I write this article to discourage the normalization of pornography that society, media and supposed experts continue to promote in our day both at SRU and worldwide. The Rocket article published several weeks ago confirms my personal observation of the normalization of pornography and its attempts to establish an accepted portrayal of sexuality that is fake, destructive and very often cruel and demeaning. This article labels so-called “mainstream porn” and “straight porn” as the primary culprit for sexual violence and “depictions of what constitutes sex”. The main contributor to the comments in the article refers to “mainstream straight porn” but is refusing to recognize the fact that gay porn is still porn. My purpose in writing is to show that pornography, whether gay or straight, distorts the purpose and meaningfulness of sexual intimacy, fuels illegal sexual exploitation and creates patterns of behavior that degrade progress in society that both straight and LGBT peoples want to see. These things show that porn itself is not an effective educational tool and that the more gay and straight porn are normalized, the worse problems related to sex will become.
Porn distorts the meaning and purpose of sexual intimacy by portraying sex unrealistically. That is, it portrays sex as a vehicle for personal gratification at the expense of or in tandem with another human being. Pornography unrealistically makes sex a marathon of pleasure and stamina that does not occur in real life relationships. Though one of the purposes of sex is indeed pleasure, that is not all it is. Successful relationships of any kind must be based upon connection. Sex displayed in pornography is void of connection and presents a lie to the viewer because the people on the screen are paid to act like what is happening is real and what they want. Porn focuses completely on what is on the surface and not on who the people we want to connect to really are.
Porn fuels sexual exploitation throughout the world. In The Rocket article were words of encouragement for women to “start directing, producing and writing porn… in order to break mainstream porn”. To the contrary, one of the most well known names in female directed and focused lesbian porn, Madison Young, openly promotes, acts in, directs films and educates about BDSM (Bondage, Dominance and Submission, Sadomasochism—Pain and Humiliation). The promotion of this approach continues to portray real love and sex as being degrading, humiliating, and permitting the dominance of one over another in sexual acts and attitudes contributes to the ever increasing frequency of sexual abuse and violence that takes place among straight as well as gay couples. The type of “education” about sex that Madison Young promotes has frequently been the focus of a “Sex Week” that many Universities are now hosting across the United States. This is a week focused upon spreading ideas of dominance and aggression as well as extreme sexual topics in order to “educate” students on “what is possible.” The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has singled out Sex Week as one of the “Dirty Dozen” main contributors to sexual exploitation in the world.
Exposing the effects of Pornography from merely a sexual perspective is just barely scratching the surface of the effect that pornography has on its “stars” and viewers. I have a dear friend who participated in the filming of gay porn for a period of time. Some of my friends statements can give us the real perspective on the effect of porn, whether “mainstream” or not. My friend told me that porn is an industry. Porn is a business. And my friend continued, “business is not love…Porn is a quick and easy way to seek validation and feel a connection. It fills a hole in people… and there is a lasting effect that caused me to lose sight of actual goals and connection”. My friend continued by saying, “Porn is a psychological way to satisfy a need or anxiety, and it won’t lead to anything substantial…it gets in the way of what we really need.” Despite what popular culture continues to promote in pornography, I will always stand behind my opinion that what we really need is real connection to real people that are free of the trickery and demands industry, false and inaccurate dramatization and lies. Of course sex education will continue to worsen when each and every generation becomes more and more exposed to pornography! If we want ourselves, our children (or others children, if one is of a different sexual orientation,) and our children’s children to be free of sexual baggage fueled by the demands of money and greed, we must begin to teach in every home the value of real sexual relationships.