Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

( NSFW ) What would the world be like without any porn?

Asked by mazingerz88 (28696points) March 9th, 2012

I read recently that porn could ruin a lot of people’s sex lives. I tend to agree. Being exposed to it could influence the level of expectation one could ever want from a relationship. It could easily alter perceptions about the opposite sex and oftentimes, these perceptions are warped.

So what do you think the world would be like if porn was never “invented”? Better? Worse?

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47 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Without pornography, we might actually be tempted to seek out intimacy with others.

ragingloli's avatar

I suspect there would be a lot more rape.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ragingloli Yikes. Wait, yeah? Interesting.

HungryGuy's avatar

I agree with @ragingloli. No outlets for sexual needs = more rape.

john65pennington's avatar

At midnite tomorrow night, there will be a huge bonfire burning of all porn at the steps of the White House. Admission is free.

Clean out your closet and clean out your mind.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

1) Bad seventies pornstachios might still be popular, along with that “Boom Chicka Boom Boom” Music

2) Cinemax, HBO, Showtime and cable itself would have never caught on

3) Strip clubs would be far more prevalent

4) Sears catalogs would be traded like gold for the bra section

6rant6's avatar

I’m not even sure what this question means. There is no biological requirement for us to see “this much” to get sexually excited. People in societies that are more sexually secretive get turned on by less. And on the other side, people who are bent that way will see something as too provocative regardless of what the median behavior and appearance are.

Someone is always going to be turned on. Somebody else (well, actually sometimes the same person) is going to yell, “Porn!” So I don’t see that you can get rid of “porn,” just change the height of the bar by which it’s judged.

jerv's avatar

Video technology would not be nearly as advanced.

Internet commerce would be a fraction of what it is.

The people who are currently anti-porn would find another crusade.

Blackberry's avatar

Rape and murder abound.

JLeslie's avatar

I think I am going to be sick. Are you all saying there would be more rapists? Or, the men who are inclined to be rapists somehow control themseves more because there is porn for them to look at? Do you think that some men are rapists because of porn? Maybe a young man who thinks he is supposed to be aggressive with his girlfriend, and does not understand normal sexual behavior, because no one has explained it and all he has done is watch porn his whole teen life so far?

mrrich724's avatar

1) I’d be more productive.
2) My wife would be getting even MORE sex than she already does.

linguaphile's avatar

Visual representations of sex are not a recent invention. The Pompeiian, Japanese and Hindi had graphically sexual paintings. Sexual films are almost as old as film itself. They’re easily found on the Internet. This isn’t new—

I am far from an expert, but I’ve read that there have been many changes in the porn industry in the past 20 years from straight sex towards more abusive and degrading style of sex—spitting in mouths, pinching noses, rape scenes, and what the other thread mentions. My question is—why is this selling?

When I was in high school- not one single boy in my very small school (200 in high school total) ever, ever spanked or slapped girls or pretended to on the dance floor. I lived at a boarding school and if anything like that happened, the girl who got slapped would have said something to the rest of us in confidence. To add to that, we had pubes.

Today, what I understand from what I hear from my son, many girls get their pubes removed almost immediately because ‘they’re nasty,’ and think it’s completely normal/expect to be slapped and spanked. That’s all from the porn industry.

I have nothing against people who knowingly consent to BDSM, and really don’t care one way or another about porn itself, but I am concerned, to say the least, about how the current porn industry’s drive to add more abuse for marketing value and how that has this much impact on the general population’s sexual behavior.

To add- what I understand about Asian porn is scary. I heard that it only sells if the girls whimper in pain and cry like little kittens getting hit.

If today’s porn industry was totally shut down, humans will undoubtedly find another venue for voyeurism—people just like to watch, like to see and fantasize—that’s natural.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Sad. And probably impossible, since sexual images have been around since before writing.

Being exposed to it could influence the level of expectation one could ever want from a relationship. It could easily alter perceptions about the opposite sex and oftentimes, these perceptions are warped. Exactly. And that’s why we should get rid of all art, ever. Like this obsession with superheros, making people jump off high buildings… Look, porn doesn’t have some crazy power to render people stupid and unable to critically analyze that no other media has. Yes, it can influence (though, the relationship is incredibly complex) – but it’s actually not the biggest influencer. How relationships are constructed in mainstream media like Disney movies, rom-coms, women’s magazines, men’s magazines, prime-time sitcoms, action movies, tear-jerker movies, pretty much any movie with any kind of sex/romance plot line – all are much bigger influencers of how we see relationships, because they’re easier to access and often quite hard to not access (like when Cosmo is just there, while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store).

@linguaphile Porn is not really getting that much worse. It’s diversifying, but more than anything, we’re just calling things degrading more and pointing out problematic things. There isn’t some golden age of porn where, by and large, things were really awesome towards women. Yes, BDSM is growing, and gaining some acceptance – but, it’s not mainstream (seriously, mainstream stuff like Hustler and Playboy will have none of that shit). And a lot of the acceptance comes from having larger discussions of the difference between consensual BDSM and abuse. I keep hearing that, apparently, young women are just dying to be degraded, but this always seems more like some agist crap that thinks young women are too stupid to have agency, and most articles have failed to actually ask young women themselves (so, not second-wave, older feminists or men) why they do and think the things they do.

linguaphile's avatar

@Aethelflaed I understand what you’re saying about “it’s diversifying.” It might be ageist, but outside of porn, I feel like there has been a larger cultural shift that is just magnified in how porn is being done.

I do wonder… in the 70’s and 80’s we had strong women role models on TV and in movies. They might not have been “nice” (Joan Collins) but we had strong adult women in the media. Murphy Brown, Mrs. Huxtable, The Golden Girls, etc. The Disney Channel had Boy Meets World, Sister Sister, Smart Guy—all had strong girl roles.

Then came Britney, Bratz and the sexualizing of puberty- Bratz Babies were worse. They did it back in the 70’s with Brooke Sheilds, yes, but it seemed more ubiquitous in the late 90’s to sexualize 14 year olds. Now the biggest roles on Disney’s shows are for mean or dumb girls. The strong female roles on TV seem to be more sidekick roles (NCIS, CSI, Law and Order) than lead roles (Charlie’s Angels, Kate and Allie, Cagney and Lacey, etc). Many roles today seem to make women into idiots and ditzs. TV and the current norms are chicken-and-egg situations—which comes first?

This is just what I see—I might be wrong and might be missing information somewhere, but from what I’m seeing on TV and in my high school classroom, it feels like feminism and cultural respect for female strength is going backwards. If anyone sees things differently, then I’m curious!

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@linguaphile There is, in my opinion, a much stronger tendency to make men out to be stupid ditzes. Witness Homer Simpson, and any male sit com character. In fact, most shows I catch on TV feature idiot men surrounding one female who is the voice of reason or the capable one.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@linguaphile On a larger scale… yeah, I think there has been some move backwards, but I also think we’re less likely to note when a woman is strong on TV, because there have been those predecessors, and there’s also a lot of moving forward as well. Mariska kicks ass on pretty much every SVU. Once Upon A Time has been pretty widely hailed as having strong women. Robin Scherbatsky on How I Met Your Mother shows what it’s like to not want marriage or kids and to want an amazing career without (until this last season – booooo!) portraying it in a stigmatizing way, and Lily and Marshall show what a feminist heterosexual relationship can look like. Buffy, Willow, Tara – 1001 awesomes. Glee has some pretty strong women (Sue, Mercedes, Tina, Brittany, Santana). The Good Wife has no weak women, even as a one-off guest, even for 5 minutes. Olivia (Fringe), (most of, and the same ratio as to me) the women of LOST, Liz Lemon (30 Rock), Nancy Botwin (Weeds), the women of Downton Abbey – all strong women.

I also think there’s a tendency to see women like Murphy Brown, like The Golden Girls, like Mrs. Huxtable (who was not the main character), like Topanga (also not the protagonist) as the norm and not the outliers. I think there’s really this tendency to see the second wave of feminism as not only the One True Feminism, but also as having accomplished – not just put forth, but successfully achieved – way more than it did, and making the world some kind of golden age of egalitarianism. I think there’s a tendency to think that if a woman doesn’t label herself feminist, that must mean she’s not for gender equality. And I think that a lot of disrespect for women is coming from radical conservatives, in a larger intensification of political polarization – meaning, the left is moving further left, as well.

Joker94's avatar

Well, it’d be a whole lot grumpier.

linguaphile's avatar

@Aethelflaed Good point—and food for thought for me.

I don’t watch any of the shows you mentioned except SVU (love Mariska). What I see more in the media (but do not watch) is more media attention for the Desperate Housewives of This Urban Area, Jersey Shore, Bachelorette, Kardashians, etc. That’s where I’m getting my impressions- they do get more print and interview attention. I wish the women you named would get more media attention, in a healthy and respectful way, of course!

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I wonder if there’s just a move towards idiocy as entertainment (i.e. Jersey Shore)... as well as intelligence as entertainment (i.e. NCIS).

This is a great discussion for a different thread… looks like we temporarily hijacked the porn topic :)

gorillapaws's avatar

We’d probably accuse women of being witches, strip them naked in the public square and then burn them to death. That tends to happen in “moral” societies, just ask the folks in Salem, or in modern day Iran (probably back-in-the-day Iran too, now that I think about it).

Sunny2's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought And don’t forget National Geographics magazines.
I think nature would take its course.

ragingloli's avatar

@MollyMcGuire
I have backed it up. Reality cares if you find it “ridiculous”.

syz's avatar

I wouldn’t notice any difference – I don’t watch it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

You know what era of history had really very little porn? Europe in the Middle Ages.

Bent's avatar

The internet would never have caught on. And I would go to bed a lot earlier than I do.

tom_g's avatar

@mazingerz88: “Being exposed to it could influence the level of expectation one could ever want from a relationship.”

The same could be said (and probably should be) about romance novels and “romantic” movies.

I’d prefer to expand the question by rephrasing it as: “What would the world be like without any books or movies?”

Entering a fictional world certainly has the effect of both appealing to our internal fantasies and confirming them as well. How many relationships have been killed by expectations of the type encouraged by all of those romantic movies, where the guys act like they have evolved in an alternate universe?

Porn is good. Romance novels and movies are good. Why? Because fantasy is good. I suspect, however, that our obsession with fantasy and escape is bit out of balance, or we fail to contemplate how it influences real life and our expectations.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Regarding the theorized increase in rape. I thought rape was about the need for control and domination, and because the perpetrators are mentally ill. Not because there isn’t enough visual stimulation in their lives.

If you asked a cell full of rapists if they would be less likely to rape if they had more porn, who the hell would say yes? I don’t get it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Keep_on_running rape is about all of those things. But if you had a society of sexually frustrated people, it might start being about getting off too. Just ask anyone who has ever been raped in prison.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws So a portion of men have to watch naked girls to get off? They have no imagination? Victoria Secret is not enough? They are not horny enough to just simply jack off and get a thrill, they must objectify women, and also actually masturbate inside of them to feel fulfilled sexually.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@gorillapaws If you’re sexually frustrated, you masturbate. You don’t deprive the liberties of a female.

JLeslie's avatar

Now I am wondering if cultures that say masturbating is taboo, I wonder if there is more rape in those cultures?

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie I’m pretty sure that men and women are very different with regards to how their brains are hardwired for sex. I don’t know how much of the old “men are stimulated visually and women are stimulated mentally” bit is scientifically valid or not, but it seems to be true from my experiences, and those of my friends. It also makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, and there are certainly going to be very powerful selective pressures governing sexual attraction, and the sexual response in any species. I am not an expert here, but I do think that women will have a harder time groking the male sexual response than other men. Also there are always outliers, everyone is different/unique/special etc. so these are just generalizations across a population, no different than discussing the sexual behavior of some other species.

I could be totally wrong, but I do feel like there are some people who can masturbate in privacy with porn to their own sexual fantasies without feeling like they need to act on them in real life. If that outlet went away, I think the compulsion might get more powerful and they might do something horrible. This line of thought made me think of the debate we had a while back on the question: Should fake child porn be punnished as severely as the real thing?. I don’t have the answers honestly. I don’t have a problem with porn if it involves consenting adults. I also think that there are very bad things that happen in societies that don’t have these kinds of sexual outlets like in the middle east, or the middle ages, or within the clergy of a celibate organization etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I agree men are more visual. But, that is not the same as men must have their penis inside of a woman who is not willingly consenting. Getting satisfaction while raping another human being is a whole different thing. You would have to have no empathy for the other person, which is sociopathic behavior, let alone it is violent and criminal. I am not trying to get rid of the entire porn industry, but it would be nice if it were more realistic, and not so much of a warped man’s fantasy that has now spiraled into mainstream desires. As someone mentioned above, women can’t have pubic hair, men think all women should be able to handle anal sex, they want blow jobs with every sexual encounter, they think they have to last a really really long time, they are less excited about their wife’s body, they want to come all over the women, all sorts of things that are so far from young men who come too quickly, I am always amazed when that is brought up. Men seem to need more and more to get simulated not less.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie how do you interpret prison rape? Is it only about power, or do you think there may be strong sexual hardwiring compelling these guys to seek outlets for their sexual frustration? Sure they could just masterbate, but they feel compelled to put their penises into other people against their will.

Regarding your other points, I know I’m not talking my girlfriend into doing anything she dosen’t want to do, most guys I know would completely agree with that. I also think your use of the word “warped” in describing male fantasies seems to indicate a degree of judgment passing. To be sure some fantasies are warped if they involve non concerning adults, but everything else is just their own preferences. It also begs the question whether people are having better sex now than they were before porn was so ubiquitous. I have to wonder about all of those women throughout history who would just lay there like a corpse while their husband went to town for a minute or two and then went to bed. I think porn may open up new ideas, and make sex more fun and creative for a couple.

I remember I painted on my girlfriend at the time’s naked body. We were coverd in paint at the end, and it was such great sex. I got that idea from something I saw in a porn, never would have considered doing that if I were living in the 40’s.

Keep_on_running's avatar

* I should’ve also added or male to my last comment.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I agree porn can give some fun ideas. I also don’t think any of the things I mentioned, anal sex, oral sex, or guys coming on us girls is warped. What I find warped is the degree it is expected as a regular thing. We certainly are conditioned to what we find sexy as a culture, that speaks to women now having to be hairless, men too for that matter. So the woman who has trouble with ingrown hairs now is gross because she does not completely brazillian herself? It is the extremes that bother me. The woman who can’t handle her husband’s large penis in her ass has to feel badly that he can’t get anal sex from her? She might have no hang ups, just small physical stature, or hemorrids from birthing his babies.

Honestly, I admit, I like the idea of simple sex being enough most of the time. Two people in love having sex in the moment. No big escapades necessary, feels good, doesn’t take too long and can happen frequently. It feels more loving to me, more like the man wants to be with me, experience me, not make me into some sex toy. I also enjoy getting a little more wild sometimes, taking the time to dress the part, all of that, but my impression is a lot of men now want a performance all the time. It’s exhausting.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws And, about prisoners. Prisoners? If they have committed violent crimes am I supposed to be surprised that they also rape other prisoners? Hell if they are raping a prisoner who was a rapist I get a little schadenfrauden out of it. I hope the rapists now being raped are terrified, I hope they feel they must comply or die, I hope they get a little torn up from the act, I hope they die from rectal cancer when they get HPV from it. I don’t see your point at all about prisoners who rape. It goes back to what I was asking in my frist answer, are you all talking about men who are rapists who somehow can occupy themselves with porn rather than go out and hurt other people, or men will start raping if they don’t have porn to look at? It’s not like every photo of naked women will dissappear if porn is less available. I am not even trying to say I want it less available, I just want it done so people are not hurt. The women in the porn industry generally are unhappy, they don’t feel good about themselves, they do have physical and psychological consequences. There are exceptions, and I am sure there are some decent people producing and directing some porn, but a lot of it seems to be not so great for the actors, especially the women.

People can get addicted to the porn and that is where the problem lies in my opinion. Not everyone gets addicted, I am not saying it is like crack. I am saying those who do are pretty screwed up, it messes up their reoationships and their own sex life in my opinion. Their own sexual satisfaction.

wundayatta's avatar

Does porn have a beneficial or negative effect on people’s sex lives? Clearly the answer to that depends on the person. Porn has hurt some people, because people do get obsessed with porn and spend all day long masturbating and they stop paying attention to their spouses.

But how often does that happen? How often does porn hurt? How often does it help? I can’t answer that and I don’t know if there are any surveys that have addressed that question. All I can do is talk about my experience.

For me, personally, porn has helped. It helped me masturbate and it helped take the pressure off my wife, who is not as interested in sex as I am. It has also helped me see more of what is going on out there in the world, and I’ve had some interesting conversations with people here on fluther about porn and sex that I couldn’t have had if I had no experience with it.

I have also been to sex addiction meetings and I have heard the stories of a number of men who found themselves unable to turn away from porn. They spent their entire days with it.

But what I think is happening there is not the fault of porn. It is a kind of mental illness, where people have lost the ability to establish loving relationships with others. For them, a lack of porn wouldn’t change their problem. It would probably prolong it. By having access to porn, it becomes quickly obvious that there is a problem. Without porn, I’m not sure if this would have happened so soon or even ever.

Porn is here to stay. A what-if question like this deserves an “under the orange tree” award for the way it is phrased, but because it is an important issue, if not clearly asked about, it doesn’t get the award today. We are not really talking about what if porn didn’t exist. The real question, in my opinion, is what is it’s impact on people’s lives and frankly, I think it has a beneficial impact.

Porn is not the cause of a problem. If there is a problem, porn is a symptom. And in some cases, there is a problem. But for the most part, there is no problem, unless we consider our sexual desire a problem. Which it certainly can be.

But I see porn as a solution, mostly. It works very elegantly, and is clearly very popular since it makes more money than anything else on the internet.

Blackberry's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t read the rest of the comments, but I was making a joke in my answer. It’s a running joke that if a guy doesn’t “release the pressure”, he may explode in some manner.

SpeedskaterMan's avatar

Without porn, scores of women would be raped and villages plundered. Lol.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@wundayatta But how often does that happen? How often does porn hurt? How often does it help? “Porn addiction” (which, along with sex addiction, there is no medical definition for, and lots of debate as to if this is an actual thing) is probably not something we really need to worry about. Yes, you can get addicted to porn – but, you can also get hooked on Tumblr, watching sitcoms from the 80s, and reading Jack Kerouac (and, um, you know… Fluther? So maybe everyone on this thread over 3k shouldn’t be judging…). So the question is, is porn any more likely to get a person addicted who isn’t already looking for some kind of addiction? That’s not such a slam dunk. Additionally, the studies are often designed to assume that if you’re watching porn, it’s bad for you and the source of your problems – and, that certain things definitely are problems, when the reality is that they might not be (for example, just because you’ve slept with someone other than your partner since getting serious with that partner doesn’t mean you’ve cheated, since you might have an open relationship). The Sexacademic (love her) has good explanation of what’s going on with this whole “science of porn addiction” thing. Also, she points out a few studies about porn that seem to get overlooked because they actually report positive or neutral effects of porn, like increased intimacy and satisfaction within a relationship.

@JLeslie The women in the porn industry generally are unhappy, they don’t feel good about themselves, they do have physical and psychological consequences. I’m not so sure this is true – there really seem to be quite an awful lot of women in the porn industry (mainstream and otherwise) standing up for themselves and saying that this is more of an urban legend than based on fact. And the studies saying this are pretty much exclusively coming from a Christian or anti-porn feminist ideology that assumes that sex work is harmful. To me, the question is always, is doing porn really worse physically and psychologically than jobs in retail and food service? I have an incredibly hard time saying that it is.

On the prison rape thing: So, prison rape is actually a huge problem. We don’t separate prisoners by if the crime they committed was violent or non-violent. Now, none of us are shocked when someone who got locked up for murdering 12 people rapes someone, but most people aren’t put in prison for violent offenses, but rather for non-violent offenses (usually drug-related). And then those people are forced to either be raped – not just once, but repeatedly – or rape themselves to prove that they’re strong and not a victim; you cannot opt out of the prison rape system once you’re on the inside. While I don’t believe that anyone ever deserves to be raped, I really don’t think that buying or selling some cocaine or illegally downloading some music makes you deserving or rape. And that system then takes non-violent offenders, and turns them into violent offenders – we aren’t safer with this system, but actively turning people into the villain we assume they are. And there’s something phenomenally fucked up about this blasé attitude we have towards prison rape, that you should just expect it and we won’t care and that’s why you shouldn’t ever do anything bad (even if what you did bad was Driving While Black/Brown or Walking While Trans).

Also want to point out: I’ve known almost no men who actually expect me to perform anal, shave my pubic hair, or let them cum on various parts of my body (and the ones who did were disrespectful without porn). I have known a truly insane amount of women who assume that all men want that, because of porn.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ragingloli Just got done reading that study. LOLZ! I love how he uses the anti-porn feminist arguments to justify how porn is actually good. Hahahaha….

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelflaed I am horrified that rape is so prevalent in prison and that it is used to acheive power, don’t get me wrong.

And, it is not Christian or antiporn in my case, I am neither. I really think it depends on the guy, more than it is about the porn, but the porn exacerbates that particular type of guys problem.

mattbrowne's avatar

It might make the operation of sperm banks more expensive. Donors have to be turned on somehow.

Inspired_2write's avatar

That question could be just as important in Ancient times as now too.
I am sure that their were problems like that then too.
Especially Roman soldiers etc

CalHoncho's avatar

I honestly don’t think it would be any different.

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