JUST MY OPINION:
SEX, SPIN AND THE BENEFITS OF PORNOGRAPHY
By T.K. McNeil
Always With Us
Archeologists have long known that as long as there have been people there has been sex. And nearly as long as there has been human sexuality there have been representations of it. Whatever medium was available at the time, cave wall, animal tusk, clay or papyrus pornography was available. Obviously, our forefathers understood the benefits of pornography.
Through sculpting, painting, and pottery the ancients depicted the benefits of pornography. Egyptian artisans depicted the beauty of human sexuality. This goes for the written word, there being some pretty racy entries in the Bible. The Song of Solomon being a famous example. The Romans through sculpture glorified human sexuality. Pre-Christian Viking sagas told of great adventures; and no great adventure would be worth telling if there wasn’t plenty of sex.
The benefits of pornography have followed us through the ages; emerging today primarily in streaming videos on the internet. Thanks to the vision of our forefathers we have reached for the stars and surpassed them.
Under the Corset
There is a misconception, particularly among the young, that “porn films” are a new phenomenon with a history dating back to the mid-1960’s. In terms of commercial availability, this is correct. Though woefully inaccurate when it comes to the history of the genre. The allegedly stodgy and prudish Victorian Brits were one of the first societies to recognize the potential benefits of pornography.
Not only did some of the earliest erotic photography come out of the Victorian era but it was a time that gave rise to “stag” films. The “stag” film is one of the earliest examples of modern film pornography. The earliest examples of the genre use many of the same story contexts and camera angles used in films today.
“Stag” films, banned under the censorship of the Motion Picture Production Code, did little to show the benefits of pornography. The censorship authority also known as the “Hays Code” was in effect from 1922 through 1968. Despite the ban, “stag” films dominated the lucrative underground black market of that time.
Politicization of Pornography
The connection between pornography and organized crime was a self-made problem. Similar to the issues of bootlegging in the prohibition era, government regulation brought an opportunity to make illicit money. The politicization of pornography is nothing new. The censure by royal and religious authorities, essentially the same thing, started as far back as the 18th century with no regard for the benefits of pornography.
Napoleon and the Cardinals imprisoned Marquis de Sade, and others like him, for writing things they did not like. Particularly de Sade’s infamous 1791 novel, Justine. Justine remains restricted in one form or another even today. There has never been a complete unedited version of his works legally published in the United States. Apparently, the Marquis had a more vivid imagination than most of today’s censors can tolerate. So much for the benefits of pornography.
Free the Women
In 1989 the Justice Department shook-up of the commercial porn industry. The government successfully prosecuted a mafia-linked video distributor who released movies made of under-aged porn performer Traci Lords. With that dangerous distributor temporarily off the streets the “mob problem” in the porn industry was mostly solved. The industry was viewed as a relatively safe sexual outlet. The main objections and oppositions then came mostly from a few moral crusaders. Most notably from both the ‘Religious Right’ and some feminist groups.
Though even this would eventually change. As time progressed and the political climate simmered down, philosophies began to change and the benefits of pornography became more clear. There was the rise of what is known as “sex-positive feminism.” As Shirley Manson of the British band, Garbage said in 1995 “sex is not the enemy.” An attitude which would soon lead to the production of “feminist pornography.”
Founded in 1993, the prominent feminist magazine Bust entered the scene. This was at the tail-end of the second-wave feminism before things went wonky-bonkers. Bust has a section called “The One-Handed Read,” which features erotic literature by women, for women. An example of this in the film medium is the work of female directors such as Lucie Blush of Lucie Does Porn.
A major issue in discussions of the benefits of pornography and the potential benefits is defining the terms. The most famous quote with regards to pornography is Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s 1964 quip, “I know it when I see it.” This is, for lack of a better term, poppycock.
There is, in fact, a very clear and specific legal definition of pornography for those who care to actually know. It is as follows: “The portrayal of erotic behavior designed to cause sexual excitement. It is words, acts, or representations that are calculated to stimulate sex feelings independent of the presence of another loved and chosen human being.”
It’s In The Lighting
Both specific as well as open-ended, this definition can apply to many things. Both traditionally considered pornography and those that are not, including and especially “erotica” fit perfectly into the definition. The joke about the difference between erotica and pornography being the “lighting” having an element of truth to it. The fact is it is all pornography by the legal definition, done in radically different ways. Just as the genre term “Heavy Metal” can be used to refer to everything from Led Zeppelin to Cannibal Corpse.
The rise of the internet in the mid-1990’s caused the fracturing of traditional narrative culture. Part of this has been a turn to amateurism and self-production on one hand and an extreme focus on market forces by traditional media companies on the other. Pornography is no exception. The shift to keyword driven productions, particularly in terms of online distribution has led to an unintentional limit in the market and access to the benefits of pornography.
The most popular categories in terms of age ranges are “Teen” and “Milf.” This made difficult for any performer to get work in traditional studio porn if they were between the ages of 24 and 34. Totally absurd. This situation has led to the rise of two new genres. Both making the benefits of pornography even more clear.
The most obvious is the new popularity of independently produced pornography, outside the traditional system. Existing for years as the somewhat obscure sub-category of “amateur,” independently produced, non-studio porn is among the fastest growing sectors of the pornography industry.
Change in Context
With this new generation of porn is a major change in the overall context. While there is certainly an increase in frightening and unethical behavior in some sectors of the industry, that is only one keyword set, appealing to a very specific set of preferences. There are others that are far more palatable and show what the benefits of pornography can really be, and yes, there is a clear division between the “professional” and the “independent” in this respect.
Keyword For Keyword
A quick look at the scene descriptions makes this clear. Studio porn tends to have descriptors such as “Fucked”, “Pounded” and “Destroyed.” Basically what one would expect in terms of pornography. The benefits of pornography in the digital come into play with the usual descriptors of indie porn such as “Sexy”, “Sensual”, “Fun”, “Funny” and “Passionate.”
A key example of this is “Sexy Saffron” Bacchus. A 28-year-old producer from Montreal who writes, shoots, edits and distributes videos with her husband Dennis Bacchus. Most, if not all the credible ethical issues raised are nullified by their marriage. The traditional studio pornography and the more extreme elements of independent online pornography are simply absent in their videos.
An interesting side-effect of the turn to online porn is the invention of what is known as “bespoke porn.” Originating with older, traditional porn stars and directors, such as Stoya, who could no longer get work because of the internet boom, bespoke porn describes a system in which anyone with $2,000 can put in a request and get a porn video made by professionals just for them. While it is more subtle in action, the benefits of pornography are particularly clear in this case. This particular genre is noticeably non-sexual. Some of the requests are bizarre but none of which meet the legal definition of pornography as stated above.
For The Psychologically Troubled
There was, such as, a keen stamp-collector who, disenchanted with his life-choices, had a video made with fully clothed porn performers destroying his stamp collection. There was also a buyer for a restaurant with an unusual fixation on condiments who wanted a video with a performer, again fully clothed, sitting in a backyard pool being covered in condiments. Strange as all this might sound, such expressions are an important outlet. Particularly for those who are psychologically troubled. A truly unexpected example of the benefits of pornography. Nowhere is this more clear than the instance in which someone put in a request for a performer to sit cross-legged on the floor, fully clothed, and make the following statement: “I know things are bad now but it will get better. Suicide is not the answer.”
This particular benefit of pornography has become so common in terms of both request-based independent porn and bespoke porn, it has come to create its own sub-genre, referred to as “Affirmations Porn.” A general term for professional or independent bespoke porn meant to try to help the viewer feel better. A major example of this benefit of pornography is the independent producer known as TeenyGinger.
You Are A Good Person
With a username literally made up of keywords, “teeny” being a version of teen and “ginger” referring to redheads, TeenyGinger, is a 19-year-old redhead. She works almost exclusively by request, nearly all involve some sort of positive affirmation. One of the least expected benefits of pornography. Many of which are so tame that they appear on her personal website and her PornHub page as well as her YouTube channel. Coming across as any other vlog or *ASMR videos.
Brighten Your Day
Even the more erotic instances are something a bit different. Using eroticism and nudity in the context of her affirmative statements is a benefit of pornography. TeenyGinger is usually fully, or at least partly clothed. Then she speaks encouragingly into the camera clad in jeans and a bra, slowly taking off the bra exposing her breasts. “I hope this brightens your day.” she says. The overall effect being really no different from the work done by recognized artists. Notably the performance artists Lian Amaris and Ann Liv Young and the art photographer Katie West.
As Bad As They Seem?
Despite the assumptions made about the nature of pornography and the frightening aspects of some of it, these are only small pieces of a larger puzzle. There are positive aspects, and even benefits of pornography, in particular contexts. So, if you were feeling at all guilty about spending three hours of every evening watching porn, just remember it is really just a form of mindfulness. Become part of the moment.
**”ASMR is a deeply relaxing and comforting feeling, usually accompanied by tingling sensations in the head,” says Craig Richard, PhD, an ASMR researcher and founder of ASMR University. The”tingling” starts in the back of your neck, travels across your scalp, and moves downward, following the line of your spine, he says. Some people feel it in their shoulders, limbs, and lower back, too. You can experience ASMR getting a haircut, being treated by a doctor, watching someone paint skillfully, hearing someone whisper, or listening to crinkling sounds — the triggers are endless and vary from person to person, he says. It has been called a brain climax.