Most everyday users of pornography are heterosexual men. Looking at, and masturbating to, pornography is the routine practice of large numbers of men. And most of the commercial pornographic industry caters to heterosexual men. These men – and their consumption of pornography – are the subject of a growing body of research. This chapter offers an overview of what we can learn about heterosexual boys’ and young men’s use of pornography, focusing particularly on quantitative studies of the extent, nature and meaning of pornography consumption.
In today’s world, sex has become commodified and industrialized. We see it all the time in print publications, television commercials, cable television shows, major motion pictures, and adult entertainment. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry that misuses and abuses sex and represents it in disturbing ways. Pornographers sell and produce films based on teen sex, torture porn, humiliation, and/or racist caricatures.
Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people, with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Particularly among younger children, exposure to pornography may be disturbing or upsetting. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships. And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials, consumption intensifies attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault. While children and young people are sexual beings and deserve age-appropriate materials on sex and sexuality, pornography is a poor, and indeed dangerous, sex educator.
Don’t Be A Dick is a zine written (mostly) for men about the connections between the construct of masculinity, rape culture, and mainstream pornography. It combines (hopefully accessible) theory and personal experiences to address sexual assault in personal relationships. The zine also includes a section on radical consent.
This post is a partial response to finishing the book, Love and Pornography, by Victoria and Garry Prater.
What immediately follows is from the book Love and Pornography (2009). (See the previous post for more.)
Cameron Bustamante describes the beginnings of conversations among men about sexual violence.
There has been much talk at this conference about the need for men to love each other and be willing to speak openly about that love. That is important; we need to be able to get beyond the all-too-common male tendency to mute or deform our emotions. But it’s also crucial to remember that loving one another means challenging ourselves as well. That’s what I would like to do today, to challenge us -- in harsh language -- on men’s use of pornography. In an unjust world, those of us with privilege must be harsh on ourselves, out of love.
Pornography and prostitution are overwhelmingly not 'choices.' They are vast, exploitative, patriarchal-capitalist industries, largely violent, very lucrative, controlled by women-hating men, and destructive of the women (and children) who are victimized by them.