Doing It Wrong: Addressing Common Anti-Porn Arguments

Sex Shop


1. Introduction: Opening Up and Revealing

Pornography has elicited at least as many heated words as it has orgasms. While the etymology of the word is clear and uncontroversial, defining pornography in a clear and unambiguous way has proven difficult. The word derives from the Greek compound porne (“prostitute”) and graphos (“to write”).[1] This compound word denoted “the depiction of whores”[2] and was originally used to describe the lifestyle and mannerisms associated with prostitutes and “later came to include any text that is specifically designed to elicit sexual desire.”[3] So the word “pornography” is a loaded one that, from the get-go, often places anyone who argues that it serves a beneficial role in society in the difficult position of having to fend off emotionally-based accusations of perversion. As psychologist Karen Ciclitira notes, “Researchers’ apparent bias regarding the negative effects of pornography has influenced (and is influenced by) the way pornography is defined.”[4]

However, the word “pornography” has today come to refer to such a wide range of sexually explicit materials that generalized definitions on the one hand are often inadequate and specific examples on the other do not take into account its far-reaching applications. The result is that “different definitions and genres of pornography have been employed in research studies, thereby complicating a coherent synthesis of key findings” and that “the operationalization of terms, or the lack thereof, has been a common critique and limitation of many studies.”[5] The elusive nature of the term is readily explained by the fact that any exercise in defining pornography depends upon cultural, historical and social factors, as well as upon the experiences and beliefs of individuals.

Defining “obscenity,” which refers specifically to the legal aspect of pornography, is just as thorny an issue to pin down, because societal reactions to breaches of perceived boundaries are determined by public taste and the public’s designation of the particular style employed by those labeled “deviant,” not by the actual content of any given law or set of laws. This was demonstrated by R. George Kirkpatrick in his study of two major anti-pornography crusades in the 1960s, in which he highlighted “the relationship between the size of the community, the division of labor, the degree of mechanical solidarity and the style of the deviant and his act in determining the degree of insult to the collective consciousness, and the degree of mass hysteria and the severity of the social movement which tries to reconstitute the disturbed collective entity.”[6]

With these caveats in mind, and for the sake of clarity in this essay, philosopher Michael Rea’s definition will suffice:

[B]y far the most pervasive definitions in the literature on pornography are those that hold that the defining feature of pornography is that it is intended to produce sexual arousal or in fact has the effect of producing such arousal.[7]

The importance of including both intention and effect in approaching a coherent definition is highlighted by, for example, the 1922 court case of Halsey v. New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, in which the judge stated that selections ranging “from Aristophanes or Chaucer or Boccaccio or even from the Bible” in all likelihood contain many passages “which taken by themselves are undoubtedly vulgar and indecent.”[8] There is a reason why arguments about the ill effects of culture seem to be applied only to forms of culture that fall on what are perceived to be lower scales, such as comic books, video games, cartoons and, of course, pornography. We see this classist bias in the way the word “porn” has come to a popular pejorative euphemism for the cheap and easy, the pulp at the bottom of the cultural barrel. As Laura Kipnis points out,

The violence of high culture seems not to have effects on its consumers, or rather, no one bothers to research this question, so we don’t hear much about how Taming of the Shrew expresses contempt for women, or watching Medea might compel a mother to go out and kill her children; when a South Carolina mother did recently drown her two kids, no one suggested banning Euripides. When Lorena Bobbitt severed husband John’s penis, no one wondered if she’d recently watched Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses, the Japanese art film where a male character meets a similar bloody fate. Is that because the audiences of Euripides and Oshima have greater self-control than the audiences of pornography and other low culture, or is this a class prejudice that masquerades as the “redeeming social value” issue?[9]

This strange cognitive disconnect between attributing possible undesirable effects to low art while leaving possible similar effects of high art off the hook is why, for example, Gerard Damiano’s pornographic movie The Story of Joanna (1975) induces laughter on the part of its viewers whenever a supposedly high-class, aristocratic character speaks about sex in lower-class terms, i.e., “I want you to lick my pussy.” It is also why the extremely dirty and deliciously obscene “Aristocrats” joke known by many professional comedians works so well, as documented in Penn Jillette’s and Paul Provenza’s 2005 film The Aristocrats. But the popular distinction between “high” and “low” art is mostly arbitrary since there is no line of demarcation where one ends and the other begins. Art historian Lynda Nead points out that, “Art and pornography are caught in a cycle of reciprocal definition, in which each depends on the other for its meaning, significance and status.”[10] In the absence of pornography, art dies, and vice versa.

Developing an adequate and accurate understanding of pornography and debunking popular myths and misconceptions about it is important in light of the fact that both sexuality and art are crucial aspects of the human condition. Porn therefore has much to teach us about ourselves as an interpersonal species. “Pornography is the royal road to the cultural psyche,” writes Laura Kipnis. “So the question is, if you put it on the couch and let it free-associate, what is it really saying? What are the inner tensions and unconscious conflicts that propel its narratives?”[11] The “study and existence of pornography [may] elucidate our sexual desire and the function of pleasure and power, enhance sexual equality, diminish sexual inhibitions, nurture essential dreams and fantasies, and promote the freedom of speech to express sexual difference,”[12] and this means that addressing unwarranted modifications made to the term “pornography” by anti-porn feminists, conservatives and status-quo conformists is also important. The belief that erotic material precipitates sexual violence and the degradation/objectification of women has manifested itself in attacks on pornography which potentially threatens freedom of expression in the arts. Such crusades have also threatened even the science of medicine.[13]

Moralistic crusades against pornography may also have unforeseen negative effects on the rate at which technology advances and the subtle yet potent incentives that set that drive those advances. The high demand for pornography is such that it is often the first to test and use new and cutting-edge media technologies. Cultural critic Jack Beckham II argues that “Pornography has always been inextricably tied to technology and innovations in technology,”[14] and this means pornography also facilitates technological advancement and progress in ways few people have considered. Law professor Peter Johnson puts the point well. “Porn, like its subject matter, is always eager to experiment. It is also free from ideological and sociological baggage. Its design is, simply, to get to market as quickly and easily as possible. When new media offer new markets, porn spies them quickly and rushes to fill them, like an amoeba extruding a new pseudopod where its skin is thinnest.”[15] This is not a new phenomenon; this technological immediacy has been noted by sociologists and media historians to have been present from pornography’s earliest manifestations. Laurence O’Toole notes that “the folk history of nude photography suggests that the day after the guy invented the camera he had his girlfriend come round and persuaded her to get naked for the sake of record.”[16]

It is useful to invoke the power (and fear) of technology along with the power of narrative in this regard. In his classic essay “The Question Concerning Technology,” German philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that technology, far from being merely a mechanized means to an end, represents a particular “way of revealing.”[17] For Heidegger, modern technology should be conceived of in the context of its original Greek meaning, a “bringing-forth” that is linked to the concept of knowledge. Technology in this sense means a simultaneous opening up and revealing. Pornography opens up and reveals much more than intimate body parts.

In what follows I cover the most common arguments presented by anti-porn activists and why, based on my research of the relevant literature, I maintain they fall short of the mark.

 

2. Four Common Myths and Misconceptions about Porn

 

  • Claim 1: “Pornography degrades and objectifies women.”

As we have seen, pornography is laden with a complexity that defies simple denouncements such as that it is somehow a product of patriarchal, male-centered heteronormativity and that it is categorically degrading to and objectifying of women. Laura Kipnis notes,

[T]he presumption that only low culture causes ‘effects’ starts to look more and more like a stereotype about its imagined viewers . . . Pornography isn’t viewed as having complexity, because its audience isn’t viewed as having complexity, and this propensity for oversimplification gets reproduced in every discussion about pornography.[18]

As an example of this oversimplification, one may consider the common charge that sexually explicit materials treat the persons portrayed as “sexual objects,” or that pornography “objectifies women as sexual objects.” Besides the ironic fact that it is the person making this claim who is being sexist and heteronormative by implying that only women can be objectified, there is also a subtle contradiction in terms at play in such accusations. Objects do not possess any inherent sexuality, but people do. This is precisely why we never see anti-porn rhetoric accusing pornography of treating people as sexual beings. Of course, we can and do imbue and project sexual meaning and significance to inanimate objects (dildos, strap-ons, plugs, whips, chains, paddles, hairbrushes, bananas and various elongated vegetables, even various medical supplies,[19] etc.), but these things are not possessed of any inherent sexuality. “Having a body is just as much a part of being a person as is having intelligence or emotions,” writes philosopher of science and ethics Ferrel Christensen. “Since real objects have no sexuality, regarding a person as being without a sexual nature would come closer to treating him or her as a mere object.”[20]

But even if we grant that the concept of objectification of human bodies makes logical sense, there is still no good reason to view it as a social problem. A YouTube vlogger named Alyssa states this point quite well in one of her videos:

When a guy is thinking about the girl he saw on the subway earlier that day, or whatever favorite celebrity of his, and pleasures himself, no one is getting hurt in that scenario. If anything, good for him, because there’s a lot of health benefits to masturbation.

I think the idea that objectification is wrong and needs to be stopped is a modern version of the Christian dogma that it’s a sin to look at a woman who’s not your wife with a lustful heart. It’s teaching men to be ashamed of their sexual thoughts and feelings and women that they shouldn’t want to feel sexy or enjoy their sexual feelings. It’s just sexual repression all around.[21]

There is a curious double-standard at play in the objectification argument against porn, which Alyssa also points out in her video. “When I reflect on radical feminist standards of objectification, it makes me wonder what they think of nude paintings in major art museums. Like, if Édouard Manet were around today painting prostitutes, would he be accused of objectifying them and being an evil member of the patriarchy or something?” This hearkens back to the arbitrary distinction between highbrow and lowbrow culture we discussed above.

Pornography does not contain any inherently regressive or backwards philosophy towards either women or men. Just the opposite is true. Pornography evolves and has seen the emergence of new and novel forms that are liberating to the sexual autonomy of women and minorities. The ubiquity of and demand for pornography is directly responsible for these trends, and it was inevitable that a female-centered pornography, in which man serves as the so-called “sexual other,” would grow and is beginning to become just as ubiquitous and commonplace as so-called “male-centered” porn. Developments in popular culture have come a long way since the 1970s and 1980s in legitimizing the concept of women’s porn.[22]

 

  • Claim 2: “Pornography has ties to organized crime and sex trafficking”

Another oft-voiced concern has to do with the “snuff” element of pornography, i.e. the notion that pornography is associated with layers of organized crime that specializes in the actual of oppression of its women subjects unbeknownst to average consumers who are under the impression that what they are seeing is consensual acting. This myth was promoted in the notorious 1976 cult film Snuff. A slasher film loosely based on the Sharon Tate murders, the film concludes with footage of its director hacking a female production assistant to pieces after making sexual advances on her. In addition to bordering on the level of a conspiracy theory, this notion is an exaggerated one intended by its claimants and promoters to frighten the public. Numerous erotic models and actresses have gone on record in response to this charge to say that genuine mistreatment is very rare. In fact, these models and actresses have testified to the effect that they are treated with a great deal of respect, and even that they enjoy a much higher salary than men do in the business, which is by far not the case for women in the workplace elsewhere.[23] This is a factor that is often overlooked or denied by academics and scholars, including the famous linguist and social activist Noam Chomsky. In an interview for a 2008 documentary on pornography and relationships, Chomsky compared the consensual pornography business to sweatshops that mistreated “consenting” women employees, and then proceeded to compare pornography to child abuse:

“Suppose [there is] a starving child in the slums, and you say, ‘Well, I’ll give you food if you’ll let me abuse you.’ . . . Well, after all, you know, the child’s starving otherwise, so you’re taking away his chance to get some food if you ban abuse. Is that an argument? The answer to that is: stop the conditions in which the child is starving. And the same is true here. Eliminate the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permit abusive and destructive behavior.”[24]

This reasoning is grossly flawed because it overlooks the fact that the wages made by women who work in pornography (as well as in prostitution) are far above the wages earned by women in ordinary, so-called “legitimate” work. This has been the case since the early twentieth century, when the English physician and social reformer Havelock Ellis wrote, “No practicable rise in the rate of wages paid to women in ordinary industries can possibly compete with the wages which fairly attractive women of quite ordinary ability can earn by prostitution.”[25] Back in the 1950s, Judge John M. Murtagh and Sara Harris reported, “There are call-girls who earn between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars a year.”[26]

The data for the past 100 years demonstrates yet another way in which pornography serves a beneficial role in society; the metaphor of the “glass ceiling,” useful for illustrating occupational segregation and gender wage inequality in the workplace, refers to the socially constructed barrier that, while transparent and thus without any overt suggestion of being discriminatory, limits upward mobility for women. This barrier is built and maintained by, among other things, the system most companies develop and utilize to determine salaries. The reason society often undervalues, for example, paid care work in the home as well as care work in the workplace often has to do with the value our capitalistic society places on women in general. Not so in the pornography business, where there is no glass ceiling and where women enjoy a higher wage than men. While some may retort by pointing out that women who want to move beyond the porn industry and break out into a more mainstream and respectable career are often not granted that opportunity because of the stigmas attached to their current work, this is a failure of society to see through the stigma and take into account women’s individual merits, not something that pornography itself can be faulted with.

“Look,” writes pornographer Lisa Palac, founder of the cybersex magazine Future Sex, “if someone presented me with a genuine snuff film there’d be nothing to defend. I would be horrified and sickened. But no one ever has and no one ever will because snuff films, as some kind of readily-available, black-market commercial enterprise, don’t exist. They’re an urban myth.”[27] Such urban myths and legends are the natural consequence of any frowned-upon industry coming into its own with a decent level of organization and hierarchy. An analogy that works in dispelling the “organized crime” perception of how pornography operates is organized religion; if religion were illegal (as it has historically been in some corners of the world) then according to this logic religion would constitute organized crime.

 

  • Claim 3: “Pornography is addictive and damages relationships”

A growing number of studies on the relationship between pornography use and socioemotional intimacy between couples is beginning to break away from traditional assumptions that drive many researchers to posit negative correlations between the two. “Many women feel that the guy who looks at porn must harbor some hostility toward women,” says journalist Liza Featherstone. “Yet research hasn’t established a link between pornography consumption and misogyny. One 2004 study found that porn users actually had slightly more positive and egalitarian views of women than other men did, though porn users were also more likely to hold stereotypical beliefs—for example, that women are more moral.”[28] Miodrag Popovic’s research found that many men’s “socioemotional closeness and pornography consumption were associated in a way that was not often brought to light. Compared to male pornography non-users, male pornography users reported higher total closeness numbers and scores.”[29] The results of this study, obtained using a non-clinical sample of 164 males to distill the potential effects of two carefully-measured variables (socioemotional closeness and pornography use), showed that “pornography use was not just an escape from intimacy but also an expression of the search for it.”

Previous studies examining the relationship between intimacy/closeness with significant others and pornography use have tended to overgeneralize gender power inequalities, focusing on pornographic web sites rather than the users themselves.[30] Another tendency in such studies has been to emphasize adverse effects of frequent and habitual pornography use, thereby misattributing resultant relationship problems to pornography rather than on overuse and overindulgence itself.[31] But overuse and overindulgence wreaks adverse effects on relationships regardless of what they are exercised upon and says nothing about the inherent goodness or badness of the object of overindulgence itself. As Christensen remarks, “It is a truism that anything can be carried to excess, [but] those who make the mental health charges are usually in a poor position to judge what is excessive or inadequate in regard to sex.”[32] Thus, the charge that use of pornography is corrosive to intimate and lasting relationships between men and women is highly subjective. As Featherstone points out, “How couples intensify their sexual relationship differs radically depending on the individuals and on the dynamic between them. But fantasy is certainly a part of a healthy sex life, and porn does contribute significantly to the archive of sexy scenarios in our heads. It can also inspire couples to experiment more.”[33]

Unbiased examination of the literature on sex addiction yields no evidence supporting the case that pornography is addictive. Studies exploring the economics of pornography, such as the one by behavioral economist Fabio D’Orlando, find that models of addiction that have traditionally been used in examining the demand for pornography do not fit nearly as well as models that posit healthy hedonic adaptation. “The hedonic adaptation framework is founded on the empirical finding that people adapt to life events . . . Hedonic adaptation is sometimes called ‘habituation’, and the existence of a baseline level of wellbeing towards which actual wellbeing tends to return is a crucial characteristic of this approach.”[34] The hedonic adaptation model is able to explain very well the desire for variety and novelty among pornography consumers, a common desire which significantly influences the demand for pornography. According to D’Orlando’s interpretation, people experience habituation when viewing pornography, a process which reduces the potential level of wellbeing they can gain from a given type of pornography. But this reduction is balanced out by the simultaneous skill accumulation they gain, which is gleaned from “harder” material. In searching for this “harder” material through the process of escalation, pornography users necessarily consume ever-growing amounts of pornography in order to find the harder content (this in part explains why, for example, web sites which provide large quantities of free material such as xHamster.com, TubeGalore.com and PornoTube.com has not come close to making pay pornography obsolete).[35]

According to D’Orlando’s research, “Having purchased this new material, people actually achieve an increase in their wellbeing, but habituation soon forces them back, once again, towards their baseline level of wellbeing. Only creativity, i.e. the capacity to go on finding ever-new types of pornography, can offset habituation.”[36] Pornography, therefore, is highly conducive to the creative impulse, and as such is a natural engine of diversification. “So-called sexual addiction may be nothing more than learned behavior that can be unlearned; labels such as ‘sex addict’ may tell us more about society’s prejudices and the therapist doing the labeling than the client; scientists who have undertaken scientifically rigorous studies of exposure to sex materials report that despite high levels of exposure to pornography in venues such as the Internet, few negative effects are observed.”[37] Negative effects that are not observed include violence and aggression towards women. As per the “safety valve” or substitution hypothesis, pornography may defuse more strong urges than it instills in the consumer.

There also exists a body of research that indicates a positive correlation between adults’ socioemotional closeness with significant others and pornography. Kingsley Davis’s study of the sociology of prostitution in the early 1970s, for example, demonstrated that prostitution ameliorates the conflict between sexual dispositions/urges and the expectations and requirements embedded in social contracts. Arguing that the goals of sexual behavior in humans are not inherently social, Davis shows that the institutions of marriage and family are society’s way of attaching a makeshift association of sexuality and social goals. Thus, prostitution and pornography, both of which, on an intuitive level, seem to stand adamantly opposed to marriage and family, actually support them. This explains why society has not completely repressed prostitution and pornography; they are retained as sexual alternatives because they serve necessary functions. The sociological evidence strongly indicates that increases in sexual freedom among women of all classes do not reduce the role played by prostitution. Therefore, “we find ourselves admitting that increased prostitution can reduce the sexual irregularities of respectable women . . . Such a view seems paradoxical, because in popular thought an evil such as prostitution cannot cause a good such as feminine virtue, or vice versa. Yet . . . there is a close connection between prostitution and the structure of the family.”[38] In his book Hustlers, Beats, and Others, the late sociologist Ned Polsky proposed that Davis’s theories concerning prostitution apply equally well to pornography: “. . . prostitutes and pornographers are stigmatized because they provide for the socially illegitimate expression of sex, yet their very existence helps to make tolerable the institutionalizing of legitimate sex in the family.”[39]

 

  • Claim 4: “Pornography presents unattainable fantasies and instills unrealistic expectations in its users”

Actually, hardcore porn usually strives for raw realism, even when employing fantasy scenarios. A strong case can be made that this is actually a redeeming feature of pornography. The “debasement” element of pornography that is so often cited by its condemners is in this sense a desirable and positive one. Detractors’ condemnations are nothing more than a reaction against unrestrained visibility that threatens outwardly-projected personal preferences. As Lynda Nead writes,

[Pornography] is imbued with an ideology of realism; it is regarded as a transparent medium, offering more or less direct access to its image. Within Platonic terms, the visual image is less removed from corrupt reality (and therefore is more debased) than the written word which is regarded as the medium of imagination and self-expression.[40]

The genre of pornography to which this idea can be most readily seen in action is in adult spanking, or erotic domestic discipline, which falls under the very broad category of the Dominance & submission (D&s) and Bondage/Discipline, Sadism/Masochism (BDSM) scenes. This genre, more than any other, has gone a long way toward shifting pornography closer to the center dividing line where fantasy and reality meet and stare at each other across the proverbial fence. Greta Christina, in her interesting analysis of this blurred line, makes the case that crying is to spanking porn what cum shots are to “regular” porn:

Crying is like cum shots because it’s proof that what’s happening is real. It’s proof, not only that the actors are physically engaging in the sexual acts they’re portraying, but that they’re feeling them.

I’ve seen plenty of spanking porn where the spankings themselves were obviously real — you could hear the sounds of the slaps, you could see the impacts and the reddening bottom — but where I had no idea whether the person on the receiving end felt anything at all about the matter. I’ve seen plenty of spanking porn where the recipient was so silent, so stiff, so unresponsive, that even with the sights and sounds of the smacks, I still had no idea whether the performer was feeling helpless, or defiant, or turned on, or anything at all except bored. The sights and sounds might as well have been done by special effects. [. . .] But if the recipient is crying… I know they’re feeling it. [. . .] And that makes it easier for me to project myself into the fantasy.[41]

This analysis of a fetish practiced by consenting adults who feel real pain, but for whom pain is pleasure effectively dismantles the charge that pornography is about superficial fantasies that instill unattainable expectations in the minds of its viewers. It is more accurate to posit that when anti-porn activists condemn pornography as unattainable fantasy with no parallel in real life, they are actually reacting to something they do not want to be real.

Consistency would oblige those who condemn pornography on the basis of a perceived lack of verisimilitude to also condemn exhibitions in animal zoos. Zoos are after all pornographic by nature, and while they necessarily oversimplify factors such as natural habitat, few would argue that zoos misrepresent the creatures on display or place them in a wholly unrealistic environment. Environmental philosopher Ralph Acampora tries to persuade us that the “broad analogy between zoos and pornography is useful because, if it holds true in the relevant respects, the comparison casts a new and decidedly critical light on the debate over keeping and breeding animals in the wild in captivity.”[42] But he is one of the very few academics who actually manage to remain consistent by arguing this, which only serves to highlight the difficulty of his position.


3. Coda: Gemeinschaft and Chill

Far from presenting unattainable fantasies, pornography provides an important and emulative narrative counterpart to our real life as sexual and social animals. More than that, pornography democratizes human sexuality by challenging sexual status quos, which is the primary reason it has been unfairly blamed for a wide array of social ills. So how do we go about understanding it better? One way is to progress beyond what German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies called Gesellschaft. Commonly translated as “society,” this refers to a category of social ties characterized by formal, indirect and impersonal social interactions, as opposed to Gemeinschaft (“community”), in which the personal and communal aspect of social roles, values and beliefs place a diverse array of human activities in context. “In the most general way, one could speak of a Gemeinschaft comprising the whole of mankind,” Tönnies wrote. “But human Gesellschaft is conceived as mere coexistence of people independent of each other.”[43] This progression beyond mechanistic and parochial classifications of pornography is achieved by placing cultural labeling itself under scrutiny. This allows us to see pornography in the light of the larger context of other discourses and categories of human interactions. By using this approach in her extensive research in pornography, media scholar Feona Attwood has found that “By stepping back from pornography in this way, its functions as a ‘melodrama’ or ‘allegory’ for a given culture are thrown into sharp relief.”[44] Gemeinschaft reveals that it is “the particularly explicit way in which porn depicts sex and bodies, its flaunting of boundaries, its perversity and its irredeemable ‘lowness’ that are often used to justify its condemnation.”[45] And such appeals to traditionalism are no justification at all.

Not only must we stop looking away from explicit sex, we must also start looking at sex in a more balanced manner. Murray S. Davis explains that social scientists too often look at sex either presbyopically or myopically, both of which are exaggerated distances from which to coherently view the subject. “Sociologists like Kinsey looked at sex from so far away (as though with the wrong end of a telescope) that they observed only an exterior behavior without human meaning. Psychologists like Freud looked at sex so closely (as though with X-ray eyes) that they saw through it to observe only an inhuman and meaningless interior instinct.”[46] We are today in a position to bring interpretations of sexual behavior (aka porn) and shared human experience into a more balanced and sharper focus. In doing so we restate the question of pornography’s place in society in anti-authoritarian, liberating, and reasonable terms, and along the way come to understand that aspect of us that is perhaps what makes us most human.

 


NOTES

[1] Brenda Love, The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices (London: Greenwich Editions, 1999), p. 215.

[2] Karen Ciclitira, “Researching Pornography and Sexual Bodies,” The Psychologist 15, no. 4 (2002): 191-194.

[3] Love, Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, p. 215.

[4] Ciclitira, “Researching Pornography and Sexual Bodies.”

[5] Jill C. Manning, “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 13, no. 2-3 (2006): 131-165.

[6] R. George Kirkpatrick, “Collective Consciousness and Mass Hysteria: Collective Behavior and Anti-Pornography Crusades in Durkheimian Perspective,” Human Relations 28, no. 1 (1975): 63-84. https://tinyurl.com/hxgovkb (accessed February 21, 2017).

[7] Michael C. Rea, “What is Pornography?” Noûs 35, no. 1 (2001): 118-135. https://tinyurl.com/jsarw8r (accessed February 21, 2017). Emphasis mine.

[8] Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin and Paul H. Gebhard, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (Philadelphia and London: W.B. Saunders Company, 1953), p. 671. For a no-holds-barred tour of the Bible’s most perverse and obscene contents, see J. Ashleigh Burke, The X-Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible (Houston, TX: J.A.B. Press, 1983).

[9] Laura Kipnis, Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), p. 176.

[10] Lynda Nead, The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 91.

[11] Kipnis, Bound and Gagged, p. 162.

[12] Anne G. Sabo, “Highbrow and Lowbrow Pornography: Prejudice Prevails against Popular Culture. A Case Study,” Journal of Popular Culture 42, no. 1 (2009): 147-161.

[13] See, e.g., April Haynes, “The Trials of Frederick Hollick: Obscenity, Sex Education, and Medical Democracy in the Antebellum United States,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12, no. 4 (October 2003): 543-574.

[14] Jack M. Beckham II, “From ‘Seedy Roms’ to DVDs: Virtual Sex and the Search for Control,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 24, no. 3 (May 2007): 225-32.

[15] Peter Johnson, “Pornography Drives Technology: Why Not to Censor the Internet,” Federal Communications Law Journal 49, no. 1, Article 8 (November 1996): 217-226. http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/fclj/vol49/iss1/8/ (accessed February 21, 2017).

[16] Laurence O’Toole, Pornocopia: Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1998), p. 61.

[17] Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 12.

[18] Kipnis, Bound and Gagged, p. 177.

[19] “Medical Fetishism,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_fetishism (accessed February 22, 2017).

[20] F.M. Christensen, Pornography: The Other Side (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1990), p. 28. Emphasis mine.

[21] PoorOldKilgore, “’Objectification’” (video) YouTube, May 24, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er9Od2XsYdg (accessed February 19, 2017).

[22] Clarissa Smith, “Pornography for Women, or What They Don’t Show You in Cosmo!” Journalism Studies 8, no. 4 (2007): 529-538.

[23] Sheldon Ranz, “Interview: Nina Hartley,” Shmate: A Magazine of Progressive Jewish Thought 22 (Spring 1989): 15-29.

[24] Challenging Media, “The Price of Pleasure – Noam Chomsky on Pornography (Extra Feature) – Available on DVD” (video), YouTube, July 23, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNlRoaFTHuE (accessed February 19, 2017).

[25] Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. 6. – Sex in Relation to Society (Philadelphia: Davis, 1913), p. 263.

[26] John M. Murtagh and Sara Harris, Cast the First Stone (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957), p. 2.

[27] Lisa Palac, The Edge of the Bed: How Dirty Pictures Changed My Life (Canada: Little, Brown & Company, 1998), p. 147.

[28] Liza Featherstone, “You, Me and Porn Make Three,” Psychology Today 38, no. 5 (Sep/Oct 2005): 84. Available online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200509/you-me-and-porn-make-three (accessed February 22, 2017).  The 2004 study cited is by Sheila Garos, et al, “Sexism and Pornography Use: Toward Explaining Past (Null) Results,” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 16, no. 1 (2004): 69-96.

[29] Miodrag Popovic, “Pornography Use and Closeness with Others in Men,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 40, no. 2 (April 2011): 449-456.

[30] For an example of this overgeneralization, see Ian Cook, “Western Heterosexual Masculinity, Anxiety and Web Porn,” The Journal of Men’s Studies 14, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 47-63.

[31] For an example of this kind of misattribution, see Jennifer P. Schneider, “A Qualitative Study of Cybersex Participants: Gender Differences, Recovery Issues, and Implications for Therapists,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 7, no. 4 (2000): 249-278.

[32] Christensen, Pornography, p. 103.

[33] Featherstone, “You, Me and PORN Make Three,” p. 85.

[34] Fabio D’Orlando, “The Demand for Pornography,” Journal of Happiness Studies 12, no. 1 (2011): 51-75.

[35] The creators of Comedy Central’s South Park show cleverly highlighted this concept in the episode “Over Logging” when they had one of their characters say, “I need the Internet to jack off. I got used to being able to see anything at the click of a button, you know? Once you jack off to Japanese girls puking in each other’s mouths, you can’t exactly go back to Playboy!” Throughout the remainder of the episode, this character explores such categories as “interracial gang bang,” “shemales” and “Brazilian fart fetish porn.”

[36] D’Orlando, “The Demand for Pornography.”

[37] Daniel Linz, “Online Pornography Is Not Addictive,” in Emma Carlson Berne, ed., Online Pornography: Opposing Viewpoints (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007), p. 66.

[38] Kingsley Davis, “Sexual Behavior,” in Robert K. Merton and Robert Nisbet, eds., Contemporary Social Problems, 3rd Ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), p. 350.

[39] Ned Polsky, Hustlers, Beats, and Others (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1967), p. 188.

[40] Nead, The Female Nude, p. 97.

[41] Greta Christina, “Tears,” Greta Christina’s Blog, March 19, 2010, http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/03/tears.html (accessed February 20, 2017).

[42] Ralph Acampora, “Zoos and Eyes: Contesting Captivity and Seeking Successor Practices,” Society & Animals 13, no. 1 (2005): 69-88.

[43] Ferdinand Tönnies, Community and Society, trans. Charles P. Loomis (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1957), p. 34.

[44] Feona Attwood, “Reading Porn: The Paradigm Shift in Pornography Research,” Sexualities 5, no. 1 (February 2002): 91-105.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Murray S. Davis, Smut: Erotic Reality / Obscene Ideology (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1983), p. xxvi.

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