email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDesire, Love, and IdentityDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in CrisisSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe Story of SexThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebVirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshZen Sex
Karen Boyle is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. She works from a feminist perspective and has previously published a book on Media and Violence: Gendering the Debates. In this collection of 13 papers, she has brought together a collection of scholars from the UK, the USA and Australia who focus on the negative side of pornography. This is an interdiscriplinary collection with researchers based in departments of media studies, English, sociology, journalism, law, political science, and philosophy. These papers use a variety of methodologies in their investigations of porn, but they are not very theoretical. This book will be a very useful resource for those thinking about porn and its place in modern society, although readers will want to be selective about which papers they focus on.
The first chapter is an interview by Boyle with Gail Dines and Rebecca Whisnant, who created the Stop Porn Culture website and slideshows, along with Linda Thompson, another anti-porn worker. (Dines is also author of Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality.) They discuss the creation of the slideshow, how they show it, and how people react to it. However, the main use of the interview is as scene-setting for the Stop Porn Culture slideshows. One theme in the slideshow and the interview is echoed in several papers: how pornography has become far more extreme in the last 20 years.
Meagan Tyler examines how the porn industry describes itself in "'Now, that's pornography!': violence and domination in Adult Video News." She points out that the industry itself valorizes violence, pain and humiliation in porn. This is in tension with academic defenses of porn that characterize it essentially non-violent and sexually freeing, or at least inoffensive. She explains how mainstream porn is in fact largely about degradation, hurt, dirt, and close-to forbidden action. Moore and Weissbein explore similar themes in "Cocktail parties: fetishizing semen in pornography beyond bukkake." They argue that modern men are experiencing a crisis of masculinity in a post-feminist and HIV/AIDS culture, and the fantasy of powerful semen is a reaction to this: ejaculate can in porn "produce stigma, claim ownership, humiliate subjects or satisfy a desire." Ejaculating on women is a way of exerting control over them, either as discipline or making them overcome with desire. As a piece of hermeneutics, this paper makes plausible general claims, although inevitably the interpretations can be subject to dispute, and the authors do not do much to provide strong evidence for their suggestion.
One of the most didactic pieces comes from Robert Jensen, author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. He argues that, as the title of his piece says, "Pornography is what the end of the world looks like." He argues that it represents the logical outcome of" the pathological course that we are on in patriarchal, white-supremacist, predatory, corporrate-capitalist societies." Not all readers will share Jensen's assumptions, but his piece is largely in the form of a memoir about what he has done and who he has talked to, and it provides plenty of interesting details, especially about his encounters with people in the porn industry.
Many of the other papers in the collection ask how people, and especially young men, get drawn into using porn and are encouraged to accept the ideologies underlying porn. Karan Black examines how porn is treated as normal and healthy in the popular media while those who object to porn are marginalized. In a short paper she is hardly able to give an exhaustive survey of all the representations of porn in popular culture, and so she is hardly in a position to be drawing any general conclusions. Nevertheless, her discussion of some examples, including the movie American Pie, raise worthwhile points that establish that her ideas are at least worth pursuing.
Michael Flood surveys the use of porn by young men and its possible effects on them. He cites data that indicate that roughly half of young men use porn, far fewer young women view it. He argues that the porn has a significant impact on their beliefs about sex and sexuality, having both positive and negative effects. Some studies suggest that it can reduce shame about one's body and body processes, while others indicate that it can make males more self-conscious about their body and genitals. There is also some indication that viewing porn has an effect on what sexual activities men want to engage in and what they believe counts as normal. Flood spells out four particular concerns about porn's effects: the female partners of male porn users may experience it as a betrayal, the men's use may be addictive, the porn may make the males more sexist, and finally, the porn could be a form of rape training. He finds evidence for all these concerns. He finishes with some suggestions about how to counter the negative effects of porn use on males, and he is especially encouraged by the existence of resistance to porn among some young men.
Other papers in the collection address methodological issues in researching porn, the role of porn in the massive multiplayer online world Second Life, the media reaction to academics studying porn, the role in public debates about regulating pornography, and more. Nearly all the papers are easily comprehensible, avoiding excessive jargon and not assuming familiarity with a particular body of research. Readers who were already suspicious of porn will find a great deal here to confirm their opinion. Those who are more open to porn will be challenged by many of the arguments in these papers; defenders of porn will find the onus is now on them to show that at least some portion of the porn industry is not as bad as depicted in Everyday Pornography and can be separated out from the problematic side.
© 2011 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York