• Agent Smith
    8.9k
    first saw actual hardcore aged, I think, 19, when an incredibly vulgar full-page photo was printed in a student newspaper in defiance of obscenity laws. I regret to say I was electrified by it, although at that time (early 70’s) it was still impossible to get hold of. Then I went to Amsterdam, awash with porn stores, followed by Copenhagen, in 1973 and saw Deep Throat which was - how to say - something you can’t un-see. I don’t want to go too deeply into personal experience other than to acknowledge that I instantly became habituated, and that I regret it and think that I would have been a better man had I not become so.Wayfarer

    :up: There's sex and there's Tantric sex. Part of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition is to come to an understanding of our sexuality or so I was told. I've seen plenty of pornography in Buddhist iconography, paintings, sculptures.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Has anyone mentioned the Kama Sutra?
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    Old-school Buddhism - traditional forms - are just as puritanical about sexuality as Christians or Muslims. Then there's Western Buddhism, which came in as part of the hippie trail and the counter-culture - completely different attitude. You tell a lot of people 'hey I'm interested in Buddhism', they'll say, 'yeah, Tantric', with a salacious wink. And there have been many scandals in those circles, one high-profile international Buddhist teacher being forced into exile for repeatedly abusing students. Caused a lot of grief amongst many high-flying followers in business and cultural circles.

    One of the reasons I left dharmawheel, where I used to post, was I posted about what I saw as the tension (not to say actual conflict) between sexual and spiritual liberation. Might as well have casually strode into the building and set off a 44 gallon drum full of TNT. Did not end well. I left.

    Has anyone mentioned the Kama Sutra?Agent Smith

    I really don't think it's relevant to a discussion of pornography, in particular. Sullies it.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k


    It's sad that our ideals don't include our nature - we have to discard that which makes us us to be any good in some people's eyes. Sex is a case in point. We're sexual creatures, our libido being, as is obvious, liberated from the rhythms of the universe; quite unlike other animals, we're arousable 24×7, 7 days a week, 30 days a month, whole year round. That's biological sexual revolution, anticipates and dwarfs the cultural sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s in me humble opinion. We'll always be unworthy in our own eyes.
  • BC
    11.5k
    Shawn: I supposed Peterson was against it, yes?

    Everything that is true about 20th/21st century culture, media, entertainment, advertising, business, regulation, religion, social and private behavior, and more is also true about pornography. Pornography doesn't exist on a separate dimension from the rest of society. It's a piece of the whole. It's been a piece of the whole since before photography, when pornographic scenes were drawn and painted for an elite audience who could afford such erotic luxury.

    Art, music, drama, film, etc. have been democratized; it's accessible to anyone with the minimum cost of a ticket or access to streaming services. Porn has also been democratized and production is by the latest technology and distribution systems. Children routinely access sophisticated information sources I would not have thought to access at their age, sources far beyond the local public library's print collection.

    Naturally -- and it is natural -- they also access sexual material. What is more alarming than 12 year olds looking at pornography, is 12 year olds looking at pornography without having had any education in sexuality--personal sexuality, and interpersonal sexuality.

    Should they have such instruction? Of course they should. Before they reach 12, curious children are investigating sex with their peers. Peer-led sex instruction, though normal, is likely to be somewhat less than ideal.

    People get hooked on phonics--a desirable addiction. They also get hooked on Crispy Creme donuts, Coca Cola, coffee, Diet Pepsi, work, McDonalds, the New York Times, shopping at Neiman Marcus, fishing, working out at the gym, watching soap operas, and so on. We will, in due course, become hooked on porn too -- if we happen to like it. Will spending too much time at work negatively affect your relationship? Yes, it will. Can Crispy Creme donuts ruin your life? Yes, if you eat enough of them. How watching football all the time? Heard of 'football widows'?

    Investing too much of one's extra time and energy in watching porn will probably affect your relationship, along with all the other things that one can do too much of (work, watching football, becoming obese from eating too many donuts, becoming narrow minded by reading the New York Times exclusively, etc.
  • BC
    11.5k
    Song from the early 1960s

  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    What is more alarming than 12 year olds looking at pornography, is 12 year olds looking at pornography without having had any education in sexuality--personal sexuality, and interpersonal sexuality.BC

    I have read numerous times over the last several years that the vast majority of children have been exposed to pornography before age 12, and that it comprises their only detailed information source. I also don't buy the 'moral equivalence' argument that all habits are in some ways the same. Yes, they're all habits, but heroin addiction and gambling addiction are vastly more problematical than, say, watching soap operas.

    I've been aware of a recent book by a journalist by the name of Louis Perry, who recently published The Case against the Sexual Revolution.

    Although it would be neither possible nor desirable to turn the clock back to a world of pre-60s sexual mores, she argues that the amoral libertinism and callous disenchantment of liberal feminism and our contemporary hypersexualised culture represent more loss than gain. The main winners from a world of rough sex, hook-up culture and ubiquitous porn – where anything goes and only consent matters – are a tiny minority of high-status men, not the women forced to accommodate the excesses of male lust. While dispensing sage advice to the generations paying the price for these excesses, she makes a passionate case for a new sexual culture built around dignity, virtue and restraint.

    Sounds instant troll bait, but she handles herself exceedingly well in online interviews and has quite a reputation:

  • Shawn
    12.6k
    Shawn: I supposed Peterson was against it, yes?BC

    Yes, he's very vocal about it. See: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Jordan+Peterson+and+pornography
  • Vera Mont
    836
    It's also false to suggest sexual behavior is for the purpose of procreation, as the vast majority of sexual behavior is not for that purpose.Hanover

    I wasn't suggesting that. I was suggesting that a lot of pornography is not the kind of straightforward coupling between two consenting adults that one associates with normal married sex children are prepared for by their parents. I just didn't go graphic on the costumes, implements, props, substances, domination-submission games, ATM, weird [positions and extra players that might be involved and that children would not understand based on information from any health class they attended in school.

    Your attempt to draw a nexus between the rule of law, freedom, and the sanctity of life on the one hand with an adherence to traditional sexual mores on the other skips too many steps to logically follow.Hanover

    True, but most people are familiar enough with the mainstream mores of their culture to skip a few steps and know the general rules of behaviour they wish their children to learn, and that it doesn't usually include selling one's body to be degraded in public.
    That's kind of a bottom line. Do you want your kids to think that buying and selling bodies, including their own, is socially and morally acceptable?

    Are we evaluating each society's children for mental illness?Hanover

    "We" are not in a position to evaluate. But we can compare some significant statistics among the products of those childhoods, such as the prevalence of sexual dysfunction, sexual assault and abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse.

    It's not about nudity. It's about an irreconcilable contradiction in the values which are taught and the values which are demonstrated. Mental illness, when not caused by any physical defect, is nearly always a result of cognitive dissonance.
  • BC
    11.5k
    I wasn't making much of a moral equivalence case for habituated behavior. Of course, heroin or meth addiction is much worse than coffee or 'soap opera addiction'. Heroin and meth cause intensely strong addictions, coffee a weak addiction, and soap operas no addiction at all. Habits aren't addictions, but are significant aspects of behavior. Habitual use of pornography may not be a significant factor in the life of one person, but may be quite troublesome in someone else's, depending on all sorts of other factors.

    The first time The Philosophy Forum (or Philosophy Forum?) crashed, I was a bit discombobulated because a morning habit of checking in was frustrated. It got better after a few days. Dessert after dinner is a pleasant habit; not getting dessert won't result in mass suicide (one hopes).

    Masturbating with on-line pornography can be a habit, but if the Internet goes down, one will survive without a crisis. He might even be forced to use his imagination.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    I get how a lot of people just don't get how it can be a problem. I've never really understood how anyone can get addicted to gamblng, but people loose their careers, homes and go to jail over it. And we can't loose sight of the fact that the free and to all intents unlimited access to an endless variety of highly realist imagery is completely novel.
  • Shawn
    12.6k


    I just wanted to point out that your post took the cake. Well done, Sir.
  • Noble Dust
    6.3k
    Glad to see the forum perspective on porn shifting from positive to negative over the years. I remember getting laughed off the screen for suggesting porn was detrimental years ago.
  • BC
    11.5k
    Gambling and pornography involve somewhat different principles. The major risk in looking at the next picture of one's preferred naked body is that it won't do much for one. Meh! Next. Every play for a gambler involves the potential of material loss or material gain. The stakes are higher, with the pain of loss or the adrenaline and dopamine rush of winning more intense. Plus, the stakes are always staked against the player.

    What may happen to some pornography users is that they become desensitized to sexual images, and have to increase the volume they look at to find stimulating material. I don't know that they have to see more extreme material, but they at least have to see new, unfamiliar material.

    That's what keeps the adult film studios busy.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    There is definitely a thrill of transgression. It has to be knowingly wicked.

    Actually that reminds of a legend about Kerry Packer, once upon a time Australia’s richest man and a notoriously huge gambler. He said something along the lines that if a loss isn’t really going to hurt, then you’re not really gambling.

    Somehow, there’s a connection.
  • BC
    11.5k
    56300077a99f180b77d4b6050d9f331584f53f9a.jpg

    Children should be taught early on, to never get into bed -- alone or with somebody else -- while wearing street shoes. It's just unsanitary. Hard core pornography all too often glorifies sex while wearing shoes or boots--boots, especially, with heavy socks. And not nice fancy books, either--it's dirty working boots, typical of working class men. We'll discuss proletarian porn later.

    Boots in bed are one of the mysteries of pornography. Why do naked people have sex with their shoes or boots on? This bizarre practice is really quite perverse, and should be vigorously suppressed. Workboots in bed are far worse than candy-red spike heels. That one can understand, but shit kicking boots?

    Look at the document below! Granted, this is weak tea, but he is naked, so it counts. No genitalia revealed, not so much as one pubic hair displayed, moderators please note.

    The perplexing question:

    Having engaged in an orgy, is he putting his shoes on before he gets dressed, or is he taking his shoes off after having gotten undressed before the orgy? It's intolerable, either way. Children should not be exposed to this sort of perverse imagery, because it will inevitably lead to discomfort and injury during sex. It also leads to illogical dressing habits. Pants on first, then socks and shoes, Socks and shoes off first, then the pants. Shirts can be removed independent of boots and shoes. That's the way God intended it to be.

    One can only hope that the orgy was conducted with a better sense of propriety.

    806427ce6fb8d3bd5fab4d6721efbef85ab94a52.jpg
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    It's OK with the women wearing shoes. Not the men, though. The first is titillating, the latter merely vulgar.
  • Benkei
    6.1k
    The only problem with porn is its simplistic narratives,. Plumber gets sex because woman doesn't have cash, casting director gets sex because she really wants the job, secretary makes mistakes and gets forgiven if she gives boss a blowjob, teachers and students, stepfantasies of dads having sex with their daughters, etc.

    All examples of unhealthy power relations or sex as payment and most of it has little eros, or God forbid, actual love. This creates expectations about sex being transactional and no idea about moral issues if there are schewed power relations.

    Edit: that's not to say there isn't porn with healthier depictions. It's just very rare.
  • Noble Dust
    6.3k
    What may happen to some pornography users is that they become desensitized to sexual imagesBC

    Isn't this known to be the case scientifically? I'm too tired to pull up references. I'm pretty sure this happens to all porn users, not some. Framing porn use within addiction terms once again, the initial stimulus isn't enough after awhile. The required stimulus needs to be stronger and stronger, which translates to harder and harder core porn. Using addiction language here, it looks like...an addiction.
  • BC
    11.5k
    It's too late for me to look for references, as well. Yawn. However...

    I don't think the addiction model applies to most porn users. Most users just want some degree of fresh imagery -- not the same videos or photos again and again. Which isn't to say that a particular title can't effectively satisfy a given user many times.

    The required stimulus needs to be stronger and stronger, which translates to harder and harder core porn.Noble Dust

    It seems like this model would lead the producers of pornography into absurd sexual territory. How far can 'harder and harder core' go? My preferred style of porn has stayed within the same range for 50+ years. The hard core of 2023 is pretty much the same as the hard core of 1973. But then, I haven't been looking for ever more extreme imagery,
  • Noble Dust
    6.3k
    It seems like this model would lead the producers of pornography into absurd sexual territoryBC

    It does; you're clearly just not privity to it.

    My preferred style of pornBC

    Exactly. With all due respect, BC, your opinion is essentially meaningless here.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Is there a philosophy of porn? If there isn't one, I'd be happy to collaborate with anyone who wants to socratically examine the subject.

    By the way, I may be wrong, but the dopamine rush you experience while watching porn/engaging in sex is identical to the one you get when, for example, you have an Eureka moment. :chin: It's all about sex, Freud was bang on target. So much for Mill's higher and lower pleasures.

    Having sex with a real woman is far, far better than doing it with Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. :lol:
  • punos
    321
    It's all about sex, Freud was bang on target. So much for Mill's higher and lower pleasures.Agent Smith

    You're right but it's worth mentioning that sexual energy (libido) can be sublimated into other areas of activity. Culture can be thought of in one sense as a system for sublimating sexual energy (in humans) and directing it towards other means. Before culture emerged most of human energy (sexual) was spent only on biological imperatives (like animals). Consider a simple example such as how certain religions require abstinence from some or all of their members; this would be a strong form of sublimation. Weaker forms of sublimation take on the appearance of cultural norms, taboos, and such. The more sexually liberated a society is the less sublimated energy is available for the social and cultural apparatus. Pornography thus can be understood to be a desublimating agent. What that might mean i have my speculations.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k


    :cool: is unworthy.:cool:
  • Tzeentch
    2.2k
    Your posts crack me up. :lol:

    What may happen to some pornography users is that they become desensitized to sexual imagesBC

    Isn't this known to be the case scientifically?Noble Dust

    Would that desensitization persist when one abstains for a week? Somehow I doubt it.


    I think the fact that everyone can get their sexual fix is mostly a good thing, and for that to go away would probably do societies more harm than good.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Your posts crack me up.Tzeentch

    I always wanted to be a comedian. No luck, perhaps I ain't sad enough! :lol:
  • punos
    321
    I think the fact that everyone can get their sexual fix is mostly a good thing, and for that to go away would probably do societies more harm than good.Tzeentch

    In the context of my post about sublimation, and how pornography can be seen as a desublimating agent; it can also be seen as a kind of release valve for this energy in society. Perhaps a way to keep uncontrolled sublimations from being directed in pathological ways (from a socio-cultural perspective). In a modern environment like we have today the sexual dynamic has altered significantly from what we had adapted to evolutionarily, which can cause abnormal psychological pressures. Certain demographics like the "incel community" for instance would probably be more dangerous if it weren't for pornography. Prostitution served the same purpose and still does.

    Very few things are completely bad or good.. it's all gray scale.
  • Shawn
    12.6k
    Is there a philosophy of porn? If there isn't one, I'd be happy to collaborate with anyone who wants to socratically examine the subject.Agent Smith

    Sure. So, ethically what do you think about pornography? I mean, for a Kantian it seems like a totally bad thing with the whole means to an end thing, while for a utilitarian it can be a hedonistic boon for the population. I'm pretty sure Plato would abhor it with the whole degrading nature of it. So, what says you? Do you enjoy it from time to time?
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k


    Ethically, it's suspect in the eyes of even those who earn their daily bread from it.
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