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Is pornography moral?

onesteptwostep

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Just want to armchair about a topic.

Is pornography moral? We could go at this from both religious and non-religious views.

To start, we'll define our terms: pornography is a recording of any sexual activity between two humans, whether it be for sexual pleasure, a quenching of lust, or sexual experimentation. It could be an act of perversion, or a simple satiation of sexual desire, or a longing to preserve a special moment between couples.

This I think is a soft sketch of the definition so feel free to criticize and/or add on.

Anyway onto the status of it being a moral issue: I'll first talk about the it in terms of Christian morality. In Christianity there is a lot of talk about not committing sexual immorality, wherein this concept is more tied in with the 'sexual purity laws' outlined in the Mosaic Laws (in the Torah). Not having sex with your parents, cousins, childern or animals or the same sex is on there, as well as a little part about premarital sex.

(Actually since I mentioned premarital sex, the Bible nowhere mentions the prohibition of it. The Mosaic Laws actually is a reinforcement of the nature of marriage in the ancient world, where it, marriage, was consummated through intercourse rather than invoking of a legal status of marriage (registering to a government). Basically, sex was a bond or a legal act of committing marriage, rather than a simple satiation of sexual desire which we culturally understand it to be in our modern society. So it really wasn't and isn't a religious conception but rather a societal and cultural one, which was merely reinforced through the Laws. The view of not having premarital sex is not a commandment that is directly given by God in the scriptures, like homosexuality, but rather, the prohibition of it is more consequentialist in nature. By this I mean the complication and drama that would arise from having sex with two women in the mileu of monogamy, the risk of pregnancy or the less morally prominent issue and risk of contracting sexual diseases. Basically, it has nothing to do with scripture.)

Anyway so back to pornography: in Christian ethics there is nothing that prohibits the act, whether that be filming it, indulging in it, or distributing it, but I think if the content of the film violates the sexual precepts found with the Mosaic Laws, it would be considered immoral. The content isn't also the issue here too I guess- if any of the related element found within this pornography is morally impermissible, then the entire act would be considered immoral. For example if it had underage children in it, or intercourse with at least one member being married (because then in legality it would be the filming of adultery) or something like using coerced women or men in the film (human trafficking).

So in technicality I think, in modern Christian ethics, it would be morally permissible to have two single, female and male consenting adults to have intercourse and have a film about it.

However before saying the physical content of it is permissible, the viewer of the content would also need to have a certain motive for it to be okay. In the New Testement apostle Paul speaks of how being drunk with the Holy Spirit is more recommendable than getting drunk with alcohol, meaning that if pornography was a method of finding a sense of fulfillment or transcendence, it would be morally wrong to indulge in the whole thing. So in part morality concerning pornography would have to walk a number of other moral questions in order it to be morally permissible. But then a general rule of thumb in Christianity is that, if it feels like it's a sin, staying away from it is more wise than to risk musing the theological implications of it- which is what I believe is how most Christian approach the issue.

Anyway I'll add more to this later- if anyone wants to do one on secular morality, feel free to, or I'll get around to it later in the day.
 

higs

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You are neglecting a crucial aspect of the matter which is that it is a financial transaction with « actors » who are payed to be there.

What you are describing is simply consensual exhibitionism. A discussion of the moral or immoral aspects cannot fail to take the prostitution aspect of it into account.
 

onesteptwostep

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Well prostitution and pornography do overlap, but the 'product' they offer is different I'd say. One is the actual transaction of intercourse for money, while the other is a transaction of a product which is the medium of vonjeurism.

But yes, asking whether prostitution is moral is also another interesting and good question to ask adjacent with this one.

I think fundamentally, the ultimate question underlying sexual issues such as these is the fundamental nature of sex and its purpose- something which I guess isn't thoguht about that often.
 

Serac

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If you're trying to merely figure out if the Bible covers the morality of porn, the answer is no (which, if anything, proves that the Bible is not very useful as a basis of morality). That has little to do with the morality of porn as per "morality" in general.
 

onesteptwostep

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If you're trying to merely figure out if the Bible covers the morality of porn, the answer is no (which, if anything, proves that the Bible is not very useful as a basis of morality). That has little to do with the morality of porn as per "morality" in general.
Ah come on serac, you can't be this intellectually lazy.
 

Serac

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If you're trying to merely figure out if the Bible covers the morality of porn, the answer is no (which, if anything, proves that the Bible is not very useful as a basis of morality). That has little to do with the morality of porn as per "morality" in general.
Ah come on serac, you can't be this intellectually lazy.
huh?

my point is that you're looking at a very particular aspect of porn – the sexual act itself – and doing so in the context of a particular religion. You're not really talking about the morality of porn
 

onesteptwostep

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I opened up the post stating that we'll be looking at it from both religious and non-religious views and that I'll get around to the secular perspective of it later. Read!
 

Serac

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I think sex is used by humans and animals in more complex ways than just for reproduction. E.g. christianity doesn't like homosexuality because it interprets it as a form of decadence – a deviation from the actual "purpose" of sex. In nature, however, sex plays more roles than just reproduction – this can be very clearly seen in e.g. bonobo apes. So for me, the only way to judge porn is in terms of its cost and benefit to society. But in that regard it's similar to e.g. tobacco; it's hard to see what the net benefit of it is, yet it's still a nice thing to have around.
 

Cognisant

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From a secular perspective as long as everyone involved is consenting there's no moral issue. That being said there's limits to consent, minors and animals are assumed to be incapable of consent because an adult can easily manipulate them. Likewise consent under duress (physical, emotional or financial) isn't valid because the person giving the consent is clearly being manipulated.

Adultery isn't inherently immoral, there are some couples that share partners with each other and some cultures where it's acceptable to have multiple wives/husbands.

Imo religious scripture is no moral authority, I don't need no ancient book to tell me how to treat my slaves, kill disobedient children or how much I should beat my wife.
 

CatGoddess

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Creating porn might be immoral if you forced something non-consensual. There's nothing immoral about watching it. You harm nobody and, even if the porn was created non-consensually, it was already there.

It's kind of like eating a corpse. There's nobody "in" there, and you didn't cause them to be dead. All you're doing is eating decaying matter.

So, unless you want to bring religion into it, there's nothing wrong with jacking off and watching an already-recorded video.
 

Hadoblado

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I see a few issues. I don't at all care about the bible so I'll skip that section.

I think an individual instance of porn consumption is fine. But think it likely that the prevalence of porn has greater consequences than that. Porn is the unifying media dictating sexual practice, and a lot of it is violent, coercive, or unrealistic.

Then there's the state of the industry itself. You may not be doing anything terrible, but you may be benefiting from exploitation. I've read different numbers on this, so don't know what to believe, but if the porn industry is as exploitative as some say, then by watching porn you are actively incentivising exploitation.

But I watch porn fairly regularly... so... whatever.
 

crippli

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Porno graph y moral? Studying sex? Making money by study. Consuming? Reading a book to find rules?

I must admit I find the topic confusing. Like how the former connect with the latter. If I've understood the OP, the only correlation with morality is the bible?

What I don't like is, if that's a moral compass to follow, is that lot's of these brave actors are now dead due to various reasons. They pay a high price, for little money, for our, the viewers pleasures. Or like, did they get to enjoy the money?
 

Cognisant

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There's a moral obligation not to watch snuff films or child pornography because by doing so you're funding such activities, but if it's just normal legally obtained porn then it should be fine.
 

Polaris

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...Is pornography moral? This question is extremely limiting as it invites a strict bimodal response. I resent the way you frame questions, as if assuming morals has anything to do with anything, and thereby constraining, no; suffocating a potentially intelligent response.

There is nothing moral or immoral about pornography, in principle.

...
however, it is obviously an extremely complex issue regardless of religious doctrine. The lens through which you are presenting it is simplistic, to say the least.

If people used their brains rather than relying on doctrine, the world would perhaps be a better place, but alas, whether it is porn, money, weapons, or whatever humans will inevitably fuck shit up because religion becomes oppression in human hands, and non-religion seems to invite similar behaviour.

Basically, humans will use any excuse to wriggle their way in the absence of empathy.

And yes, empathy is possible without religion.

I should make a thread: Is religion moral?
 

CatGoddess

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@Cognisant what if it's free?

Also, on a related topic, the UN has moved multiple times to ban lolis. I disagree with that motion because:

  1. lolis, unlike child porn actresses, are not real and therefore there isn't even an actual person being exploited
  2. you only really hear about "evil pedophiles" when they're out raping children; there are people who are inherently sexually attracted to children but refuse to act on those desires. I fail to see how just being a pedo in and of itself can be considered evil, so isn't it good to have a medium that harms nobody through which such people can release sexual tension?
 

onesteptwostep

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Someone could make that topic if they want. I think I'll be the only one arguing from the side of Christianity though, so it might be boring.
 

higs

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Well prostitution and pornography do overlap, but the 'product' they offer is different I'd say. One is the actual transaction of intercourse for money, while the other is a transaction of a product which is the medium of vonjeurism.

But yes, asking whether prostitution is moral is also another interesting and good question to ask adjacent with this one.

I think fundamentally, the ultimate question underlying sexual issues such as these is the fundamental nature of sex and its purpose- something which I guess isn't thoguht about that often.
Pornography and prostitution do not just "overlap", pornography is a subset contained within prostitution, it is filmed prostitution designed for mass distribution, if we accept that prostitution is a sex act accomplished in exchange for financial gain.

I don't usually bother mentioning the origins of words but in this case I feel it is relevant. The term "Pornography" comes from the greek word Porneia which were the underclass of prostitutes (of both genders but in majority female.) and graphia "depiction". So it is literally "depiction of the prostitute." Of course as in most cultures and languages (french : Pute, english : whore/slut, spanish : puta etc" Polish : Kurwa ) porneia or prostitute doubles as a sharp insult so it can also be interpreted as "depiction of filth" or "depiction of the whore". I mention this to point out that prostitutes are generally socially despised across society which is interesting in and of itself. Such contempt is still visible today and porn actresses are not exempt from it (though for some reason porn actors are more so.)

Anyway,

I find it kind of absurd to ask whether or not it is acceptable to consume pornography within the bible, the answer is quite obviously "no."

https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/9-bible-verses-that-teach-that-sex-before-marriage-is-a-sin

The bible has many messages against sex out of wedlock, and lust itself in general, prostitutes are not generally seen to be the sumum of morality within the stories.
 

onesteptwostep

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Well like how I mentioned in the OP the consumption of pornography treads on a variety of other moral issues, which is why I said that there's a narrow, very selective circumstance where the consumption of pornography would be morally permissible within Christian ethics- that one morally permissible thing chiefly being just filming with your parnter for the sake of a memorabilia.

On the link you've provided though I talk about premarital sex in-depth in my post-

Also on your point about prostitution and porn being linked- yeah definately there are some relations there that need to be addressed- I'll try and go over them when I get the chance. A lot of the people here voiced other ways in which porn could be morally shakey, something hado and cog skimmed over briefly, but if I were to add to the discussion I would provide feminist perspectives on porn- that's it's a product which intices violence against the nature of femininity. I'll get around to writing that when I'm a bit more free.
 

Cognisant

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What if anything is morally wrong with prostitution?
 

Adaire

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Probably all the human trafficking. Arizona and Phoenix in particular are hot zones. Everyone not completely oblivious freaks out whenever a child briefly wanders off or teens moodily decides not to answer their phones.

I'm sure most people ethically source their pornography though and don't just watch amateur teen indiscriminately. :pueh:
 

Serac

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Christians love humiliation porn – it's very new testament.
 

Cognisant

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Probably all the human trafficking. Arizona and Phoenix in particular are hot zones. Everyone not completely oblivious freaks out whenever a child briefly wanders off or teens moodily decides not to answer their phones.
I find that hard to believe, prostitution is legal here and we have a problem with people coming from the poorer Asian countries on a tourist visa and earning money here which they send home, the problem being they're not paying any tax. These people aren't forced to do it indeed it would be stupid to try, they get caught pretty regularly and if the crime is working on a tourist visa they just get deported (and banned from returning), but if they say they're victims of human trafficking then suddenly it's a high profile case.

Now I know prostitution is illegal over there so there's no legal and openly advertised services that human traffickers have to compete with but why grab random people off the street when there's easily exploited poor people available? Find an impressionable girl, get her hooked on something, give her a rent free place to stay, get her to fuck your "friends" and when you inevitably get busted just say "hey man I wasn't keeping her locked up, she was free to leave anytime she wanted". Which is technically true and gives the pimp the freedom to dump her and find another as soon as she's outlived her usefulness.
 

Adaire

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Prostitution is legal in some places. Ultimately I don't care what you believe or the mental gymnastics you use to get there. Human trafficking is a real thing, here and elsewhere. If you're that ignorant, that's your problem.
 

Cognisant

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I asked whether prostitution is morally wrong.

You implied that it is immoral because it encourages human trafficking, at least I assume you were responding to me and not just going off on an irrelevant tangent.

I attacked that premise with my reasoning that human trafficking is a high risk strategy for relatively little gain and gave anecdotal evidence as to how prostitution (illegal prostitution no less) occurs without human trafficking.

I never said human trafficking doesn't occur and your dismissal doesn't make the points I've made any less valid.

I agree human trafficking is immoral, I agree that it occurs (in really shitty countries with ineffective law enforcement) but the question I asked was whether prostitution itself is immoral, so is it?
 

onesteptwostep

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I have some time right now so I'll try and start on this:

I think in a non-religious sense, I think it's impossible to start off with certain axoims that would generate a judgement on pornography. But perhaps we could start off with intent: what would be the intent behind the creation of porn? If I were to list them they would be: for financial gain, for entertainment, or for personal use. (I'm not sure why some couples choose to film themselves, though). If the intent is for money, we would have to talk about whether a service such as sex or the viewing of sexual acts, is something that has value, that is, whether something as personal as sexual engagement could be translated into a commodity/monetary value. It would be analgous to asking whether there is a price on life, for example. Is it moral to trade something that is priceless for a certain price?

But of course one could refute this to say that intercourse is merely a means of pleasure for oneself, which does not damage or harm anyone else- but on this subject I would have to disagree. Consummation could be a religious subject in itself, but I think there are grounds outside of religion where sex could be argued as a two-way relation- something that is not merely just biological or transactional but something psychologically bonding and a fulfillment of one's gender. When I mean gender, I mean it not just in the biological sense but in the totality of that person's personhood. It is in the nature of masculinity to bond with a female- and vice versa, that it is in the nature of feminity to bond with a male. To think otherwise, such as that sex is merely a function to sate lust, would be wrong, I would argue. The division of repricial need and attraction from sex would lead to such notions of sex, that sex is merely a unilateral.. need. Therefore, though it is not a morally wrong act in the sense that it does harm to a person, but rather, wrong to the nature and function of the act. Basically, it could be argued that porn does harm to the culture of sex- to put it really loosely.

Furthermore in a certain sense, I'm trying to tie in @hig's idea here, pornography IS like prostituion in the sense it seeks to relieve or sate a sense of lust. One is through visual content while the other is the actual engagement of the act. I think authenticty would be another issue here: pornography or prostitition are merely shadows of the side product that comes out between a healthy male-female relationship- which I guess is sort of a relfection on the nature of sex I talked about in the paragraph above^. It's a form of deception.

I think this could be a way to argue for a morality on porn, that it divides the function that sex is supposed to fulfill in a person.

This is more of a fundamental look into the problem- I think the problems of coersion (human trafficking), difficulties in career mobility, the culture of pornography and prostitution (drugs, and other sensual ways of trying to achieve a sense of transcdence), and the like could be more expanded by another person. These problems would be more external and peripherial rather than inherent, but I guess they're still topics we would need to consider.
 

higs

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Creating porn might be immoral if you forced something non-consensual. There's nothing immoral about watching it. You harm nobody and, even if the porn was created non-consensually, it was already there.

It's kind of like eating a corpse. There's nobody "in" there, and you didn't cause them to be dead. All you're doing is eating decaying matter.
The images are created to be looked at, if there is nobody to watch them then they would not be made. Watching a film where people were coerced into doing it or downloading child pornography is also fine by this logic. This is an industry with producers and consumers.

What if anything is morally wrong with prostitution?
I am more divided on this issue than I used to be. To some extent because of people on this forum (@Hadoblado #Ichangedmymindabit)

However, I can give some of the arguments for why prostutution can be morally wrong.

Most of the prostitution that takes place today is done de facto by people who have few options to do otherwise and would rather be doing something else. With the importance we now attribute to consent, some would say that having sex out of financial constraint is equivalent to being payed to be raped, as sex is something that should ideally be done for the act itself and not some ulterior reason. While one can say that many alienating jobs are done because people have few other options (i.e factory workers or whatever) this is not a good argument because it's just saying "well life/society sucks in general" and furthermore there is something far more intimate, invasive and psychologically intense about letting many strangers have sex with you repeatedly than there is with say, carrying heavy boxes. The rates of PTSD in prostitution are massive:
https://theconversation.com/a-soldier-and-a-sex-worker-walk-into-a-therapists-office-whos-more-likely-to-have-ptsd-71464

Then there is the idea that normalizing sex as a financial transaction is bad for the buyer's consideration of sexual partners in general and encourages them to consider (often female) bodies as instruments for their own pleasure rather than viewing the whole thing as a mutually pleasurable experience between two people. The absolute sexual objetcification if you like, barring perhaps actual rape.

Furthermore countries that legalize prostitution normalize it and this normalization leads to increased human trafficking :


https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-prostitution-increase-human-trafficking/
  • Countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution, i.e. expansion of the market, outweighs the substitution effect, where legal sex workers are favored over illegal workers. On average, countries with legalized prostitution report a greater incidence of human trafficking inflows.
    [*]
    [*][*]The effect of legal prostitution on human trafficking inflows is stronger in high-income countries than middle-income countries. Because trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation requires that clients in a potential destination country have sufficient purchasing power, domestic supply acts as a constraint.
    [*][*]Criminalization of prostitution in Sweden resulted in the shrinking of the prostitution market and the decline of human trafficking inflows. Cross-country comparisons of Sweden with Denmark (where prostitution is decriminalized) and Germany (expanded legalization of prostitution) are consistent with the quantitative analysis, showing that trafficking inflows decreased with criminalization and increased with legalization.
    [*]
    [*][*]The type of legalization of prostitution does not matter — it only matters whether prostitution is legal or not. Whether third-party involvement (persons who facilitate the prostitution businesses, i.e, “pimps”) is allowed or not does not have an effect on human trafficking inflows into a country. Legalization of prostitution itself is more important in explaining human trafficking than the type of legalization.
    [*]
    [*][*]Democracies have a higher probability of increased human-trafficking inflows than non-democratic countries. There is a 13.4% higher probability of receiving higher inflows in a democratic country than otherwise.

I am generally for the nordic model of penalizing the clients, despite the fact that it is not perfect.

The rates of PTSD and abuse are very high within the sex worker population, and it does not tend to attract psychologically healthy people, though of course there may be some healthy people who genuinely enjoy it, it is my understanding that these people are quite rare.
 

Serac

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the nordic model is nonsense. I agree it makes sense on a moral/theoretical level – i.e. that you shouldn't punish people who have been trafficked etc, but in practice this means that the streets of nordic cities are filled with African prostitutes – who have obviously been trafficked – fishing for customers who are willing to take the risk (and these will always exist, as long as there is massive supply of prostitutes, and especially when the prostitutes strategically target drunk clueless people on friday and saturday nights)
 

higs

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Stats definitively show you have way less trafficking than otehr countries though, so even if you are seeing trafficked people you are seeing less than you would elsewhere. What would you propose instead ?
 

Pizzabeak

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If you're trying to merely figure out if the Bible covers the morality of porn, the answer is no (which, if anything, proves that the Bible is not very useful as a basis of morality). That has little to do with the morality of porn as per "morality" in general.
That doesn’t mean the conclusion you think it does.
 

Serac

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Stats definitively show you have way less trafficking than otehr countries though, so even if you are seeing trafficked people you are seeing less than you would elsewhere. What would you propose instead ?
Here's an interesting quote on the Swedish prostitution law:
In 1998, Parliament passed unprecedented legislation penalizing the buyers of sexual services but not the sellers. After just a few years in operation, the law was proclaimed a resounding success by activists and by the government. Yet several
independent analysts, who have examined the effects of Sweden’s crackdown, conclude that it has mainly driven prostitution underground, rendering the activity riskier. And the National Board of Health and Welfare, in three evaluations of the law, concluded that it has not achieved its objectives. The Board’s 2007 report states that street prostitution is on the rise after an initial decline and that many other prostitutes use the internet and mobile phones to arrange meetings. Yet the Swedish government continues to claim that the law has reduced both prostitution and trafficking

I think we can agree it's quite silly to gather aggregated stats across the globe on whether illegalization of prostitution leads to an increase or decrease in trafficking. Each case is different – countries are different, how exactly they make the activity illegal and what parts of it, how do they enforce it etc etc. It's also an extremely complex subject in which to do causal inference. The study you quoted did cross-sectional regression on 150 countries and found that the effect of legalization of prostitution was insignificant overall, and not significant even for the richest countries at a 95% confidence level. They did say it's significant at 90% level but at that point the inference gets very dubious.

Here's what they write about Sweden in that paper:
However, whether or not human trafficking inflows have reduced after the prohibition in Sweden is a trickier question to answer because of the lack of sufficient time-series data on the number of victims. Di Nicola et al. (2005) provide annual estimates of human trafficking victims for sexual exploitation in Sweden during the 2000-03 period, suggesting anywhere between 200 to 600 victims per year. This would mean a share of trafficked individuals among the estimated 1,500 prostitutes of between 13.3% and 40%. There are, however, no available nationwide statistics on trafficking vict ims prior to the amendment in 1999 and therefore, a direct comparison between the pre- and post-prohibition periods is impossible.
come on higs, you have access to sci-hub, don't you? You should start reading the papers you cite :p

My proposition is simple: either ban it altogether and enforce the law in a serious way, or legalize it and turn it into a state-controlled thing like in Austria.
 

Puffy

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I would see the immoral aspects of pornography as rooted in the types of harm it can cause more than anything else. Trafficking has been covered above but also:

-- It's very addictive and very widespread.
-- As an addiction, it causes damage to a lot of actual human relationships which have far greater value than it.
-- Like @Hadoblado said: "Porn is the unifying media dictating sexual practice, and a lot of it is violent, coercive, or unrealistic."
-- Mainstream pornography tends to be framed around male gratification and in a way that treats women as sexual objects. Given the mass consumption of it this has an inevitable damaging translation onto how people treat each other and what people regard as normative and acceptable in the real world.
-- I find this hard to express but it desensitises people to what sex and love is. Sex in a loving relationship is very different to what pornography often depicts as there's often no love in pornography. It substitutes the real thing in people's minds for a dehumanising version. And as the unifying media dictating sexual practice, this inevitably feeds into people's expectations and experience of the real thing.

The above factors aren't deterministic on the individual level. I.e. Individuals can watch porn, have healthy relationships and sex lives, and not be misogynists. But I think on the level of populations it's hard to argue it doesn't have a net unhealthy cultural effect.
 

onesteptwostep

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The above factors aren't deterministic on the individual level. I.e. Individuals can watch porn, have healthy relationships and sex lives, and not be misogynists. But I think on the level of populations it's hard to argue it doesn't have a net unhealthy cultural effect.
I'd argue that if one is conscious of the affect porn does on society on the whole, that it would be personally immoral to consume it. In a way it's a certain type of culturalism. What I mean by this is that it's somewhat like environmentalism, where yes, it wouldn't be personally immoral or inducive of guilt to throw away trash in the street, but when taken as a corporate endeavor by humanity, yes, it should induce in you a sense of guilt for the distortion of the cultural and social functions of sex it causes.
 

CatGoddess

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@onesteptwostep @Puffy But why do you get to decide what the correct cultural and social functions of sex are? Like, why is sex only permissible as an expression of "love"? That suggests, as I see it, that you find casual sex to be immoral/"wrong", which I disagree with; people can choose to consensually fuck for whatever reason they so please.

That is, there's nothing about your usage of sex as an expression of intimacy that makes it inherently better, which means that your preference for that usage is an opinion. So this is, what, an attempt to impose your opinion upon society and culture at large? If culture doesn't conform to your opinion it's just straight up wrong?

Also, @onesteptwostep

onesteptwostep said:
It is in the nature of masculinity to bond with a female- and vice versa, that it is in the nature of feminity to bond with a male. To think otherwise, such as that sex is merely a function to sate lust, would be wrong, I would argue.
That seems rather Christian-influenced; unless I'm misinterpreting, you only think heterosexual, hetero-romantic relationships are morally and intrinsically acceptable because they fulfill "a woman and man's nature"?

Not addressed to anybody in particular: not everybody is able to secure a sexual/romantic relationship that they find satisfying. Porn can just be what it is: a method to facilitate sexual release.
 

onesteptwostep

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Personally I think it's much more holistic and harmonic, which is why I prefer this view. I think sex is an ultimate expression of love, which in its blessings allows us to have children for the building a family unit, which, when looked at horizontally, is ultimately the creation of a culture as a part of a certain civilization. So in a sense if you look at it polemically, sex could be more than an expression of love to your partner, but an expression of love to life itself.

Also, if you divorce love from sex it makes us no more better than vegetables which require sunlight and water because of their natural inclination to thirst for those things. Like I've mentioned before, I think sex is much more than a unilateral exchange, like us watering plants; the pleasure we partake in isn't just for our own, we have to provide that same pleasure to the recipient, and that being a conscious act, makes it an act of love.

That seems rather Christian-influenced; unless I'm misinterpreting, you only think heterosexual, hetero-romantic relationships are morally and intrinsically acceptable because they fulfill "a woman and man's nature"?
No, when I mean masculinity and femininity I mean it in the sense of gender/orientation(?), not biological sex.
 

Hadoblado

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@onesteptwostep @Puffy But why do you get to decide what the correct cultural and social functions of sex are? Like, why is sex only permissible as an expression of "love"? That suggests, as I see it, that you find casual sex to be immoral/"wrong", which I disagree with; people can choose to consensually fuck for whatever reason they so please.
Nowhere do they say that lovelesssex is impermissible:

I find this hard to express but it desensitises people to what sex and love is. Sex in a loving relationship is very different to what pornography often depicts as there's often no love in pornography. It substitutes the real thing in people's minds for a dehumanising version. And as the unifying media dictating sexual practice, this inevitably feeds into people's expectations and experience of the real thing.
I don't speak for Puffy, but what I take from what they say is that porn reduces one's capacity for lovesex. This would be completely different to dictating that lovelesssex is impermissible.

I would be unhappy if, after being introduced to porn, my capacity to lovesex (or that of my partner) were reduced. This would be straight-up harm and therefore, if true, warrants being part of the discussion.
 

Serac

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I assume all the various Christian ideas about sex originated in an early attempt at having a relatively organized society. So one crammed sex into a small box: "an expression of love in a monogamous relationship for the purpose of pro-creation", and called anything besides that "deviance".

human females are known to be attracted to different types of males based on where they are in their ovulation cycle. I.e. they might use sex for various purposes depending on the probability of getting pregnant. So if such behavior is natural, is it Christian? Well, no, because christians have a certain model of the purpose of sex which would disagree with nature in many ways. To the contrary, it's a system of "morality" which starts with the assumption that people by nature are sickly, deranged beasts that need to be kept in check by soviet-style top-down rules. I guess it made sense back in the bronze age, but nowadays? I think we've made some progress that would render such a system of morality obsolete.
 

CatGoddess

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hadoblado said:
I don't speak for Puffy, but what I take from what they say is that porn reduces one's capacity for lovesex. This would be completely different to dictating that lovelesssex is impermissible.
It doesn't dictate that; it just suggests that it's inherently inferior (as I interpret it). Like, if we were talking only about our own preferences for ourselves and potential partners, then, sure, I don't see anything wrong with that POV. However, considering this is a rationale behind porn being immoral, that's basically saying that, it is "bad" for anybody (morality is generally presumed to be a subjective interpretation of universal "goodness") to take an action that decreases their capacity for lovesex. But what if that person didn't care for lovesex in the first place? In what way, aside from you not liking it, is an increase in lovelesssex an inherent detriment to society?

onesteptwostep said:
Also, if you divorce love from sex it makes us no more better than vegetables which require sunlight and water because of their natural inclination to thirst for those things.
First off, unhappy thought =/= untrue thought. Secondly, sexual pleasure isn't "naturally supposed to" specifically be associated with love. Animals just bang each other; humans decide to attach that meaning to the act if they love the person they're doing it to.

Besides, considering we're talking about porn in the first place, how about masturbation? Oh no, you're fucking a fleshlight just for pleasure, now you're a vegetable! But why not be a vegetable if you want only to satisfy your physical needs (/wants)? It's not like eating trail rations, for instance, has to be an expression of love for fine cuisine and culture.
 

Pizzabeak

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If anything, it's used as a model for an argument. Refuting it otherwise clearly states your case, even if you have zero experience with the actual material.
 

onesteptwostep

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First off, unhappy thought =/= untrue thought. Secondly, sexual pleasure isn't "naturally supposed to" specifically be associated with love. Animals just bang each other; humans decide to attach that meaning to the act if they love the person they're doing it to.
I'm not sure what you mean or where you're coming from when you say unhappy thought =/= untrue thought.

Yes, but humans are the only species which created a culture, a civilization. I feel like you've not digested my view in post #35- I see sex as a part of the whole function of reality, of life. It's not to be segregated and to be viewed as something that needs to be taken care of, like if it were a grooming chore. We attach meaning to sex because we attach meaning to life. If we take a holistic rational view at the function of what sex does in society, there is cause for celebration. Furthermore, I don't think we as a superior species should look towards animals for inspiration on what the function of sex is. Did you know that animals just mate with any opposite sex? That includes their offspring, their birthgiver, etc. Sex is not as structured as what the homosapiens have it, nor do animals think about sex critically- their motives for it as purely instinctual, not rational.
 

Hadoblado

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It doesn't dictate that; it just suggests that it's inherently inferior (as I interpret it). Like, if we were talking only about our own preferences for ourselves and potential partners, then, sure, I don't see anything wrong with that POV. However, considering this is a rationale behind porn being immoral, that's basically saying that, it is "bad" for anybody (morality is generally presumed to be a subjective interpretation of universal "goodness") to take an action that decreases their capacity for lovesex. But what if that person didn't care for lovesex in the first place? In what way, aside from you not liking it, is an increase in lovelesssex an inherent detriment to society?
There is nothing wrong with loveless sex. Nobody said that. But if the influence of porn is to reduce the capacity for someone to have lovesex, without them explicitly agreeing to this trade-off, then yes, this can be detrimental to society. I never agreed to such a trade-off before I started using porn. The consumer is ignorant of this side-effect (if it is in fact the case that such an effect exists). Therefore, distributing porn could be seen as immoral.

Less lovesex could also mean less love -> more breakups and broken homes.

Also, if one person in a relationship is using porn, then it's not just them affected, their partner should likely have a say since sex is a mutual endeavor.

Nobody is saying that this point applies to every instance of porn consumption. You're thinking bottom-up. If you don't care for lovesex that's fine. Nobody's saying that's not okay.
 

Cognisant

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If the intent is for money, we would have to talk about whether a service such as sex or the viewing of sexual acts, is something that has value, that is, whether something as personal as sexual engagement could be translated into a commodity/monetary value. It would be analgous to asking whether there is a price on life, for example. Is it moral to trade something that is priceless for a certain price?
To a man dying of thirst in the desert a bottle of water is priceless, granted sex isn't a direct physiological need in the sense that someone will die without it however as psychological need it may have an indirect bearing one's survival. If you accept the premise of natural selection (which is pretty much irrefutable at this point) everything about our physiology and psychology is the result of selective pressures, in other words you can be the world's greatest athlete and a genius without peers but if you don't reproduce it matters naught.

If you don't reproduce your genes will be out-competed by the genes of those who do thus we exist because our forebears reproduced and everything about us, every gene that has survived in the genetic arms race to this point in time has done so because it was the most conducive to the cause of reproduction. So it follows that our psychology (particularly male psychology given that we are more expendable) is utterly fixated on reproduction or rather sex because until only very recently on the evolutionary timeline sex and reproduction were intrinsically linked. Really it's quite amazing that we can think about anything else, but of course we can because it's counter intuitively more conducive to reproduction to not be totally fixated on reproduction.

Anyway there is a strong case to be made that sex (or at least a simulation thereof) is a psychological need that if left unmet has consequences, if there are insufficient women to go around (or insufficient men) it behooves those men (or women, although it takes very few men to be sufficient) to do whatever it takes to rectify the situation, to do otherwise is simply those genes failing to survive. Now the consequence of pornography is that it creates what the Japanese call grass-eaters (herbivores), men who lack that drive to survive because their psychological need for sex is sated by pornography, maybe not to complete satisfaction but enough that other pressures are taking their toll.

I was going to make the point that we shouldn't make the value of sex too high but I've argued myself into the opposite position, huh well this is embarrassing (consults mental map) ah ok yup it's over there. Grass-eaters are a good thing because there's already too many of us and a sexually competitive society is a violent society, take it from me I've been to Japan it's a very mellow/civilized place.

Of course this won't last, as a rule evolution makes everything sillier deadlier and more perverted.
 

onesteptwostep

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Ah the kawaii culture of Japan isn't really based on porn- it was actually a drive to soften Japan's image after the post-war. Off topic but it's worth a mention. Here's a short article on it: http://aas2.asian-studies.org/EAA/EAA-Archives/14/2/843.pdf

In the 1970s, the political consciousness of the sixties leftist student movements waned, and cultures of fashion and mass media flourished. To many observers, this change mirrored Japan’s shift from political idealism to postindustrial consumerism, from men’s ambition to women’s fancy, from the dream of progress to the desire for difference, and from consumption of things to consumption of images.8

...

The relationship of Japanese culture and cuteness has developed on several different levels in the country’s cultural environment. After defeat in World War II and postwar recovery, Japan’s cultural proclivity toward dependence and indulgence seemed to lead the nation to conclude that its political and economic dependence on the United States was the key to success.19 This subservient relationship has perhaps nurtured Japan’s “childish” popular culture.20 The “cute” emperor at the end of the Shōwa reign could symbolize the nation’s conversion from military despotism to pacifism. Cuteness also mirrors the changing conditions of culture from the viewpoint of the disempowered, especially women and children, who are forced to play the roles of incapable and subservient dependents on men. The current trend, seen in the symbiosis of cuteness and aggressiveness, further complicates kawaii as an icon of defiance and resistance of the oppressed groups to traditional gender norms and procreative roles. Cuteness today is a means for expressing identity from the margin of society where powerlessness can lead into subversion.
I made a mention about how pornography could be related to the decline in population years ago with @Architect, but I doubt there's any scientific method into researching this.
 

Cognisant

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Ah the kawaii culture of Japan isn't really based on porn- it was actually a drive to soften Japan's image after the post-war.
I didn't say it was.

Also I don't think it was an intentional drive to soften Japan's image but rather an inter-generational conflict, after the mistakes of WWII and with the paranoia of the Cold War looming over them Japan's culture basically underwent a hard reset as the youth rejected everything about their elders on principle and in doing so created their own youthful (now youth worshiping) culture.
 

Serac

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Did you know that animals just mate with any opposite sex? That includes their offspring, their birthgiver, etc. Sex is not as structured as what the homosapiens have it
this is the most insane thing I've read on intpf
 

Puffy

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I'm fine with @Hadoblado 's interpretation of my post. :-)

I'm not suggesting loveless sex is impermissible or even immoral in a healthy society. I'm saying if something like pornography with such a large monopoly on representations of sex could be demonstrated to diminish people's capacity to have love sex that that has a net damaging outcome for society.

Less lovesex could also mean less love -> more breakups and broken homes.
And more hurt people who go on to repeat hurt relationships and create more hurt people as they weren't exposed to a loving model to repeat. Love is pretty well known to be a core foundation of a healthy psyche and the absence of love causes potentially life-long damage. Any variable that diminishes love in a society likely has unexpected implications and should be taken seriously.

Fyi - I'm a porn user and have been since I hit puberty. I'm not taking a high horse and imposing my morals on others, but I am in the process of evaluating if it's something I want to continue hence sharing my thoughts here.
 

a_ghost_from_your_past

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We have many studies that enlighten us about the availability of porn and a negative relation to rape statistics. So, i will say that as long as males are confident and sufficient in rubbing one off in their private confined space, that's a win. However, i think that the porn industry at large has catered too much into male domination fantasies, like choking, slapping, spitting etc. This leads to an obstruction of hidden male desire for submission. If aforementioned practice, i.e. wanking off to rape porn in the secluded space of their home continues, we are in fact producing weirdo time bombs waiting to explode.
 

Minuend

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  1. you only really hear about "evil pedophiles" when they're out raping children; there are people who are inherently sexually attracted to children but refuse to act on those desires. I fail to see how just being a pedo in and of itself can be considered evil, so isn't it good to have a medium that harms nobody through which such people can release sexual tension?
Have you read up on studies in that area? I did read way back when stuff like animated child porn had a bad influence on pedophiles, finding correlation with abuse. Studies in that area is probably complex and difficult to do properly, but I haven't heard the data is in your favor on this one. I'm not that interested in the topic, though, maybe new studies tells otherwise

There's been studies on how (physical) catharsis actually enhance aggression, so it's not impossible child porn has a damaging effect rather than a preventive one. If you engage in an activity that is able to reduce your empathy with the person or that legitimizes it, that is bad news.

I think that's some of the problem with porn, it reduces your empathy with other human beings.

--

As for the OT, porn in itself is not moral or immoral. If it does have a bad effect on people in general, that's bad, I'd say. We don't want a population that reduces each other to simple minded sex bots. The effect of porn is probably heavily tied to attitudes and perception of sex in society. If people were more open and laidback regarding sex, I think porn and prostitution could have a place where it isn't all negative. I think prostitution could be something positive in a society if we lived in a society with very different attitudes to sex. But the society we live in now only encourages the outsider and sick to seek prostitution. In a way. Considering the taboo and stigma of buying sex, that means only those willing to step outside those boundaries buy sex. Which means those who buy sex are usually deviants in some form or another. If we lived in a society where buying sex was something else, something different, something less destructive, then you didn't have to be dysfunctional to buy sex. And those selling sex didn't necessarily have to be dysfunctional either.

Example taken from if we look away from forced prostitution
 

CatGoddess

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@Minuend, Nah, I wasn't saying I had data to back up loli hentai reducing instances of child molestation or anything. I agree that it would quite difficult to study that, so my statement was focusing on the fact that the hentai is enjoyable for the pedophile and doesn't harm anybody. Like, the pedophile doesn't choose to be a pedophile, so isn't it kind of unfair that, because of the way they were born, they can't enjoy a satisfying sexual relationship in good conscience?

But, yes, it is possible that the catharsis would increase aggression towards children.

minuend said:
If it does have a bad effect on people in general, that's bad, I'd say.
"if it has a bad effect it's bad" LMAO... were you trying to say something else here? :P

On a slightly more serious note, what do you mean when you say "deviants"? There are numerous manners by which somewhat might be a sexual deviant, and I think that the taboos surrounding some of those manners (non-harmful fetishes, for instance) is unwarranted...
 
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