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Author Topic: Can it be ethically/logically proven or not proven that Porn is "demeaning" to women?
Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
quote:
I honestly don't know. Women are fickle things.
If this is intended seriously, then this is more indicative of your attitude towards women than your porn-viewing habits.
Obviously this was meant tongue in cheek. Saying "I hope this is meant as a joke" and left it at that without elaboration would have been more polite.
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Teshi
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Was that impolite? If you meant it as a joke then it doesn't apply. I noted the fact that it could have been a joke. If you are offended by it, I apologise.

Whether the comment applies to you or not, it is meaningful. It is your real attitudes towards women that matters most. If you watch porn and you find it makes you treat women like carp or view them in a different way, then you should probably re-examine your viewing habits. If you are still respectful and considerate towards women, then you are okay.

As for whether the industry itself harms the women it employs, I think the answer is a lot more complex. If you buy clothes from third world countries then likely you are exploiting just as many people.

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Blayne Bradley
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I'm used to people on this forum generally being overly snarky to me.
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Teshi
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I wasn't being snarky.
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Phanto
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Gee I wonder why they are.
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
If you watch porn and you find it makes you treat women like carp. . .

. . .then you've been watching some very odd porn.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

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Achilles
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:lol:
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Teshi
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Deliberate.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I wasn't being snarky.

I didnt say you were, I just thought originally you were, I was explaining why I was being defencive.
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Teshi
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I still am not being snarky. I am merely confirming. This isn't snarky either.

!

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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by ambyr:
quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
If you watch porn and you find it makes you treat women like carp. . .

. . .then you've been watching some very odd porn.

You got me. (I find myself typically sauteing women in butter with a little salt and pepper and a twist of lemon.)
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
Mike, I apologize if I offended you, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with stating the belief that a generalized portion of people are behaving in unhealthy ways. I certainly know many people who think that my supposed prudishness is unhealthy, and I don't begrudge them that opinion, though of course I disagree.

quote:

As a result, I don't understand what the revelatory "like me" bit was attempting to accomplish.

No offense was taken. The "like me" bit was to remove the hypothetical.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I still am not being snarky. I am merely confirming. This isn't snarky either.

!

I know you are.

!?

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mr_porteiro_head
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I'm not being sarcastic. This is just a little speech impediment. I can't help it.
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JennaDean
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Oh, Kids in the Hall!!! I had forgotten about them.
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Oshki
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"Can it be ethically/logically proven or not proven that Porn is "demeaning" to women?"

I don't think it needs to be proven that porn is demeaning to women. It is one of those givens. Enemies need to be turned into a less then human objects so it is easier to kill them. Slaves need to be turned into a less then human objects so they can be kept working and the owner can still get a good nights sleep. So to turn a human being into an object for selfish motives is wrong. Oh, that includes women.

The only problem is that women know what they can do to a man and how much it pays and sex being a powerful human fact of life, that unless all men and women suddenly are overcome with modesty, there will always be porn.

I just wonder: If a homosexual undresses in front of a mirror is that porn? I mean they want the same as what they see in the mirror. Maybe their issue isn't biologicial at all but a strange form of Narcissism? I mean they could be whatever/whoever they want vicariously. Has psychology ever addressed this question?

Don't men and women rejoice one in the other for being who/what they are without any vicarious overtones?

(The /"what" was added to who/ in order to cover those that need to see women as objects.)

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Blayne Bradley
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Which begs the question, if you clone yourself and have sex with your fully adult (although maybe a bit younger) clone of yourself, is that being gay or is it just masterbation? Assuming the clone is indeed a clone in every literal sense of the word (memories, personality, everything).

You could also think of it as, what if you went back in time 5 minutes and had sex with yourself?

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scifibum
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Oh for goodness sake.
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Oh for goodness sake.

Agreed.
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Oshki:

I just wonder: If a homosexual undresses in front of a mirror is that porn? I mean they want the same as what they see in the mirror. Maybe their issue isn't biologicial at all but a strange form of Narcissism? I mean they could be whatever/whoever they want vicariously. Has psychology ever addressed this question?

Well, yes. A century ago.

Happily, it's moved beyond that.

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scifibum
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To be clear, ambyr, you're responding to the last question in the paragraph - right?
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
To be clear, ambyr, you're responding to the last question in the paragraph - right?

Yes.
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Amanecer
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I have a hard time seeing porn as necessarily demeaning to one gender. Certain types of porn can be demeaning to each one. But as I've known just as many girls as guys who were habitual users of porn, I don't see it as a gender issue.

I don't use porn and I find regular use of porn to be a slight turn-off although far from a deal-breaker. I think that sexuality within the context of emotions and commitment is just a lot more sexy and exciting than without.

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Lyrhawn
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I can see how a lot of people would assume that porn is either primarily or automatically demeaning to women, but I don't necessarily agree. Like many other things in our culture, men are objectified as much as women in both exactly the same and in different ways.

Also, porn is both broad and specific. In other words, there's a kind of porn out there no matter what your particular predilections.

I do however think that overusing porn (like overusing anything) can be a big negative, in a couple of ways. One, like Tatiana mentioned, I think watching too much porn can cement certain reactions to sex that might impede rather than improve people's sex lives. There are certain Pavlovian responses you don't want to mess with. Second, like much of what television does these days, it can create unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of what sex should be like. I think there's a lot of that already in media, and I think it's been a net negative to society, but I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. We've been having to attempt to sort out what we really want and what we think we should want for a long time now.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Which begs the question, if you clone yourself and have sex with your fully adult (although maybe a bit younger) clone of yourself, is that being gay or is it just masterbation? Assuming the clone is indeed a clone in every literal sense of the word (memories, personality, everything).

You could also think of it as, what if you went back in time 5 minutes and had sex with yourself?

Well that's neither her nor there. I'd call that narcissism at its' most extreme.
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Vyrus
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Indeed.

I think the whole "degradation" thing comes down to a bunch of technicalities based on what exact application you mean by the word.

1)Do you mean that it causes women, or others, to be "degraded", or to be viewed as objects solely for pleasure or sex, or as beings less than the person watching them?

Yes, this is sometimes true, but anybody that can get this view of somebody just from watching them perform a sexual act probably had leanings towards this sort of mental strain in the first place. The exceptions being what kind of porn. A man, or indeed, a woman feeling better than, superior to, or expressing pity towards the opposite sex for performing any sexual act obviously already had this kind of mindset and other problems of their own. Someone that feels this way towards somebody else, for say, performing in a donkey show, is probably a relatively normal functioning person, as this is a typical reaction.

So, sometimes, but not always.

2) Did you mean that women feel degraded, ie, lesser than, humiliated, etc., towards the opposite sex or about themselves in general?

As I've stated before, whether or not someone would feel personally humiliated, lessened, or degraded by sexual acts for money or on camera is entirely decided by their own temperament.

So, if you want to know if porn can cause women to be viewed in an unpleasant light, sometimes, yes it can.

If you want to know if porn make women feel this scorn and contempt and develop low self-esteem or complexes because of it: possibly, but not necessarily.

There are many actresses in porn who are perfectly functional members of society, of the family unit, who are active in their community, despite what they do in their "dayjob" is atypical.

They might, however, be viewed in an unpleasant light.

Semantics, eh?

The answer to both of these viewpoints is a resounding "maybe", a definite "it depends."

And, I'm glad somebody finally referenced KITH. I'm on a quest to look up every old episode [it was before my time, sadly, so no old tapes).

Every time I reference it IRL nobody knows what I'm talking about until I show them.

On an unrelated note, does anybody notice the weird parallelisms between KITH and Whitest Kids U'Know [sic] on IFC?

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advice for robots
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"There are many actresses in porn who are perfectly functional members of society, of the family unit, who are active in their community, despite what they do in their "dayjob" is atypical."

How many? I'm curious to know what percentage of porn actresses fit this description.

It's funny how we became a bunch of lawyers when the subject of porn came up. Don't make waves. Talk about it like it's a large sum of money sitting between us--clinically. Shush anyone who has strong feelings about it.

If the wife feels offended and/or betrayed by her husband's use of porn, I guess the husband can either explain to her that this is a typical reaction for some people, depending on their temperament, and that some people don't find, and why should they, porn to be offensive or degrading but rather derive normal healthy fulfillment from it; or he can put her interests over his and stop using the stuff and chalk it up to the compassion and sacrifice that healthy relationships are actually made of.

Or better yet he could give it up all on his own volition so that there is that much less of a barrier between him and his wife.

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Samprimary
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Being against porn as a hideous evil seems so anachronistic, like it's something straight out of the brimstone ministries of the mid-1960's.

I'm still, occasionally, re-reading this thread over and shaking my head with amazement.

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JennaDean
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quote:
And, I'm glad somebody finally referenced KITH. I'm on a quest to look up every old episode [it was before my time, sadly, so no old tapes).

Every time I reference it IRL nobody knows what I'm talking about until I show them.

You need some older friends. Branch out. [Wink]

And I, for one, am one of those against porn as a hideous evil. Of course, I'm also against sex outside of marriage, so I'm apparently just generally anachronistic.

I'm not against porn because it objectifies or demeans women; more because of what it can do to the viewer. Personal experience has shown me that it can damage real-life relationships. It can cause distance and unrealistic expectations. Having a head full of other people does not bring one closer to one's spouse. The difficulties involved in a real relationship - having to care what the other person thinks and wants, having to accomodate their schedules and feelings, etc. - make it so that porn is easier than a real relationship. One may find oneself turning to porn instead of doing the work it takes to actually be intimate with a spouse.

Of course, this is true of any self-medication, but that doesn't make it any less bad for a person.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If the wife feels offended and/or betrayed by her husband's use of porn, I guess the husband can either explain to her that this is a typical reaction for some people ... or he can put her interests over his and stop using the stuff...
Yes. And in the same way, a wife who is hurt that her husband spends all his time in his woodworking shop might reasonably ask him to put her interests over his own and stop woodworking so much. But at no point does this mean that woodworking is bad for all marriages.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I'm still, occasionally, re-reading this thread over and shaking my head with amazement.

You're still occasionally rereading this thread? It's not quite two days old.
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JennaDean
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quote:
And in the same way, a wife who is hurt that her husband spends all his time in his woodworking shop might reasonably ask him to put her interests over his own and stop woodworking so much.
But woodworking isn't likely to interfere in the bedroom (other than taking too much time), or give him unrealistic expectations of what his wife should look like or behave like, or give him thoughts of other nude women when the only pictures like that in his head should be of his wife.

Is it so prudish to think that a man should be faithful even in his thoughts and desires? Pardon me - I mean a spouse should be faithful even in his/her thoughts and desires. It goes both ways.

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jebus202
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It's not too prudish no, but it's also not ridiculous for a spouse to fantasize about other people, fantasies are safe and they don't hurt anyone and are better than alternatives. Ultimately it comes down to the two people who are actually in the marriage. If the women feels the man she is with has no right to fantasize about other women, and he feels he has every right, and neither are willing to back down from their position then the marriage becomes incompatible. It's no one's fault, really, it's just the way things go.

But really it's silly to build-up pornography as this big thing women have to compete with. 99% of the time pornography is not competition in any form, it's relief and not a substitute and it doesn't change people's expectations or desires. I've used porn while in relationships with it somehow warping my sense of reality. Frankly, I have no desire to establish a relationship with the kind of women that you would see in porn (that is in terms of the limited amount I would know about this porn-star i.e. big breasts, thin waist and knows how to gyrate). It's not real, it's just fantasy, and that's the crux of the issue.

I can fantasize about being fighter pilot (to steal from the other porn thread), but that doesn't mean I'd ever want to be one.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by JennaDean:
quote:
And in the same way, a wife who is hurt that her husband spends all his time in his woodworking shop might reasonably ask him to put her interests over his own and stop woodworking so much.
But woodworking isn't likely to interfere in the bedroom (other than taking too much time), or give him unrealistic expectations of what his wife should look like or behave like, or give him thoughts of other nude women when the only pictures like that in his head should be of his wife.

Is it so prudish to think that a man should be faithful even in his thoughts and desires? Pardon me - I mean a spouse should be faithful even in his/her thoughts and desires. It goes both ways.

It seems to me that romantic movies involving incredibly attractive people that give people unrealistic expectations of how their spouse should look and act fit the same criteria that you are using to condemn porn, although it is possible that I am incorrect in this. If you don't think they are bad, could you explain where you see the difference?
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JennaDean
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I do think romantic movies can do the same damage (generally in women's minds, although I suppose there are men out there too) as porn can do. Depends on how involved a person gets into them. Little girls growing up with the Cinderella idea of love can have a really hard time transitioning from looking for Prince Charming to living with Mr. Right.

Anything that makes you wish your spouse looked more like {attractive celebrity} or behaved more like {unrealistically romantic hero} damages the relationship.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Anything that makes you wish your spouse looked more like {attractive celebrity} or behaved more like {unrealistically romantic hero} damages the relationship.
Wow. Sounds like people, upon marriage, should seclude themselves in caves or hermitages to avoid running into other couples made of more attractive people.
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JennaDean
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Yep, that's exactly what I meant.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If the wife feels offended and/or betrayed by her husband's use of porn, I guess the husband can either explain to her that this is a typical reaction for some people ... or he can put her interests over his and stop using the stuff...
Yes. And in the same way, a wife who is hurt that her husband spends all his time in his woodworking shop might reasonably ask him to put her interests over his own and stop woodworking so much. But at no point does this mean that woodworking is bad for all marriages.
Hey, keep me out of this! [Wink]
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fugu13
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JennaDean: if I'm understanding right, you've conceded that porn doesn't necessarily have such an impact, so when it doesn't your objection doesn't stand?

edit: that is, just like someone can watch unrealistic romantic comedies without distorting their expectations, there're plenty of examples just in this thread of people who have watched porn without it distorting their expectations.

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scifibum
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My expectations WERE distorted - I asked my wife to sign up for pole dancing classes - but she quickly reset them. [Smile]
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JennaDean
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I have no experience with porn NOT having that impact. I just have to take the word of people who say it doesn't do anything to them. I will admit I have a hard time understanding how someone could have those images in their head and have it not affect how they view women or what they consider sexy; I know that images I've seen pop into my head at the most inopportune times. But perhaps that's just the way I'm wired, surely everyone isn't like me. I think people just need to police ourselves and know whether what we're viewing and imagining is damaging to our relationships and our ideas of intimacy.

Other than that, I can't honestly say that I have no objection to porn as an industry. My objection though is not that it demeans women. I don't like porn on principle because it publicizes what I think should be a private thing. That's where it differs from "romance movies".

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fugu13
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And you don't have a problem understanding how someone could have images of handsome suitors from romance movies in their head and not have it affect how they view men or what they consider sexy?
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advice for robots
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If the husband spent his breakfast with the newspaper held up between him and his wife at the table and ignoring her, would she be out of line asking him to put the paper away, and would that be a reasonable sacrifice for him to make to strengthen his relationship? He could argue instead that he needs to read the paper and that breakfast is the perfect time to do it, and the paper isn't a bad thing after all. He could continue to argue that and wait for his wife to see the reason behind it, and possibly do some damage to their marriage in the process.

In this case, it doesn't really matter what the activity is. If it's turning into a bone of contention in the relationship, then a reasonable question to ask is whether the activity is worth more than peace and more closeness in the relationship. If porn is as harmless as some are saying here, then it shouldn't be a problem at all to give up for the good of the relationship, right? If, on the other hand, it proves too hard to give up and continues to get in the way, then perhaps it's a little different than the daily newspaper or a length of pinewood, and the problem isn't just a simple matter of time management.

I say porn is much more damaging, in stripping away self esteem, blocking clear and useful thoughts, and poisoning relationships. It is not necessary in any circumstance, the way hard drugs aren't necessary, and similarly addictive and damaging in the long run. It is attractive in the same way the Sirens were attractive, with the same consequences. Any perceived benefits it might have in the short run can be gotten by other means. Couples don't need it to enhance their...coupling. Wives don't need it to keep their husbands happy. Men don't need it to appease their fantasies. Those are my feelings about it.

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fugu13
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The last part of your post does not seem consistent with the first part of your post.

You go from talking about how couples can arrive at understandings about what keeps their relationship working to saying that porn is something outside of such understandings that should just be given up no matter what, as far as I can tell because you assume it will:

One, never help anyone, despite several statements in this thread alone about porn being beneficial to the poster's relationship,

and Two, be something the spouse will be against, again despite several statements in this thread about a couple both being okay with the porn consumption they've been involved in.

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advice for robots
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I was responding to two separate threads of discussion and neglected to make a clear distinction. One is that porn can get in the way of the closeness between a couple in the sense of time management and priorities. That's what I was talking about first. Then I was qualifying that by saying that porn isn't just a matter of time management the way reading a newspaper might be, but far more damaging. And I realize that some have been talking about the benefits of porn. I am saying that, according to everything I have experienced and observed, the damage porn does far outweighs any perceived benefits.
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scifibum
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"I am saying that, according to everything I have experienced and observed, the damage porn does far outweighs any perceived benefits."

It's VERY clear that "everything" you have observed does not include observations that might be made from this thread. In essence you are discounting the evidence that doesn't accord with your bias.

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fugu13
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Could you specify what the damage porn causes is when the other member of the couple doesn't find the time spent on porn disruptive, and the one viewing porn manages to act like a mature adult and not let his or her perception of the opposite sex be distorted (at least any more than it is distorted by normal viewing of, say, romance movies)?
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It's VERY clear that "everything" you have observed does not include observations that might be made from this thread. In essence you are discounting the evidence that doesn't accord with your bias.
What she's observed is people reporting their own observations about porn. That's not the same thing as observing it herself.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
It's VERY clear that "everything" you have observed does not include observations that might be made from this thread. In essence you are discounting the evidence that doesn't accord with your bias.
What she's observed is people reporting their own observations about porn. That's not the same thing as observing it herself.
If so, then I jumped the gun. But my impression is that she was not limiting her scope to direct personal experience. (Or else would not have said "experienced and observed" - just "experienced".) If that's the case, stories about how porn is benign or beneficial for some relationships count as much as stories about damage done by it.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But my impression is that she was not limiting her scope to direct personal experience.
I'm not talking about just personal experience either.
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