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the lip crew on pornography

Image: Tom Morris

Image: Tom Morris

Let today’s installment of ‘the lip crew on…’ be the happy ending to your working week.

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‘Pornography is a big topic. Are the women involved oppressed or empowered? And also, is pornography bad for women/people in general? For the former question, it seems like most people would say that if someone isn’t being forced into pornography, if they’re being paid fairly, etc., then it’s a legitimate individual choice. The notion of choice though often goes unchallenged. Our choices don’t exist in a vacuum and there are a set of power relations hanging in the background. Whether or not women are free to choose actually becomes a really complicated question. I don’t think there are easy answers.
Regardless of what you think of porn, it exists and can be stumbled upon accidentally. Porn has been shown to change the way people (especially young people) think about sex. This points to the importance of sex education. Porn can’t be the only sex educative tool, there needs to be more conversations with young people about sex, and also about how porn is different from sex.’ – Erin Stewart, Books Editor

 

‘Pornography.  It’s a monster, but really it is the tippy top layer of a much deeper problem. We should call it the “devaluation of women” instead.  A devaluation that begins in places like Kmart.  No.  Really.  Look at the poses, the women; with one leg forward, mouths slightly open, eyes downcast, they are submissive.
Then look at the men; they stand bold and strong, squarely they face the world, hands on hips, eyes forward. Now compare the hoodies of children of both sexes, ages 7 – 14. The fabric of the girl’s garment is flimsier, the arms, slim fitting. Our girls must have less body fat and muscle, for her arms are skinny and weak; they also have a greater ability to withstand the cold, for the fabric is not as thick, and her waist is often left bare.
The boy, on the other hand, has lush fabric of a higher grade, and his hoodie goes below his waist and his sleeves and shoulders allow a full range of movement. His pockets, also, are extremely practical; whereas, in a girl’s hoodie, the pockets may even be faux, stitched on, pretend. Pornography is the end result of a society that treats girls as though their only value is their appearance; their comfort, warmth and practical needs are secondary to this: Kmart man is dominant over Kmart woman.
To put an end to pornography, we have to treat it at a grassroots level. Insist that our girls have the right to warmth, movement and pockets. Like, really insist, because our girls feel the cold, our girls have practical needs, and should face the world and be represented squarely, boldly, hands on hips, defiant and strong.
To topple the monster that pornography has become, we need to chip away at the foundations that fly beneath the radar and have other names, like ‘fashion’.’ – Rianh Silvertree, Writer

 

‘Labelling myself as a feminist, I tend to have an opinion on most things. I always stand up for men’s and women’s freedoms and I don’t hesitate to say when I think that something is not right. However, when it comes to pornography, I’ve never really known where I stand. Literature on it is divided and doesn’t really give me an indication of whether it is good or bad. Radical feminists have characteristically been anti-pornography, but Liberal Feminists have been pro. Pornography can be pleasurable and for some women it is empowering. But for me that does not change the fact that others think it is exploitative and objectifying of the female body.
As the effect of pornography on individuals is differential, my own stance is ambivalent. I’m unsure of whether it should be banned to avoid the exploitation of some, at the expense of the pleasure of others. I guess I can’t really align myself with Liberal or Radicalist feminists, but in my mind I am still a feminist. I support the freedom and empowerment of women. But whether it is right for some women to be empowered by the same phenomenon that oppresses others, I’m really not sure.’ – Heidi La Paglia, Writer

 

‘Dry. Beaming. Fluid. Flinched. Hole. Fingered. Tussled. Clenched. Dragged. Mopped. Wept. Embraced. Lips. Heard. Rim. Gazed. Gripped. Ate. Oozed. Smelt. Broke. Desired. Caverns. Secret. Skin. Mouthed. Stretched. Asked. Wanted. Instructed. Consented. Discovered. Drenched, Stroked. Had. Possessed. Pricked. Opening. Lengthened. Eyed. Absorbs. Eats. Grips. Sniffs. Tangled. Gaze. Dripping. Hungry. Erupting. Loving.
You construct your own experience, and the story your body stars in is yours to write. Be sure the part you’re playing and language with which you tell it is the one that you’ve chosen for yourself. Stories are always being sold to you by people who have never met you, and do not care if you have a happy ending.’ – Audrey K. Hulm, Writer

 

‘Porn. It makes the world go round, doesn’t it? Stops our desires from running rampant and causing havoc in society? Allows our partners to come home from work and escape habitual sex. Satisfies our innermost desires, the kind that are too “dirty”, too “kinky”, too “wayward” to express with someone else.  This is what we tell ourselves anyway.Everyone watches it, right? Everyone masturbates. No one questions why it’s so addictive. Why we’re desensitised. Why violence and sex go hand in hand, why the use of sex toys in everyday life is normal, why dominating women in the bedroom has been glorified and why images of perfect, airbrushed porn stars have become the ideal of beauty.
Porn glorifies self-serving sex.  Intimacy, love, romance are lost notions that become forgotten and replaced with the devaluation of human attributes and making love.  There’s no such thing as a real woman or a real man in porn – just human puppets used as tools to justify overpowering, dominating and using someone for the sake of reaching an orgasm.’  – Sophia Anna, Writer

 

‘My mum had always warned me off porn, telling me that it perpetuates an unrealistic idea of what women should look like. However, my little sister summed it up a bit differently after she watched porn for the first time, saying that what it really gives is an unrealistic impression of what women will allow to be done to them. Of course, I’m not the type to take other people’s word for anything, and decided to see for myself what all of the fuss was about. After all, porn is now so mainstream that I’m surprised it isn’t shown on primetime television. And I found my little sister was right. It sure didn’t look like enjoyable sex between two consenting adults, and it was surprisingly violent (pro tip: if you want to enjoy porn, don’t watch it with a nurse, who will tell you in great detail how many stitches would be required the next day). After seeing it for myself, I think that porn can be incredibly destructive. It promotes the idea that intercourse should be violent and demeaning; and young boys are growing up using it as an example of what sex should be like. Not to mention all of the horror stories I hear about the porn industry itself, which is enough (or should be enough) to turn anyone off it for life.’ – Kaylia Payne, Writer

‘Syrupy drips of Coca-Cola. A handsome man undressing, glimpsed through a window.  Catastrophes, frozen elevators, a broken-down car in a lonely town with only a single motel room left—any unnatural circumstance to force two people together. Yep, my first memorable encounter with pornography was Lord of the Rings fanfiction. Some might make the distinction between pornography and erotic fiction, but for thirteen-year-old me, any sexually explicit material was porn. Written fantasies about the male actors who made up the Fellowship (yep, even Gimli—not my cup of tea, though) trumped the  shocking purple penises and humongous breasts that I’d glimpsed on the phones of boys I knew.

No, my porn of choice generally featured a plain, timid heroine whose devotion would finally, finally be appreciated by Orlando Bloom when he bored of casual encounters with Russian models. My sexual education was filled with graphic yet gentle descriptions of emotion-fueled lovemaking, of an inexperienced woman coupling with an expert in the art, and of course, multiple orgasms. Flawed though they were, Lord of the Rings fanfiction ensured that I began my adolescence with the understanding that for me, love and sex went hand in hand. ‘ – Lou Heinrich, Writer

5 thoughts on “the lip crew on pornography

  1. “It promotes the idea that intercourse should be violent and demeaning; and young boys are growing up using it as an example of what sex should be like.”

    It makes me wonder what sex was like before porn. Was Victorian-era sex consensual, loving and respectful? Was everyone fantastic in bed as a result of their lack of exposure to porn, or, at the very least, were they any better than the porn-exposed current generation? It seems if you want to believe that porn is making boys worse, you have to point to a time when they were better/more respectful etc.

  2. My most recent ex watched heaps of porn, and only after we broke up (and I thought I’d see what it was all about) did I realise that it mirrored his sex style. He would always get off, on the promise that he would get me off afterwards, but never followed through. He pressured me into unprotected sex, promising that he was disease free, but turned out he’d never had an STI check up. Everything was incredibly rough, no matter how often I’d ask him to be gentle, and his version of sweet talking was telling me how much he wanted to f*ck me.

    I much prefer to read porn, because you can’t see the look of pain on the girls’ faces.

  3. Quotes like the one highlighted in the above comment are just as bad as quotes like “women are irrational” or “men are unfeeling”. Too encompassing and general. Pornography covers a wide spectrum, and there is porn out there that has nothing to do with violence and disrespect. abbywinters.com, for example, is one where the female form that is celebrated is much more widespread than the usual model-like “ideal” – imperfections and all (sure they still skew younger and not overweight, but still better than most). They also focus on female orgasm and masturbation in a way that, according to one of my female friends, is realistic.

    Yes, it’s still about objectifying another human being, but there’s so much in society that’s about objectifying people. Every time we watch a movie/TV series, and fall in love with a character or situation, we are objectifying. Thinking about our future with a person we know – objectifying.

    “Porn is bad” is as useful a phrase as “drugs are bad”. Or even, at a stretch, “marriage is between a man and a woman”. Too general, and not helpful given the common human desires and experiences that are allowing it to flourish in the first place.

  4. i have varying degrees of addiction to porn or online erotica. i am a visual person with high sexual desire & am currently single and so tend towards looking at porn / erotica when i masturbate. there are so many different kinds of porn available – mostly i access erotica through tumblr & sometimes i veer towards hardcore & i know when i also need to take breaks from all of this. it shocks me sometimes that i watch hardcore – it does effect how i see things and people. although not greatly as i am able to implement my intellect and switch thinking when necessary. when i am accessing it is mainly to just get off – it’s in the moment. i do have quite high expectations of sexual performance. although i’ve always had this pre-porn watching days.

  5. We can speak generally about pornography, make grand statements about empowerment and gender. But I want to draw attention to the destructiveness of pornographic addiction and the shattering personal effect it can have on relationships through its abundant accessibility via the internet. I am not an expert or psychologist, but a woman who considers herself to be a feminist who was with someone who also called himself a feminist.
    I can tell you that his addiction to pornography has destroyed our relationship. We had been together almost 8 years, but the continual lying and disrespect towards me that his addiction became too much. I had completely normalised the lack of intimacy, his agitation and impatience with me (evidently a side effect). And the only way I could please him sexually was through my own self debasement playing out his own televisual fantasy.
    At first I tried to be open and accept it into our relationship, but I was uncomfortable of the power and the degraded ‘slut’ I was required to become. Yes he called me this -’do you want to be my dirty little slut?’ as he pulled my hair while ‘fucking’ me as he called it. There was a bite to the way he said the word. No actually, I want to be your equal partner and lover and be cherished by you as I cherish you – like i used to feel with you.
    And then there was his obsession with my arse. Evidently my vagina was not good enough, he liked watching teenage-looking girls being pounded in the arse by 10” cocks. So I asked him to stop and the lying began and the sex became less and less frequent.
    Now I have left and he has admitted his addiction he wants to fix it. Evidently it effects the neurological pathways in the brain and effects the addicts ability to be aroused and achieve satisfaction. But for me its too late I feel utterly unable to connect with him sexually. I don’t want him to touch me and I don’t want to be near him. The lying is the worst part.
    I am now single rebuilding my self esteem and confidence in my own sexuality – did I mention through the relationship and the addiction I felt inadequate like I was unable to please him? I went to doctors and a psychologists trying to work out what was wrong with my sexuality. Funny that – I never felt sexually inhibited previous partners and it turns out I wasn’t the one with the problem. The really sad thing is that the whole time he has told me how much he loves me and how beautiful I am, but it took me years to recognise the impact of pornography on our relationship and value myself enough to walk away.

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