Do You Want Porn in Your Living Room?


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Google porn, see what you come up with and you’ll probably find that it’s one of the most widely recognised search terms on the internet and for several very good reasons, but mostly because a lot of people rather like it. Not just men either, which seems to be a popular myth bandied about by the misinformed.

Something for the weekend sir?

According to an NBC article, the global porn industry is worth about $97 billion, with about $12 billion of that in the USA alone, which gives you an idea of how popular porn really is, however I have no idea whether those figures include all the vast number of online porn sites out there. I mean, who would know that figure for sure anyway? It’s also said that the US porn industry makes more money than Hollywood, at least according to a report by Bridges and Wosnitzer (2007). The trouble is, reliable figures and statistics are notoriously hard to come by and many articles on this subject need updating as most tend to quote from publications that are way out of date or simply don’t show any date at all. Either way and whatever your views on the abhorrent practice of exploiting people in the sex industry, saucy postcards and peephole voyeurism have come a long way and sex definitely sells with over 68 million daily searches for porn in the USA alone, which leaves me pondering why is it that the USA is the country always referred to?

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A guilty pleasure or a damnable sin?

Well, now that we’ve got the dodgy statistics out of the way, it’s worth going back a few years and without wishing to state the bleeding obvious, sex in all its forms is very alluring and still has a kind of naughty label whether it’s under the counter, through the keyhole or in your face on a widescreen. The trial in Britain of Penguin Books over the publication of D.H.Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover is now regarded as a test case and is seen as the liberation of literature from the censors and hypocrites. My own view is that the stuffy middle and upper classes were determined to keep wives and servants in their place in some misguided effort to keep the Empire pure of any ghastly encroachment such as actually writing or talking about sex in the open.

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Fast forward to 2011 and E.L.James self publishes Fifty Shades of Grey which goes on to sell millions of copies in numerous languages and predictably a Hollywood film of the same name. It’s also interesting to note that following Penguin Books’ acquittal in 1960, Lady Chatterley’s Lover went on to sell three million copies of the book over three months, is still in print and even now is considered to be a tad risqué by many who read it. On the other hand, censorship still exists whether we like it or not. Fifty Shades was banned from public libraries in Brevard County, Florida (later rescinded) as it was deemed not to meet selection criteria and that reviews of the book had been poor. In other words, it was considered to be too filthy for a public library then. I’ve yet to read it, but it’s on my list purely to see what all the fuss is about, which I imagine is exactly what happened when all those people dashed out to buy Chatterley all those years ago.

Do you want pornography in your living room?

Whether Fifty Shades or Chatterley are porn is a moot point as I’ve always understood porn to be a purely visual experience. Perhaps erotic would be more appropriate and is the label which many directors and producers would prefer for some major films released recently and available to watch in your very own living room. Actually, they may prefer artistic representation as a more general term, which puts a considerable distance between them and the million and one choices available online in the 420 million or so porn sites to choose from.

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VHS, Satellite and cable TV ushered in a new era for accessing porn and in the early days of satellite, before it was more tightly regulated, it was an eye opener, in spite of the usual out of tune, crappy music, unnecessary dialogue and total lack of acting skills which soon became an after dinner joke. Of course, there’s a fine line between out-and-out porn and a big budget production like Blue is The Warmest Colour, not least because there’s real acting involved and the director at least knows how to use a camera and bring the characters alive. The old joke that once you’ve seen one porn site you’ve probably seen the lot, couldn’t really be applied to films such as this, unless you as a reader have another point of view of course.


When does erotica become porn?

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I remember years ago when the BBC, in an effort to become a little more adventurous, would screen Play For Today at some ludicrously late hour before service shutdown and there I was, a shy seventeen year old, sitting on the sofa next to my parents and sisters, when a woman on the screen takes off her bra exposing her breasts. If I’d had a spoon to dig a hole in the carpet and make my escape it would have been handy for all the cringing and blushing I did, but I managed to survive by simply not making eye contact with anyone whatsoever. Even the dog looked uncomfortable. I think times have moved on somewhat since then, although family viewing remains just that and there are some films I definitely wouldn’t want to watch with my parents present in the same room.

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Art house erotica films like Nymphomaniac, Love, A Room In Rome and Blue Is The Warmest Colour are examples of films pushing the boundary in terms of what is acceptable in the mainstream and have all provoked the big question of what is considered to be porn, in much the same way as many were scandalised by Last Tango In Paris and the shocking revelation that Brando and Schneider may well have had real sex in the infamous scenes. On the other hand and presumably for the sake of the actors’ reputations, porn stars were used as body doubles in most of the hotter scenes in Nymphomaniac, it has emerged.

Parental education?

Not long ago I was asked to install K9 Web Protection on a family PC and whilst the idea seemed sound in theory, I found myself having to create so many exceptions that in the end the customer asked me to remove it. For example, a simple search for the town of Scunthorpe turned into a major headache as did any page containing the word Hardwick. How parents educate their children is entirely up to them and they don’t need a nanny state to step in and interfere but instead provide the tools to educate. Neither are you going to sit down with your kids and watch any of the films I just mentioned above of course, but you may decide to learn what really goes on in the sex industry.

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Louis Theroux is a documentary maker and a few years ago he put together a film about the US porn industry under his Weird Weekends series. It’s as entertaining as it is revealing and he later went back to see how the characters were coping some fifteen years later. Documentaries such as these serve to open our eyes to what really goes on under the covers in one of the oldest industries in the world and throw up some very interesting facts that debunk numerous myths, especially through the views of the pornstars themselves. As Mae West is said to have once famously remarked ‘It’s not the size of the gun that counts, but the power behind the shot.’, which should give you something to chew over whilst you finish your cornflakes.

On the other hand, the more serious issue of exploitation, when delved into more deeply, may make you wonder why you’re watching that naughty film at all. So, instead of controlling minors’ access to online sex, perhaps some exposure to the facts would be helpful. After all, the Victorian age ended quite a while back and we talk about sex far more openly today than we ever did.


[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/106965612[/vimeo]

Is porn addictive?

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Are booze and cigarettes addictive? There are thousands of articles that discuss this topic and I would agree that getting hooked on porn is a compulsion rather than an addiction, although Sex Addicts Anonymous would probably disagree with me. Having said that, a friend of mine told me that on one occasion when he was at his local A.A. meeting they had almost finished the usual introductions and the last person introduced himself as ‘Hello, I’m Mike and I’m a sex addict‘. My friend was a tad surprised, yet Mike was welcomed since self help is always about confronting the problem, no matter what it is.

So, what’s your view? Is there just too much of it about or don’t we want to talk about it?

 

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About the Author

Marc Thomas

Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer as well as the owner of Compufix in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers.

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