Porn’s dubious value

To the Editor:

In opining that “Porn is not the problem” (April 18) at Queer Bash, Emily Nuckols ’15 makes odd use of an old chestnut usually heard only at rallies of the National Rifle Association: Guns (porn) don’t kill (sexually assault) people, people kill (sexually assault) people. Even stranger is Nuckols’s insistence that visual stimulation has no effect of any kind on persons. One might instead consider Premarital Sex in America, a 2011 work on the sex lives of young Americans published by social scientists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker. Regnerus and Uecker show that pornography plays a strong role in dramatically increasing male expectations of (and female abdication to) Brazilian wax jobs, fellatio, “facials” and anal sex with their female partners, forms of male sexual gratification the majority of women dislike – and in the case of “facials” and anal sex, strongly so. Rather than acting genuinely and spontaneously, young men and young women are increasingly playing out a “porn-inspired script” in their sexual lives that they falsely believe they’ve written themselves. Perhaps the organizers of Queer Bash would retort that their porn is “good porn.” If so, perhaps we can safely place it alongside all the “good assault rifles” and “good sawed-off shotguns” for comparison. Ubiquitous consumption of pornography society-wide dramatically reduces, not enhances, the value of sexual intercourse with an actual human being, as Regnerus and Uecker show. Rather than striking a blow (no pun intended) for human rights, the signature effect of porn is to degrade, not elevate, our humanity.


– Darel E. Paul

Associate Professor of Political Science

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