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Saturday, February 09, 2002

Porno Food Fight- While I was doing other things, Natalija and Kevin traded volleys on Kevin's anti-porn piece yesterday. Pity, I had just had a nice set of e-mails with Natalija, but I have to trash her arguments (not her, no ad homs if I can help it) when they have it coming. I'll try to critique her arguments

Porn has been around longer than written language. It has been around since humans first started drawing on cave walls. If porn is unnatural, then so is writing and agriculture and high heels and teddy bears and antibiotics.
She has a point- Kevin said "Porn is bad because it is a unhealthy, unnatural, and often dangerous business that leads to emotional and often physical damage." He's got a bulls-eye if you trim off unnatural. Human nature makes lust and its pictorial cousin, pornography, natural. That doesn't make it right.

One big trouble I have with so many conservatives is the implicit arrogance that underneath it all, people basically see the world the way they do and feel as they do. Now I am as guilty as them of seeing the world through the filters of my own experience and emotions, but at least I do not claim that I think most other people secretly agree with me when it is quite clear they do not. Conservatives can claim that there is deep meaning in sex and certainly that can be true. But the truth is that sometimes sex is the banquet at the wedding feast and sometimes it is just a quick trip to McDonalds.
She links to Kevin but deigns not to mention him by name, instead opting for a conservative straw man. I know people think differently than I do; I'm not expecting to find Natalija's "inner Baptist" just under the surface. As for the deeper meaning of sex, I'm not in the mood for junk food when there's much better stuff available down the road.

The evidence is clear that much of the time people see sex as an end in and of itself. You do not have to even read Playboy to see that. Look through Vogue and you will see page after page of exaltations of female sexuality... not female commitment, female sexuality, with a strongly bisexual/sapphic overtone at that. It is all about elegant, lovely, lustful and largely unobtainable sexual perfection.
"...sex as an end in and of itself." Here's where Natalija and I truly part company. Sex was designed to be more than a pleasurable exchange of bodily fluids that can lead to procreation, it is designed as well a bonding between two people, a bond that will be weaker if the parties were sexually active with others. That bonding will often require mutual sacrifice and selflessness to make it work, but results in a more satisfying relationship. People will often want the short-term pleasure of sex without the long-term struggle of a marriage, looking for the "good" when the much better is available if one keeps control. Porn, or even clothed "cheesecake", encourage the person to fantisize about sex with the object. First, it is often treated as an object rather than a person; one typically doesn't envision having a ongoing relationship with the sex object. It detracts from the relationship with other real people and can lead one to imitate what is seen. It may not hurt a relationship in some cases, but will be a detrerment in most and can be a stimulus to violent sexual behavior.

I don't have a problem with pornography because unlike many conservatives and their socialist-feminist friends, I do not have a problem with the reality of human nature.
Excuse me while I preach a little-I don't have a problem with the reality of human nature; I know it far too well. I have a problem with human nature (a.k.a. sin) in that it will drive me to more selfish and destructive behavior if I (with God's help) don't keep it in check. I know that marriage is better than a string of one night stands, even if I had to wait until I was 40 to find it. Yes, I'm a reasonably healthy male with all the proper drives, but I've been able to contain those drives knowing that that soulmate might be out there someday. Sap alert-there was a abscess/empty spot in my psyche/soul that has ached for a quarter-century plus that Eileen fills-I am glad that we can go into our impending marriage being able to share ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually without the baggage of past sexual relationships. We're more than animals who can't control themselves when the urge to mate hits. Call it speciesist, but man, not the other beings, were created in God's image, and that is an image that includes self control and sacrifice for a greater good. This isn't going to sway too many agnostics, but it is the truth nonetheless. Short of mandating burqas, we're not going to outlaw all suggestive visual media. We can, and should, point out the pernicious effects of pornography and its clothed cousins (no Unablogger, please) and strongly encourage people to avoid them.

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