Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pornography Part 1.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and knew I’d have to post it on my blog as the more out there publications for which I write would not be interested in it.

I write from a range of personal reflections, personal observations, lovers who enjoyed it and from hearing the thoughts of women who had to participate in pornographic productions.

The dictionary definition of pornography is above and here is one of the definitions of obscene:

ob·scene (ŏb-sēn', əb-)
1. Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty.
2. Inciting lustful feelings; lewd.
3. Repulsive; disgusting: "The way he writes about the disease that killed her is simply obscene" (Michael Korda).
4. So large in amount as to be objectionable or outrageous: "local merchants in nearby stores get hammered by stratospheric rents and obscene taxes" (Joe Queenan).

I find that the words pornography and obscenity are not limited to sexuality only but can be applied to other horrific acts and places (the obscenity of the incarcerations in Gitmo, the pornography of the Holocaust or the Irish Famine, for example).Because it is all about abasement and debasement, isn’t it.

Let me say at the outset I am no prude, I have watched pornographic films and though I would like to say I was completely revolted and repelled by what I saw that would not be the truth. I was stimulated, but not in a pleasant way, not in any way that would be akin to being in the arms of a loved partner. It was more in a shameful way; there was a primitive urgency to it, a desire that had nothing to do with another but with my own selfish satisfaction. I felt debased as a sentient human being.

About four years ago, I had a two-year relationship with a man who was very handsome, very Irish. He had more marriages and relationships under his belt than I could count.

I had decided earlier on that I would not be with him in the carnal sense. He had slept with some of my friends and bragged openly at a party he was like Georges Simenon, the author, he had lost track of the women he had bedded. I was turned off rather than turned on by this and told him so and he accepted this.

So through these two years, we shared our writings and he divulged some highly personal details about himself. He would often cook for me and I for him and we would have long walks and talks and read to each other.

He told me he was addicted to pornography, something of which he had never spoken to anyone in his life before. This man could have any live woman he wanted but he viewed pornography twice a week. Porn where women were chained and debased, where women were silent and forced to look as if they were enjoying themselves.

It had started when his older sister would tease him by lifting her skirts and showing him her underwear when he was twelve. He would head for the stash of his older brother’s Playboy magazines hidden under the mattress and masturbate to the images. Much like many pubescent boys I would imagine. With him, though, the image of his sister combined with the magazine created a fetish. If he was seeing someone he was having intercourse with, he would always buy her underwear (she’d be charmed, of course) and he would gradually ask her to pose in the manner in which his sister had in order to maximize the intensity of his experience.

I asked him the obvious.

“Is it your sister you’re making love to then?”

He looked at me shamefaced, defiant.

“Of course”.

And the penny dropped with me. He was never ‘with’ any woman he had married or partnered. In the most intimate of moments, he was with the pornographic image of his teenage sister. A now sixty-year old woman. Of course, he had never experienced the actuality of it. So he was in complete fantasy. He was incapable of seeing, hearing, feeling, communicating, sharing with anyone. Or of being in sexual reality.

When we decided not to see each other in the dating sense anymore, we were having dinner in one of our favourite restaurants. As I hadn’t slept with him, I didn’t have the usual emotional/sensual/intimate withdrawal most women suffer under such circumstances. He had met someone that had triggered his libido and wanted to see her intimately (that lasted two months until he was on to the next). He took my hands across the table (we had rarely touched physically) and said to me with tears in his eyes:

“I’ve never been more intimate with a woman than I have with you”.

I was a little surprised but I believed him, he had never bared his soul to anyone as he had with me. He recognized it but he was incapable of moving beyond the entrapment of the pornographization of any woman he slept with.

And this is what porn does, it removes the reality of the sexual experience, it demeans both the protagonist and the victim, the watcher and the participant. It becomes a meaningless act when it should be the highest of human experiences. And he is just one example.

And further field studies in Part 2.


  1. Well, surprising as it may seem, you have more experience of pornography than me. I've never used porn and never bought a porn mag so I don't see the appeal. It certainly seems to encourage sexual fantasies that alienate you from the sexual reality of a relationship, but then again it might enhance that sexual reality by increasing a flagging libido and making you more responsive. Depends how you use it, I suppose, like a lot of things.

  2. Terrific post - so much of the complex argument for and against pornography is put in abstract terms, this shows how much it damages real people, including the men who use it. You've raised another interesting issue too - the viability of relationships between men and women that don't involve sex. I will think about both!

  3. Nick~
    I still believe that it removes one from the person/reality/moment of the intimacy but that could be very female of me. Perhaps some males are in reality even though they need to view porn to excite them into performance with their partner.
    I think writing from the personal is where it's at for me, especially with the devastating consequences of porn. (And I must admit that it was very, very difficult on a few occasions to stick to my guns with this particular fellow!!). But I did learn so much and I like to believe, so did he. He still writes to me (in Irish, via email).

  4. Hi

    Just found your blog. found this a very interesting comment.


  5. Hello there, I once read an article about how damaging pornography for women via its effect on men. For instance, women in porn almost always have the perfect anatomy, so the men who watched porn, looked at pornographics images of women are ultimately in search of the same look they were turned on watching, looking in the women they are with. Some women go as far as altering the lips, the shape of their sexual organs on the outside, to be able to compete with porn in their partner's computers. I have just read Part I, I will read II and III now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this.


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