3.3

The Real Victims of Porn are Men.

Porn makes for a poor sex education.

As the blogging world continues to conversate  about those pesky Toe Sox ads and whether, or not, they are offensive, I sat, watching quietly and wondering why I didn’t take offense. It took me a while, but I finally came to a startling conclusion and the answer is wrapped up in sexuality, pornography and my three little boys.

My sweet, innocent little boys will someday (hopefully not too soon) became lusty adolescents. And while commercials, movies and T.V. shows are carefully rated, sexuality still manages to eek its way into tongue-in-cheek situations. Even in certain well-known animated films that are G-rated. The entire plot of The Incredibles, for instance, is based on the wife’s suspicion that her heroic husband is cheating on her. The content is distasteful, to say the least, but not really dangerous (I’m sure most of this flies right over their young  little minds).

What keeps me up at night is the idea that my little ones’ first exposure to sex is going to come through the media, and eventually, and faster than I would like, through porn.  My reaction to this idea (other than ew, ew, ew) is fear. You see, I’m not concerned that they might see some boobies. I’m afraid that their ideas of what real women, and real sex, and real-women-having-real-sex, is actually  like.

Now, I’ve not seen a lot of porn in my days, but what I have seen has featured women with plastic breasts in a male-centric situation. The fact of the matter is that while real sex can be hot and steamy (and fun) the reality of having a long term sexual relationship with someone is based on feelings of trust, understanding, communication and mutual satisfaction. Those are qualities that tend to exist in the relationship already and then spill over into the bedroom. Two people who love and respect each other enjoying a physical representation of that love.  Rarely, if ever, does porn represent that aspect of sex.

But before you porn-defenders think I’m naive, or worse yet feel the need to provide links to the exceptions (please, don’t bother) let me say that I understand what the purpose of most pornography is for. I really do. I don’t even bemoan its existence. What I do worry about, as a mother, is that porn influences young minds to believe a very graphic misconception of what sex is really like. I mean, it’s so much better in real life, in that soul-satisfying, gazing-into-the-eyes-of-someone-who-adores-you kind of way.

As a pelvic health teacher, the topic of sexuality comes up A LOT in my classes (betcha don’t have those conversations with your students, do ya?). We commonly talk about sexual relationships, frustrations, successes and dysfunction. And you know what? Most of my students feel incredibly pressured to perform. They feel pressured to put out. And 75% of women cannot climax from penetrating intercourse alone.  Sex becomes the elephant in the room where the husband’s not getting it (because he’s not being sensitive) and because he’s not getting it, he becomes even less sensitive. And vice versa for the wife: She’s feeling pressured and so then gives the cold-shoulder, in which case she’s rewarded with more pressure. The real issue is communication. Porn doesn’t teach you that, indeed it’s quite the poor sex education teacher but instead promotes self-gratification over the needs of others (If you want a better resource that both men and women could utilize on that topic,  I recommend this book).

If the real objection to the Toesox ads  is really a question about the objectification of women, as I suspect it is, then I would have to suggest that the underlying, unasked question is: is this pornographic? And in my humble opinion, it’s not.  The difference is empowerment; the women in those Toesox ads are strong and beautiful and capable. They are accomplishing awe-inspiring feats that are worthy of notice and praise. More importantly, no one is being demeaned or degraded.

So there is it is: my two cents on this whole brewhaha.

If you’re someone who can use pornography in a responsible way that has no adverse effects on your real-life sexual relationship, then good for you. And please don’t misjudge me to say that you’re not entitled to your opinion on sex, on porn or on Toesox, because absolutely you are. This one just happens to be mine.

For more on this topic, may I suggest: Why Porn is Teaching Your Man Bad Habits in Bed

and Katie Makkai’s amazingly funny, yet moving, feminist slam poem Pretty (video)

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Sue Mar 5, 2012 11:45am

hmmmmm…if I may add my 2¢ here. Having been married to a porn addict and a sex addict for 14 years I have to say that at the end of the day the victims are my children. Addiction is a very destructive element in any relationship, and with something as readily available as porn it is difficult to detect. Still, like any addiction it comes with lies, manipulation and eventually the addict chooses to either A. seek treatment or B. sacrifice his/her family for the addiction. My family was the sacrifice for my ex-husband's addiction and though I still suffer the effects, it is my children who suffer more. They are completely innocent victims of their fathers life of addiction, secrets, lies, manipulations and in the end a fractured family that leaves them never feeling grounded and constantly stressed. When porn becomes an addiction it is hideously destructive.

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Candice Garrett

Candice Garrett is a yoga teacher, writer, foodie and mother of three from Monterey, California. She is author of “Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness,” assistant to Female Pelvic Floor Goddess Leslie Howard and director of the Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga teacher training program. Candice teaches yoga, prenatal yoga and pelvic health with workshops nationally. You can find her teaching schedule at Candice Garrett Yoga or her love of food at The Yogic Kitchen