Pornography. Escapist fantasies? A bit of harmless fun? Sexually liberating? Plain old wrong? Whatever your view, because let’s not pretend you don’t have one, porn is here and it’s here in a big way.
Porn has moved off of the top shelf and is in our homes. You may think this sounds a little like something Mary Whitehouse would storm the BBC saying, but none-the-less, it would be hard to deny that it’s true. Pornography has crept onto mainstream television. Films like 9 songs have brought it back into the cinema and with magazines like Nuts and Loaded it is still firmly in the newsagents.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think in the main, pornography is ok. Well, at least in the sense that I don’t see anything inherently wrong with a consenting adult(s) watching another set of consenting adults having sex for the purpose of sexual gratification, or just for a laugh. In fact, one could argue that pornography has done some good. I think on the whole people today (certainly those of my generation - the ’20 something’s’) are more open and confident about their sexuality and sexual practice. They are more aware, and have better sex as a result. I’m not sure many people would argue that we should return to the sexually repressed age of doctors inducing orgasms for stressed women… although, judging by some porn titles, apparently some people do.
But here is my ponder, when did this happen? When did porn become ‘OK’ and do we really think that it is actually all ok? Gone are the days of having to travel to a seedy shop in Soho and leave with a paper bag. Now pornography is well and truly out in the open. People talk about porn, people buy it openly, hell your nan’s probably seen it.
I am opting to avoid any huge social commentary, because there are more able and eloquent people amongst us who can do a better job, but seriously, when did this happen? And whilst we’re at it, by having this ever more open view of pornography have we opened the door to something seedier, that by default we all now have to accept? Gone are the days of having to hide porn away, but gone too are the days of Shannon Tweed politely bobbing up and down on some mullet-wearing man in time to Santana-esque electric guitar, and in are the days of “gagging”, “puking” “abuse of drunks” and the now infamous ‘two girls one cup”. By opening the way for porn in its most general sense, did we also inadvertently invite these more extreme forms into the open? Did we legitimise them?
I stated by saying that I don’t have any real issue with pornography in the abstract sense, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea that this means I then have to also accept it in its extreme forms. Sex should be fun, it should be pleasurable, and so too then by extension should pornography. So why then is it now nasty? Something happened in society to make pornography acceptable, but what on earth happened to make this new form ok? My original reason for writing this piece was a conversation I had with a friend. Although never explicitly stated it was clear than in our time we had both watched porn and by the sounds of it enjoyed it. What concerned us was not people watching porn in the abstract, but rather what it purported to tell or show us about socially acceptable norms of sexual behaviour. The subsequent risk then of course is the impact that extreme but recently legitimised forms of pornography could have on young, sexually naïve minds.
And there folks is the heart of my ponder, when did it become ‘ok’ and where do we draw the line of ‘ok-ness’? This musing is full of questions, perhaps then it is fitting to take you back to the title: pornography?
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