Obscenity on Trial

Some of you may have noticed that a trial took place this week in London. The case involved the selling of DVDs showing a particular sexual practice which is perfectly legal to perform between two consenting adults, but some might find, to put it mildly, not to their taste. The producer of the DVD was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act by the Crown Prosecution Service, but the jury found the defendant not guilty. Here’s the BBC’s report.

Michael Peacock, 53, was charged with six counts under the Obscene Publications Act after an undercover police officer bought DVDs from him. The films, which he had advertised for sale online, featured hardcore gay sex acts. Mr Peacock’s lawyer claimed the unanimous verdict might make police reluctant to prosecute in future. Mr Peacock, of Finsbury Park, north London, whom his lawyer described as a well-known member of the gay community, was charged after police sent an undercover officer to his house in January 2009 to buy the DVDs. Nigel Richardson, a lawyer with defence solicitors Hodge Jones and Allen, told the BBC: “Police were looking very closely at this case.” The jury had to decide if the DVDs would deprave and corrupt any person likely to read, see or hear it. Mr Richardson said that the jury decided the people likely to see the films were “gay men specifically asking for this type of material.” He added: “The whole idea of something being depraved or corrupt is out-dated.” The jury of men and women watched “large amounts [of the films over] several hours” during the trial, which began on Tuesday. “Although they were quite shocked initially, they started to look quite bored very quickly,” Mr Richardson said.

Now, the response on the web during the trial (and afterwards) was mainly libertarian and took the form of, “If an act is legal to perform in private, why should it be illegal to film it and to sell it to adults?” The lawyer Myles Jackman, who is part of the firm that defended Mr Peacock, wrote the following for the Guardian.

While some of the sexual acts depicted in the DVDs are legal to perform, the representation of them is potentially criminalised under the OPA. The Act features the contentious and ambiguous deprave and corrupt test, whereby an article (for example a DVD) is obscene if it tends to deprave and corrupt the reader, viewer or listener. As the recorder, James Dingemans QC, emphasised in his summing up, it was a matter for the jury to decide whether the acts depicted were obscene if they “deprave and corrupt” the viewer. He also emphasised that: “in a civilised society, lines must be drawn”. However, the OPA has become an anachronism in the internet age. While previous cases speaks in terms of pornography being covertly accessed by men in “rugby clubs” and at stag parties; now it is readily available to people of all genders, orientations and social classes. Hence this jury’s verdict – in the first contested obscenity trial in the digital age – which seems to suggest “normal” members of the public accept that consensual adult pornography is an unremarkable facet of daily life. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 shifts the burden from the producers and distributors of “extreme pornography” to the viewers who merely have such images in their possession. Furthermore, the House of Lords’ judgment in R v Brown [1992] that individuals cannot consent to sexual assault which is greater than transient and trifling (essentially the drawing of blood) remains effective law. … While the OPA still stands as law, the state is still capable of acting as a voyeur in the bedroom by maintaining the notion that the depiction of consensual adult sexual acts can be criminalised. Following the verdict, the branch within the Met responsible for investigating obscene publications pledged to meet with the CPS and the British Board of Film Classification to review current guidelines on obscenity. I urge legislators and the Law Commission to reconsider the law surrounding consent to sexual assault.

Now, the two questions for us to consider are the fundamental one which the trial was about – not only does pornography deprave and corrupt, but also should the State interfere in people’s private lives and make moral judgements about what they should and shouldn’t be able to do? The notion that since someone can perform a particular sexual act in private that they should be allowed to view such an act presupposes that just because something is legal it is therefore not immoral. This is a presumption that has no basis in law, for the law permits people to do any number of sexual things but in doing so it does not make a specific judgement as to whether those things are moral or not. Rather, the law in this regard is framed in a libertarian manner, that permits people to perform more or immoral acts and does not necessarily proscribe immoral actions. Indeed, the question of morality is one that is independent of the question of legality. That of course is not to say that the law does not at times coincide with morality, for example in the case of the law with regards to taking another person’s life, but rather it is to say that “legal” and “moral” are not the same thing.

So if this is true then the notion that just because one may legally perform an act  that therefore makes it acceptable to view a DVD of said act is flawed. The State may take the opinion that an individual is perfectly entitled to undertake a particular activity, but that it will do nothing that allows that particular activity to be promoted. For example, the law since 1961 no longer makes suicide illegal, but promoting suicide is, so that’s why clinics like Switzerland’s Dignitas are not be permitted in this country. Back to the case and our questions. The jury had to decide whether these acts would deprave or corrupt if shown on a DVD, and they decided that the defence’s argument was the most convincing, that those who bought these DVDs were most likely people who knew what the content was and therefore could not reasonably be in danger of being depraved or corrupted by this material.

Of course, that line of thought has two sub-arguments, the first being that such material does not deprave and corrupt in the first place and the second being that it does, but by the very nature of the desire to purchase the DVD the purchasers were already corrupt and depraved and the viewing of the DVD could not in any meaningful sense add to that depravity or corruption. There is a third possibility of course which is that the jury thought that the Obscenity law was an ass and that’s why they rejected the prosecution’s case, but then they weren’t do their job properly if that’s why they passed a not guilty verdict.

Here’s the question for us then – does pornography deprave or corrupt? It is my experience as not only a pastor but also as a sexual man that it undoubtably does, and that any Christian who stops to think about the matter would have to agree. Pornography depraves and corrupts because it makes me think about sexual things which I really shouldn’t. It makes me conceive of sexual relationships that I shouldn’t be involved in and it leaves me recalling images that I’d rather not have to remember. A good friend of mine has a pithy but massively insightful throw-away line when he discusses issues of sex. He says, “In the Bible, sex is marriage”, and broadly I think he is correct. There is no place in Scripture where a sexual act is committed where the couple involved are not either considered to be married by the very nature of the sexual act OR to have committed adultery. Of course, Jesus tells us that adultery is not just a question of what I do but more than that it is what I think and contemplate. To even look at another person and consider engaging in any sexual act with him or her is adultery at heart. That might seem harsh, but if we search our hearts we know that to lust sexually after someone is not good for us spiritually and personally, whether we are married or single.

It is in this light that we see very clearly that pornography depraves and corrupts. For starters, to look at another man or woman and to have sexual desire for him / her is not something that we can then just eliminate from our memory. Like countless others, I can recall pornographic images I have seen in the past even if I haven’t viewed them for years. Visual pornography is like the cork in the champagne bottle – once it is released it is impossible to get back where it came from. In the same way, once we have seen a picture it is a near impossibility to just simply forget that image and move on. Pornography, which is increasingly easier to find on the internet, stays with us and once we have viewed it we can never be the same. One single image depraves and corrupts.

Secondly, pornography gives us an altered view of sex that corrupts a true experience of it. Godly sex is about the union of a man and woman within marriage who give their bodies to each other and learn to delight in each other in an activity that indicates not just the procreation of children but points to the higher union of Christ and his bride. Pornography (and the sexual activity around it) is a sexual environment where that union intended by God does not occur. It is not a true union and the more we engage in it the more we accustom ourselves to a sexual environment that is not healthy or godly. We know through good scientific research that repeated activity of many kinds, including sex, adapts the brain towards it. Pornography corrupts our innocence and repeatedly compounds our depravity. It make us think sex is something which it is not and for many people means that their actual sex lives are affected by it.

Of course, what I’m writing about here isn’t just the kind of material that the trial covered, it’s all porn, even down to the material that you can see in “lads mags”. And that I guess is the reason why the jury came to its conclusions. We see soft porn almost every day in our society – just leave the TV on after 9pm or open a magazine to look at certain adverts if you don’t believe me. The reality is that most of us are already corrupted in our understanding of ourselves and others as sexual beings, and therefore a little more corruption is neither here nor there. It’s no surprise that the jury passed a verdict of not guilty – the “yes / no” designation of corruption is one that most of us have already fallen into the wrong band of, and once we’re there it’s not reasonable in a relativistic society to say that something is less or more immoral than something else.

My sons will grow up in an environment where pornography and sexual imagery is freely available – it will be difficult for them to avoid it by the time they are teenagers given the way that such material is easy to find on the internet. In some sense the horse has bolted from the stable a long time back, and getting upset about the verdict in this particular case is like the Mary Whitehouse brigade frothing at the mouth over the gay sex scenes in Queer as Folk but not batting an eyelid about similar heterosexual scenes in Tiger Bay (a BBC series on at the same time). The problem is much deeper than a few controversial DVDs – it is really our whole society’s orientation to concepts of freedom and liberty of sexual thought and action. But what do you expect from a nation that has turned its back on God and no longer upholds the sanctity of marriage?

What do you think? Is pornography a real problem? Does it corrupt and deprave?

Please note, I have deliberately not referred to the specific sexual acts in the DVD as they are not necessary to document for the purposes of my argument. I’d like to keep the comment thread clean of references to specific sexual activities in order to allow the widest number of people to join in the conversation. Thank you.

Posted in Legal Stuff, Pornography, Secular / Christian, UK News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Cerebusboy

     
    Pornography depraves and corrupts because it makes me think about sexual things which I really shouldn’t. 

     And who’s fault is that? The Christian may regard all forms of extramarital sex as wrong; this is a free society, not a theocracy, and most people in this country very much do not believe that all extramarital sex is sinful.  Does the point on looking lustfully at women (or men!) being sin not rather show that attempts to legally ban all things that (let’s be frank) could lead to men getting aroused are doomed to failure? Morally speaking, if you (or I, or anyone else) seeks out particular dodgy material online then, from a Christian perspective, the culpability is surely on the person who made that particular free-will decision.  You also seem to be taking a broader view of “deprave and corrupt” than is intended in the law.  A judge in a US obscenity case (I think it was of the soft porn publisher who also featured Nabokov and Miller in his tomes, but I could be wrong) made the – whatever else one might think on these issues – logical point that (e.g.) bondage pornography is being sold to people who have a taste for that, so it could hardly be said to be “corrupting” i.e. creating an “abnormal” desire. 

     I also think you’re making overmuch of anectodal (at best) ‘evidence’.  What evidence do *you* have that most  stays with us and once we have viewed it we can never be the same.  Christians can repent of fornication (which is not ‘just’ viewing images on a screen) and have new life so I don’t know if even does Orthodoxy any favours to argue the ‘porn scars all viewers for life’ line, especially when it is hardly objectively true on (e.g.) scientific grounds.

    I’d say that Western Democracies, porn and all, are still superior to theocratic countries that ban porn. It would arguably certainly be preferable if porn didn’t exist, but I think you and your sons should be thankful that they no longer live in a world where the likes of Mailer, Vidal, Ginsberg etc etc are banned in the interests of condemning ‘obscenity’ (and you’ll recall that even the Reagan era porn investigation couldn’t get away from the ‘I know it when I see it’ ‘understanding’ of pornography, suggesting that this always will be a real danger. And, if pop videos or the more graphic elements of Torchwood present similar problems to pornography, does that not rather suggest that the focus on criminalising the latter is something of a red herring?) 

    • What evidence do *you* have that most  stays with us and once we have viewed it we can never be the same.

      That one’s so simple to answer Ryan. Tell us how much pornography you’ve ever looked at and then tell us, honestly, how much of it you can remember. If you can remember just one picture it has stayed with you and changed you.

      • Cerebusboy

         Truthfully? I can recall, perfectly, striking images from non-pornographic films (am fond of Kubrick and Malick) whereas I very much do not have every porno from my unregenerate days burned to memory. 
         Changed how? I suppose that all our memories and experiences change us, but you’re positing pornography as uniquely scarring and harmful. I’d also make the point that, psychologically speaking, one of the potential problems with pornography is, rather than inscribing uniqueness, it reduces genuine unique human beings to a mass of largely interchangeable genitalia. I used to read Nuts and Zoo in an attempt to fit in whilst working manual labour; I can recall a vague image of your stereotypical Nuts or Zoo girl, not particular images or women – which is part of the problem of course!

         And I’d come back to the point that real sex is surely a more visceral and memorable experience than watching pornography; are promiscuous people helped by sexual healing therapies doomed thereafter to suffer from intrusive thoughts of their past excesses? If not, then why is porn any different?

         I’d actually say that the internet tendency of ‘shock clips’ – hardly watched for arousal – is more worrying, but I suppose it could be argued that people are at least shocked by them, whereas the danger of porn lies in its normalisation of intrinsically reductionist and dangerous attitudes. 

        • I don’t think I am positing pornography (and by this I don’t just mean moving images but also stills) as *uniquely* scarring and harmful. There are plenty of other things that do that, but porn is one of them.

          You’re right that real sex is a “more visceral and memorable experience” then porn, but that doesn’t stop porn damaging people and often damaging that true sexual experience that people should wait for.

          • Cerebusboy

             well, if porn is not *uniquely* scarring than is there not a danger of overstating its dangers (from a psychological perspective; am not here talking about its sinfulness)? Jill’s link for example refers to someone who claims (without evidence) that Porn is causing brain damage. As analogy: alcoholism might be sinful in and of itself, but Alcohol Related Brain Damage and cirrhosis of the liver are clearly independently and scientifically verified medical phenomena. I’m not sure that blurring these categories does any good, smacking as it does of the days when (not just the) church tried to convince people that masturbation would lead to hairy palms and blindness. The fact that one can say that masturbation is *both* medically good for you (releasing stress, alleviating BPH etc) *and* objectively sinful surely has implications for all other forms of fallen sexual behaviour.  The other problem is that appearing to cherry pick areas where secular science appears to validate theological conclusions and ignoring areas where it does not (as with masturbation) is clearly not consistent with intellectual honesty. 

    • Tom Jones

      This is a brilliant response. Well said! Materials “likely” to “deprave and corrupt” might be no more than my taste in something you or the Religious moralising activist doesn’t like for herself and doesn’t want me to have. She will use every argument, from the slippery slope to child protection because she thinks she knows what’s good for me better than I do myself.

      • Cerebusboy

         Thanks Tom. A problem with the Jills of this world is that they find the very *idea* of homosexuality – even if as chaste as a kiss – emetic and disgusting, so they have nowhere to go to when it comes to anal and blowjobs, let alone the properly ‘disgusting’ stuff (which the Terrence Higgins Trust is trying to Recruit Our Children! to try, eh Jill?).  The homophobic mindset must be like living one’s life in ALL-CAPS.  On top of which, I personally find cunnilingus (even the very idea) disgusting – but I certainly would not use my subjective emotional reaction as a basis to condemn the act itself as wicked, or unchristian, or perverted.  

  • Cerebusboy

     NB I would say, for the record, that the particular acts in this case are quite as disgusting to me as they are to others. However, given that the conservative presumably finds *all* pornography and erotica – gay or straight – disgusting, I’m not sure how much of a sensible basis for moral arguments such a reaction is.  Peter – your point on Tiger Bay and Queer as Folk is a very good one. 

  • Cerebusboy

     
    lust sexually after someone is not good for us spiritually and personally, whether we are married or single.

     Not to be indelicate, but surely “it is better to marry than burn” suggests that , if lust drives someone to get married, and they only have sex within that marriage, that it’s not necessarily a destructive force? Burning with lust is hardly a state of grace, but nor is it something guys just choose to be in! 

    • But this is exactly Paul’s point. One marries, and one directs one’s sexual desire to one’s spouse and to nowhere else.

      • Cerebusboy

         But sex with one’s spouse is surely intrinsically non-sinful, but, male sexuality being what it is, a guy can hardly vow to never think (consciously or otherwise) of Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson (or both together!) whilst engaged in said sex! Of course the Christian should avoid whipping up sexual desire (although I’d reiterate that attractive women in the congregation can be a turn on too – which doesn’t make said women guilty of anything of course!) , but I’d say that any many who can guarantee that they won’t think of sex in a particular day is deluding themselves.   Surely there’s lots of married guys who are turned on by external images as much as anyone else, but, given that  they have a holy outlet to deal with said desires, don’t gain anything from beating themselves up about spontaneous arousal? 

        • Well it’s non-sinful if it’s non-sinful. Unfortunately rape can occur within marriage.

          And your main point is valid, but that has little to do with porn itself. I think the problem with porn as opposed to attractive women in the congregation is that it is easier to have a “false” sex life with porn.

      • Cerebusboy

         Again, not to be indelicate, but surely one directs one’s sexual *behaviour* (because that is something – generally speaking! – that can be controlled) which is not the same thing as controlling thoughts? A man might have “I will never have sexual thoughts about any woman other than my wife” as an aspiration goal – and I quite agree that it’s a fine one – but, the unconscious being what it is, it’s not quite simply a state that someone can choose to adopt. 

  • Don

    I find it interesting that one must be a conservative to find pornography disgusting.  While this piece has focused on the product, there is the whole discussion of the production and the ‘actors’ involved and how they are degraded and used for the financial gain of the producers (and sellers).  But to stick with the original thread, I have to agree with you Peter that viewing porn does change one for ever.  Try as I might, there are images from my past that I can recall with amazing clarity.  For me it also went beyond the arousal of looking, but had a greatly negative effect on my self-esteem.  In my loneliness, I could imagine being one of the leading figures of the movie and thus be the one being ‘loved’ by others.  The reality that I was NOT that person in real life continued the decline in my self-esteem.  That is corruption, is it not?

    • Yes, that is exactly the corruption I have in mind. One either admits it or denies it, but it is corrupting none the less.

      • Cerebusboy

         I would say that I have experience of Jeffrey Schwartz ‘Four Steps’ technique, used to help combat the obsessive thoughts associated with OCD. So I certainly have no problem with identifying a problem – intrusive thoughts/images – and making attempts to combat it.  Do you think porn images *can* be forgotten in that way? 

        • I think it’s one way – certainly one could use the technique to understand and disable one’s response to sexual imagery, but I find for myself and others that whilst one can forget some images, one is able to recall them if desired. Of course, one *can* move to a position where one no longer desires to recall them OR where one controls one’s desire, but that is different from not desiring them in the first place.

      • Cerebusboy

         More generally, I think some Christian guys could also question why the Church condemns forms of unregenerate sexuality appealing to men (porn, visuals) but not the female kind (toys, erotica). I can’t recall ever hearing Ann Summers condemned in a sermon – indeed, there was much harmless banter when, in an event promoting the “Real Power Behind Christmas” (Jesus Christ), an evangelical church handed out  free batteries outside a Glasgow Ann Summers!

        • I’m currently reading Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” which apparently has a chapter all about this. I’ll let you know…

          I’m quite open to using things to help the sex life of a married couple. Ann Summers has lots of good things going for it.

          • Cerebusboy

             LOL, Mark Driscoll? Am sure the Fred Durst of ‘theology’ has some fabulous insights *rolls eyes* 

             I’ll concede that vibrators can be used within marriage, but surely there’s something objectionable about plastic+batteries penis-replacements (or adjuncts, or whatever)  being deemed acceptable, whereas ‘fake’ sex that appeals to men (i.e. pornography) is not. The alliance between feminism and conservative Christianity on same sexual matters is surely – given that abortion is a logical, not an aberrational, elaboration of the key presuppositions of the former – a tactical misstep for the church. 

            • If you want to comment on Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage”, can you actually read it first?

              • Cerebusboy

                 You raised Driscoll’s book as potentially being of relevance to this thread.  I will certainly appraise and critique whatever points of his you mention on their own merits (as I did with my point about vibrators above) 

              • Cerebusboy

                http://www.dennyburk.com/my-review-of-mark-driscolls-real-marriage/
                 is this review (in terms of what it says Driscoll says) accurate?

                 If so, then it is to LOL.” Among the activities that the authors deem permissible within this taxonomy are masturbation, felatio/cunnilingus, sodomy (on both spouses), menstrual sex, role-playing, sex toys, birth control, cosmetic surgery, cybersex, and sexual medication. The Driscolls are careful to stipulate that these are activities spouses may participate in by mutual agreement, but not that they must participate in (p. 180)”

                ————–

                 I hadn’t realised that the world’s (God help us all) ‘leading’ pop-evangelical leader not only regarded anal sex as ok but, like Dan Savage, has no problem with pegging! I hope those who conflate homosexuality with anal sex note the above. And the line about menstrual sex makes a mockery of those who like to pretend that evangelical Christians uphold the first century Jewish teaching on sexuality (!) which Our Lord apparently reasserted.  Birth Control is bad enough from a traditional (in the strictest sense) Christian perspective but ‘sexual medication’? Surely taking viagra is stimulating lust in a way that makes porn so objectionable? 

                 (and, of course, if the review *is* innacurate – I’m studying for a postgrad law exam currently so please don’t suggest that I drop everything, run out and read Driscoll’s latest masterpiece in a single sitting – then : mea culpa)

                • Tom Jones

                  Hilarious. If the review represents an accurate reading of the book then who do these Driscolls think they are kidding? But seriously, it all goes to show how mistaken it is to try to squeeze out of sacred scripture meanings and intentions for every single activity that humans might be capable of at some future point. Sola Scripture just serves to produce such a reductionist approach to scripture; such a believer appears to be absurdly cherry-picking. If anal sex is allowed but not between two men, then why not. The “because I said so” answer of the bad parent surely won’t do, which is what so many preachers resort to when they have finally run up against the buffers of reason. So what other arguments could we get – a rubber penis is okay but not a living one? – so what if a rubber condom intervenes?

                • Guestess

                  Viagra doesn’t work like that, fyi. It merely makes it possible to “carry through” on desires aroused already (by a spouse, if that’s the context) and personally it’s saved my happily married sex life.  Thank you , Pfizer.

                  • Cerebusboy

                     Does it only get prescribed to smug marrieds? ;-)

                     Dan Savage (him again!) has written about its recreational joys, and the rapper Big Boi was recently caught carrying it and MDMA (a not exactly uncommon cocktail among those looking to get their rocks off). Viagra leads to erections, that can be dealt with (er, so to speak) in many an avenue outwith the marital bed. I think the point about lust stands too. The loss of sexual desire has being characterised as “being unshackled from a lunatic” , and I don’t think you could deny that a number of viagra scripts are aimed at elderly gents looking to recapture their ever-hard youth. 

          • Tom Jones

            Justin Brierley has just posted (14 Jan) on his Unbelievable podcast owned by Premier Christian Radio an extensive interview with Mark and Grace Driscoll on their book Real Marriage.  Brierley had published the full version of it in Christianity Magazine and a short excerpt on Unbelievable in late December. After publication they got a garage of complaints from Driscoll  claiming that the journalist (Justin Brierley) had conducted the interview that was the most disrespectful, adversarial and subjective interview he had received on the book; he also objected that Brierley had practically ignored his wife Grace who was also treated disrespectfully. Now if you know of Justin Brierley the last thing you could ever call him is disrespectful. I often listen to his show and he tries his best to keep the level of debate civilised, so it is interesting to hear the interview itself, to see how quickly Driscoll gets narked when he is even gently challenged. He came over as someone who can dish it out, expects to be listen to, but has a very thin skin when people show even mild surprise let alone disagreement – like the slight gasp from Justin when Driscoll said of his macho version of Jesus that he couldn’t worship a Man whom he could beat up. Towards the end of the interview he turned his fire on Justin and more or less implied he was less of a man because his wife was the pastor in the church he attends and he is the mere house-husband. He also challenged him to declare whether he believed in the conscious eternal punishment of Hell, which is clearly his touchstone for the only kind of god Driscoll could believe in. He doesn’t reckon the British churches (cowards), has no time for men in frocks (which I suppose could help account for the fact that he is a renegade Catholic), and thinks that the true test of a church’s success isn’t the families it attracts but the single macho young men who normally would have no time for religion, though he did contradict himself somewhat when he defended the Mars Hill church as also appealing to “artsy” intellectual and academic men. You can hear the interview here:

            http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={B568EE6E-C425-4285-BCE0-BE1CF6A6DF31}

            • Tom Jones

              garage > barrage

      • Cerebusboy

         Interestingly, the great Norman Mailer once condemned masturbation on similar grounds i.e. the guy who fantasises about a particular girl and masturbates to completion has no idea on what kind of girl he could get in the real world. Porn does indeed offer a kind of fake sex life – although, from a monotheistic perspective, a ‘real’ (non-marital) sex life is just as problematic (ethically speaking), and I could see a secularist arguing that if a guy is *truly* selfish (as opposed to lonely; they’re not the same thing) it’s better he stick to porn instead of having a real life sexual relationships (which involve satisfying the other partner). 

         On top of which I think a Christian – enjoying the liberty of successful celibacy – could say that the ‘war of the sexes’ dating scene (involving a large element of guys putting up with people they cant’ stand because they can’t live without sex) is quite as pathetic, delusional and destructive as porn use.  

    • Cerebusboy

       Don – there are plenty of porn stars who are financially successful, and indeed it’s one of the few fields of employment where women earn more than men! Ultimately, challenging the free will right of certain people to be involved in making porn if they so choose seems to me a far harder argument to sustain than some of Peter’s points above.
       

  • Jill

    A good and thoughtful post, Peter.  We should all be worried about pornography, especially now that is easily available on the Internet.  We are way past the days of the Playboy centrefold.  Porn is an addiction.  It might start off as mere curiosity, but once hooked the addict will need bigger and bigger ‘highs’ which eventually change the shape of the brain, and often lead to impotence as ‘normal’ sexual activity will no longer be achievable. 

    Read ‘The brain that changes itself’ – http://www.drjudithreisman.com/archives/2011/05/dr_norman_doidg.html

    • Cerebusboy

       LOL! There’s nothing like peer-reviewed science from respectable journals and that, indeed, is nothing like peer-reviewed science from a respectable journal… 
       

      Reisman has ‘posited’ the existence of ‘erototoxins’. That’s a polite way of say that she’s invented a pseudo-physical phenomena (or perhaps you could point me to some respectable journal articles on these ‘erototoxins’, the damage caused by which presumably show up on MRIs? I suppose one should be glad that she didn’t call them Reismanparticles! ;-)). And, has been pointed out, Reisman claims that people shouldn’t be allowed to exercise their First Ammendment Rights because they’ve been brain-damaged by porn (!) – yet she spent hundreds of hours viewing porn in order to come up with her ‘scientific’ (!) conclusions.  

      Doidge is more respected, but cherry picked decontextualised quotes slapped on a single website page aren’t much of a basis for, well, anything.

       And I hope you note that most porn is heterosexual, rather negating your common contrast between homosexuality (=rimming, AIDS and fisting) and  heterosexuality(= cute ickle babies and Family Values. )

    • Tom Jones

      Really, Jill, how do you know? If you’ve viewed porn (as possibly you have in your mission to tell us all what is so bad about the gay “lifestyle” why hasn’t your brain been changed?) Isn’t this what the myth of the apple eating in Garden of Eden is really all about? The knowledge of good and evil? Once you’ve got it in your brain’s software you can’t uninstall it – even if you were only viewing it for research purposes.

      • Cerebusboy

         Indeed Tom, and Jill’s nonsense only begs the question of why the likes of Nuts and Zoo continue to be popular, when apparently anyone who uses porn will be sucked into needing harder and harder (er, as it were) material (one is reminded of Richard Nixon describing marijuana as a halfway house to something worse). The size of the pornography industry does (to riot in understatement) not exactly support the contentious that it leads to impotence (were that so, then I imagine that porn would be about as popular with your average guys as penis-*shrinking* treatments! ;-)) 

      • Cerebusboy

         And there’s also something problematic about overemphasis on the evils of pornography as opposed to ‘regular’ masturbation. The porn star has in the strictest sense (I’m aware that feminists would say that feminists, like prostitutes and lap dancers, are not able to make a proper free will choice when they embrace these things) given permission for men to lust over her. In contrast, the non-porn using guy who (male sexuality being what it is) masturbates to ‘real life’ images hardly has ‘consent’ to (e.g.) have an Anne Frank whilst contemplating (e.g.) an attractive coworker, or a girl from church.  I think that XXX Church have said that, although it is true that the sinfulness of masturbation does not come from the act itself, any man who claims he can masturbate without thinking sexual thoughts is deluding himself. I’d be genuinely interested (and no, not just for self-serving reasons!) if Peter or anyone else can logically condemn pornography on theological grounds without condemning masturbation (outside of marriage) per se. 

        • Tom Jones

          Certainly – and isn’t masturbation the most same-sex of all same-sex activity?

  • tim wright

    Hi Peter,

    I have two daughters and I can not imagine any Father wanting and hoping for their daughters to become porn stars. Can I encourage you to look at the video on this website front page and it shows the porn industry in a new light. Scroll down a bit and there it is. 

    http://www.shelleylubben.com/

    Tim 

    • Cerebusboy

       I’m not sure how many fathers are comfortable thinking about their daughters having any kind of sex, Tim, so I’m not sure where that gets us.