Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pictures of Birds and Bees Doing Stuff

After I published this post on my prudish proclivities, I was asked a couple times why no porn? The topic in general is a reoccurring one among the blogs, and not viewing such material is important to many (Who’d have thought the LDS would get me thinking about porn :-)?).

I’ve no moral feeling that it’s inherently wrong, and I can’t deny that visceral button would get pushed if I were to switch over to Google right now and type in… what? “hot gay sex (tastefully done and nothing too exotic, please)”. It’s a popular American pastime, and many participate, I gather (in the porn part, not the gay part, except around these parts ;-)).

But I won’t do that, and now I’m wondering why. There’s no filter at my lab, and I’m often alone here; heck, it’s my small business anyway :-). I’m sure I could call and ask Rob’s okay, so as not to sneak, and I doubt he’d complain; he might tease me though. We both feel kind of the same way about it: It’s not wrong, we’d not consider it near cheating, but we don’t want it.

So in deep non-pornographic porn introspection I come up with a couple things that make the idea of switching my browser over and searching for such right now unappealing:

1. I’d imagine just looking is not where it’d end. That next step takes away from such together, and I’m not a young man anymore, not to mention it being a bit of a hassle and kind of funny in such an environment. Clear enough? If not, please don’t ask :-).

2. I’m sure part of it is that, like most heterosexuals, such wouldn’t be the only outlet for my orientation. My orientation is attracted in every way to the person to whom I go home. On this topic and speaking of This American Life, last week’s was all about the Ten Commandments and one segment was about a man who was a devout Christian but found himself being attracted to women and thus “coveting in his heart,” here. I’ll not recount the whole story but in his case pornography helped stop something worse, maybe for the same reasons pornography is not a help to many, gay or straight.

3. While I think it’s fully their choice and I’d not chastise them for it, the job of porn producer or model is just not one I want to encourage. I’d not want to be involved in the business. To be clear, I don’t think the law should stop adults from producing and posing, but there’s just something about it that feels wasteful. No offence, I feel the same way for American Idol :-).

4. Okay, okay there something seedy about the work too, to the gut; still, that’s just the habit of my gut. I could imagine it having completely noble uses (e.g. in fertility clinics, research). I could imagine, under different circumstances, seeing it as a desirable outlet. But even at that, I’d have a hard time encouraging the work by paying for it.

5. I need more information than a picture to fully get to my orientation. It’s not the typically female sort in only its aim; it’s the stereotype in the emotional aspect too. I’m sure many gay men don’t get both, but I think more do than admit or understand. I’m attracted to men I perceive as competent, family oriented, loyal, and ethical; you know, good at building a home, just like the guy I have :-). The morphology of the body is only partly attractive without the idea of them fitting that mold, and, let me tell ya, I don’t see finding that in a professional porn model. Call me an occupational bigot, I guess. Nah, give me, say, Russell Crow in Gladiator; he has the morphology and the story ;-).

6. I don’t want such in our home. I don’t want it on my computer. There are kids in our home and that limits a lot of such freedom; soon they’ll be using the internet and they are already into everything in an unguarded second. Of course I’m sure many do it responsibly and I don’t want to come off as near saying it’s a case against their parenting. I just don’t want to have secret hiding places or to figure out all the stuff about cleaning up my internet tracks in order to do it safely. It sounds like a lot of work, and, with past experience with coworkers, it’s too easy to mess up. Best not complicate things if they aren’t already complicated, right?

Anyway, that’s why I follow all the dire warnings against porn ;-). Again, I know many like it and have found a use for it, for perhaps a pragmatic solution to a difficult problem. I want to be clear; I take no issue with that. Unless it involves a couple areas for which I’d rather not think up a list, I see no speck in the porn viewer’s eye. But, to me, in my life, it all sounds like more work than it’d be worth. I’d rather read a porn star’s blog than that; at least it’d be a perspective I’ve never seen before :-). (Do porn stars have blogs?)

15 comments:

Mr. Fob said...

There's also the fact that porn can be very addictive, and I don't know about you, but I prefer to feel like I'm in control of my decisions.

-L- said...

Amen to Mr. Fob.

And, um, Scot... "I’m not a young man anymore." I'm trying to resist mocking you.

Scot said...

I’m sure you’re both right. It’s probably like any addictive substance in that many could sample and some would get addicted while some would not. Again, I’ve seen it before and still don’t want it, but it’s probably best to not find out if the potential is there… Or I’d also imagine that one may not be taken with the stuff but after long use become addicted to it. Maybe it's like friends I’ve known who began as “social smokers,” only doing it about once a week for years? I've known a couple to suddenly become chain smokers.

And, um, Scot... "I’m not a young man anymore." I'm trying to resist mocking you.

Mock if you must. Just remember back to being in your teens. Then remember Rob and I have been together for near 15 years… I’ll not quantify it, but there’s a difference in abilities between now and then ;-).

Edgy said...

Some porn stars do have blogs. I'm not sure how to find them. I know I stumbled on one once, because I thought that would be an interesting blog, but the grammar and spelling were . . . well, let's just say that stereotypes exist for a reason.

Marc said...

Hmm. I'm gonna spout a slightly different opinion on the "porn is addictive" topic.

I think it's only addictive as long as it's a morally dirty / guilty activity to you.

This may offend some, but.. church leaders often ascribe more potent power to things they feel are "evil" in order to keep people from doing them. You could almost call it a lie, except that it's usually based off of honest fear and ignorance.

When I first left Utah and popped out of the closet, I started watching a lot of porn. After a while though, it gets to be like vanilla ice cream. Nice, sometimes, but pretty one-dimensional.

It gets boring.

Especially if you're in a loving and sexually active relationship - the real thing is just plain better in every way.

"Intimacy" is far more personally powerful than "sex". It involves an emotional connection on top of the physical attraction. Pornography can't even match sex, because you can't join in on the emotionless movements happening on your computer screen.

Scot, I'm not surprised at all that you don't feel much allure to pornography.

One good use for it though - Watch it *with your partner*, to glean new ideas for positions and such. They do get creative, since they're forced to go at it for so long. You can even make a game out of matching what the guys do on screen with your partner in real life. Spice things up a bit. ;)

However, if watching it is going to give you a massive guilt complex, I personally wouldn't bother.

As Bjork says in that snazzy song of hers.. "There's more to life than this!"

Marc said...

"Maybe it's like friends I’ve known who began as “social smokers,” only doing it about once a week for years? I've known a couple to suddenly become chain smokers."

Now cigarettes on the other hand, from personal experience..

*very addictive*

Nothing gets you crabbier and lashing out at your loved ones faster than a good solid nicotine habit mixed with the phrase, "Dude.. I can't find my lighter."

Mr. Fob said...

I think you may have a valid point there, Marc. For a long time I haven't considered porn so much a morally bad thing as an ethically bad thing. I don't like that it transforms people into objects and I don't like the power that it can--for whatever reason--have over the viewer. FoxyJ came across an article somewhere a few weeks ago that talked about how porn in essence molests the viewer--that it reaches out of the screen and basically gets in your pants. I'll ask her where she read it, as it seemed like a unique take on the issue.

Scot said...

Edgy
"but the grammar and spelling were . . . well, let's just say that stereotypes exist for a reason."

Oh Edgy, if only you knew the dark horrible secret concealed (somewhat) by my computer’s constant vigilance at spell check. “Vigalence” for example… How could I cast a stone for getting paid to take off your clothes?

Marc:
"I think it's only addictive as long as it's a morally dirty / guilty activity to you."

You make a good point. I’m really out of my area of expertise here, and I guess I’m not sure how or if it becomes addictive. I know there is research but I’ve never found a reason to look it up (L? didn’t you mention it a while back?). Nevertheless, this point of view does make sense too.

That This American Life episode I mentioned kind of goes along the same lines.

"Spice things up a bit. ;)"

LOL. Now I feel odd that I’m blushing in front of my computer screen.

"However, if watching it is going to give you a massive guilt complex, I personally wouldn't bother."

Nah, I wouldn’t see that happening, unless it got to the point where it did become a sort of addiction.

Mr. Fob:
"that it reaches out of the screen and basically gets in your pants"

I don’t think my computer has that peripheral device. Does it attach to a USB port?

playasinmar said...

Not a USB port. They use the "scuzzi" interface.

Mr. Fob said...

Yes, the wonders of modern technology. :)

Here's the link, courtesy of FoxyJ, if you're interested: It's from Salon.com.

Marc said...

Re: The Salon article..

It seems a bit of a stretch to conclude that I've been "molested", or that "my body has betrayed me" when I pick and chose to watch something of my own accord.

Our bodies have natural triggers that turn on our sex drive. It's a survival feature, and an intrinsic part of being human. You watch a certain flick, it's gonna push your buttons. We know this. If you didn't before, well.. you know it now. You can no longer feign surprise.

If you find a particular film is "too powerful" for you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, don't watch it! Pick something milder, or just turn it off. The choice is yours.

It is my opinion (not to my knowledge, a proven fact) that compulsion or addiction to porn arises out of repressed sexuality.

There's a certain thrill in that moment when you "give in" and watch something "naughty". You're constantly on the lookout if you're worried about someone (wife, parent, roommate) walking in on you.

It's a different story completely if you're free to say, "Hey honey! You wanna watch one of these? Which one looks good to you?"

Remember the comparison to ice cream?

Hmm. Maybe Ty and I are just weird like that.

Mr. Fob said...

I don't know that it's been scientifically proven either, but there's no doubt in my mind that the moral/religious stigma many place on porn gives it a lot more power than it would have otherwise.

Scot said...

Playasinmar, I hope to meet you at my next boring social event.

Though I’m now embarrassed at thinking how far I could go with computer technology and innuendo; it feels wrong from both ends :-). I’m not sure, but I believe the next line would have something to do with the typical use of scsi interfaces with hard drives. See? Wrong from both ends.

From the article:
But consider the idea that by going straight into his brain those images, distilled like moonshine, clarified and made impossibly strong, take him, as it were, against his will. He is not the actor. He is the one being worked on. He is passive, powerless before the images.

I feel the same way each time I see an ad for the Training Table on an empty stomach. I know it’s not right, but I want cheese fries, and, my kids, they got to eat somewhere anyway, right?

I can understand the bit about porn being designed to artificially thrill the eyes in a way that real bodies may not; that’s the product’s aim. I can see how that could diminish a view of a more realistic and average body. But I think this author is expressing a different way of thinking about the mind in his (assuming by the picture) blame. Forgive the following , it’s long and I’m kind of working this through myself, and no one needs to watch: :-)

To me, choice and will is there but all qualia take us against our will. It just comes by our programming, in idealism or materialism. A red apple to the senses feels like a red apple, not like a naked man or naked woman or naked hammer, but it could. We simply don’t choose what red apples feel like. That’s programming and given to us regardless of what we want a red apple to feel like, and even if we were to will a change in the qualia associated with a certain object and succeed, that particular will must come from the motivation found in another bit of qualia, which again is ultimately outside our will. Will simply does not come from nowhere.

This man describes porn as a motivating input; his “victims” are conflicted by various motivations but once all are weighed they still choose to attempt to experience that qualia. All that debate and calculation and will though comes to us as qualia too. Now he’s telling them it’s not really their fault, they aren’t the actor; they’re the victim, deserving pity, and I’m sure that qualia feels good to them too. Hey! Particularly if they are morally conflicted about it but do it anyway (perhaps where Marc’s point comes in?).

Simply, if you type in www.hotbuxomnurses.org, you either did it as an act of will aimed at receiving the related qualia or you didn’t do it (It was perhaps an accident of random key strokes? Try that excuse.). To me he is as much of an actor filling his vision with pleasing images as the guy filling his mouth with pleasing food. He lets the porn into his pants as much as the food into his gut, as much a victim of forced qualia in both cases. I’d be hesitant to label him “molested,” particularly in the face of most people who have actually been molested by the conventional definition.

Now, addiction I suppose occurs when the qualia you find in a certain act causes you to neglect attempts at most other joys in life in favor of the one act. I can see this happening with porn, or eating, or drugs, or even blogging :-). I see no reason to draw a line at chemical substances. The measure, to me, is not a clear one but it should be based in the results of the act that brings the qualia. Does it cause you to neglect your duties? Does it occupy your thoughts when unavailable? Do you neglect taking care of your health for it? And so on.

If people choose porn like they sometimes choose going to a movie, I don’t see a problem with that… If they spend every hour in a theater, though, I’d call that addiction.

Marc:
It is my opinion (not to my knowledge, a proven fact) that compulsion or addiction to porn arises out of repressed sexuality.

Thinking on it, I’ve thought and written something similar here regarding sexual activity in the gay community by those who think it immoral. By my observation they tend to be the most apt to use anonymous and risky sex. They do treat homosexuality as an addiction and it treats them right back as an addict.

It's a different story completely if you're free to say, "Hey honey! You wanna watch one of these? Which one looks good to you?"

So my bias was right? I take it this is one area where you could most aptly judge a book by its cover ;-).

Remember the comparison to ice cream?

Ice cream? Is this a gay LDS inside joke?

playasinmar said...

I would love to attend your next boring social event! (especially if you describe it that way right before inviting me)

I'm pretty good at livening-up the dead spots at gatherings. Just check my references. Why, just days ago, I livened-up the Matis FHE pre-game show by describing to those around me how to host a rave in their very own homes!

Mr. Fob said...

Now, addiction I suppose occurs when the qualia you find in a certain act causes you to neglect attempts at most other joys in life in favor of the one act. I can see this happening with porn, or eating, or drugs, or even blogging :-).

I think this is a good qualifier to my initial comment. I'm not sure exactly what the ice cream reference is supposed to be, but it's a pretty apt connection in my case--it bothers me just as much that I feel compelled to eat a very large serving of ice cream every night before bed as it would if I felt compelled to view porn every night before bed. Ice cream is certainly not evil, but eating large servings every night does have a negative effect on me if I let the compulsion take control out of my hands.