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Porn as Cultural Cure

by Beth Divine 15 Aug 2018

Many people assume that porn has a negative effect on people. The women are portrayed, they say, as submissive objects who only exist to pleasure the men. The men are usually portrayed from the chest down, so are faceless and unknowable, an anonymous threat to any female body they see. Porn, like fashion, goes through trends, and people say that porn is becoming more and more violent.

However, actual studies, undertaken with open minds and painstakingly checked have found that:

-          Countries with traditionally low tolerances of porn have high rape and domestic violence rates. This includes countries that insist on modest dress and behaviour from their women and seek to minutely control their men with religious and legal strictures.

-          Countries with higher porn tolerance – those to whom freedom of speech has always trumped restriction and legislation – have relatively lower rates of rape and domestic violence. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen at all, this would be a gross inaccuracy…

-          And that – crucially – countries and regions that have become more tolerant of porn over time, or who have undergone regime change from religious or legal severity to more liberal outlooks have experienced a reduction in their rates of rape and domestic violence.

The truth is, no one knows how or why this correlation occurs, but it has been proven time and again that it exists and is real.

One thing that naysayers do not consider is the growing use of porn by women and couples. This has led to the sexually adventurous – of both sexes – trying out new things and actually forging stronger relationships. In these cases, seeing their secret desires acted out may have helped to reassure them that such desires are normal and permissible, that they are not ‘freaks’ for wanting to try new positions and so on. The reduction of frustration at this dichotomy between want and act could potentially be one small reason for the reduction in domestic violence, where unspoken desire could be warped into something darker and dangerous…

Anti-porn activists also like to point to the rise of interest in anal sex, claiming that the most popular clips are those showing a woman in pain from being anally penetrated - the so-called 'painal'. Actually, women search for anal porn clips more than men, and there is much more demand these days, porn producers say, for consensual, comfortable anal, where the woman is shown to be in charge, having the power to change position and move as she desires.

Despite the many vociferous voices raised against porn, it cannot be denied that repression and enforced morality results in higher rates of violence against women and that more liberal attitudes towards human sexuality, being accepting of it and not trying to enforce unrealistic expectations of the population has seen a reduction in those crimes.