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Porn stereotypes; Female Performers Making $450K a Year?

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from www.usustatesman.com – Pornography has had a bad rap for as long as it has existed; it supposedly distorts relationships, diminishes sexual desire, causes addiction and increases sexually aggressive attacks. However, with a little research, I’ve realized pornography really isn’t all that bad; and, in fact, it can have positive effects on viewers.

One of the strongest criticisms against pornography is that it objectifies and, therefore, degrades women. I disagree; the men depicted in porn are just as objectified as women. So, why would the women specifically be degraded? In Jerry Butler’s book “Raw Talent,” he claims women in the porn industry can make upwards of $450,000 a year, more than six times as much as men.

This is a positive affirmation of women choosing to make a lucrative living by empowering themselves and their bodies. In an AskMen — an online men’s magazine — interview, Ron Jeremy [pictured], a prominent porn star with a master’s degree and two bachelor’s degrees, said female actresses in porn films were happy with their jobs and their lives in general, and producers of porn watched for those who weren’t happy and let them go.

Another criticism of porn is that presenting the perfect woman decreases men’s sexual desires for “real-life” sex. But are porn stars really beautiful? Are their bodies perfect? Well, that all depends on who you ask; and many people would say “No, they are not.”

Men aren’t as stupid as people seem to think they are, and they know how to differentiate fantasy from real life. And, guess what — women watch porn, too. According to TopTenReviews.com, about one in three porn viewers are women; women just tend to keep their cyber-activities secret, when men tend to be more open.

Although men pick up plenty of flack for watching porn and, therefore, criticism about contorted expectations of sex and relationships, the real thing to criticize are the smutty romance novels that so many women love.

These truly distort relationships. Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist, said romance novels take emphasis away from safe sex and give women unrealistic expectations of men who can magically read their minds and are essentially perfect. Unfortunately, some women can come to believe this is how men should be. I’ve known women who base their search for a life partner around the ideal men in the books they read, but I have yet to meet a man who is looking for the perfect porn star wife.

Yet another complaint regarding pornography is that it causes addiction. Again, this is not true. According to researchers like Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D., compulsive behavior — not addiction — is what fuels a pornography obsession. Those with compulsive behaviors are more likely to engage in compulsive pornography viewing; but anything done compulsively and excessively is negative, including exercising, drinking, smoking or fervent religious practice. In addition, a study done by the University of Hawaii shows that pornography viewing has no increasing effect on violence toward women and can actually decrease it by allowing sexually deviant behavior to be carried out alone.

Those who make negative claims about pornography have almost entirely no research to back them. Jill Manning, a sociologist at BYU, gave a presentation to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and made claims about the negative effects of pornography, but she gave no sources actually related to the claims made. For example, she said children risk being given reduced parent-child time, experience traumatic emotional effects, none specified, and come to believe marriage and having a family are unattractive prospects. I’m not sure how claims like these can be presented to the Senate without substantial information to back them up, but apparently they weren’t successful because, unsurprisingly, the porn plays on.

And thank goodness it does, because studies show that porn can actually have incredibly positive effects on individuals and relationships. A study conducted in Denmark shows that individuals who watched porn consistently testified that it increased their sexual desire, knowledge and even basic life quality, and these positive effects increased the more they watched porn. AskMen says that porn can promote healthy relationships when one partner is less sexually driven than the other, and it can also allow partners to find and show each other what they desire.

In my opinion, the bottom line is viewing pornography is not a bad thing. Of course, non-consensual behavior like child porn is a crime and should be actively fought against. But when one or more adults are living their private sexual lives and finding enjoyment in them, why does it bother us? Whatever happens between adults behind closed doors in nobody’s business but their own.

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