Interesting News (5/27/12)

Here’s some news that I’ve found interesting lately…

“Is Porn Killing Your Sex Life?” Not likely. (and AfterDarkLA agrees with me)

What do you do when you take all the right steps but your kid still sees some porn on the interwebs? The New York Times weighs in…

And fiiiiine – I’ll talk about Fifty Shades of Grey… but not at length and not because I know much of anything about it.


1. People like to wax endlessly about the myriad ways in porn is directly and solely responsible for giving people (really men, though these conversations often only mention heterosexual men) “unrealistic” expectations about sex and is, thus, ruining – ruining – sex lives.


Aside from the completely subjective assessment of “reality” and “realistic” (what is that anyway?), it’s is almost comical to imagine an adult industry united in such an endeavor. Pretend the adult industry could unite around this one singular goal – ruin “real” sex, presumably so people will buy (buy!! ha) more porn… this would mean that porn would also have to be united with mainstream film, TV, music, modeling, and pretty much all of advertising. And that’s so unlikely it’s pretty much impossible.

So, right from the get go, I find the idea that porn is somehow directly and/or exclusively responsible for destroying individuals’ sex lives to be a bit outlandish…

And the people from AfterDarkLA agree with me!! Consider:

“The Internet’s seen a rash of articles about how porn is killing sex lives. Whether it’s studies of dubious scientific legitimacy saying that it kills sex drives or anecdotal evidence that women hate porn tricks men try in bed, the Internet — in particular men’s websites — is abuzz with theories that porn is bad for sex. Unpredictably, we respectfully disagree.

There are a few problems underlying the idea that porn is killing real sex. First, the idea that ‘women’ (or ‘men’ for that matter) taken as a whole ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ things is fundamentally flawed. Even bona fide scientific studies finding that women prefer this or that only refer to women in the broadest possible sense. It says nothing about whether or not an individual woman likes or dislikes something. Further, the studies generally assume that men are the only ones who like porn and that they’re watching it alone. Finally, there’s the archaic idea that sex is something women do as a favor to men in exchange for jewelry. Women are certainly horrified by money shots and hair pulling.

Right. Sure they are.” (text originally here)


The author goes on to bring up all sorts of things that point to the contrary… like women porn consumers, the sponsored pseudoscience that offers up all this bs in the first place, and the popularity of one Mr. James Deen (which, I hate to say, “proves” nothing… but I’m happy that James is getting all this attention lately). All the things porn is not for, like sex education and kids, and the fact that “porn addiction” is not so much about porn as it is about probable individual health and social issues are also raised.


Ultimately, AfterDarkLA doesn’t say anything new here… but I’m really glad they took the time to speak up.

2. One thing I like to wax on and on endlessly about is how children’s caregivers should step up to the plate and actually care give to kids more fully. This should be done in lieu of, for example, complaining about the accessibility of porn on the interwebs.

I maintain that position, however I am fully aware of and receptive to the fact that sometimes you can do everything “right” and unfortunate things (like porn) will creep through. What do you do then?

The New York Times recently posed this question (here), which resulted in a very interesting article wherein several caregivers offered up their strategies for dealing with this issue. From having calm conversations with kids to allowing them to access “racy” bathing suit sites to satisfy curiosity without all the hardcore while also explaining that porn sex is just about as “real” as pro-wrestling, I really appreciated the fact that this article offered real-life suggestions.

Obviously, no strategy is perfect for everyone all of the time… that’s not the point. The point is that, rather than flipping out and/or clamming up over kids’ normal sexual curiosity (remember yourself at puberty…), these caregivers are attempting to actively engage their developing humans… figuring out what works and what doesn’t for themselves and, more importantly, for the kids that are being directly impacted.

A great article that should be read in its entirety, kids or no kids –> “So How Do We Talk About This? When Children See Internet Pornography” here.

3. Fifty Shades of Grey et al… you’ve heard of it? Yeah, me too.

But just in case you’ve been under a rock somewhere, Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book in a trilogy that’s all over the place lately. Often described as “mommy porn,” the trilogy relates some BDSM-ish tale about a chic who is kept/controlled by some older dude with the last name… Grey. Here’s Wikipedia’s explanation of the whole thing.

Now, as a sociologist, I both like to know what’s compelling the culture and feel like it’s kinda my duty to be aware. So even if I don’t really like something, if it’s a big deal, I try to at least know a little bit about it. That being said, I have not read these books and I really don’t plan to. Their roots in the Twilight series is enough for me to stay away.

From what I have read, Fifty Shades of Grey is to BDSM what Twilight is to vampire lore – a ridiculous, uniformed bastardization of something that is both rich and involved. This has, in turn, functioned to set forth a seriously problematic set of misinformed postulates about BDSM, the BDSM community, players and practitioners, etc etc. (the same thing has happened with vampires)

But I’ve also read that Fifty Shades of Grey is sexing up ladies all over the place, many of whom maybe haven’t been sexed up in a really long time. So isn’t that a good thing? (yes)

And then I recently learned that Dr. Drew (Pinsky) is concerned about younger folks reading these books and internalizing their messages as “real.” This also seems like a legit critique, one similar to concerns about young people (and people in general, I guess) using porn as sex ed… but then, I don’t think that these books were written with teenage readers in mind.

Plus, if these things are as poorly written as the internet says… well, then all of a sudden literacy becomes an issue too – gah!!

So I don’t know how I feel about Fifty Shades of Grey et al… I guess I’m just gonna have to change my plan and read the damn books.

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Interesting News – news that’s interesting!!

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