Getting Off: Porn and the Decline of the Masculinity

The title of this post is the title of a book I am reading by Robert Jensen. Not only that, I was lucky enough to hear him speak yesterday about the increasing issue of pornography in the case of women.

If there is anyone out there who repeatedly or religiously or even just occasionally, uses porn for the purposes of masturbating, I encourage you to read this book.

Jensen talks about, in great detail, how the usage of porn is affecting the male and societal view of women. How porn, and he is talking about the mainstream porn, degrades and dehumanizes women, to the point where what we are meant to see on screen is just three holes and two hands. We are meant to view women as something that can be aggressively and violently screwed – and if the men realize that they’re hurting either the women they are fucking on screen or the women outside of the porn world, they don’t show it.

This is the reality of porn today – we are shown violent acts like slapping, faces being shoved into the ground, choking, penetration so deep that the women are in pain but can say nothing, and we say nothing. And men who watch this take it home with them, they take it into relationships or into sexual activity. An astounding bit of research Jensen talks about – a study in which “more than half of college women interviewed in one study reported being victims of some level of sexual aggression. More disturbing, only 27 percent of women whose experience met the legal definition of rape labeled themselves as rape victims. And perhaps even more disturbing, 47 percent of the men who had committed rape said they expected to engage in a similar assault in the future, and 88 percent of men who reported having committed an assault that met the legal definition of rape were adamant that they had not committed rape.” (Jensen, 48) What does this tell you? It tells me that men and women in this society, and many others, are taught by media, other men, and our patriarchal system, that we are meant to be subordinated. That that makes for good sex, or, even if we are not having fun, that the important thing is that the man is having fun.

The biggest point he makes is that neither of these roles that we have put men and women into need to be this way. He talks about the idea of masculinity as a degrading thing within itself – it allows, even encourages men to degrade, humiliate, and insult other men. This is considered masculine, manly. This is just “boys being boys”. But we as a society put those expectations onto men, just as we expect women to be subordinate sex objects. We can all break free of those roles and learn what it means to be human.

I could quote and reiterate this book’s message forever, but it is more than 180 pages and I have limited time and space. Please, pick up the book and read a little bit. What you find might change your perception of sexuality, porn, and humanity forever.

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