against sex: “At its core, modern pornography is an industry. It is about the commodification of bodies for revenue. And it is precisely because I’m for sex that I’m against porn. Whether we’re talking about misogynist women-hating porn or the gentle girl-on-girl variety, it is pornography as a medium that is the main problem. Porn is the business of presenting women’s bodies to men for masturbation. To stand against this is not to stand against sex generally but to stand against a habit of solo sex that turns men into consumers, not lovers.” (pg. 41)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  3. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    I am going to share my notes on the last few myths from The Porn Myth. Today's notes cover myths 3 -5.

    3. Porn empowers women (pg. 42)
    • Some people argue that masturbation—and by extension pornography—is the best way to escape monogamy in a society that shames people for looking for sexual pleasure outside its parameters: “Betty Dodson…has hosted many workshops in which she teaches small groups of women how to masturbate…While she doesn’t want to see children exposed to porn, and she doesn’t think porn offers the best in sexual education, in the end she believes that porn is ‘just an extension of accepting masturbation as the best relief for the socially imposed monotony of monogamy.’…In a culture where you are shamed into believing that sexual pleasure outside of a committed relationship is wrong, she says, porn just might be the best escape.” (pg. 42)
    • Some also argue that porn empowers women because it challenges norms that limit their sexual freedom; the question here is what is meant by empowerment – is the empowerment for certain individuals or a group as a whole?: “Porn, says Dodson, is not just entertainment for men; it can also empower women because of its ability to challenge the norms of our society that would control a woman’s sexual freedom…This is the theory of female empowerment through pornography: certain women willingly and joyfully participating in porn are the new high priestesses of female liberation. These women help us to throw off the shackles of gender norms that tell women what is off limits is too perverted, too pleasurable, or too degrading…Once can easily find spokeswomen for the porn industry…who say they have loved their work and have done so with their heads held high. In one sense, these women are empowered…On the other hand, however, one sees that these women are feeding the very systems that rob women, as a group, of power…Unfortunately, this use of ‘empowerment’ is possible only by redefining the word…‘Feminism is something individual to each feminist.’ This sort of hyperindivudalism requires us to legitimize any woman who enjoys the so-called empowerment of pornography while ignoring all of the women who do not.” (pgs. 42-43)
    • Many modern married women, who have come to believe their relationships should have mutual respect, honesty, power and love, encounter the opposite in their relationships and in the bedroom: “Ask the millions of women whose husbands habitually turn to porn. Do these women feel empowered by pornography? Dr. Jill Manning, a marriage and family therapist, notes that North American women live in psychologically split times. On the one hand, they have dared to believe the modern rhetoric that relationships should be founded on mutual respect, honesty, shared power, and romantic love. On the other hand, pornography involves the exact opposite: disrespect, dissimulation, power imbalances, and detachment…In a word, the discovery of a husband’s use of porn can be completely demoralizing. Furthermore, as men try to bring what they learn from porn into the bedroom, they can often be blind to just how painful or distressing porn sex is in real life. Pornography doesn’t just ramp up a man’s sex drive; it discourages empathy. When a porn consumer can’t see the degradation in the porn he consumes, this only goes to show how caught up in his own pleasure he really is.” (pg. 44)
    • Do young women feel empowered by porn? Many feel like they can’t compete and that their specific sexual needs aren’t being met: “In a similar vein, ask the millions of young women who live in a culture surrounded by men and boys who have grown up on pornographic sexual standards. Do these women feel ‘empowered’ by pornography? Naomi Wolf, author of the international best seller The Beauty Myth, relates her own experiences of speaking to young adults today: ‘Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: they can’t compete, and they know it. For how can a real women—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond ‘More, more, you big stud!’)—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification? For most of human history, erotic images have been reflections of, or celebrations of, or substitutes for, real naked women. For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.’” (pg. 45)
    • Men overexposed to erotic sexual stimuli exhaust their sexual response and find the average woman far less attractive: “French neuroscientist Serge Stoleru reports that overexposure to erotic stimuli actually exhausts a healthy young man’s sexual responses—making him, in a sense, impotent without the use of fantasy. The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found similar results. When men and women were exposed to pictures of female centerfold models from Playboy and Penthouse, this significantly lowered their judgments about the attractiveness of ‘average’ people.” (pgs. 45-46)
    • Some modern women are fine with their partners use of porn, but their reasons reveal that they are rationalizations that attempt to normalize the behavior of their partners: “Of course, some modern women have no problem with the porn used by the men they date or marry, but when we peel back the veil, we learn the reasons why. Dr. Ana Bridges of the University of Arkansas has interviewed many women who are okay with their husbands’ behavior. ‘All guys look at porn,’ they often say, ‘which is better than his having an affair.’ ‘At least he’s not always coming to me to get his needs met.’ These are not sentiments from women who feel empowered by pornographic media, but, Dr. Bridges states, they are rationalizations. These are permission-giving beliefs: ideas that make certain behaviors seem normal or healthy.” (pg. 46)
    • How do female pornstars feel about the empowering effects of pornography? Clearly there are some efffects, like money and fame; but even the most successful feel they are at risk of losing themselves and struggle getting the respect they deserve: “Finally, of course, we should turn our attention to the porn actresses themselves. Do they fell ‘empowered’ by the work they do? Miriam Weeks, known as Belle Knox in the industry, says that she loves the work she does, that the industry enabled her to build a name for herself, build a brand around her name, and pay her way through college at Duke University…At the same time, in a recent documentary, Knox has said that the industry has a way of making her very cynical and bitter…She also says she’s at risk of really losing herself and becoming her Belle Knox alter ego…Perhaps no woman has made it as big in the porn industry as Jenna Jameson…While Jameson has repeatedly defended her involvement in the porn industry, one only needs to read her own words to see the kind of empowerment she has experienced…In an interview, Anderson Cooper asked her what she would do if she ever had a daughter who wanted to get into porn. ‘I’d tie her in the closet,’ she replied, ‘only because this is such a hard industry for a woman to get ahead and get the respect that she deserves. I fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, and it’s not something that I would want my daughter to go through. It’s not something that any parent would choose for their child.’…Why does the Queen of Porn think the industry is a hard place for a woman to find respect? Because the entire industry is built on the premise that women are meant to be used for male pleasure. How can such an industry truly empower its hardest workers?” (pgs. 48-49)
    • The author’s conclusion? Talk of empowerment in porn is more PR than reality; some individual women find some personal empowerment, but women as a group do not because the medium transforms them into mere objects for male pleasure: “So, in review, are there individual women in the world who feel empowered by porn? Sure. Does this mean that porn is empowering to women as a group? No…Feminist author Gail Dines eloquently explains the critical difference: ‘…we don’t talk about empowerment of the individual but rather collective liberation for women as a class. We say that as long as one woman is being oppressed then our job is to fight for her. We don’t see more sex or better orgasms as the answer to women’s oppression. What we want is the end of a system where women are the majority of the world’s poor, hungry, illiterate, overworked and raped. Our bodies are commodified to the point that you can buy and sell a woman over and over again.’…’Feminist pornography’ is an oxymoron. Working for an industry that uses your body to make a buck can only feed a system of oppression. All the talk about female empowerment is just the new face of porn PR.” (pg. 49)
    4. There is no difference between porn and naked art. (pg. 50)
    • Some argue that pornography is itself a type of art, and at times the distinction between the two can be fuzzy; etymology aside, the key distinction between the two is the intent behind their creation; for porn, it’s to have its viewers enter a state of sexual stimulation (and most likely orgasm): “Pornographers often speak of their work as being in the cultural continuum of erotic art. Porn has been around since the beginning of time, they say, and will never go away. They appeal to antiquity, noting that some of the most celebrated works of classic art feature nudity…So what’s the difference between pornography and naked art?...First, they are different in their very definition. The word ‘pornography’ contains the Greek root porne, meaning ‘prostitution’ or ‘prostitute’. Like prostitution, pornography has a specific desired end: sexual stimulation in order to produce a completed sexual act. True art is not produced for this purpose, to substitute for a prostitute. True artists aim at capturing their vision of beauty in order that the beautiful might be apprehended and appreciated…The difference between a pornographer and an artist lies in his intentions…Jerrold Levinson, a professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland and an expert in aesthetics, says that art and pornography can both induce sexual interest, but pornography is made exclusively for the purpose of causing sexual stimulation. Porn makers intend to bring people into ‘the physiological state that is prelude and prerequisite to release’. In other words, the point of porn is masturbation…No doubt, the line between pornography and art can be blurry. Some say that the artistic value of porn is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps it is. But at the end of the day, porn is not created for the sake of beauty, and true art is not created for the sake of masturbation.” (pgs. 51-53)
    5. Swimsuit editions and men’s magazines are not porn. (pg. 54)
    • From an etymological standpoint, an argument could be made that men’s magazines include pornographic content; what’s more, their attitudes toward women seem to be similar to both the producers and consumers of porn: “Filled with barely clothed and, at times, totally naked women, Loaded is a premium example of today’s men’s magazine. But is it ‘porn’?...The word ‘pornography’ comes from the Greek words porne, meaning ‘prostitution’ or ‘prostituted woman’, and graphos, meaning ‘writings’ or ‘engravings’. Under this definition, pornography is not only graphic portrayals of sex or sexuality, broadly speaking, but also commercial sex. Pornography is about an economic exchange: it is sexually explicit material made by producers and paid for by consumers for the purpose of generating sexual activity…Under this definition, magazines such as Loaded could be considered pornographic both in their intent and in their use. Compare the first issues of Playboy from the 1950s with the material in Loaded today, and you will not see much difference between them; the intentions of the publishers and the readers do not seem much different either…Another clue that current men’s magazines and their readers are not much different from producers and consumers of prostitution is their attitude toward women. Psychologists from the University of Surry and Middlesex University took quotes about women from convicted rapists and from men’s magazines and asked people to label which ones came from which. Most people could not distinguish the source” (pgs. 54-55)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    My most recent notes from The Porn Myth.

    6. Only religious people oppose porn (pg. 58)
    • First things first – in a free society, citizens should be allowed to participate in civil discourse and should not be discounted from participating in it, regardless of their religious beliefs (or absence of them); moreover, if someone is motivated by moral reasons stemming from their religion, this does not mean their cause is intrinsically wrong: “A couple of matters should be made clear at the outset. First, just because some people oppose porn because it violates the morality taught by their religion does not mean their cause is wrong. During the nineteenth-century movement to abolish slavery, many Quakers opposed the trans-Atlantic slave trade because it violated the precepts of their religion, which teaches equality. Their religious motivation did not make their cause wrong…Second, in a free society people should not be excluded from civil discourse, or be discounted as having nothing to contribute to it, just because they accept the morals taught by their religion. Many people who are against stealing and murder were taught the Ten Commandments in their churches or synagogues. Should upbringing exclude them from public discussions about violent crime?...Stephen Carter of Yale Law School says this kind of privatizing of religion is unjust: ‘Efforts to craft a public square from which religious conversation is absent, no matter how thoughtfully worked out, will always in the end say to those of organized religion that they alone, unlike everyone else, must enter public dialogue only after leaving behind that part of themselves that they may consider the most vital.’…Every person, whether religious or not, has ideas about what human flourishing looks like, and he ought to be able to share those ideas in the public square.” (pgs. 58-59)
    • But do only religious people oppose porn? No. Many fapstronauts identify as atheists or agnostics and try to abstain from porn to improve physical health and well-being; another example is the subgroup of feminists who view porn as detrimental to society: “Is it true that only religious people oppose porn?...NoFap, an online community of (mostly) men who were challenging each other to put away porn and masturbation…began not because of religious motivations, but because its members wanted to see how quitting porn and masturbation would improve their overall health and well-being…After joining the NoFap community and quitting their porn habits, 60 percent found that their sexual function improved…most NoFappers considered themselves atheists or agnostics, and currently there are well over 150,000 online members…Men like Rhodes and the thousands of nonreligious individuals in his online community are not alone in their disdain of pornography…Men with damaged libidos are not the only ones who think pornography is a problem; thousands of women do as well. In the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, the world saw the rise of a new wave of feminists who ardently spoke out against the social ills of pornography—and these same women often also opposed organized religion…In conclusion, religious people are not the only ones who oppose porn. There are others who oppose it because personal experience, social science, or medical research has shown that porn is not conducive to their well-being.” (pgs. 59-61)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  5. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting your notes. They reminded me of what an outstanding book The Porn Myth is. It's the book that had the biggest impact on my recovery. I have read it twice and every time my eyes were opened and my will to leave the trap grew bigger and bigger.

    Good luck on your ongoing recovery with your new efforts! Don't leave this place for good yet ;). I'm sure, you will benefit a lot from your accountability partner and the Noah's self-help-group. In my experience opening up to 'real' people and discussing the matter with them will relieve your shoulders from at least some of the weight you are carrying around.
     
  6. MindPoison

    MindPoison Active Member

    You're doing pretty good so far. Usually, once a week passes the cravings do tend to wane a lot more, but things do start to get a bit hard after 14 days from my experience, so be on your toes when you get to that point.
     
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  7. MindPoison

    MindPoison Active Member

    Even 10 minutes of meditation helps. Back when I used to meditate daily it was actually somewhat easier to control cravings to masturbate, haven't done that in ages, but I plan to get back into it for sure soon.
    Nice to see that you went after doing something you love despite what others may think. In the end, if your hobby brings you joy then people who truly are your friends will accept that about you anyhow.
     
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  8. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Things have continued to go well since I last posted. Not perfect, but net progress has been upward. I only see this trend continuing.

    Below you will find my second to last batch of notes from The Porn Myth. Here they are:

    The Porn Industry (pg. 63)

    7. Porn producers help to make the porn industry safe for the performers. (pg. 65)
    • The industry standard of testing for STIs is not strict enough, and there are problems with hepatitis and herpes among performers: “Despite all the testing that goes on in the industry, as of 2013, the industry standard is that a performer is cleared for work if he tests negative for HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Since there was a syphilis scare in 2012, testing for it has become more regular. Hepatitis is largely not a concern. Dr. Sharon Mitchell, founder of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, says that 66 percent of porn stars have herpes.” (pg. 66)
    • Gonzo pornography is often unsanitary and disregards the health of female performers by subjecting them to body-punishing sex: “Gonzo films don’t waste time with a plot…It is body-punishing sex at its worst. Not only do these films test (and break) the limits of a woman’s body; much of what they contain is unsanitary. According to Robert Jensen, a woman in a gonzo film ‘is either expressing disregard for her own health or accepting the man’s implicit imposition of the idea that her health is of no concern. Either way, she is less than fully human.’” (pg. 67)
    • Various women who worked in the industry have recounted the physical demands and abuse they experienced: “During her interview on ABC’s Primetime, Belladonna…described how she need to prepare…‘I go through a process from the night before. I stop eating at 5:00. I do, you know, like two enemas. The next morning I don’t eat anything. It’s so draining on your body…Danielle Williams said she saw a lot of brutality in her years in the industry…‘a female porn star that had been in the industry for a while had excessive anal intercourse and a piece of her muscle from her anus fell out on set while she was filming. Some females damaged their reproductive systems, which left them unable to have children. A male porn star broke the muscle in his penis because he was having abnormal and outrageous rough sex’…Ex-performer Emily Eve described the physical and emotional toll she suffered…“I came home bruised and sometimes a little bloody from the rough scenes…They slapped me and spit on me and called me horrible things…Time after time, I would go home and cry myself to sleep because I feared what the next day would bring.’” (pgs. 67-68)
    • Drug abuse is also a problem among performers, often used to numb the body and mind: “Not surprisingly, alcohol and drugs are often used and freely distributed on a porn set, sometimes to numb the physical and emotional pain, and sometimes to numb the mind so that a man or a woman can zone out during a shoot. Ex-performer Jersey Jaxin explained, ‘Guys are punching you in the face. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending. You’re viewed as an object—not as a human with a spirit. People do drugs because they can’t deal with the way they’re being treated.’ Indeed, many porn stars report that they routinely binge on ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Valium, Vicodin, and alcohol.” (pg. 68)
     
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  9. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    8. Porn isn’t sex slavery. The actors freely choose the lifestyles they lead. (pg. 70)
    • While a common defense of pornography starts with the celebration of free choice (phrased as a feminist ideal), it ignores the fact that most women in the industry are from poor and powerless backgrounds who lack other options: “What are the experiences of other women in the industry? Legal scholar Catharine A. MacKinnon offers her frightening summary insights: ‘As with all prostitution, the women and children in pornography are, in the main, not there by choice but because of a lack of choices. They usually ‘consent’ only in a degraded and demented sense of the word (common also to the law of rape) in which a person who despairs at stopping what is happening, sees no escape, has no real alternative, was often sexually abused before as a child, may be addicted to drugs, is homeless, hopeless, is often trying to avoid being beaten or killed, is almost always economically desperate, acquiesces in being sexually abused for payment, even if, in most instances, the payment is made to someone else.’…MacKinnon says that a common defense of pornography often starts in the celebration of free choice and in the assumption that even when people who are poor and powerless make voluntary choices to perform in pornography, no thought of their economic situation should be considered. The celebration of this choice is seen as a feminist ideal, because, after all, ‘When women express our free will, we spread our legs for a camera.’” (pg. 71)
    • There are many anecdotes from female performers that demonstrate the physical extremes women’s bodies are put through during consensual sex, as well as various non-consensual abuses they are forced to endure (many quotes are given but excluded for brevity): “Some have dismissed MacKinnon’s statements as gross overgeneralizations based on anecdotal evidence, but this is far from the truth. Extensive research (much of which can be found in the terrific anthology Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography) backs her up. To continue to insist that thousands of real stories from real women are merely anecdotal is as academically dishonest as it is offensive…As we take in their stories one by one, pornography more and more begins to resemble sex slavery: both are operated by men (and a growing number of women) who are willing to put women through body-punishing sex for profit. Even in the midst of ‘consensual’ sex, women are subjected to all manner of nonconsensual abuses.” (pg. 72)
    • What about the women who stayed, overcome their difficulties, and took control of their careers? Well, consensual involvement is better than coercion, but it is socially irresponsible to speak of personal empowerment when the products that lead to that empowerment have disempowered so many others: “Yes, many women have experienced the worst of it in the porn industry, but what about the others—the women who have chosen to stay in porn despite the difficulties? Yes, they may have encountered their fair share of horny misogynist men, but they have risen above that climate and taken control of their porn careers in a male-driven business. Regarding this we can make a couple of important points…First, insofar as women eagerly choose to be part of the porn industry, this is, in some sense, ‘better’ than coercion or force. But consensual involvement is only one factor among many in evaluating this topic…Second, to celebrate one’s personal empowerment while creating a product that is markedly disempowering to others is not socially responsible. Some say that the essence of female liberation is merely the ability for women to make choices, even choices to be in porn. To this Rebecca Whisnant offers an intelligent reply: ‘Feminism is about ending the subordination of women. Expanding women’s freedom of choice on a variety of fronts is an important part of that, but it is not the whole story. In fact, any meaningful liberation movement involves not only claiming the right to make choices, but also holding oneself accountable for the effects of those choices on oneself and on others.’” (pg. 76)
     
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  10. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    9. Porn stars are just well-rounded nymphomaniacs. (pg. 78)
    • The women drawn to pornography are addicted to sex, money, fame, or just really need the money: “So, yes, some porn stars are in the industry because of their fascination with sex; others, however, are in the industry for entirely different reasons. Dr. Sharon Mitchell, confounder of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), regularly sees porn actors and actresses in her clinic. She says there are three types of women drawn to pornography: those who are addicted to sex, those who are addicted to money, and those who are addicted to fame…Some, like Elizabeth Rollings, enter into porn because they’ve fallen on desperate times.” (pgs. 79-80)
    • But what about hypersexual women? They are not well-rounded; they have a disorder consisting of an obsessive pursuit of sexual pleasure: “By definition, someone who is hypersexual (a more modern diagnosis for nymphomania) is not a well-rounded person. Hypersexuality is a sign of disorder…hypersexuality is not an enjoyment of sex or an enjoyment of lots of sex. Hypersexuality is not merely thinking about sex a lot. Hypersexuality is an obsessive pursuit of physical pleasure. Clinicians believe hypersexuality can be caused by a wide variety of factors, such as personality disorders, sexual addictions, obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse-control problems, or past abuse. Often a hypersexual person uses sexual pleasure as a way to find emotional stability.” (pg. 81)
    • Victims of childhood sexual abuse tend to pursue sex recklessly or forgo it; while not every woman in porn was sexually abused, many have been: “Stephen L. Braveman, M.A., the western regional representative of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, says that childhood sexual-abuse survivors tend either to pursue sex recklessly as adults or to forgo sex completely. ‘They typically wind up with splitting behavior, where things become very black or white. Either they are very sexually active, or they shut down sexually.’…One does not have to search long to find porn stars with pasts of sexual trauma…Shelley Lubben, a former porn actress and the founder of the PinkCross Foundation, says that many porn actresses admit to her that they were sexually, physically, or verbally abused as children. ‘We were taught at a young age that sex made us valuable,’ she confesses. Jennifer Ketcham, a former porn actress, agrees, saying that many women in the porn industry come from backgrounds of rape, abuse, and neglect. ‘Though plenty of women who were abused as children do not go into porn,’ she writes, ‘many women who have been abused (physically, emotionally, or sexually) do participate in sexual risk taking behaviors’—and involvement in porn is one avenue some of them take’…Of course, no one can claim that every sex-worshipping porn actor or actress is a product of abuse. But the porn industry, by its very nature, attracts many sexually and relationally damaged people, and anyone concerned about the well-being of actors and actresses in the industry should heed this fact.” (pgs. 81-82)
     
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  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    10. Sure, child porn is a problem, but I watch only adult porn. No harm in that. (pg. 84)
    • The overall demand for porn is sexualized youth, which is not infrequently accentuated to be childlike (popular media doesn’t help by “adultifying” children): “While porn has always sought to satisfy niche tastes, the overall trend in demand for porn is sexualized youth…When pornographers use terms such as ‘barely legal’, ‘jailbait’, ‘sweeties’, and ‘Lolitas’ to market their product, they are accentuating not just youth, but childlikeness. In an analysis of four hundred million web searches from July 2009 to July 2010, neuroscientists Ogi Ogasa and Sai Gaddam concluded that the most popular category of sexual searches online—by a huge margin—is ‘youth’…This is what Professor Dan Allender calls the ‘pedophilic drift’ in our culture. As pornography pushes the limits, portraying women as younger and younger, popular media ‘adultifies’ children in its TV shows and advertising.” (pg. 86)
    • Pornography producers are more than willing to provide men with content that makes their brains lust for children; endorsing adult pornography indirectly contributes to the sexualization of youth and children: “…the Child Porn Prevention Act had defined child pornography very broadly, including even ‘virtual’ child porn: any film or picture that contained what looked like a child engaging in a sexual act…The Ashcroft case overturned this law as unconstitutional: only pornography that uses real children is prohibited…My point here is…about the willingness of pornographers to push the envelope so that men can lust after what their brains interpret to be children…In the end, we are responsible for the businesses we choose to endorse with our money and our mouse clicks. Choosing to avoid child porn and to watch only ‘adult’ pornography may sound noble to some, but in the end, it only supports an industry that tries with all its might to sexualize youth.” (pgs. 86-87)
     
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  12. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    11. I don’t pay for my porn, so I’m not contributing to the porn industry (pg. 88)
    • How do porn companies make money with all the free content available? 1) Premium content and memberships, 2) advertising, 3) malware: “…how do porn websites make their money when the Internet is saturated with free porn? First, they entice visitors to pay for premium content with membership fees that allow them access to full-length videos, high-definition videos, 3D videos, films with leading actresses, behind-the-scenes content, or content without ads or pop-ups…But…what if you have never given a porn website a dime? One way porn sites make money is through malware—malicious software—which can include spyware or viruses that are downloaded to a user’s device without his consent. Malware causes technical problems and can monitor and control the user’s online behavior. Sometimes affiliates will pay websites for every download of their malware…Another primary way porn sites make money is through advertising…Porn sites might contain sidebar advertising, display ads on the videos themselves, or ads that pop up when the video is paused. Advertisements might come from specific affiliates or from an ad network that contains advertisements from hundreds or thousands of companies. Money is paid to porn sites every time someone clicks on the ad (pay per click), or every time an ad is shown (cost per impression), or every time a visitor buys the advertised product or service (pay per sale), or by giving a sliding percentage based on traffic volume (percentage program).” (pgs. 89-90)
     
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  13. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Porn And Our Sexuality (pg. 91)

    12. Women don’t struggle with porn. (pg. 93)

    • Various studies and statistics show that porn use among women is on the rise: “While pornography use among women is rarely discussed, it is on the rise. One study indicated that 50 percent of female adolescents used pornography in the previous six months. Other studies indicate that 25 percent of women ages eighteen to thirty-four use pornography. Even 4 percent of women ages fifty to sixty-five admit to using pornography. These statistics include any type of porn use, from occasional to frequent. About 2 percent of women use pornography multiple times per week…In contrast to those numbers, during a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2010, only 2 percent of the women surveyed admitted to watching pornography online. In 2013, that number jumped to 8 percent. If other studies are to be believed, that number is actually much higher…While the research about pornography use among women varies, statistics from porn websites themselves don’t lie. According to statistics from 2014, gathered by one of the top-ranking porn sites in the world, 23 percent of their viewers are women, nearly one woman for every five men. In America, females currently make up 15 percent of the viewing population.” (pgs. 94-95)
    • The common perception is that men are more aroused by visual stimuli, whereas women are more aroused by emotions and relationships, but some research suggests this is not the case: “When compared with the stimulation from nonsexual images, pornographic images create two to three times the response in the brain—for men and women…While the brain activity of the men would seem to indicate that they were more aroused, the women were the ones who said the images were more arousing…Further study showed that women are just as visually stimulated as men and in nearly the same amount of time…Different aspects of the image were more arousing for one sex than for the other. Women were more aroused when the woman in the image was looking away, and they rated close-up genital images…as more arousing than men did.” (pg. 96)
    • In the past, content was focused mostly in media aimed at and at locations more accessible to men; now women can use it whenever and wherever they want to relieve stress and escape from life: “…the number of women who view it is increasing. What accounts for this uptick?...Before the advent of the World Wide Web, pornography existed mostly in the pages of ‘dirty’ magazines aimed at men…Then came the ‘adult’ stores and the triple-X theaters on the seedy side of town…But the world has changed considerably…A woman can sit in the comfort and privacy of her own home and watch whatever she wants. A majority of women who look at porn report that they turn to it as a means of stress relief and escape from the demands of everyday life.” (pgs. 96-97)
    • A lot of porn watched by women is misogynistic, and this content makes both men AND women more sexist toward women: “The most paradoxical thing about women watching porn is that so much of what they watch is misogynist. While most of the porn genres women search for seem relatively mild, ‘rough sex’ and ‘bondage’ made the list of the top-sixteen searches by women in 2014…So what does this type of porn do to the women who watch it?...A recent study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly shows that watching pornography can make both men and women more sexist—against women…while the actress herself may find it liberating that she chose to be in the scene and had control over her choice, the fact is, the image she is presenting to other women is not one of choice, but of necessity. Masochism becomes not one of many choices but the choice a woman is supposed to make.” (pgs. 97-98)
    • One sign that more women watch porn is the emergence of new genres aimed at heterosexual female consumers: “In response to the outcry for more ‘woman-friendly’ porn, the industry has created a new category of pornography specifically designed for women…femme porn…That is not to say that women do not watch the more typical hard-core pornography, because they do. But femme porn is a growing niche in the porn industry, to say the least.” (pgs. 98-99)
    • One main difference between men and women’s porn consumption is that women usually view it with a partner: “This new niche dovetails nicely with the growing number of women being introduced to porn by their sexual partners. In other words, porn is being used to seduce women. This phenomenon is one of the noted differences between how men and women view pornography. Women typically view it with their partner, while men view it mostly while alone.” (pg. 99)
    • Some of these female porn consumers are addicts, but there is a dearth of research on the topic: “With easy Internet access and special genres just for women, an increasing number of women are finding their release and escape in pornography. Some even watch to the point of making themselves vulnerable to addiction, though little, if any, research exists on female porn addicts.” (pg. 99)
     
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  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    13. Not masturbating is unhealthy for a guy. (pg. 100)
    • In the West, masturbation has long been seen as taboo, but this has changed in the past 100 years: “…masturbation has long been a taboo. In 1760, the Swiss physician Samuel Auguste Tissot…believed that masturbating too much could lead to blurred vision, headaches, memory loss, gout, rheumatic disorders, and other medical problems…Dr. John Harvey Kellog…said that masturbation could lead to urinary diseases, an enlarged prostate, and eventually impotence and insanity…Immanuel Kant thought that one should not abandon himself to ‘animal inclinations’; otherwise he will deprive himself of all self-respect. Jean-Jacques Rosseau…called it ‘the most deadly habit to which a young man can be subject’….The tide against masturbation has most decidedly turned in Western culture in the last hundred years. Under the influence of men such as Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, William Masters, and Virginia Johnson, masturbation is commonly believed to be not only a natural human experience but also a healthy response to sexual urges.” (pgs. 100-101)
    • Drilling down on the often heard claim that masturbation helps against prostate cancer – there is no solid connection between the two: “Two lecturers on human sexuality at the University of Sydney, Anthony Santella and Spring Cooper, claim that studies prove that male masturbation is healthy…When some claim that masturbation is healthy, they are talking about ejaculation. Take prostate cancer, for instance. When Santella and Cooper claim that frequent masturbation reduces prostate cancer, they cite a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that reports mixed results. Researchers write, ‘Nine studies observed a statistically significant or nonsignificant positive association; 3 studies reported no association; 7 studies found a statistically significant or nonsignificant inverse relationship; and 1 study found a U-shaped relationship.’ What does that mean in layman’s terms? Ejaculation frequency is not related to prostate cancer.” (pgs. 101-102)
    • Researchers find more connections between health and PIV intercourse, but not so much for other types of sexual stimulation; there are even compositional differences in semen released from PIV sex and masturbation: “Once researchers started discerning the difference between masturbation and vaginal intercourse, they noticed more consistent trends. One review of the literature found a very wide range of health benefits for penile-vaginal intercourse, but other sexual activities have weaker or no health associations, or, in the case of masturbation, negative associations…If ejaculations are healthy, you might assume that those caused by masturbation are too, but they aren’t. No one knows why exactly. The male body simply responds differently in different instances of ejaculation. Even the makeup of semen is different when ejaculations from masturbation and vaginal intercourse are compared.” (pgs. 102-103)
    • There are even modern studies that correlate frequent masturbation with health problems, but the main point is that there is no credible link between better health and more masturbation and worse health and less masturbation: “…modern studies have actually found that frequent masturbation is associated with:
    1. more prostate abnormalities
    2. less ability to recover from erectile dysfunction
    3. less satisfaction with one’s mental health
    4. less relationship satisfaction
    5. depression and less happiness
    The fact is this: there is no documented health problem associated with refraining from masturbation, and the jury is still out on whether there are provable positive effects from the practice.” (pg. 103)​
    • But why do men turn toward masturbation? The author thinks modern Western culture has normalized escaping into sexual fantasy: “Putting the health question aside, however, we can get to the heart of the matter of why men masturbate in the first place…We live in a society in which it is so normal to escape into a world of sexual fantasy that we hardly believe there could be another way of living. But this isn’t a universal human experience. The Aka people, for instance, are a traditional hunter-gatherer tribe in the Central African Republic…They also don’t have a word in their language for ‘masturbation’. It is simply not part of their cultural model of sexuality…Contrast this with men in Western society: 25 percent of adult men say they masturbate daily or several times a week; 55 percent say they masturbate daily to monthly; and about half of boys fourteen to seventeen years old masturbate at least twice a week. Escaping into sexual fantasy is the norm.” (pg. 103-104)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    14. Porn prevents rape and sexual violence. (pg. 106)
    • Many claim that porn doesn’t cause rape/sexual violence but actually prevents it; this seems to make intuitive sense – those that want to rape can get it out of their system with porn: “Today, many claim that porn does not cause rape and sexual violence but actually prevents them…Todd D. Kendall, economics professor at Clemson University, argues, ‘Potential rapists perceive pornography as a substitute for rape’…The advent of the World Wide Web has brought pornography to the masses in unprecedented ways, making porn more accessible, affordable, and anonymous…Since internet access has spread, rape rates, Kendall claims, have declined, but other crimes have not…Anthony D’Amato, Leighton professor of law at Northwestern University, agrees: ‘The sharp rise in access to pornography accounts for the decline in rape. The correlation is inverse: the more pornography, the less rape.’…D’Amato further makes this unqualified claim: ‘No scientist had ever found that pornography raised the probability of rape.’…For some, this makes intuitive sense. If you are the kind of man who wants to rape a woman, perhaps sitting at home and masturbating to porn more or less gets it out of your system.” (pg. 107)
    • While many men consume porn and don’t commit violent sex crimes--making the claim that porn use will make men commit sex crimes false--there is good reason to be skeptical of the claim that porn prevents sexual violence: “It should be made clear at the outset: the argument that porn causes all men to commit violent sex crimes is clearly false, and no serious critic of pornography would make such a claim. More men consume porn now than ever before, and yet most porn-watching men would shudder at the thought of violently raping a woman. Pornography is not a sufficient or necessary condition for rape…There are, however, several reasons why we should be skeptical of the idea that porn actually prevents sexual violence…First, a supposed decline in rape can also be correlated to other factors, such as more education about rape and sexual violence or greater measures of protection for women—none of which are reasons explored by these studies…Second, claims that rape prevalence is in rapid decline, as reported by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), are based on poor data collection.” (pgs. 107-108)
    • The connection between porn and sexual violence – it shapes a male-dominant view of sexuality, breaks down victims barriers to unwanted sex, blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and provides a training guide to those who want to abuse: “So what is the connection between porn and sexual violence?...pornography can: (1) be an important factor in shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality; (2) be used to initiate victims and break down their resistance to unwanted sexual activity; (3) contribute to a user’s difficulty in separating sexual fantasy from reality; and (4) provide a training manual for abusers.” (pgs. 109-110)
    • Many men take sexual cues from pornography, and those who use it are far more likely to be rapists and sexual aggressors than those who do not: “We know that men take sexual cues from pornography because they indicate as much from surveys. One report found that 53 percent of the men said that porn had ‘inspired’ them. Another study found that men who regularly use pornography, compared with men who don’t, are disproportionately more likely to be involved in date rape and other forms of sexual aggression.” (pg. 110)
    • Should our expectations for men be so low that we place the bar at rape or sexual violence?: “Should we congratulate a man who says, ‘Well, I’ve never raped anybody’? Is this the essence of mature manhood—not raping women? Even if a porn consumer never commits an act of overt sexual violence against a woman—and many do not—he is at the very least hurting himself as he sits alone at home getting off to degrading fantasies in which women are objectified at best and violently violated at worst.” (pg. 111)
    • Various studies show that pornography and rape-myth acceptance go hand in hand: “Rape myths are pervasive beliefs that reduce one’s overall empathy for rape victims or even lead one to blame victims for their assault. Here are some examples:
    1. ‘She didn’t fight it, so it wasn’t rape.’
    2. ‘She went home with him, so it wasn’t rape.’
    3. ‘She said no but really meant yes.’
    4. ‘Did you see what she was wearing? She was asking for it.’
    Many studies show that pornography and rape-myth acceptance go hand in hand. In a meta-analysis of forty-six studies published from 1962 to 1995, researchers concluded that consuming pornographic material correlates to a 31 percent increase in the risk of accepting rape myths. Other studies have made similar conclusions.” (pgs. 111-112)​
    • The most consumed, top-selling porn consists primarily of aggressive or violent sexual acts: “In 2007, researchers analyzed the top-selling pornographic DVDs, viewing 304 sex scenes in total. Here is what they found:
    1. Taken together, the scenes contained 3,376 acts of verbal or physical aggression—that’s an act of aggression every minute and a half, on average.
    2. About 88 percent of scenes contained at least one act of physical aggression, such as slapping, gagging, hair pulling, or spanking
    3. Verbal aggression was present in about half (48.7 percent) of the scenes
    4. In 73 percent of instances of aggression, men were the aggressors; when women were the aggressors, most of the time they were being aggressive to another woman.
    5. In 95 percent of the scenes, the person receiving the aggression reacted neutrally or positively to it.
    6. Positive or healthy sexual acts, such as kissing or compliments, were found in only 10 percent of scenes.
    Keep in mind: this is from the top-selling pornographic content. This is what makes pornographers money; this is the material that the fans demand and that is proliferated online for millions to consume.”(pgs. 113-114)​
    • Different studies and interviews with prostitutes show that many johns get their sexual education, reference points, and inspiration from pornography: “When hundreds of prostituted women from nine countries were interviewed, 47 percent of the respondents said they were upset by johns’ attempts to make them do what the johns had previously seen in pornography. Another study found that 86 percent of prostitutes say that johns show them pornography in order to illustrate specific acts they want them to perform. Another study found that men who buy sex are far more likely to say they get their sexual education from pornography. The study reports that over time, as a result of their prostitution and pornography use, sex buyers’ sexual preferences change: they begin to seek more and more sadomasochistic sex. For the millions of men willing to pay for the services of women coerced or forced into prostitution, pornography is their training ground.” (pgs. 115-116)
    • For a man to violate a woman’s body, some part of him must see her as more of an object than a person, and porn is a powerful means of developing this belief: “Whatever we might say about the exact relationship of porn to sexual violence, it should be clear that in order for men to violate a woman’s body, some part of them must first believe she is an object to be used rather than a person to be respected—and porn is quite possibly the most powerful means of delivering that belief.” (pg. 116)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  16. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    15. Porn isn’t addictive. (pg. 117)
    • Some doubt that porn can be addictive; they claim it is just pathologizing high libido or socially unacceptable sexual behavior, or a dissonance between wanting and not wanting to change one’s sexual behavior: “The concept of ‘sex addiction’ has been around for a long time…Many, however, doubt that sex or porn can truly be addictive. Sexual pleasure is, after all, as natural as the day is long. Sex is not something we inject into our veins or snort up our noses. People may use sex in unhealthy ways, but sex addition, they claim, is a total fiction…Dr. David J. Ley believes that sex addiction is an imaginary disorder…What many call sex addition, he says, is just being human. Human beings enjoy sex, some of us enjoy taboo sex, and, when horny, all of us can make stupid choices. Sex addiction, he says, is just pathologizing high libido and socially unacceptable sexual behavior…Psychotherapist and certified sex therapist Dr. Marty Klein agrees:… ‘New Patients tell me all the time how they can’t keep from doing self-destructive sexual things; still, I see no sex addiction. Instead, I see people regretting the sexual choices they make, often denying that these are decisions. I see people wanting to change, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel alive or young or loved or adequate; wanting the advantages of changing, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel they’re better or sexier or naughtier than other people. Most importantly, I see people wanting to stop doing what makes them feel powerful, attractive, or loved, but since they don’t want to stop feeling powerful, attractive, or loved, they can’t seem to stop the repetitive sex clumsily designed to create those feelings.’” (pgs. 117-118)
    • The APA does not recognize sex addiction as a diagnosis: “For seven years the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) included ‘sexual addiction’ under the general diagnosis ‘Sexual Disorder Not Otherwise Specified’, but it was removed later because of ‘insufficient research’. Since its removal…[it] has not recognized sex addiction as a diagnosis.” (pg. 119)
    • Some people do inaccurately label their behavior as sex addiction, and others do have unhealthy sexual habits that originate elsewhere: “It is true that not every person who cheats on a spouse should use the label ‘sex addict’ as an excuse—what is often labeled an addiction is just another person’s selfishness. It is also correct that there are often other underlying issues that drive someone’s unhealthy sexual habits.” (pg. 119)
    • One problem with sex-can’t-be-addictive arguments is the incorrect assumption that behaviors can’t be addictive; another is the misunderstanding that arguments claiming sex is addictive are about orgasms: “Writing off the idea that sex can be addictive, however, simply doesn’t line up with modern addiction medicine. Dr. Robert Weiss comments about Dr. Ley’s theories: ‘Dr. Ley seems to be of the opinion that since sex does not introduce a foreign substance into the human body, it can’t be an addiction. Yet gambling is commonly recognized as an addiction, one that is listed in the DSM (as pathological gambling), and no foreign substance is introduced there. Gambling addiction, like sex addiction, is all about fantasy, euphoria, and emotional escape…Dr. Ley is equally misinformed about the nature of sex addiction. (In fact, he seems to not understand the nature of addiction in general). He states: ‘There’s no evidence of a tolerance effect with sex. An orgasm never stops feeling good.’ What Dr. Ley fails to understand is that sex addiction is not about orgasm per se, much like gambling addiction is not about winning or losing.’” (pg. 119)
    • Porn hijacks the brain by making it think it is getting sex, using our neurochemistry to make us addicted over time: “Neuroscientist Dr. William Struthers says that pornography ‘hijacks’ the brain in the same way: it tricks the brain into thinking it is getting sex—and like a drug, the forced high can become a deadly habit. In other words, pornography can make us addicted to our own neurochemistry. Pornography triggers powerful neurotransmitters such as epinephrine—also known as adrenaline—dopamine, and others, so that when pornography is used compulsively, it becomes addictive. In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) modified its definition of addiction, saying that it is a ‘primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry’. This new definition now includes, for the first time, behavioral addictions—not merely substance abuse. This is why the ASAM now considers sex addition a possibility: though sex is naturally neurologically rewarding, someone addicted to sex is engaged in the ‘pathological pursuit of rewards’.” (pg. 120-121)
    • Dopamine and its reward system are heavily involved in addictions to habit-forming drugs and natural reinforcers; when the system is overused, it is downgraded, creating a new normal where the addict must act out just to feel normal: “Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter (brain drug) involved in the reward pathways in the brain. Dopamine is involved in our cravings for food, exercise, and sex…According to Neurosurgeon Dr. Donald L. Hilton: ‘Dopamine is essential for humans to desire and value appropriate pleasure in life. Without it, we would not be as incentivized to eat, procreate, or even to win a game…It’s the overuse of the dopamine reward system that causes addiction. When the pathways are used compulsively, a downgrading occurs that actually decreases the amount of dopamine in the pleasure areas available for use, and the dopamine cells themselves start to atrophy or shrink. The reward cells in the nucleus accumbens are now starved for dopamine and exist in a state of dopamine craving, as a downgrading of dopamine receptors on the pleasure cells occurs as well. This resetting of the ‘pleasure thermostat’ produces a ‘new normal.’ In this addictive state, the person must act out in addiction to boost the dopamine to levels sufficient just to feel normal.’…What does this mean? It means that just like a drug addiction, porn addiction causes a person over time to use the substance more and more. The porn addict needs to watch more porn or more hard-core porn to get the same high he could get with smaller doses…Dr. Eric Nestler, head of neuroscience research at Mount Cedar Sinai in New York, agrees. In his 2005 paper for the journal Nature Neuroscience, he said that the dopamine reward system is involved in not only drug addiction but also ‘natural addiction’—that is, the compulsive consumption of a natural reward, such as the pleasure of eating food or having sex.” (pgs. 121-122)
    • Internet overuse (including porn use) has multiple detrimental impacts on the brain: “Added to all of this is one of the biggest components of modern porn addiction: the Internet. To date, there have been well over a hundred studies showing the impact of overuse of the Internet on the brain. Internet overuse has been shown to impair cognitive function, decision-making, information integration, working memory, and impulse control.” (pg. 122)
    • Sex/porn addicts exhibit the signs of addiction: “Moreover, sex and porn addicts show all the telltale signs of addiction: tolerance, withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, violent dreams, mania, insomnia, violent mood swings, paranoia, headaches, anxiety, and depression), desensitization, and repeated failed attempts to quit, despite the negative consequences of their behavior.” (pg. 122)
     
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  17. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    16. Erotica is a healthy alternative to hard-core porn. (pg. 123)
    • Traditionally, erotica meant tasteful sexually explicit material that may cause sexual arousal but is meant to elevate sexuality to something fascinating and beautiful; but nowadays, it’s somewhat akin to softcore porn: “Erotica has been around for thousands of years…the term is used to describe sexually explicit material—whether in painting, photography, sculpture, or literature—that is perceived to be tasteful. This form of art, while it can result in the sexual arousal of the viewer, is ultimately defined by a desire to elevate sexuality to something captivating and beautiful…Today, when the average person mentions erotica, he is not talking about Michelangelo’s David. More than likely, he is talking about a mild form of pornography. It’s not hard-core, because it doesn’t blatantly show certain aspects of sexuality, and it may involve an element of intellect and romance. The line between erotica and pornography, especially soft-core, is often blurred, and the two overlap.” (pg. 124)
    • Soft-core porn, unlike hard-core, does not usually show genitalia, but depending on who is consuming the content, the definitions may vary: “…the line between soft-core and hard-core pornography is also undefined. Soft-core…consists of film and photographed images. Unlike hard-core…[it] does not generally show genitalia…Still, ‘someone who is unused to viewing pornography may view some soft-core works as hard-core. An individual who regularly consumes porn may feel some porn in the hard-core category is actually soft-core.” (pgs. 124-125)
    • Since erotica usually consists of only words, it’s healthier right? Not necessarily; erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey includes plenty of abusive and aggressive sexual behavior: “Since it predates the Internet and is missing many of the aggressive elements that make up hard-core pornography, it may seem to be a healthier alternative. After all, it is only words, or only pictures. But does that really mean it is a healthier choice?...If we take Fifty Shades of Grey as an example, the answer would be no…Although we might think that words are not as damaging as pictures, it turns out they can be. In a recent study, psychologists found that women who read Fifty Shades of Grey were more likely to accept behaviors found in abusive relationships…the women were 25 percent more likely to have verbally abusive partners. Those tendencies may have existed before they read the book or as a result of reading the book, but either way, the book clearly endorses the beliefs that undergird abusive relationships…A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction in Fifty Shades, including stalking, intimidation, isolation, and the use of alcohol to compromise consent. The main character, Anastasia, experiences the typical reactions of an abused woman, including nausea induced by the sense of menace she experiences in her sexual encounters.” (pgs. 125-126)
     
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  18. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    17. Anime porn is great because it doesn’t involve real people. (pg. 128)
    • Hentai has become a popular genre of pornography among younger generations: “‘Hentai’ is the Western label given to anime pornography…Over the last generation, hentai has become some of the most popular pornography in the world. In fact, according to one of the most trafficked porn websites, cartoon porn is currently among the most-searched-for niches of porn on devices such as Android tablets, Windows phones, BlackBerry phones, and the Nintendo Wii.” (pgs. 128-129)
    • Some label hentai as art or ethical porn because of its lack of real actors and the talent required to create it, but its aim to arouse and bring people to orgasm is quite clear: it objectifies and degrades women as mere sources of pleasure for men, is marketed in ways similar to porn, its characters and scenarios are completely malleable (and legal) so its messaging is even worse than normal porn: “It might be easy to justify the consumption of hentai over other kinds of pornography, because hentai’s creators, unlike those of your standard smut, have some obvious artistic ability, and unlike live-action porn, hentai has no real actors (except for voice actors). For these reasons, anime porn is often labeled ‘art’ or ‘ethical porn’…while hentai has some artistic aspects…it is quite transparent in its aim—its creators intend not just to arouse but to bring people to orgasm…Unlike nude art, anime porn is not meant merely to be appreciated. Like live-action porn, hentai is meant to be consumed…Second, anime porn is infused with the same message seen in live-action porn: the degradation and objectification of women for the masturbatory pleasure of men…Like other forms of pornography, hentai draws attention to specific body parts in order to provoke arousal and portray women and girls in vulnerable positions…Third, anime porn is marketed and sold with the same style of messaging as its live-action counterpart…Fourth and most disturbing, there is a sense in which the material consumed is actually worse in its messaging than live-action porn because characters and scenarios are completely malleable…Characters can be portrayed with exaggerated physical attributes and in physically impossible poses. We find in hentai subgenres similar to what is found in live-action illegal pornography…Lolicon, for instance, is a subgenre of hentai featuring prepubescent girls, and shotacon features prepubescent boys…” (pgs. 129-131)
    • Consumers shape their sexual tastes and expectations on fictitious characters for which they feel no compassion, and if they themselves become a producer of content, they assume a position of unlimited sexual power and male dominance: “Moreover, because the films are animated, the consumer need not feel any compassion for a character, because she isn’t real…much as with other forms of pornography, the viewers shape their own sexual tastes, expectations, and fetishes…The effect is so disarming and the medium is so malleable, unlike other forms of pornography, that the user has the potential to become the producer…This brings the consumer even deeper into a position of sexual power—he is the creator of a whole universe of male dominance.” (pgs. 131-132)
     
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  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Porn And Our Relationships (pg. 133)

    18. Porn is only fantasy: it doesn’t affect our real lives. (pg. 135)
    • Does porn consumption influence our behavior? Many studies suggest yes: “Does pornography alter human behavior? Does it really make a difference? Do images actually have that much power over us? The resounding answer, proven by countless studies, is that media does affect how we think and how we behave” (pg. 135)
    • Observational learning and pornography (Norwegian researchers push to teach safe sex through porn): “To understand the full extent of pornography’s power to alter our sexual behavior, we have to understand how the human mind learns. Humans engage in a process called observational learning. We learn to do something by watching it being done…Observational learning can be seen in how pornography use affects the behavior of its viewers. In Norway, a group of researchers has recognized the teaching power of pornography…They believe that average pornography consumers cannot be taught about sex using traditional methods (i.e., a sex education class) and that promoting ‘safe sex’ pornographic films may be an effective way of normalizing safe sex. If educators believe that pornography can teach safe sex, then it is certainly capable of teaching other lessons—including aggression.” (pg. 136)
    • Pornography use and sexual aggression (Malamuth, Addison and Koss); porn use is much more likely to lead to sexual aggression in high-risk men: “Pornography’s ties to sexual aggression have been the subject of many studies…Perhaps the most telling of all these studies is one from 2000 entitled ‘Pornography and Sexual Aggression’ by Malamuth, Addison and Koss…One part of their study focused on the effect of pornography on males who were low-risk for sexual aggression and males who were high-risk. It found that high pornography use is not necessarily indicative of high sexual aggression in the low-risk population. There was little difference between the aggressive tendencies of low-risk men who used porn somewhat frequently and those who used it very frequently, although there was a notable difference between men who had never or seldom viewed pornography and men who viewed it frequently. In the case of men at high risk for sexual aggressiveness, however, there was a relationship between porn and sexual violence. The high-use men in this group ‘were much more likely’ than the low-use men to have engaged in sexual aggression.” (pg. 137)
    • Pornography use and commitment to relationships (Florida State University research); porn use correlates with less commitment: “Viewing pornography can affect not only a man’s sexual aggressiveness but also his commitment to a relationship. Researchers at Florida State University studied college students who admitted to habitual pornography viewing. Half of the students were asked to give up pornography in any form; the other half were asked to give up their favorite food. At the end of the trial, the students were asked about their commitment to their relationships. The correlation might seem strange, but researchers found that the students who reduced or eliminated pornography consumption were much more committed to their relationships than the students who had continued to view pornography while giving up food…What caused the difference? It could have been the lack of pornography’s influence, or it could have been the increased time available to spend with a partner.” (pg. 138)
    • Pornography can affect how men view women (sends the message that being a sex object is the only way to be a woman): “Pornography can also affect how we view sex and members of the opposite sex, particularly how men view women. In a study on the sexualization of women, researchers analyzed covers of Rolling Stone magazine…In 1960, 11 percent…were classified as hypersexualized…since 2000, 61 percent…featured hypersexual images, a majority which were women…The problem with such mainstream images is that they feign to represent women as a whole…Ariel Levy states that picturing women in such a way gives rise to the message that being a sex object is the only way to be a woman. ‘What we once regarded as a kind of sexual expression,’ says Levy, ‘we now view as sexuality.’ In other words, hypersexualization sends the message that ‘real’ women are ready and available for sex.” (pgs. 138-139)
    • Porn use and ED – More young men have ED than in the past, and studies and physicians link this to porn use: “With the increasing availability of pornography has come an increase in the number of cases of sexual performance issues, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), among young men. Problems that were once found mostly in older men are now found in otherwise healthy men in their twenties and thirties…A 2012 Swiss study found that 30 percent of males ages eighteen to twenty-four have some form of ED…a Canadian study published a couple of years later reported that 27 percent of sixteen- to twenty-one-year-olds have this problem. An Italian study reports that young men under forty are actually 10 percent more likely to have ED than men over forty. Compare this with data from 1992, when only 5 percent of guys ages eighteen to fifty-nine had ED…One study from Cambridge University in 2014 asked men with ED about their use of pornography. Researchers reported that 60 percent of the subjects (average age twenty-five) said they had ED problems with sexual partners but not with porn…Lawrence Smiley, a physician…says: ‘I see men almost every day in my sexual dysfunction practice in exactly this situation. They have developed over time, the inability to easily get a good solid erection with their partner and sometimes find it difficult to ejaculate with their partner. I advise these men to dramatically cut out the pornography they watch and after a few months their erections and ability to ejaculate with their partners almost always returns to normal for them.’” (pgs. 139-140)
    • Online porn use is novelty-seeking behavior; how can one woman compete with a virtually infinite harem?: “Online porn viewing is, among other things, novelty-seeking behavior: constantly clicking, greedily keeping multiple tabs open, always looking for the next girl, the next sexual buzz. A real woman—no matter how attractive—is only woman. A man this obsessed will have difficulty finding her arousing.” (pg. 141)
     
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  20. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    19. Married life will cure us of our porn obsessions. (pg. 142)
    • The expectation that married life will remove a porn addiction is a false one; there’s a higher chance it’ll ruin your marriage, as what the addict is pursuing is the rush from moving from one body/scenario to the next and not a flesh-and-blood partner to fulfill them sexually: “Married life no more cures a porn addiction than winning the lottery cures a gambling addiction. A person so trained on the pornographic experience isn’t merely after a good orgasm. He is hooked on the anticipation of what comes next, the rush of moving from one object of desire to the next, one body to the next, always looking to trade the one in front of his eyes for what he hopes will be the ultimate sexual experience…Unless there is deep change, a person hooked on this kind of experience will not be cured by marriage. Instead, the porn obsession just might destroy the marriage.” (pg. 143)
    • Pornography and extramarital sex (it presents extramarital sex as acceptable, but most spouses/partners disagree): “Pornography displays extramarital sex as exciting, and that display can lead the viewer to accept extramarital sex as normal. That poses a problem for those in committed relationships, especially since adultery is cited as one of the leading causes for divorce in America. Pornography makes one feel that extramarital sex, or sex outside of a committed relationship is acceptable. Spouses and partners, however, often disagree.” (pg. 143)
    • In the US, many divorces are due to pornography: “…in America…in 2003, a survey of 350 divorce lawyers revealed that porn use was a factor in more than half of their divorce cases…according to Dr. Kevin Skinner, author of Treating Porn Addiction: Essential Tools for Recovery, ‘If even 25% of the 500,000 divorce cases are due to porn, that is 125,000 divorces each and every year that are a direct result of pornography.’” (pg. 143)
    • Pornography habits’ impact on sexual relationships (different sexual behavior or decreased intimacy): “Pornography habits can be carried into a relationship by either a man or woman, or both. For men, it seems to result in increasingly deviant sexual behavior…For women, however, it seems to result in decreasing emotional intimacy.” (pg. 144-145)
    • Porn addicts opt for the instant relief or porn over the difficulties that come from maintaining a relationship which often can’t meet unrealistic expectations: “The unrealistic expectations that are fed by porn are what carry over into and destroy relationships, because no person can live up to the on-demand, anything-goes sex depicted in movies. When faced with the inevitable difficulties of establishing and maintaining a human relationship, it is much easier for a porn addict to opt for the instant relief of virtual sex.” (pg. 146)
     
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