Dump your porn-watching husband and fire your male supremacist sex therapist

One of the things we do on radical feminist blogs is discuss the horrible advice given to us by the professionals who are supposed to help us but don’t, and provide a more woman-centered approach. This validates women’s feelings after they’ve been dismissed, ridiculed and gas-lighted by men, it makes us feel less alone, and it gives us the strength to face what we have to do.

Here is an article by a male sex therapist who excuses men’s use of porn as no big deal and his private business, and dismisses women’s objections to it. Now, I’m not an authority on heterosexual relationships, but I am a fully certified Radical Feminist Killjoy with a black belt in taking down patriarchal bullshit, and I think you’ll be quite pleased with my advice.

Husbands Watch Porn, Wives Despair—But Why?, asks sex therapist and professional male supremacist Marty Klein.

Klein opens his article by responding to a standard set of questions that wives ask him when they catch their husbands watching porn, and then explains some things, from a male perspective, about why wives should just disregard their feelings and let their husbands continue their objectionable habit.

Klein believes that porn is an innocent pastime, just entertainment the way romance novels and pictures of cats are entertainment, and that there is nothing for wives to be concerned about. He doesn’t even dimly grasp that porn is violence against women. He isn’t aware that porn represents a male-centered view of sex that is all about men’s use of women as sex objects, that there is verbal and physical abuse of women by men in a large percentage of porn scenes, that porn specifically celebrates male dominance and female submission, that plenty of porn is non-consensual, that many porn scenes specifically celebrate the non-consensual nature of the act, that porn actresses are physically harmed in a lot of scenes because of the brutal treatment, and a large portion of it depicts literal torture and rape of women. For a more thorough analysis than I’ve included here of what is wrong with porn, please read Pornland by Gail Dines and Pornography: Men Possessing Women by Andrea Dworkin (available in PDF). For a quicker read, my anti-porn trio of blog posts can be found here, here and here.

Since Klein hasn’t bothered to notice the really obvious misogyny inherent in the porn industry, the advice he gives to his sample letter-writer is completely ignorant and unhelpful. (Well, it does help the porn-watching husband.)

Klein reports that the wives who write to him asking for advice usually ask the following questions:

  • Why do men watch porn?
  • Why do men promise to stop watching, and then keep watching?
  • Why don’t men understand how their porn-watching breaks women’s hearts?
  • How can I make love with a man who watches porn?
  • How can I trust a man who watches porn?
  • Aren’t there any men who don’t hate women?

Klein gives the following answers:

  • Men watch porn because it’s entertaining to watch naked women (&/or men) while they masturbate. It generally has nothing to do with how they feel about women (or men).
  • Men don’t watch porn because their partners are inadequate.
  • Some men are jerks. Some of them watch porn, others don’t. Most men aren’t jerks. Some of them watch porn, others don’t. Porn-watching doesn’t predict jerk-itude.
  • Men promise to not watch porn because they don’t want to deal with their partner’s pain or anger. It’s an inappropriate promise to ask for, and it’s a foolish promise to make.
  • Men shouldn’t break their promises.
  • Women shouldn’t go hunting for evidence of men’s private behavior.
  • Almost all conflict about porn is actually about something else. If your partner never watched porn, would you two have an ideal relationship? If so (which I doubt), let go of the porn issue and enjoy paradise. If not, talk about the stuff you really need to talk about. If he refuses, let him know that’s a deal-breaker for you.

I’ve got some way more realistic explanations for these important questions.

Why do men watch porn?

There are many factors that lead to men watching porn, and they’re all about equally important. The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that targets boys right from the time they are children. Even before the Internet, boys were familiar with porn in the form of their dad’s “dirty magazines” and videos only semi-hidden in the house, and late-night movies on cable TV, and advertising and magazines and calendars using women’s bodies as props and sex objects. Now that the average kid has a smart phone with Internet access, free high-resolution porn is only a click away.

Men are taught that they are entitled to women’s bodies. They are taught this through all the media they consume and through male-created culture, from locker room talk to social institions such as religion. Men are taught that they deserve beautiful women and that they have a right to expect women to cater to them sexually. Due to an almost complete lack of convictions for rape, and the popular promotion of rape culture, men are taught that they are allowed to “take” women whenever they want, no matter what—women’s willingness is irrelevant. This is something that men relish.

Rape in marriage has only been illegal, in some places, for a relatively short time in history, and is still legal in other places. It is legally and culturally acceptable for men to treat wives as sexual slaves, in many parts of the world, including in parts of North America. The prevalence of prostitution demonstrates that men will treat other woman as sexual merchandise, too—it’s not just wives that are abused.

Since men are taught that women are commodities and sexual playthings for them to use, and since they develop the habit of thinking of women this way right from childhood, it’s not surprising that they watch porn and think it’s normal. It’s heartbreaking, but not surprising. Men can’t understand why women object, because they don’t understand that it’s wrong to treat female people like things. Some of them don’t think we are people at all, and others know we’re people but get off on dehumanizing us.

Although men can certainly masturbate without looking at photos or videos of women being sexually used, they enjoy the exhilaration they get from viewing the sexual use of women and the reminder that women exist for their pleasure. It’s a high that comes from both sexual pleasure and the reinforcement of their dominant position in the sex hierarchy—an irresistible combination for them.

Why do men promise to stop watching, and then keep watching?

Men promise their wives they will stop watching porn, even though they have no intention to stop, because they don’t care about their wives’ feelings, they aren’t willing to examine the problems with their behavior, and their only interest is in getting their wives to stop complaining as soon as possible. They will say anything their wives want to hear so that they don’t have to talk about it anymore. They are interested in nothing but their own comfort.

Why don’t men understand how their porn-watching breaks women’s hearts?

Men are so conditioned to believe that women are things for them to use that they can’t even see that this is happening or that it’s not okay. They believe it’s natural for women to fulfill men’s sexual desires whenever and however men want, and they think that this is what women are for and that women agree with this treatment. They are taught this belief largely by porn itself, and the rest of the culture contributes too. Men are not willing to listen to women and understand how we actually feel. They cannot empathize with us and they’re not willing to try.

How can I make love with a man who watches porn?

It’s not enjoyable to make love to a man who watches porn. You can tell that he’s been watching porn by his attitude toward sex. I’ve heard several straight women now tell me that they can always tell if a man is a porn user by the way he treats her in bed, and I’m not surprised. Porn teaches men that what women really want is to be dominated and treated in a rough and callous manner. If a man thinks of women this way, he won’t be a good lover.

How can I trust a man who watches porn?

You most likely can’t trust him. He doesn’t respect women, and you’re a woman, so he doesn’t respect you. It’s difficult to face this, but it’s true.

Aren’t there any men who don’t hate women?

There are very few men who don’t hate women. In order to change this, please join radical feminism and help us create a culture where the sexes are equal and men are not allowed to abuse women. By fighting back against male supremacist institutions like the porn industry and prostitution, we tell men that they are not allowed to abuse us and they have to treat us like the human beings that we are. Men aren’t born hating women, this hatred is learned, and we need to teach a different lesson.

Our sex therapist explains:

“Some women seem to feel that there’s an implicit contract that their partner won’t watch porn, even though he never suggested such a thing. Therefore, they feel betrayed when he “breaks” the “contract.” That’s a mistake. You can dislike his porn-watching without deciding it’s a betrayal.”

Dear women, it’s not a mistake to assume your husband won’t watch porn, and to expect him not to. You have many legitimate reasons to expect that he won’t. For example, on your wedding day, he stood up in front of his and your family and friends and your religious leader and he promised to be faithful to you forever. Deliberately seeking out other women’s vaginas to get off on is not a part of being faithful, and he is breaking that promise. He also promised to love you. If his behavior indicates that he hates women, then that extends to you too. If he’s watching videos online of men shoving their penises down women’s throats until they gag, vomit and cry, or if he’s watching videos where “Dad” molests the babysitter, or videos where several men gang-rape a college student who was looking for her next class, then you are right to suspect that he hates women. It’s horrifying to realize that the man you thought was in love with you actually doesn’t think that women are fully human. Women who realize this will often use strategies to pretend it’s not true, such is convincing themselves that those women in the videos really “wanted” the abuse, or that the small amount of money they may have been given as compensation makes the abuse not hurt them, or that abuse is something sexy and fun, or any number of other excuses. Or they may not make excuses, they may repress their knowledge and just refuse altogether to think about it. But those repressed hurt feelings will eventually cause ulcers if they are not dealt with.

Men who watch videos of real sexual violence being enacted upon women and girls indeed are betraying their wives—and their daughters, and all women. Men who actually love women are sickened by violence against women.

Klein says:

“Some women seem to feel that because their partner watches porn they find disgusting or scary or confusing, they have a right to demand he stop watching it. A woman has no such right, any more than he has a right to patrol the TV, novels, or videos she watches. In an adult relationship, whatever objection she has to his porn shouldn’t carry more weight (or less weight) than his objection to her CSI or romance novels or cat videos.”

There is a reason why you would find abusive and misogynist porn disgusting or scary. It is disgusting and scary. Your husband would find it disgusting and scary too if he cared about women. Do not let anyone sell you the bullshit claim that videos of women being abused is the same thing as prime-time TV shows or pictures of cats. This is an obvious lie and anyone telling you this is deliberately dismissing your legitimate concerns in order to protect his abusive behavior. This is a tactic to allow him to continue hurting you.

“Some women seem to believe their partner has “left” them for porn. No sane person does that. People do withdraw from sexual relationships for many reasons, often passively or without adequate discussion. That’s a legitimate thing to complain about. Criticizing a man’s porn watching as the “cause” of a couple’s poor or missing sex life is as cowardly as a man withdrawing sexually without explaining his dissatisfaction.”

A porn user may very well withdraw from a sexual relationship. This may not mean he stops going through the motions of having sex with you. It might mean that he is having sex with the imaginary scenario he has in his head rather than paying attention to you, his real-life partner. Pay attention to how he treats his sex life with you.

Let me present two ways of viewing sex: the “menu of choices” or the “conversation.” In the “menu of choices” model, sex is a list of many possible activities that one can choose from as if choosing a sandwich off a lunch menu. The activity itself is the focus, rather than the relationship between the partners. The partner in fact is completely interchangeable because anyone could act out the activity, and the activity is what matters.

In the “conversation” model, sex consists of two partners relating to each other in a way that grows organically out of their feelings for each other and the time they spend together. Being together, doing things together, and talking with each other naturally produces sparks and feelings of excitement, and sexual activity is entered into as a part of their ongoing joy of their relationship. The method used to achieve orgasm isn’t what’s important. What is important here is the excitement of being together.

You wouldn’t enter into a conversation with your date with a list of things to talk about, or a pre-written script, and insist upon your date following those lines of dialogue whether she’s interested in them or not. You enter into conversations based on what the two of you want to talk about, because the two of you enjoy each other’s company, and because there is delight in finding out what your date might say. The conversation builds as the two of you interact, and the way you answer her depends on what she says. Same with sex. There should not be a script. There should be spontaneous response to your partner’s reactions and a mutual buildup of excitement as you interact.

If you feel that your husband has a preconceived idea in his head of what he wants to do, and expects you to act it out for him, regardless of whether that is one of your turn-ons or not, and regardless of whether you are feeling tired or anxious or insecure, and if you feel that he is not really making love to you the person, but just to the general concept of a woman, then your husband is viewing sex through the “menu of choices” model. He likely got this way from so many years of clicking on whatever sexual act he felt like watching at the time. Sexual acts are commodities that he as a consumer feels entitled to have. Sex with a man who thinks this way isn’t “making love.” It doesn’t create love between you, it just produces an orgasm for him.

Our male supremacist sex therapist asks the following questions of wives who have a problem with their husband’s porn use. These are designed to make women think they are being unreasonable. Let’s answer them from a feminist perspective.

Why do you feel you have a right to a porn-free house, and why is that right more important than your husband’s right to have porn in his house?

A woman has a right to a porn-free house because she has a right to a house free of abuse. Pornography is violence against women, and as such, is harmful to all women. Women have the right to expect love, respect, and support from their partners, and this obviously extends to not bringing material into the home that celebrates male supremacy and male violence against women.

Men should not have the right to abuse women, nor to consume depictions of the abuse of women, on the basis that women are human beings who do not deserve abuse.

It’s unbelievable that someone calling himself a “therapist” thinks that men’s desire to abuse women is just as important as women’s desire not to be abused.

Why do you give your husband’s porn-watching meaning that he doesn’t give it? And why do you believe that your interpretation—of HIS behavior—is more accurate than his?

This isn’t a simple matter of subjective opinion, like deciding which flavor of ice cream tastes the best. The violence and misogyny in porn is real, not imagined. Real men call real women bitches and whores in porn, real men choke real women in porn, and do things like double penetration, ass-to-mouth, rosebudding, simulated rape, real rape, and simulated molestation of underage girls. (As well as real molestation, in the case of child porn.) These abusive behaviors don’t hurt any less if the woman is compensated with money. These images aren’t any less harmful to women as a class because some of the women volunteered to step onto the porn set. Women don’t control what happens to them on the set—they are told what to do by male producers and male actors, and they are satisfying a demand from male viewers. None of it is driven by women’s desires. Even so-called “feminist porn” almost precisely resembles mainstream porn.

The reason you have a different “interpretation” of your husband’s porn use than your husband does is because you are naming the fact that porn is harmful, and he is denying this. You are allowed to trust your own perception. When you see violence, you are right that it’s violence. His denial is just that—denial. It’s not an equally valid opinion. The idea that male violence against women isn’t violence is not an opinion that should carry any weight. The apologies for male violence is another tactic of abuse.

Why is it OK for you to hack into your boyfriend’s private stuff?

Generally, I don’t recommend hacking into anyone’s private stuff. A person should only check into someone’s private things if they suspect a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. If your teenager was suicidal or running away from home you might read their diary. It would be a breach of privacy to do so, but you would do it because of the more important issue of keeping your child safe. If you have good reason to believe that your husband is accessing images of violence against women, you have a good reason to be concerned, because you are a woman, and you are allowed to protect yourself and your children from violence.

Partners should be able to trust each other and should have no reason to suspect wrongdoing. If you cannot trust your partner, then it’s probably best to break up. You can’t use snooping as a tactic to improve your relationship, because that won’t improve it. You want to be with someone who you don’t even feel tempted to snoop on, because you know he wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. If your partner is willing to do things that hurt you, then it’s over.

Why would you wreck a good relationship over his private behavior?

I wonder if a therapist would ask this question to a wife whose husband had been doing other harmful things “in private.” What if he was “privately” using illegal drugs in the home while she was out? Would this be “private behavior” that she shouldn’t interfere with, too?

This “private” excuse is bullshit. If you are doing something wrong, then it doesn’t matter whether you do it in public or private, it’s still wrong. When you contribute to an industry that sexually exploits women and girls, it doesn’t matter if you do it in the family home, on your smart phone, at the municipal library, at work, or wherever. The immorality of sexual exploitation is not location-dependent.

If your husband is engaging in immoral behavior that upsets you and if he won’t stop even when you tell him why it upsets you, then it’s not a good relationship. That’s an abusive relationship.

The field of sex therapy has always been a field dominated by men and male ideas about sex. Men have created the idea of the sexual “inhibition” which needs to be cured in women, which is a fancy way of saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to say no. Men have ignored the clitoris, have prioritized penis-in-vagina sex even when women don’t get any pleasure from it and they’ve named women “frigid” for not engaging in the kind of sex that men want them to have. Sex therapists will not help you to improve your sex life, they will just help your husband to keep his dominant position over you and continue engaging in harmful behaviours. A sex therapist who tells you to accept your husband’s porn use is nothing more than a male supremacist with a fancy title. Do not listen to him.

Here’s how to actually improve your sex life. First, make your husband read Pornland by Gail Dines and then explain to you, face-to-face, in his own words, what he learned from the book. I suggest proceeding one chapter at a time, to make sure he thoroughly understands all the issues. Discuss with him why he feels he needs to use porn, and correct any misconceptions he may have. For example, he might believe that you are forbidding him from masturbating. Men are so dumb that they have no idea that one can touch one’s genitals without looking at a computer screen. He may need this explained to him.

If he refuses to understand what’s wrong with porn, and if he begins dismissing your feelings or gas-lighting you, get a lawyer, and start planning to move out. If he never repents, finalize your divorce.

Next, overthrow the patriarchy. After the revolution, sex will get much better for women, along with everything else in life. Lots of your sisters are already fighting with you. We’ve got your back.

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Sex-pozzies and their “feminist porn”

A piece of anti-feminist propaganda published in the Guardian recently preaches that yes, feminists can have rape fantasies! And it’s all subversive and revolutionary when we do, of course.

The title of the article is Spanking, caning and consent play: how feminist porn frees women from shame.

The main gist of this article is that women just intrinsically want to fantasize about rape, and create porn that depicts rape, and they are ashamed of this because of the shaming coming from repressed, anti-sex prudes.

This shit is not new. Sex-pozzie “feminism” has been around for decades as a backlash against radical feminism. The sex-pozzies don’t like when feminists talk about serious topics like rape, incest, pornography, prostitution, and sexual slavery, and they prefer to turn the conversation back to their fun sexytimes. Because they are really fun people who just want to have a good time and they’re not like those ugly, man-hating feminists.

The article begins thusly:

“Can a feminist have rape fantasies?

According to feminist pornography producer Pandora Blake, who runs the fetish porn site Dreams of Spanking and frequently portrays fantasies of “non-consent”, the answer is a no-brainer. “Absolutely.”

The general consensus in the feminist porn movement is that no fantasy, no matter how anti-feminist the subject matter appears to be, is off limits. To tell a woman what she is and is not allowed to be turned on by is just about as anti-feminist as it gets.

“Removing shame from hardcore BDSM desire and rape play and age play and all of the kinky taboos that women just have not been allowed to like ever, that’s the kind of stuff that really draws me into the feminist porn movement,” says Courtney Trouble, the producer behind Trouble Productions and a past Feminist Porn Conference keynote speaker.”

Where to even get started with this “feminist porn” business? The people quoted in this article are suggesting that “feminist porn” can have just as much abusive content as regular porn—they say that nothing is off-limits, including hardcore BDSM and rape. So what is the difference then, between what they’re creating and the rest of the misogynist porn industry?

The “feminist pornographers” explain that in their porn, performers are allowed to cut the scene if they are uncomfortable with something, they talk about consent first, fat people are allowed, and only people who are kinky in real life do kink scenes, so that no vanilla prudes will be made uncomfortable. So basically the only difference between “feminist porn” and regular porn is that no one is outright being raped, and there is more variety in body type. Everything else is the same though—the eroticization of dominance and submission and the portrayal of oppression as sexy is left intact. The same message is being sent to the viewer: the sexual abuse of women is sexy.

When it comes down to it, the main difference between “feminist porn” and regular porn is that in “feminist porn” it’s women volunteering for their own degradation, instead of men enforcing it on them. How revolutionary! But this is what third wave sex-pozzie “feminism” is. It’s when women take over doing the hard work of oppressing women so that men can relax and just enjoy the show. Women volunteer to be oppressed instead of being helpless victims of oppression. Because if we volunteer for our oppression, it isn’t oppressing us anymore. You can fight a revolution without changing the material conditions of women’s lives—you simply rebrand what’s happening to you as something else and voilà—oppression gone!

Liberal feminism

Back in 2008, Twisty Faster wrote about a “feminist” burlesque show that was a lot like this, in the sense that it was about how it’s a “feminist” act for women to volunteer to be objectified. She wrote one of the best blog titles I’ve ever seen:

“Pornulation empowerfulizes us, say humorous ironic hotties”

Fucking genius.This is a great piece of hers, however short, and it contains these gems, which are applicable to the current “feminist porn” article.

“How is fun-feminism different from regular feminism? Not at all, except that it’s antifeminist. It’s when you capitulate to, participate in, embrace, and openly promote rape culture in exchange for approval, claiming that it empowerfulizes you.”

And…

“The idea that women’s public sexuality can so precisely mirror traditional male fantasy while simultaneously existing in a kind of pro-woman, I-do-it-for-myself alternate universe is the cornerstone of funfeminist “thought.” The flaw in this reasoning is that all women must participate in patriarchy regardless of what they say motivates their participation; patriarchy is the dominant culture, and there is no opting out. Which means there is no opting in, either. Do it for me, do it for you, whatever; the primary beneficiaries of women’s participation — willing or unwilling, ironic or sincere — in patriarchy, are men.”

Even funfeminists should be able to realize, if they bothered to think about it, that when you promote the idea that rape is sexy, the people who benefit from that are rapists.

One of the interviewees, Blake, presents her desire for kink as a naturally-occurring trait that she discovered while growing up, and that she had to work through her shame around it in order to become her kinky self. I call bullshit on that. The idea that a woman’s inborn sexual desires perfectly resemble the oppression that men subject us to is actually a misogynist idea that men have been using against us for centuries. Men have always claimed that women naturally want to submit to men, and that we want to be controlled, used, and abused, because this justifies women’s oppression. MRAs are still saying this today. (Notice that sex-pozzies and MRAs agree on a lot of things?) Of course, if you bring this up to a kinkster, you’ll be dismissed, name-called, and booted out. That’s because they don’t want to think about the social context of their desires or the political implications of what they’re doing. That would totally kill their buzz, and their buzz is way more important to them than liberating the female sex class from oppression.

“What’s hot about spanking is the fear of it, the anxiety and anticipation of what’s coming,” Blake says.

Well I must be a vanilla shitlord, because I don’t believe that anxiety and fear are a part of a healthy sex life. I think that what people should feel during sex are love, joy, arousal, fun, excitement, climax, and release, not fear or pain.

“Feminists routinely fight for sexual agency – a woman’s right to make decisions about her own sexuality, including when and with whom to have sex, and when, if ever, to get pregnant. Feminists traditionally rebel against the forces that would hem in these rights: the puritanical voices that say that a woman who enjoys sex is a slut, that would restrict access to contraceptives, that claim that dressing provocatively is inviting rape.”

Real feminists, not the fun kind, realize that fighting for women’s sexual agency means making material changes in the world that allow women to say no, because when you don’t have the option of saying ‘no,’ your ‘yes’ is meaningless. For example, when feminists fought for the right to divorce, the right to work for our own wages, and the right to access birth control and abortion, those changes all made it easier for women to control when and how and with whom we have sex or get pregnant. By controlling our own lives and not being dependent on a husband we are free to make our own sexual and reproductive decisions. But when funfeminists talk about “fighting for women’s sexual agency” they actually mean celebrating middle-class women’s choices to participate in the exact patriarchal institutions that deny agency to countless women who are less fortunate than they are. Creating your own pornography is only fun for middle-class women. Women who have no real choices and are desperate for money and find that their only option is the sex industry find it a lot less fun.

Funfeminists vaguely understand that there is something wrong with mainstream porn, but because their understanding is very limited, they don’t have any useful solutions.

“Certainly there are things in mainstream porn that I think are stereotypical, or repetitive, boring, or even offensive,” Taormino told me, “but the answer is not to shut down porn. The answer is to make more porn.”

I’m going to use an analogy here that comes from Gail Dines. People call her “anti-sex” because she opposes the porn industry. As she explains, that would be like calling someone “anti-food” because they criticized the fast food industry. The problem with the porn industry is not that a few movies are bad, it’s that the industry as a whole harms women as a group. It’s an industry that profits from male power and sexualizes women’s submission, it teaches that rape is sexy, it grooms entire generations into accepting abusive behavior, it reduces women to a collection of holes to fuck instead of whole human beings. The answer to this industry is not to set up one porn studio that makes so-called “ethical porn.” That would be like trying to counteract the negative effects of capitalism by opening one ethically-run business. That one ethically-run business does absolutely nothing to negate the fact that unethical business practices are institutionalized worldwide and harming most of the world’s people. And by the way, when your porn studio produces rape scenes, “age play,” and hardcore BDSM, then it’s already unethical, even if your actors talk about consent before they shoot the scene.

Let’s talk about what “age play” is. This is a euphemism for acting out the sexual abuse of an underage person. We are even given an example of it in the article:

“like a schoolgirl who knows she’s going to get a caning after school and can’t think about anything else and she’s asking her friends how bad it’s going to be, if it’s going to hurt.”

It should be obvious to anyone that this is the sexualization of child abuse.

“Removing shame from hardcore BDSM desire and rape play and age play and all of the kinky taboos that women just have not been allowed to like ever, that’s the kind of stuff that really draws me into the feminist porn movement,” says Courtney Trouble.

So this “feminist” thinks that removing shame from the eroticization of things like rape and child sexual abuse is a part of the “feminist porn movement.” I disagree. If you are fantasizing about hurting a woman or a child you SHOULD be ashamed. And as for women who fantasize about being on the receiving end of abuse, they have a responsibility to realize that this is not some sort of innate “kink” to celebrate having, it’s a response to being treated in an abusive way and being taught to sexualize that abuse. It’s not necessary to be ashamed if you have internalized harmful messages from your culture, but it’s necessary to realize they are harmful and to avoid defending and promoting them.

“In a world where porn is the de facto sex education for any teenager with an internet connection, socially responsible producers have to think not only about what will get people off, but what people will learn.”

This sentence coming from someone who thinks that “rape play,” “age play” and “hardcore BDSM” are okay? Are these the things that they want teenagers to learn? That’s absolutely frightening.

I will never call these people sex-positive, because they are actually positive toward abuse, not sex. They are as far from being feminists as the average MRA, and they are not fighting a social justice movement. Women already have the right to be abused. What we need is the right to be free from abuse. Only the radical feminists are fighting for that.

P.S.—The mainstream media loves publishing these sorts of articles. That’s because part of the backlash against feminism is a sort of fake version of feminism that gets promoted by people who have an interest in the continuation of capitalism and patriarchy. They promote a neo-liberal version of feminism that is all about women being “empowered” by making consumer choices, and women participating in patriarchy while rebranding it as their “agency” in a deliberate strategy to kill the feminist movement. There is no better explanation of this phenomenon than Gail Dines’ lecture Neo-Liberalism and the Defanging of Feminism. Neo-liberalism has also killed the Left, because it has turned us away from class analysis and toward pointless wanking over “identities.” Anyone wanting to learn about feminism should avoid the mainstream media altogether and just read either Feminst Current, print books by feminists, or anonymous blogs by feminists. Not the fun kind.

 

Demisexuality and You

According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, demisexuality is:

“a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.”

So, like most people, demisexuals need to get to know a person before feeling sexual attraction to them, rather than just dropping their pants the second they’ve been introduced.

“Emotional intimacy is a main component, usually, so some demisexuals find themselves attracted to close friends or romantic partners. Other components may include familiarity with the person and knowledge about them (ex: learning about aspects of their personality).”

How unusual! Feeling attracted to one’s romantic partner, and needing to know aspects of someone’s personality before feeling attracted!

“Most people on the non-asexual side of the spectrum feel sexual attraction regardless of whether or not they have a close emotional bond with someone. They may have sexual feelings for attractive people on the street, classmates or coworkers they’ve barely spoken to, or celebrities. However, they may choose to wait to have sex for a variety of reasons: it might not be feasible or appropriate, they want to make sure the person is respectful and kind, it’s against their religious beliefs, they only want to have sex in a romantic relationship, etc.”

Okay, this website is definitely describing everybody. Of course you don’t have sex with every single person you like the looks of! People only have sex when it’s “feasible and appropriate,” as noted above by the Demisexuals.

The reason why perfectly normal people are having to label their perfectly normal feelings as “demisexual” is because the way they are expected to behave otherwise is fucked up, and they need an excuse to opt out of it. The way they are expected to behave is like they are in a porn movie. Due to both porn itself and a porn-soaked culture that turns every last bit of popular culture into a promotional ad for porn, people are going around thinking that they need to dress like a porn star, take off their clothes at random, have sex as an ice-breaker activity, and say yes to any sexual act all the time no matter what. Take for example, this situation witnessed at the University of California-Berkeley campus:

“Groups of girls were clacking along the street in their party uniforms: short skirts, bare midriffs, five-inch heels. One of them stopped and lifted her skirt above her waist, revealing a tiny thong, a flat belly, and some righteously toned glutes. She looked happy and strong, laughing, surrounded by friends, having fun. Then she turned toward a building where two bros, appraising the relative “hotness” of those trying to gain entrée to their party, were posted by the door.”

As Gail Dines always says, you can either be fuckable or invisible. If you’re a woman who doesn’t want to lift up your mini-skirt and show off your thong in order for frat boys to rate your “hotness,” then you’re a boring, old-fashioned, anti-sex prude. Hence women having to label themselves “demisexual” in order to convey to people that they actually want to have a conversation with a guy and determine that he has at least two brain cells and isn’t an asshole before her skirt comes off.

The culture young people are growing up in is a porn culture. Not only are youth watching actual porn starting at age 11, they are also witnessing a consumerist, individualist pro-capitalist culture that sells women and girls as consumer products at every turn. Even before the Internet, young people tended to believe that everyone was having sex but them; now the problem is certainly worse. After spending hours online watching videos in which every woman says “yes” and sex occurs anytime, anywhere, between anybody, at the drop of a hat, anyone who attempts to assert boundaries and pursue a healthy and rewarding sexual and romantic life will feel like a deviant.

Let’s take at look at 17 Confessions From People Who Identify as Demisexual, posted on hellogiggles.com.

  1. It is so hard to explain to people that I don’t feel arousal unless there is a very close bond (I’m demisexual) but am still a very sexual person.
  2. I’m demisexual, but I’m scared people will judge me because I don’t want to have sex with them straight away or have a one night stand.
  3. I’m demisexual and it’s a little frustrating. When I’m with my friends they’ll say “omg he’s so hot” meanwhile I’m thinking “I wonder if he has a good personality.”
  4. I hate being demisexual. Crushes are either extremely rare or they last for way too long. I wish I was normal.
  5. I question every part of who I am. When men find out I’m demisexual, they usually stop talking to me.
  6. I am demisexual and I feel like no one understands that I can’t just give you a try and love you, I really can’t.
  7. As a demisexual, if you ask for sex on the first date, you have no chance with me.
  8. I’m demisexual and an introvert, so casual dating isn’t an option for me…I wish I could be like everyone else.
  9. Dating woes: Being demisexual. Maybe one day I’ll find a guy who understands and respects what I cannot change.
  10. I’m demisexual. All the people I’ve slept with I wasn’t attracted to, they just got me aroused and I’m too shy to say no so I went with it.
  11. Just because I’m demisexual doesn’t mean I don’t want a serious, loving relationship.
  12. I’m demisexual. When I admitted that to someone I thought was my friend, they laughed in my face. I just want to be accepted for being me.
  13. I’m demisexual. Always have been, but when I was younger I felt bad for the guys so I would pretend I wasn’t.
  14. Being a demisexual female in a world where all guys seem to want is sex is really discouraging.
  15. The problem with being demisexual is that I can’t relate when people talk about stuff like dates with random people. I feel like I’m the odd one out and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one.
  16. I’m Demisexual and I love sex with my boyfriend but I don’t NEED it. He just doesn’t seem to understand.
  17. I’m finally being honest about myself. I’m demisexual. I’m done pretending to have sexual desire before I’m ready. If guys can’t handle that, they don’t deserve me.

This article doesn’t name the sex of the writers, but judging by what they’re writing I’d say they’re all female. I say that because they’re writing about the standard experience of being female in a porn-soaked patriarchy. These women think that everyone around them finds fulfillment in jumping into bed with random people they don’t even know. Nope. Even the people doing that aren’t finding fulfillment from it, or at least, the women aren’t. I did the whole casual sex thing when I was younger, and at the time I would have told you that it was fun, but I’m older and more mature now. I know that good sex isn’t based on the “hotness” of the participants, or how “extreme” the performance is. (Speaking of “hotness,” I’m going to quote this article again where the author quotes Ariel Levy:

“As journalist Ariel Levy pointed out in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, “hot” is not the same as “beautiful” or “attractive”: It is a narrow, commercialized vision of sexiness that, when applied to women, can be reduced to two words: “fuckable” and “sellable.”

Like I was saying, good sex is not based on being “hot,” it’s based on connection and chemistry. It’s good when you really want each other, because you know each other and you have developed feelings for each other, and when you’re feeling sexual tension because of your mutual attraction, and when you are excited to know that your partner wants you as much as you want them. This sort of connection cannot happen instantly—that’s impossible. (It can’t be bought or sold, either.) Chemistry and attraction are things people develop gradually through interaction with each other.

What these “demisexual” women don’t realize is that, despite feeling like they’re abnormal, they have actually figured out the secret to good sex ahead of their peers. They are on the path to have satisfying sex, while their porn-addicted peers are going to have to unlearn a whole bunch of harmful beliefs and habits before they can actually enjoy themselves in bed. Getting validation that you are “fuckable” only feels good in a superficial, fleeting way. After putting up with a bunch of disrespectful and ineffective lovers, even the “fuckable” women will get tired of the whole charade and want to find the same sort of relationship the demisexuals are looking for.

Demisexuals aren’t missing out on anything if misogynist sleazebags stop talking to them upon finding out they are demisexual. They should actually breathe a sigh of relief because they have dodged a bullet.

It’s interesting to note that “demi” means half. Does demisexual mean half sexual? It’s like these people believe that they’re missing something or they aren’t sexual enough. This belief is not just limited to the Tumblr Speshul Snowflake community, it’s everywhere else too. There is a thing called “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder,” which is a medical euphemism for “bitches not putting out enough,” and apparently around one third of women have this “condition.” But if that many people have “low desire,” can that even be called “low”? Perhaps the bar is being set too high. Low desire in comparison to what, exactly?

What women need to learn is that whatever their sexual interest level is, that is the normal level. There is no such thing as being “half sexual” or “hyposexual” because there is no universal measuring stick that everyone has to meet. Women are not responsible for providing their bodies to men to use. Men have their hands and they have tube socks—they are going to be just fine. Women are allowed to decide when and how and with whom to have sex, and we’re also allowed to not want it at all, and this doesn’t require an excuse, a label, or an explanation.

The “choice” to do porn

This is the third post that talks about the information presented in the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. The first one, about how pornography celebrates pedophilia, is here. The second one, about how women are brought into the porn industry, is here. This is not exactly a film review; I have added information from other sources as well. This third post is about the nature and context of the choice to enter the porn industry.

In Hot Girls Wanted, several young women are interviewed over the course of a few months while they are working in the porn industry. There is a lot of focus on two of them in particular, Tressa and Rachel. We meet Tressa and Rachel at the beginning of their porn careers when they are excited and enthusiastic. Over the course of time through more interviews we see their enthusiasm fade as they slowly realize the industry they have entered is not what they thought it would be.

Tressa, Rachel, and the others are living together in the home of their “talent manager,” Riley, and their porn careers begin with some sexy photo shoots and some “teen porn” films that are the gentler kind—no extreme acts or physical abuse just yet. They are out of their parents’ homes for the first time and living on their own with other young adults. They drink and do drugs and generally feel like life is a party.

Rachel: “We’re free right now. The word is in our hands.”

Tressa: “We practically do whatever we wanna do.”

Rachel: “Ever since I came here it’s been all about me. Do I wanna be in my parents’ shoes when I’m their age? No!”

She continues to talk about not wanting to follow the usual route of college, marriage and kids. She wants a more exciting life. She says she’s done SO MUCH SHIT HERE. For example, she’s “chilled in penthouses, been in Lamborghinis, rode on street bikes.”

Both girls say they’re trying to be famous. They think that glamour, fame and money are in their reach. They believe they will stay in the porn industry for many years.

When we get to know Tressa better, we find out that she was desperate to get out of her parents’ house and find excitement and money. She saw an ad on Craigslist for hot girls wanted and she impulsively took off right away. She did not take the time to think about how doing porn would affect her life. She did not consider what would happen when her parents found out. She did not consider that her life in porn would be short and that she would have to return to the conventional, boring workplace afterwards. She did not go on birth control pills. When her mother describes her daughter leaving the house, she snaps her fingers and says “just like that.” Tressa was in the normal developmental stage of life when the young adult is ready to leave home but is still impulsive and unable to think about the long term. As I’ve talked about before, she was also socialized in a porn culture and had learned to accept porn as normal and acceptable.

We see a conversation between Tressa and her mother when she goes back home to visit. Her mother asks her questions about pregnancy and STIs. Tressa says that she’s not on birth control and that it’s okay because the male performers “don’t come inside you.” Even basic sex education teaches that it’s possible to get pregnant even if he “pulls out” due to pre-ejaculate. Another thing to note here is that Tressa is having unprotected sex because that is what sells, and she is not in control over this. If she did not agree to unprotected sex then she wouldn’t get work. This is abuse toward her and she doesn’t see it, her eyes are still just seeing dollar signs, glamour and male approval.

While we’re on the subject of birth control, later in the film another woman, Michelle, says that the male performer came inside her, (from what I can tell, not with her permission), and so she got a Plan B pill to prevent pregnancy. Then she says “Plan B always works I guess. I don’t know.” She doesn’t even know! These girls are not at all prepared for what they’ve gotten into.

All the girls interviewed are eager for male approval. They glow with pride when men tell them they’re hot and they believe it when someone calls them their “favourite porn star.” They are high on this validation, as well as being high on leaving home and making money.

After they have done nude photo shoots and porn scenes featuring standard sex acts, studios have no interest in booking them anymore. The studios are on to the next fresh batch of 18 year olds. In order to keep working, the girls start taking jobs that are more “niche” jobs. In pornography “niche” translates to “abusive.” Rachel does the “Virgin Manipulations” scene which I described here. Tressa does a bondage scene which she describes as follows: “I was strapped together and I was on a bed and it was the same thing— force fucked and hardcore blowjob. No vomit. No vomiting today though. I didn’t eat breakfast so nothing really came out.”

Rachel goes to a job that she is told ahead of time is a blow job but when she gets there it’s a forced blow job—where the girl is choked so that she vomits. Rachel: “I was in California and I had, like, a blow job scene and I was like, for sure, $300 for a blow job scene. That’s nothing. You go there, you don’t even have sex, cool. I go there and he’s like, “It’s a forced blow job” and I’m like “what?” Just one guy. One little camera on a tripod. I don’t…. fuck! I was scared. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I could tell him no. Or the fact that we already recorded 15 minutes of it if I could just fucking leave. Like, then what? Then I understand it, like, that’s how rape victims feel. Like, they feel bad about themselves. But then, that’s where it all comes in like, “Did I really want money that bad?”

This is the point in their “careers” (of only a few months) where they realize that porn is abuse and they are being abused. They learn that they might show up at a job and it turns out it’s much more abusive than they were told ahead of time. They can expect to vomit while they are on the set. They do not feel like they are able to stop or say no if something hurts. They are almost able to see themselves as rape victims but not quite yet. Tressa’s new boyfriend, who actually cares about her as a person, voices his concern about her well-being and makes her realize that porn and prostitution are pretty much the same thing. He gently encourages her to quit.

When Rachel says that she “knows how rape victims feel” what is happening is that she is starting to realize that she has been raped but is not ready to articulate it yet. This is normal for a woman who is being paid for sexual abuse. (Actually, it’s normal for any abused women even if she is not being paid.) Rachel Moran explains this concept in her book Paid For. The section is too long for me to quote here, but from page 106 to 115, in the chapter called Prostitution’s Shame, Violation and Abuse, she describes how hard it is for a woman to name her abuse when she is being paid for it. The money is supposed to make the abuse okay or make the act not abusive. However, as Moran explains, the abuse is still felt and still experienced as abuse even if the woman cannot articulate that it’s abuse. The pain still hurts, the shame is still felt, even if she is holding on to the idea that she is in control. The woman who is having sex acts forced on her and who is made to do things that hurt and that make her vomit is being abused, whether she is paid or not. Money doesn’t make the pain stop hurting.

Tressa gets injured. She gets a Bartholin gland cyst, which is a painful cyst near the vagina caused by the clogging of the gland that makes fluid that wets the genitals during sex. Symptoms of an infected cyst include pain that gets worse and makes it hard to walk, sit, or move around. She has to go to the ER and have it drained by a doctor and she complains of severe pain. The question of money is not mentioned in the film but since she is in the U.S. I assume she would have had to pay out of her own money for the hospital stay. There isn’t any indication she had medical benefits—she was being paid a flat fee for each shoot. There go her earnings.

When Tressa is starting to think about quitting, she says the things making her hesitate to quit are the money and getting to travel.

There is a huge difference between what the girls believe being a porn star is like at the beginning of the film and what they know near the end. At the beginning they have no idea what it’s like to be subject to abusive acts that they cannot control. They have no idea that it will hurt and they will be afraid to say no. They have no idea what it feels like to have to act out an incest/molestation fantasy or a bondage scene. They don’t know what it feels like to have a producer determine what sex acts they will engage in with a complete stranger. They don’t know what the physical injuries are going to feel like. They don’t know they will be forced to vomit on a regular basis. In short, they enter the porn industry having no idea at all what they are getting themselves into. This is absolutely not informed consent.

What the girls are really hoping for when they enter porn is a way out of their parents’ homes and a way to get money, glamour, excitement, validation, and fame. That’s what they’re looking for. They are not looking for abuse. This is not in any way consent to abuse.

They are impulsive and they have been groomed into thinking porn is fun and they have an unrealistic idea of what it is like. To imply that everything is okay because they chose to be there is to completely ignore most of the real situation.

The real situation is that the people making money are the owners of the companies, not the women, and the women are taken advantage of, used and abused and discarded. The women are not in control of what happens to them on the porn set or what happens to the videos and images afterwards. For the rest of their lives, images and video of their sexual abuse will be available for men to jerk off to.

To claim that porn is acceptable because the women agree to do it is to ignore that they did not actually know what they were “agreeing” to ahead of time. It removes male violence and misogyny from the discussion and tells women that they are responsible for their own rapes. It is victim blaming and it is a strategy to minimize the damage that the pornography industry does for the benefit of male consumers and profiteers.

How women are brought into the porn industry

This is the second post that talks about the information presented in the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. This is not exactly a film review; I have added information from other sources as well. The first post was about how pornography largely presents pedophilia and this post is about how women are groomed and recruited into the porn industry. Information for this post is also taken from Female Sexual Slavery by Kathleen Barry, an excellent book that I recommend reading.

In her book Female Sexual Slavery, one of the things Kathleen Barry describes is the strategies of procuring and pimping, two distinct but closely related activities that bring women into the prostitution industry and keep them there.

“Together, pimping and procuring are perhaps the most ruthless displays of male power and sexual dominance. As practices they go far beyond the merchandising of women’s bodies for the market that demands them. Pimping and procuring are the crystallization of misogyny; they rank among the most complete expressions of male hatred for femaleness. Procuring is a strategy, a tactic for acquiring women and turning them into prostitution; pimping keeps them there.” Barry, p.73.

As she describes in her book, the methods of procuring are the following:

  1. Befriending or love: Procurers find teenage girls who are naïve and seeking love and attention from men and they act as a boyfriend toward these girls. They particularly use this method on girls who are runaways or who are bored and looking for excitement. They make the girl feel like she is in a romantic relationship even though it is really just a business strategy for him.
  2. Actions of gangs, syndicates, and organized crime: these organizations will often procure girls and women into prostitution as a part of their gang activities.
  3. Recruiting women under false pretenses by offering them a job such as dancing or modelling, or by offering them marriage, and turning them to prostitution when they arrive.
  4. Purchasing women and girls from other male “owners”
  5. Outright kidnapping

In the film Hot Girls Wanted, a procurer for the porn industry is interviewed. His name is given as “Riley” and at the time of the filming he is only 23 years old. He is living in a five bedroom house in Miami Beach. His job is to place ads on Craigslist enticing young women to join the porn industry and the women who answer his ads come to live in his house and pay him rent. In addition to providing living accommodations, he drives them to their shoots. He calls himself a “talent manager” and calls the women living in his house “my girls.” His method of procurement falls into the category of recruiting women by offering them modelling jobs, which is number three above. Unlike in the past, he is not pretending that the jobs he offers are straight up modelling. He is fairly honest that this is for pornography. He can be honest about this since all girls are groomed to accept porn and so there is less trickery to be done than there used to be. However there is still some trickery involved, because he presents these “modelling” jobs as if they are glamorous and lucrative and fails to mention that the work the young women will have to perform will involve physical abuse such as “forced blow jobs” and that they will not come out of this with much money.

Riley is shown creating an ad on Craigslist advertising for young, hot women and offering them free flights to Miami. He explains that it’s very easy to recruit girls because new girls are turning 18 all the time and lots of them want to do porn. He simply creates the ad and “Voilà,” he says, “that’s all you gotta do. I should have like 5 responses within 12 hours.”

Modern procurers for the porn industry don’t have much work to do. That is because girls are socialized to accept pornography as normal during their entire lives. Once they’ve turned 18 they have likely been watching porn for several years already. Porn star Belle Knox watched porn since age 12. That means during a large portion of her formative years she was taught to sexualize her own degradation and accept physical and sexual abuse as normal.

To review a bit about female socialization, which I have discussed in previous blog posts (check the “female socialization” tags and categories) girls are taught certain lessons right from early childhood as a part of their journey to become women. They are taught that their worth is based on being pretty and pleasing to men, that they can evaluate their self-worth based on how much boys and men like them, and that their ultimate failure as a woman is being unattractive or “unfuckable.” Entire industries–beauty, makeup, fashion and dieting—encourage girls to see themselves as ugly in an attempt to sell them products to “fix” their perceived ugliness. All this advertising reinforces the idea that women’s worth is based on their appearance. Toys for little girls teach them femininity. Dolls have makeup on their faces and sometimes appear downright pornified. Characters in movies for kids present feminine girls often wearing sexy outfits; magazine covers that they see at the supermarket present airbrushed, “perfect-looking” women who are often scantily-clad and being presented for the evaluation of their appearance. These magazines are becoming increasingly pornified. The social media sites that teens use contain soft-core pornography on a regular basis—Twitter and Tumblr are full of porn, and even Facebook allows images of “sexy” women as long as there is no explicit nudity. The films and sitcoms that preteens and teens watch often have characters in them that take a casual view of pornography, mentioning it as something people do, and sometimes characters actually make pornography of their own as a part of the storyline. Porn stars are starting to be featured in non-porn TV shows and are interviewed on the news. Unless a child is raised in a religious tradition that stays completely away from modern civilization, he or she is aware of pornography as a preteen or younger, and is groomed to accept it as normal for many years before the age of 18.

The procurer from Hot Girls Wanted, Riley, has lots of help in doing his job. All he has to do is post an ad on Craigslist because a lot of other work has been done for him by our culture in general. Our pornified culture serves as a large grooming session to prepare girls for sexual abuse so that actual abusers don’t have to work very hard to get a girl to comply.

When the girls living in Riley’s house get interviewed, it’s really obvious how they have been groomed. They talk about inadequate sex education in schools and the bizarre, nonsensical things teachers have said about sex. They view porn as better, more accurate sex education. One young woman, Karly, says “…there’s all these people in porn having sex and nothing’s going wrong and everybody’s happy.” She has watched porn before and believed that what is happening is consensual sex. She has believed the lie. She’s never heard of the pain and damage to women’s bodies, the STIs, the PTSD, the discomfort and the feeling of dehumanization. Those things are carefully concealed by the industry. She doesn’t have the media literacy skills or the knowledge of women’s oppression that would allow her to see what’s really going on. There should be comprehensive sex education and women’s studies courses taught in high schools for the sake of our safety.

After a photo shoot, a young woman named Michelle says “Today boosted my confidence more than anything. When he says you look hot I’m like damn!” Another young woman, Tressa, continues: “Some guy is going to see that picture, guys jack off to you!” Michelle again: “Even when I’m making my weird ugly faces and I just look weird guys are like ‘you’re so sexy I just wanna fuck you.’ And that’s, like, it’s a boost of confidence to know that you’re wanted, like, that much you know.” These young women have come to believe that their worth is based on whether men want to fuck them and they are feeling exhilarated because their sexiness has been validated.

The Latina woman, Jade, talks about doing the “Latina abuse” scenes, in which she is physically tortured and called racist and sexist names. She has found a way to believe this is acceptable even though it is painful and dehumanizing for her. She says, “I don’t look at this stuff like that really black and white, good and bad. Good and bad is what your opinion is at the moment. Because X amount of time ago, I thought certain things were bad that I don’t think are bad now.” She has learned to accept what is happening to her by modifying her own values and morality to fit what the sadistic men want to do to her.

When you hear all the things these women say, it becomes clear that they have believed for a long time that pornography is normal and that they have allowed it to affect what they think sex is and what they think is acceptable behavior.

The procurer, Riley, is aware that the average time a new girl will stay in the porn industry is only about three months. He knows that she will be discarded after that and that the only way to keep getting work will be to do more abusive acts. He does not warn girls of this even when they come to him excited and believing they will get rich and famous and be in porn for many years. He takes their money to use to pay his mortgage and when they quit porn he recruits new girls. If he cared even a little bit about these young women he would give them a realistic idea of what they are getting into before they start and correct their misconceptions. But he does not care about them as people, he cares about using them to fund his own lifestyle. Many years down the road he will pay off his mortgage and be a homeowner while hundreds of girls will be hurt, discarded, and trying to rebuild their lives after abuse, without any equity of their own. Porn star Tressa earned $25,000 in four months but after she got out of porn she had $2,000 left since there are so many expenses when you are a woman in porn (rent, makeup, travel, clothes, drugs). It is not a lucrative money-making strategy for women—the people who earn the real money are male profiteers such as procurers, pimps, and pornographers.

Riley can tell himself that his behavior is acceptable because the young women are choosing this out of their own free will. One of his privileges as a man is to be able to ignore the grooming system that is bringing girls to him and just sit back and benefit from it without analyzing it or challenging it. This brings us to the next topic, the idea of the women’s choice to enter the porn industry and the nature and context of that choice. Stay tuned!

Pornography celebrates pedophilia

Warning: this post contains upsetting content regarding the porn industry.

The most popular theme in pornography is “teen.” The teen genre features 18 year old girls who are supposedly virgins and being deflowered by older, more experienced men, and pseudo-child pornography where the 18 year old is made to appear younger and has to act out an incest or molestation theme.

In Gail Dines’ book Pornland, she has a chapter called Children–the Final Taboo where she describes the connection between the sexualization of underage girls in popular culture, the pseudo-child porn genre and actual child porn. Dines begins by describing several fashion and magazine images that appeared in the last few decades that sexualize teenage girls and pose them as if for a porn shoot.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus, age 16, Elle magazine

French Vogue

French Vogue magazine 2011

French Vogue Magazine

“As pop culture begins to look more and more pornographic, the actual porn industry has had to become more hard-core as a way to distinguish its products from those images found on MTV, in Cosmopolitan, and on billboards. The problem for pornographers is that they are quickly running out of new ways to keep users interested. So one of the big questions they have to grapple with today is how to keep maximizing their profits in an already glutted market where consumers are becoming increasingly desensitized to their products. The solutions for them are the same as for all capitalists: find innovative ways to expand both market shares and revenues in existing markets, bring in new customers, and find new market segments and distribution channels. Thus the major task for the porn industry is to keep looking for new niche markets and consumer bases to open up and exploit while staying within the law, or alternatively, working to change the law—an option that the now-mainstream pornography industry increasingly employs.” Gail Dines, Pornland, p.142.

Dines describes how the pornography industry got a law changed on child pornography so that although it was still illegal to feature anyone under 18 in porn, it is legal to make an 18 year old appear to be under 18. So this means that as pornographers look for innovative new ways to catch viewers’ attention, they create more and more abusive types of scenes having to do with teen girls.

“If, as researchers argue, real child pornography is used by some men to prepare them for actual assault on a child by both arousing them and desensitizing them to the harm done to children, while at the same time offering a blueprint of how to commit the crime, then is it not possible that PCP sites could play a similar role?” Gail Dines, Pornland, p.144.

In PCP, [pseudo-child pornography], teen girls are often dressed in school uniforms and have props near them that signify childhood such as lollipops and teddy bears. They are marketed with words such as “cute,” “sweet,”, “small,” and “tight” to signify childhood and virginity. Dines provides an excellent analysis of the way the girls are made to appear to enjoy being initiated by an older man and how actual child abusers see this as a sign that young girls do consent to their abuse.

In the documentary Hot Girls Wanted, they interview Rachel, a teen girl who is working in the amateur porn industry. They follow her to the set of a site called Virgin Manipulations.

On the set, Rachel and an older, adult male performer are on a bed listening to instructions from the producer. The male porn star explains: “The story is, the girl is going away to college and she’s still a virgin. And I am the real good friend of the family that is looking to take advantage of that.” He even jokes, “You know I feel all predatory and shit.” The producer says “Tony, my main line for you is ‘I’ve known you since you were little,’ and her main line is ‘Well no I’ve never looked at you that way because I consider you like my uncle.’” The producer continues explaining to the man, Tony. “And you kind of, without even getting a yes, start to kind of keep going with it… and eventually you can just tell her you can kind of just move over and just start taking ‘em off you know what I mean?” Rachel is visibly uncomfortable while listening to these instructions. She sits with her body closed in, arms and legs pressed together, tense, looking away from the male performer. She nervously plays with her fingers. The producer says, “And here’s the key point: You’re never fully engaged into it.” You can hear someone else saying “this is kinda weird” in the background.

After the scene, Rachel says, “That last part I fucking hated! There is absolutely nothing sexually arousing about that at all. And, I mean, a lot of porn is like that, and you’re like, this is so just work right now. In the amateur porn world, you’re just processed meat.”

The film shows the marketing for this Virgin Manipulations film she’s just made. The cover says “Because morality is always negotiable” and “Her first penetration was the WRONG ONE.”

Then it shows some other links to porn in this genre: “A small town girl,” “An innocent face to cum on,” “Stranded babe picked up and… (text cut off),” “She needs the money,” “Daddy’s girl gets filled,” “Doe eyed teen gets wrecked,” and “How could I say no?”

Rachel talks about the porn shoots where you’re a Dumb-Girl-Who-Needs-Money. “Everything is the same shoot. Like, it’s always your first time, and you’re just like well I’m dumb as hell and I need $500, and I’m just gonna get this random dude that I would never have sex with in real life and have sex with him and say things that I’d never say and do things that I’d never do. And it’s all about the guy getting off. Like the girl’s just there to help. As long as you have boobs and a vagina and an ass that’s all that really matters, they don’t care about who you really are.”

They also interview Michelle, another young woman doing amateur porn. Her first shoot is for Exploited Teens. She says “It was just like him one-on-one like pretty much I’m a fucking creeper and I’m gonna mack on you little teenage girl.” Her friend Tressa answers her: “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Cut to the actual film and you hear the voice of the male performer saying “We just met and here I am already got my old man hands on your young teen ass.” Michelle dutifully giggles for the camera.

She continues to describe the scene, saying that it was “kinda gross,” that he hurt her, and that it was not the type of thing she really wanted. According to the documentary, there are over 700 girls on Exploited Teens.

I’m going to restate that “teen” is the most popular genre of porn. That means the main theme of porn is the abuse of a teenage girl by an older man. Sometimes the girl has to pretend to enjoy the abuse and sometimes she is marketed specifically as being exploited. These girls in this documentary entered the porn industry on their own, but many others are there because they are being trafficked. Even those girls who entered the industry on their own report that they do not like the molestation theme.

Several things are notable here. One of the issues that stands out is that these girls, even though they enter the porn industry willingly, have no control over what happens on the set. It is the producer or owner of the porn site who decides. This is not a consensual situation at all. If she has no control over the script and has to put up with acts she finds repugnant then it is NOT consensual sex. Sex without consent is rape.

Another important issue is that the overall theme of porn is exploitation of the innocent—older men using their power to molest young girls. There is barely any difference between teen porn and child porn. The only difference is that the teen has reached the age of 18—an age where suddenly the theme of older man initiates girl into sex becomes acceptable.

When you put these two issues together, you realize what the situation is here. Real teen girls are being raped by older, adult men on camera, and the videos are being marketed exactly as such—they are marketed as exploited teens and manipulated virgins. This is the most popular genre in porn. This is male supremacy, it’s the celebration of pedophilia, and it’s violence against women and girls. This only happens in a society that is controlled by capitalists with no ethics and where men are in power and women and girls are hated.