“Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.”

“I think that sexual education, and porn education, is more vital and effective than censorship.”

When we consider banning porn who are we protecting or punishing?

Those involved in the making of it? Those who watch it? Those who are affected because of the way porn influences the society’s ideas about sex, objectification of women and women’s sexuality?

In this interview Feminist erotica director Erica Lust talks about how ‘traditional chauvinistic porn are part of a patriarchal structure’ and more. In her opinion, “porn is a discourse about sexuality and works like an educator about sex and gender.” 

She makes a lot of sense.

Porn needn’t be smutty: Feminist erotica director Erica Lust

Let me share some quotes.

1.

“…why do you think more men than women watch porn? Because most films cater to the male gaze only! Alternative erotica offers more diversity, higher production standards and exciting narratives that both genders can enjoy!”

2.

In chauvinistic porn, the sad reality is that women are often taken advantage of, abused and forgotten when they have been “used.” I want to have an alternative to that! There is no reason sex in film should all be done in a smutty, shady, exploitative manner – it can be done in a safe space, artistically, humane and with respect for everyone involved.

3.

My performers, men and women, … are all sex-positive and smart people, who understand that sex is a beautiful thing and nothing to be ashamed of!

4.

Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender– so if a massive part of the cultural landscape, meaning traditional porn, is chauvinistic in its portrayal of women and embodies regressive ideas about women, sure those ideas are going to rub off when they are presented time and again. That’s why it’s important to have positive alternatives.

5.

I think sometimes as a woman, it can feel as if your sexuality has been hijacked – maybe by society’s ideas about sex, social stigma, mainstream porn, unrealistic beauty standards. To enjoy sex, you have to think about what you want, what desires and fantasies you want to entertain and what makes you happy, and also what doesn’t make you happy.  It’s good to know that all the images we see about sex are not necessarily true.

 

Another link,

It is no secret that adult content available caters largely to men; it is “disturbing”, says Manchanda how much of it is misogynistic. More than 90% of all explicit adult content contains violent imagery and derogatory language towards women…  [Read more: Saying it explicitly: Why Indian women watch porn]

Related Posts:

Ban on porn? Many adult sites inaccessible from Indian ISP

‘a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women.’

Who benefits from banning of Porn sites?

Does porn affect how men view sex, women and children?

An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

What the hell is difference between a homemaker and a porn star?

Three Ministers, including the Women and Child Welfare Minister caught watching porn in assembly.

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Several well-known businessmen arrested in Hyderabad on Sunday for being involved in a high profile prostitution racket.

“Such mannequins will excite men and pose a danger to women.”

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

The Guwahati mob molestation video and the Gurgaon mob molestation video.

Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

 

24 thoughts on ““Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.”

  1. It is seriously worrying how violent even “normal” porn is. When boys get access to porn without proper education about how violent and different from sex it is, what are the consequences? When they regularly watch women being violated by two men at the same time, showing neither pleasure not the consent of the female?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. More than that, I worry that young boys will think that this is what women “should” like, because they saw a porn star doing it on camera. It leads to highly unrealistic expectations, where boys think that sex= doing things TO a woman not with a woman.

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    • You can replace the word “porn” with “Bollywood” and your comment would be still true! No one is crying for a ban on Bollywood movies though:/

      We cannot protect kids from ever seeing anything bad or morally questionable. What we can do is try and instill a sense of fairness and critical thinking and hope that they will be able to navigate life correctly. Btw, most of the porn sites only allow access for users 18 years and old – not kids.

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      • I agree.
        I’m not saying porn should be banned, it shouldn’t. But I don’t think it works like an educator about sex and gender anymore than typical bollywood movies do.
        And for what its worth, there has been a lot of backlash recently about the stalking=love trope in typical bollywood movies.
        Also, the 18+ thing is quite easy to circumvent. As far as I know, the website just asks you if you are above 18. How many kids ( by kids I mean teens younger than 18) would really let that stop them?

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    • Porn is extremely dangerous in a conservative and sexually repressed society like ours.

      Indian men are anyway conditioned to have contempt and disdain for the “weaker sex”. Mix to that, the objectification of women, lack of sex education and porn — you have a potent cocktail of misogynistic sexual norms.

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  2. I am not much of a porn fan , though I have watched it many times and I have mostly liked it to certain degrees . But I am quite against the porn BAN like any other ban .There are some misconceptions around porn and here are some points which I think should be considered .

    1. Porn is not a means to educate children . You should expose children to sex education before they access porn . My first sexual content exposure was around the age of 12-13.Parents and schools also have responsibility if censoring and controlling access to any wrong media of sexual exposure to kids . Internet is a very small area and internet based hardcore porn is even smaller.

    2. Porn for adults comes in many levels , I see regular form an extension of fantasy and no harm in it as long as it was filmed on consenting humans and under hygienic conditions.

    3. Violent porn , child porn , rape porn , multi partner porn and animal porn are disliked by most of the men and are catered to only certain section of sick society .If we can have a means to regulate this section , It will be more effective and avoid feeding criminal minds.

    4.Many adult men( and small percentage of women) watch porn , majorly during their teens and early 20s. when they start leading sexual lives , they reduce visual stimulation. Many people who cannot have a partner rely on porn for pleasure . which is widely accepted and unless u are really spending 4 hours a day doing it no one really cares.

    5. There is no direct connection to crime against women / children and porn . A person who is capable of crime uses porn as an excuse . And most regular people don’t go about raping women after watching porn .

    6. Men have also accepted that they are not like the men in the porn , in terms of body ,size of the organ, stamina or flexibility . If they are sensible they won’t expect their women to be same .
    And I think men and woman can also learn few tricks from porn.

    Most of the people grow out of porn and won’t bother to even watch it after a certain age and sexual exposure , Banning is not a solution as its practically imposible to impose such a ban in current internet world. rule , regulations and proper punishment for criminal activities for anyone involved in crime during filming or after consumption should be the key.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I disagree with some of your points actually. Do a simple search on the more popular porn websites(not at work pls) and you’ll find that a lot of the videos consist of violent content. And multiple partner videos are extremely common. There is a growing market for this.
      And boys of my generation–those who have been exposed to internet porn–expect women to “perform” during sex, like the porn actors; expect them to be shaved and waxed; expect them to perform some of the “tricks” porn stars do in videos. Like hello, that looks painful.
      But yeah there is no sense in banning it…it’s techincally banned in the country I live in but there are proxies

      Like

    • I disagree with some of your points. Research by Claire Dines has shown that regular, sustained consumption of porn numbs the mechanism of sexual arousal.

      Many men find themselves needing more and more hard core porn to get aroused and excited. Men who regularly consume porn almost always gravitate to more and more extreme versions.

      It’s been found that sustained and frequent porn consumption also changes the way men view women. Men who are frequent viewers of hard-core violent porn have been found to exhibit more hostile, objectifying attitudes and dehumanising behaviour towards women.

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  3. Misogyny existed long before pornography became rampant – and therefore I find it difficult to believe that porn alone is the cause of the crimes being committed against women these days. I think it has more to do with the fact that more and more women are realizing that they no longer need to depend upon men for their survival.
    In my experience, what I find “normal” or “ok” or “doable” in my relationships is definitely influenced by the films I watch (including porn), so I have to agree with Erica here. When we all agree that porn has the power to influence young minds, why not do something about making a positive change in the way sex is portrayed?

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  4. This might be a step in the right direction.. But won’t female friendly videos cost more to make? So won’t they end up behind a paywall? If people are willing to pay for it then fair enough. But only those who want to see it will go looking for it specifically. It won’t change the way most people view porn, on free-to-view sites.

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  5. Instead of banning porn, I think what we should be doing is to find a way to make it more pleasing for women. Most porn out there only caters to men. Have porn that shows women taking a more active role in sex than just being tools to give men sexual pleasure. Of course, it’s been years since I saw any porn, so it might have developed from those days …

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  6. I have mixed feelings about this. Porn (as it exists) seems extremely misogynistic to me. This is why I’ve always been put off by porn. The women look sad, empty, passive, and they are clearly being used for male fantasy. The women who work in the porn industry are often exploited and abused and most people think they don’t deserve any rights.

    What Erica Lust is proposing seems to make sense – make porn cater to women so women are subjects not objects – but I’m not sure how much of a dent this will make to men viewing misogynistic, violent porn?

    I think we need a healthy view of sex and sexuality and need to understand that women and men are sexual equals – we should certainly work on sex education to achieve that. With pron, on the other hand, the answers are not so clear. There’s more room for damage rather than building healthy attitudes.

    Yes, ban on anything is never a good idea – that will make it go illegal/underground, which will endanger the lives of women who work in the porn industry. Perhaps keep it legal but regulate it tightly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another thing that is concerning is the availability of porn in a country where sex education is severely lacking and attitudes toward sex are repressive. Many girls have very little understanding of their bodies, their menstruation, their body parts/functions, their rights over their bodies, and reproductive health. This ignorance leads to a lot of exploitation, as it is. Many boys are not raised to think of girls as sexual equals, rather they see them as conquests. In this environment, porn can take on ugly hues, exaggerating the objectification of women and a male centric view of sex, which can make life so much harder for women who have very few rights and practically no voice in a marriage. Since the majority of Indian women get married and the majority of them end up in unequal marriages, the impact on them should also be a consideration. I think what our country desperately needs in sex education, without which, porn can potentially enhance the prevailing virgin-whore view of women in our society.

      Like

    • Yes, and all the claims of being “sex-positive” are just hypocritical. How does American society treat female porn stars? Are they respected for the work they do? Is porn work considered just another form of work, deserving of dignity and respect?
      Or is it that American society pushes porn stars into the same spaces that are reserved for other sex workers, where they are objectified and looked down on?

      If porn is really so liberating and “sex-positive”, American society should treat porn stars with the same respect as they do an accountant, or fireman.

      After all, it’s just another profession, isn’t it?

      Like

  7. Sumana (Moonbeam) too has blogged on this subject.(Porn ban)
    http://kaapizone.blogspot.in/
    I posted my comment there.
    I am copying and pasting that comment here too.

    ===========
    I agree with you.
    I am not against porn as such.
    Let mature adults enjoy them in privacy if they need this stimulation or if this is their only outlet for relief from sexual urges.
    Why insist that it be made available on the net where it can do harm to others?
    Let it be available on cassettes , DVDs, and let there be special cinema shows with entry strictly regulated.
    Let it not be illegal to watch porn unless it is child porn.
    But let us protect children and the under aged from easy access to it.
    This ban will help save several man hours and hopefully it will be used better.
    Also , probably, Facebook , Twitter, and blogging will get a boost, now that this “distraction” is out of the way!
    Regards
    GV
    =============

    Like

    • @GV
      Let mature adults enjoy them in privacy if they need this stimulation or if this is their only outlet for relief from sexual urges.

      By “mature adults”, sir, do you mean biological adults or “legal” adults? Because this is primarily true for only for pre-legal-adult teens (i.e their only outlet for relief from sexual urges).

      I am in further disagreement. Consumption of porn only as relief from sexual urges? Not merely as an act of free will?(*) I feel that even consent from one’s own spouse must be required only if that was a mutually agreed upon condition.

      P.S:(*) – Of course, the porn itself must be produced with the free will of all actors. The same conditions hold for the porn you approve for relief from urges.

      Like

  8. I have two options basically:
    1. I might like to take a cynical view of Erica’s claims and simply regard them as an attempt to promote her “product” to attract consumption, and also to adopt a self – righteous stance saying “my kind of porn is good”, or
    2. I might want to agree with her assertion that pornography needs to change how the performers are portrayed and the portrayal of the relationship between them.

    Unless sexual curiosity is a biological anomaly or a crime, there is nothing “abnormal” or “perverted ” about wanting to sate it. But is watching porn the “right” way to do it? If not, what is? Can porn potentially have any “educational” value? After all, conventional porn only tends to pander to the tastes of men, as Erica avers. Can people be convinced that porn isn’t necessarily perverted or misogynistic (or misandrist, for that matter)? Will a change in the theme of pornographic videos help change society’s attitudes towards sex and sexuality? These questions are open to debate and discussion.

    Regarding child pornography, the way I see it, it’s a lot more important to commit against trafficking, abuse and exploitation of children than to simply ban child pornography. It must be ensured that little or no child pornography is made and circulated in the first place. Else, a ban will have no merit and will be merely perfunctory.

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    • This is tricky. A lot of underage performers “look” as if they are 18. This also applies to young minors who are trafficked into sex work. Social workers are always told that the girls as legal adults.

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  9. Scriptures are worse than porn – they ooze misogyny and worse, they are the foundation for the Indian society/culture unlike porn:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.in/rita-banerji-/what-sanskrit-taught-me-a_b_6313504.html

    Porn, Bollywood etc are junior partners in crime and just reflect the society influenced by scriptures. And porn, Bollywood etc can be reformed but scriptures are set in stone. So, if at all, the blame should start on top of the food chain. But I am not holding my breadth on someone calling for a ban on scriptures (which I don’t support anyway – best option is to make them completely irrelevant).

    p.s: I highly recommend Rita Banerji’s book “sex and power” – a very shocking, but fascinating read. Excerpt here : https://sexandpower.wordpress.com/excerpt/

    Like

  10. Erotica has existed in various forms in all societies for a long -long time and so has misogyny. Pornography that victimises women and more so children is not a good idea with a society which is patriarchal to its core and there is a dominant “male gaze” in all of its popular media.
    Even TV advertisements for toothpastes or deodorants in India depict a male who takes the initiative for any kind of romance and the woman is passive or an exaggerated version of sexual.

    All content in popular media needs a review by its creators and us the receivers but a ban is certainly not the way to go.

    Like

  11. Here is an analyses of why men watch porn:
    http://www.jaysongaddis.com/2009/03/why-men-surf-porn/

    Here is another analysis of why men objectify women:

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-men-objectify-women/

    Both have two common themes — men surf porn, and men objectify women to feel better about themselves. What I don’t understand is why men (most of them) have to demean women to feel good about themselves?

    Only insecure people feel good by putting others down. What does this say about such common male behaviors?

    You see this in any male-dominated sport. You have cheerleaders in IPL. You have grid girls in F1 races. You have a semi-naked woman holding the round number up in boxing matches. In MOTO Grand Prix events, the winners spray champagne under the grid gilrs’ skirts.

    You don’t see male eye candy at women’s sports events. Do you see male cheerleaders at WNBA matches? Or male cheerleaders during women’s soccer events?

    Why do men feel entitled to eye-candy and sexual gratification in ways that women don’t? In all cultures, there is the deep belief that women exist only for men’s convenience and pleasure.

    Somewhere in all of this, I get the feeling that these are attempts to trivialise and contain female sexuality. As Erica says, it often feels as if female sexuality is being hijacked. I don’t think there is any woman in the world who thinks of herself as an object, and not a subject, a real person.

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  12. Pingback: Does it hurt the first time you have sex? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  13. Pingback: An email: “Even after marriage, he shows absolutely zero interest in me. It’s been SEVEN years.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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