“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.” — Naomi Wolf
Yikes. Porn is a sticky issue for many feminists and sex-positives—no pun intended. Wolf’s quote derives from an article she wrote for New York Magazine called The Porn Myth, based on her research and discussions with college students, and I find her overall insight spot on. While I don’t believe all women are compared to pornographic images by partners or themselves (at least not consciously), countless are—particularly if they or their partners routinely partake. Based on recent statistics, MANY are, and at a cost.
Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography and 28,2258 people are viewing porn online, including children, and porn addiction is on the continual rise. — Family Safe Media
Would this be the case if as a culture, we celebrated and respected our bodies and sexuality rather than exploiting both? I personally believe the numbers above would be significantly lower, as would the negative repercussions of porn use, and we’d all benefit tremendously from the shift.
I have no problem with the explicit nature of pornography or the celebration of sexuality as a profitable business. We’re visual creatures, after all, and enticing our Girl Boners with sensual eye sweets is a groovy thing! Much like Wolf, however, I do take issue with other aspects of the industry. Today I’ve decided to whip out my trusty magic wand and share some wishes. (Hey—a girl can dream!)
4 Things I Wish Would Change About Porn
1. It depicted a broad range of body types and ages. The typical porn star is young, tan and, by society’s standards, flawless. Females are lithe yet toned and large-breasted, a combination that seldom occurs in nature, and males have been known to rely on steroids and cosmetic surgery to create that “perfectly” chiseled, large penis-ed physique. Whether we realize it consciously or not, this sends the very real and strong message that to be sexually attractive, we must look like those folks and pointing out supposed flaws that are actually just beautiful, authentic aspects of our appearance.
What would result: Women and men feel and appear more beautiful and embraceable, which leads to happier, more gratifying lives and relationships.
2. It featured a broad range of realistic sexual activities. There’s a place for just about everything when it comes to sexy play, as long as we’re not harming anyone. “Rough sex,” for example, provides some women a healthy way to explore the common fantasy of being dominated by a man, says Laura Berman, Ph.D, and can even help survivors of sexual abuse heal by allowing them to play out such fantasies in a safe, controlled environment. But setting outrageous standards for what sexiness is, such as females routinely ejaculating and climaxing through penetration alone, both of which only happen for a very small minority of women, can make normal sex less enjoyable for just about anyone, given enough exposure.
What would result: Porn fanatics would have more fulfilling sex lives and relationships, gain more pleasure from realistic, “normal” sex and have a lower risk of porn addiction (which is now affecting boys and girls as young as age 8—so sad and scary!). There’d also be a smaller epidemic of erectile dysfunction, which is growing continually more common among male porn users.
3. It was gender-balanced. While it’s changing somewhat with the rise of feminist porn, pornography is still largely male-focused, even though about 30% of porn users are female. This imbalance perpetuates the myths that men are more sexual and visual than women and leads to greater objectification of women and the mistaken belief that such objectification is natural and okay.
What would result: Pornography would become more about mutual sexual gratification and connectedness than merely women pleasing men, and women would gain worthy respect.
4. It hadn’t become our culture’s sex education. If this sounds extreme, that’s because it is—but it’s also true. As countless sexuality experts will attest, children should be learning about sexuality in schools from kindergarten up, yet most are taught nothing until puberty. By this time, research shows that nearly all boys and 2/3 of girls have been exposed to porn online. When kids aren’t taught about their bodies and sexuality from trusted adults, they quell their curiosities elsewhere, and the internet is far too ready and willing to mislead them onto an unhealthy track. While limiting kids’ access to porn can help, it’ll only go so far without fuller, healthier sex education. And adults want to learn, too! We all deserve plentiful, healthy resources.
What would result: Kids would grow up respecting their bodies and sexuality and better able to cultivate healthy, happy relationships with others and themselves as adults. I can’t think of a better outcome than that.
A little food for thought:
Sex is SEXY! So is kissing, fondling and seeing realistic adults in the nude. Like many women, I can get deeply turned on by the mere thought of sex and much subtler sexuality depictions than typical porn. I’d never want to sacrifice that by growing dependent on pornography, which is HIGHLY addictive (as is my personality, which is another reason I steer clear). While porn may fit well within healthy relationships in some cases, research shows that even folks who think that routine porn use isn’t negatively affecting their relationships or views about sexuality and aesthetics, are often wrong. You know what isn’t damaging? Cultivating healthier attitudes about sexuality and doing away with taboos.
Porn is a lot like fast food. If we load up on intentionally addictive, unhealthy food-like-substances in super-size portions, we lose taste for what are bodies thrive on: natural, healthy foods. The more we eat, the more our physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual wellness suffer. Porn functions the same way. The more we rely on it, the less likely we become to delight in happy, healthy relationships in which we cherish and care for our bodies, desires and partners with as much respect and pleasure as we all deserve. Life is too precious for that, in my opinion, and so are our Girl Boners! ♥
How do you feel about porn? Do you wish it would change in any of the ways I mentioned? Any items to add to my list? I love hearing from you!
Hungry for more??? Today on Girl Boner Radio, I’ll be interviewing Belle Knox, aka “Duke’s porn star,” another woman who wants to change elements of the porn industry and the way we as a society view female sexuality. If you subscribe via iTunes, you won’t miss a beat! ♥