the porn myth

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The Porn Myth is a fascinating article from New York magazine about the effects of pornography on the current generation of young men. It has become pervasive, but the result wasn’t what people expected.

But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.

12 thoughts on “the porn myth”

  1. Ah ha! This explains everything! It’s like how I don’t want a real hamburger, i want a McDonalds hamburger. Which, i believe, might be made up of pure silicon and botox as well.

  2. My take on this article is:

    1. Correlation ≠ Causality. Unless Naomi Wolf provides some hard replicable experimental evidence that porn lowers male libido, or impacts relationships, I call bulshit on the notion.

    2. Naomi Wolf fails to understand that not everyone has the same sexual preferences or even views about sexuality. She seems to interview only a selected group of people who think similarly to her. Whenever she gets an oposite point of view she discredits it.

    Any article which claims X has impact on Y without providing some kind of evidence is a waste of time.

  3. This has been going on for decades in the gay community, where if you don’t look like the latest cover model from Abercrombie & Fitch, you might as well call it a day and buy another cat.

  4. I didn’t read the entire article, but after doing a GIS I’ve realized what a great rack Naomi Wolf has. I’m joking of course. It’s average. NO! Kidding.

  5. hmmm….very interesting, given this piece in the National Review on Wolf’s “religious experience.”

    One of the biggest problems with people like Wolf is, as she demonstrates in the article, is that she projects her issues all over what she’s researching. If she were writing as an investigative journalist, I wouldn’t have a problem with what she’s writing, but she’s supposedly coming from a position of academic and quasi-scientific authority.

    Still part of the problem in proving her hypothesis is that in the U.S.,since the Bush administartion, there’s been a severe curtailing of any research on sexuality. So, perhaps the only measure of whether or not Wolf’s supposition is true could be done by measuring the stats of boob jobs and vaginal reconstructive surgeries instead of just talking to a bunch of folks.

    (oh, just to let y’all know…I met jeff at a cit. journo meeting a couple of months back…found this blog thru that blogroll :-) )

  6. I was somewhat suprised by some of the responses this post got:

    “Any article which claims X has impact on Y without providing some kind of evidence is a waste of time.”

    …Hmm, that and “calling bullshit” on the notion until Wolf provides “hard replicable experimental evidence” is a strong response.

    “One of the biggest problems with people like Wolf is, as she demonstrates in the article, is that she projects her issues all over what she’s researching. If she were writing as an investigative journalist, I wouldn’t have a problem with what she’s writing, but she’s supposedly coming from a position of academic and quasi-scientific authority.”

    …that’s a strong reaction, too. Naomi Wolf is not associated with any academic institution nor, for that matter, is she doing any work in any academic field. She is a popular and controvesial writer who, as far as I know, makes her living my stirring up controversy on matters of current cultural importance. It seems to me she bases her work on personal impressions and these inspired responses make me think that her writing must be designed to stir people to either identify with the ‘insight’ or get so pissed off that they read her work so they can rail against it.

    Though I think her approach to her work often opens up to criticism the very ideals she wants to put forward because of her unsupported and intentionally polemic style. I think the idea in article is, as Tucker says, interesting, though it is written in a way to piss almost everyone off.

    The only problem with all this is that the question “does this new amount of high levels of exposure to more and more explicit pornography (sometimes forming our first ideas about sex) change our desires, fears, and the way we have sex, and is that ok?” is a good one. Her style is pretty sucky, and she’s likely coming from a perspective of wanting to ban porn, which is, in my opinion, a really serious thing to do that would have to be really worth it since it curtails free activity that people obviously want to do, but what about her proposal? Do we think, based on our own experiences, that porn has the effect, or some of the effect, that she’s claiming?

  7. Carrie..Wolf is known as a “sociologist” and often teaches/lectures and colleges and universities. She’s not simply a writer. Never was.

  8. …now, wait a minute. First of all, I already know she tours and talks. Writers do that. And yes, while she was a student she got a Rhodes scholarship, so she had acadmic achievement as a student, but what does that have to do with her career now? Does she have an academic association that I haven’t been able to find? Has she ever worked for a university or college? I’m not tryin to put you on the defensive, here, I’m just saying, if she’s not a member of the academic community, we can’t really hold her to any particular scientific standard. She’s just stirring up shit to get her point across and sell books, as far as I can tell.

    Plus, what I really want to know is, what do you think about the point that she is forwarding? She seems to be raising the idea a a really jerky way, but is there any validity to it, or not?

  9. Presonally, I think that yes we do think very differently about sex and sexuality. But not necessarily because of avaliability of porn. It is because of changing social norms.

    Today, women are independent and empowered. They have careers, and choices. They are no longer bound to the role of a housewife. They are able to make their own choices, and talk openly about their own sexuality without social reprecusions.

    Premarital sex is widely accepted now. It is acceptable for couples to live together before marriage. It is acceptable for unmaried couples to have and raise children together. The way we view marriage and sexuality today is very different from the way we viewed it in, let’s say 50’s.

    Out society is also very open to alternative lifestyles. Homosexuals are now widely accepted, and have allot of positive exposure in the media. We as a society are for the most part very tolerant towards gay lifestyle.

    All of these things change the way we think about and view our own sexuality. It is obvious that Americans raised in this environment where sexuality is openly discussed, will view sex differently than othodox jews from Israel (or wherever she mentioned her friend was). Different cultures, will yield different sexual attitudes.

    You can’t say that avaliability of pornography influenced this change in how we look at sex. In fact, I think it is the other way around. I think the wide avaliability of pronrography is a result of changing sexual norms. As open discussion of sex and sexuality becomes more and more accpetable, the demand for pornography is growing.

    Porn is more accessible, because more people want to watch it. More people want to watch it, because it is no longer marked with such a heavy social stigma. It is not marked with a social stigma, because premarital, or promiscous sex is not really stigmatized these days either.

    Looking at the changing attitude towards sexuality in US over the last 40-50 years could a very interesting anthropological study. But pointing to a single factor (pornography) and claiming it is the source of the change is silly.

    So my previous assesment stands. I want to see some actual evidence which prooves that easy access to pornography is changing sexual norms, and not the other way around. I personally think, Wolf got it backwards.

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