Pornography: A Term Paper


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A term paper about Pornography. Created and published as a fulfillment to the requirement in Social Science 3, University of the Philippines Diliman

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Pornography: A Term Paper

  1. 1. Quiban, et. al. 1 Boquiren, Ma. Patricia S. March 23, 2013 Cadiz, Ma. Fatima G. Quiban, Gian Lee Carlo G. Social Science 3 – WFY Term Paper (3,098 words) Pornography Pornography, as defined by Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge (also called as obscenity in legal terms) is any material (pornographic materials): pictures, films, printed materials or devices dealing with sexual poses or acts considered indecent by the public. It is primarily intended to arouse sexual desire (Webster‟s Universal English Dictionary 221). The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease.Pornography is debated to be a form of artistic expression of one‟s body. Others‟ especially those from the religious sect (e.g. Roman Catholicism) say that pornography is the degradation of one‟s body; it is an immoral act of showing one‟s body or any form of sexual act. Amidst these claims, there are still a lot of people who patronize pornography. According to statistics, in the United States, 69% or almost 7 out of every 10 hours of all internets spending is used in accessing sex-related products and online pornography. Also one-third or one in every three internet users visit sexual sites (includes porn sites, online selling of sexual products, et cetera). Thus, the public patronage of pornography is indeed high. (Sarmiento)
  2. 2. Quiban, et. al. 2 Pornography is often distinguished from erotica, which consists of the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions, while pornography involves the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions (Gehrke, “Erotica is not Pornography”). Before, pornography is shelled to the concept of seeing a man and a woman having sex with each other in which it is shown in DVDs or through internet sources. But in the modern era, the concept of pornography and the understanding towards it has widened. There are two broad categories of pornography: soft core pornography and hardcore pornography. Soft core pornography refers to pornography that does not depict penetration (Amis, “A Rough Trade”). Hardcore pornography refers to those, which explicitly depict penetration (Mac Nevin, “20th Century Nudes in Art”). Pornography is classified according to the physical characteristics of the participants, fetish, sexual orientation, etc., as well as the types of sexual activity featured. Reality and voyeur pornography, animated videos, and legally prohibited acts also influence the classification of pornography. The genres of pornography are based on the type of activity featured and the category of participants, such as alt pornography, amateur pornography, ethnic pornography, fetish pornography, group sex, reality pornography, and sexual orientation-based pornography. Alt porn, a shortening of “alternative pornography”, tends to involve members of such subcultures as goths, punks or ravers and is often produced by small and independent websites or filmmakers. It often features models with body modifications such as tattoos, piercings or scarifications or temporary modifications such as dyed hair. The term indie porn is also sometimes used, though this term is more generally used as a synonym for independent pornography, regardless of affinity with any kind of alternative subculture (Mies, “Evolution of
  3. 3. Quiban, et. al. 3 Alternative: History and controversies of the Alt-erotica Industry”). Amateur pornography is a category of pornography that features models or actors performing without pay, or for whom this material is their first or only paid modeling work. Reality pornography is professionally made porn which seeks to emulate the style of amateur pornography. Amateur porn has been called one of the most profitable and long-lasting genres of pornography (Allen, Hill 565; Yogielowicz, “The New Face of Amateur Porn”). Ethnic pornography is a genre of pornography focuses on performers of specific ethnic groups, or on the depiction of interracial sexual activity. Ethnic pornography typically employs ethnic and racial stereotypes in its depiction of performers (Lehman 208; Ford, “Racism”). Fetish pornography involves the fetish or an object or situation of interest (Vekquin, “Common Misunderstandings in Fetishism”). According to the World Health Organization, a sexual fetish may be regarded as an enhancing element to a romantic/sexual relationship "achieved in ordinary ways (e.g. having the partner wear a particular garment)" or as a mental disorder/disorder of sexual preference if it causes significant psychosocial distress for the person or has detrimental effects on important areas of their life. Arousal from a particular body part is classified as partialism (Milner, Dopke; Laws, O'Donohue). Group sex pornography involves the threesome and the orgy. Threesomes involve three people (combinations may vary from two men and one woman, one man and two women, three men or three women) having sex with each other. Aside from having the top and the bottom, a third terminology comes to place, the versa. The versa is the person who can play both the role of the man and the woman, at different stances or even at the same time. He can control the activity and at the same time, receive the action. The orgies or what is called as the party sex. Orgy is the over-indulgence in one activity involving a gathering of people (Webster‟s Universal English
  4. 4. Quiban, et. al. 4 Dictionary 202). In this sense, the orgy in pornography is the gathering of people (more than three) having sex with each other. The sex roles are more complicated since it involves more than three people meaning there can be more than one tops, more than one bottoms or more than one versa. Yet, in this case, the actors (maybe a combination of men and women or just a plain collection of either of the sexes) randomly take roles. Thus, orgies are solely dependent on how the actor wants to be perceived and what he wants to do. Sexual orientation-based pornography includes straight porn and the genres of gay porn. Straight porn is the traditional kind of pornography. It involves a man and a woman having intercourse. Gay porn on the other hand involves gay couples. Two men having sex with each other or simply doing erotic activities is called “bromance”. Two women doing sexual acts or having sex is called “lesbo action”. It is also in this category where shemales are counted. Shemales are people who are in physical sense, female but they possess the male genitalia. The shemales are often seen having sex with men. In this kind of porn, the terms top and bottom come to place. Since they are members of the same sex, it is hard to identify who is the „superior‟ or the one who acts as the man who in sense controls the activity and who is the „inferior‟ or the one who acts as the woman who in sense receives the action. Thus, someone in the pair would be the top or the superior and the other will be the bottom or the inferior. Lastly is the bisexual porn where it is similar to the threesome composed of one woman and two men. In this genre, one of the men performs sex with the woman then later on performs sex with the other man. Lastly, the reality sex, a kind of pornography that has been discovered only during the 21st century. Reality pornography is a genre of pornography where staged scenes, usually shot in cinema verite fashion, set up and precede sexual encounters. These scenes may either have the
  5. 5. Quiban, et. al. 5 cameraman directly engaging in sex or merely filming others having sex. The genre presents itself as "real couples having real sex" (Kick 167). Yet even though the understanding of pornography has widened, some issues regarding pornography still persist and remain unsolved. First, people say that pornography and the addiction can increase the tendency on person to commit rape and cause several other side effects. Second, pornography is an implied way of demoralizing women in the society and pursuing that women are inferior to men since almost all pornographic materials either show or depict that women are weak and are submissive to the instructions made by the man. Next, it is a blatant way of exploiting women and children. Lastly, people argue that pornography dismantles the moral fiber of the society making the society a sinful one. In this study, the researchers are tasked to present a clear and coherent study on what pornography is, see how the society sees pornography in the current society, identify the advantages and disadvantages that entail it and lastly, to forward suggestions on how these issues may be addressed. In the conduct of the study, the researchers were able to interview different people from different socioeconomic classes with different opinions and insights about pornography. Thus, the paper shall proceed with the presentation of gathered information, followed by case to case analysis and input from research, to be succeeded by the researchers' own insight and understanding of the issue and lastly, a presentation of certain solutions to help alleviate the problem caused by the issue. Pornography, since its conception in the olden times stirred different reactions from different kinds of people. It has received both good and bad reviews and commentaries. Seeing it in different eyes can help in the understanding and possible definition of what pornography is.
  6. 6. Quiban, et. al. 6 To further understand pornography, first, it must be asked, “When do people start to engage in pornography?”, supplemented by the question, “When do people engage in pornography?”, to be followed by “Why do people engage in pornography?” and finally, “What do they see in pornography that they engage to it?” Of the eight interviewees, six said that they first saw porn when they were young, age ranging from 12-18. The two said, they only saw porn because someone showed it to them. After asking them when they started seeing porn, they were asked when do they see porn. Unanimously, they said that they watch porn when they are fueled by their libido or as they say it, “horny”. Of those eight, two said that they like seeing porn because they like to see people have sex or see the natural anatomy of a person. Four said that they watch porn out of curiosity, one because he can release his sexual cravings and the last one said just for tripping. When they were asked on what they see in pornography, they unanimously answered that it is sex and sex is something natural. Side comments about pornography varied from each of them. Ricardo Tolentino, a fifty three-year old tricycle driver, married and was able to finish third year high school said: “When I was young, I started to watch porn out of curiosity. Since I was young, I became fond of it, using it as an escape. It was a pleasurable experience. I was addicted to it. I always invest time to it. Perhaps, that was also the reason why I married early. I was too aware of my surroundings. But when I married, I slowly declined from watching those sort of materials. I was faced with the issue on fastidiousness when my wife and children are around. Now, I am very careful with my son. I always check the files in his cellphone. Good thing when I check them, there is nothing on it that is pornographic, only anime. I do not want my son to end up like me.”
  7. 7. Quiban, et. al. 7 On the other hand, Jules Dela Paz, a twenty three year old-student said different insights towards pornography. “Pornography is made to satisfy people's lust. My brother was the one responsible to my discovery of pornography. He had me watch it when I was young. Since I am a horny person, porn is the only way for me to relieve myself from late night boredom and release stress. In fact, I watch every night! For me, porn is a powerful device that can make people do worldly things like rape but overall, I think it should be legal.” Lastly, Marie Angelie Francisco, a student from the University of the Philippines expresses her different take on pornography. “Pornography is an art. It is a place where I can express my freedom. I am free to express my deepest, hidden urges through what I consider to be an art form. I am an avid fan of pornographic materials. This is because I have a strong sexual drive and I consider myself to be a voyeur. And I watch porn because I love to watch people have sex, it is simply and naturally artistic.” Basing from the three remarkable statements of three different interviewees, the opposing insights about pornography already surfaces. The world and the people in it see pornography differently. Some see it as something that is good because it helps them release stress and cope up with their personal sexual needs. On the other hand, some people also criticize pornography because they see it as a way to deconstruct the moral fiber of the society. Studies around the world also say that watching porn has its negative impacts. While it is true that watching porn can help you release tension, alleviate stress and cope with your personal sexual needs without the aid of a partner, several detrimental effects of
  8. 8. Quiban, et. al. 8 pornography were also discovered and noted. According to, pornography cause at least seven negative effects. First in the list is porn contributes to the social and psychological within men. It is because young men who engage in porn tend to watch porn instead of studying, spend money just to sustain their addiction, then later on suffer from depression if their addiction is not satisfied (Dines 93). Second, porn rewires the male brain. This is because as men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on porn, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Next, porn turns sex to masturbation. In this scenario, sex becomes self serving meaning no partner is needed anymore to guarantee sexual pleasure and gratification. Sex becomes solely solidarity (for oneself). Fourth, porn demeans and objectifies women. In this stance, soft core pornography makes men view women as objects of pleasure rather than love-worthy beings. Hardcore pornography on the other hand makes men think that they are superior to women as women can be portrayed in porn as weak and submissive (Paul 80). Fifth, porn squashes the beauty of a real naked woman. It is because porn substitutes the praising for the naked body of woman. Porn comes into place and presents the people with sex scenes. Sixth, porn has a numbing effect on reality. It definitely makes real sex and the real world boring in comparison since engaging to pornography collapses the thrill that real sex brings. Lastly and most demeaning of all, porn lies about what it means to be male and female. Porn makes people believe that men are amoral, soulless beings with erect penises entitled to use a woman at his own will. It clearly blinds the people of the fact that both men and women feel and have innate emotions. Moreover, pornography also changes the brain and some of its functions. As the images are displayed on the screen, an arousal takes place and the dopaminergic system is triggered just like it would be by drugs such as cocaine. The newly formed connections in the brain from
  9. 9. Quiban, et. al. 9 watching pornographic images become greatly reinforced by the massive amounts of dopamine being released. Rather than going into short term memory, where these images can be forgotten after the screen is turned off, the dopamine reinforcement ensures they‟re moved into the long- term memory stores where they can be stuck in replay mode in the person‟s mind. The troublesome fact about this is that the more something is recalled, the more it solidifies it in the brain. Thus, there is an immediate addiction to pornography whenever a person recalls whatever he has seen (Ghilan “How Watching Pornography Changes the Brain”). The relationship between frequent pornography consumption and sexually aggressive behavior is especially strong for those with the highest "predisposing" risk level for sexual aggression. Those who are at high risk for sexual aggression and who frequently consume pornography have sex aggression levels that are four times higher than those who do not consume pornography frequently (Malamuth et. al. 26-94). Clearly, studies show that pornography has more negative implications that positive ones. Other than the debate on the positive and negative effects of pornography, another side also surfaces (the opinion of the third respondent), that pornography is art. Clearly, there is a difference between art and pornography. Art seeks to create a form of pleasure that is not limited to the physical stance. Pornography on the other hand, creates pleasure on solely physical aspect. Thus, a clear divide is drawn. Porn is encapsulated in giving sexual arousal. Art is more than sexual arousal, it is an emotional and psychological arousal at the same time. Perhaps, porn also creates emotional and psychological arousal but these arousal also bank towards the sexual aspect. Art presents more than that. The arousal you get in art never solely bank on one aspect but a combination of diverse factors (BBC News Magazine).
  10. 10. Quiban, et. al. 10 In the stance of morality, many people still believe that pornography is immoral. In the United States for example, 66% of the respondents say that pornography is immoral, 31% of them said that pornography can be morally acceptable while 3% of the respondents said that it depends on the situation. But what do people mean when they say that it is immoral? Simply, they get this notion from the standards created by their faith, mostly Christians, thus, a misunderstanding arises when two religions present their set of standards when it comes to understanding pornography. As researchers, a clear problem is seen. There are too many issues encapsulating pornography, too many view surrounding it that one cannot simply determine which to believe and falls to public pressure or societal pressure. Those who deem that porn is bad did not really think that way. They were just too stressed by the different views towards it and banked on the dominant view that they see, deeming it as immoral. To those who see it as morally acceptable may be raised from a liberated society and so on and so forth. Hence, the way things are seen can be based on how people react and interact with their society. Finally, the things that really need considering are first, moral stances that are not biased towards any religion but are dependent on world orders and systems. Second, in viewing pornography, it should be taken into account that pornography is not an art since porn is encapsulated in creating sexual arousal. Lastly, in trying to delve deeper to the meaning of pornography, social contexts should be accounted. The effects, both good and bad of pornography together with its immediate implication to the society should be the basis of creating a structured and stratified study of the subject matter.
  11. 11. Quiban, et. al. 11 Works Cited: Allen, Robert Clyde, & Hill, Annette. “The Television studies Readers”. United States: Routledge, 2004. Print. “American's Model Stance Towards Pornography in 2012”. Statista, 6 May 2012. Web. 1 Apr 2013. Amis, Martin. “A Rough Trade”. United Kingdom:, 2001. Print. Anonymous Interviewee. 11 Mar 2013. Personal Interview. Dela Paz, Jules. 22 Feb 2013. Personal Interview. Dines, Gail. “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality”. New York: n.p., 29 June 2010. Print. “Disorders of Psychological Development.” World Health Organization, 2010. Web. 29 Mar 2013. Evangelista, Erol. 22 Feb 2013. Personal Interview. Francisco, Marie Angelie. 24 Feb 2013. Personal Interview. Ford, Luke. “Racism”., 1999. Web. 29 Mar 2013. Gehrke, William J. “Erotica is not Pornography.” Massachusettes: The Tech, 1996. Print. Ghilan, Mohamed. “How Watching Porngraphy Changes the Brain”., 23 Jan 2012. Web. 1 Apr 2013.
  12. 12. Quiban, et. al. 12 Kagaha, Kim Charles. 11 Mar 2013. Personal Interview. Kick, Russ. “Everything You Know about Sex is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to the Extremes of Human Sexuality (and Everything in Between)”. United States: Disinformation Company, 2005. Print. Laws, D. R., & O'Donohue, W. “Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessmet and Treatment”. New York: Guilford, n.d. Print. Lehman, Peter. “Pornography: Film and Culture”. United States: Rutgers University Press, 2006. Print. Mac Nevin, Suzanne. “20th Century Nudes in Art”. Art History Archive, 2008. Web. 28 Mar 2013. Malamuth, Neil et. al. “Pornography and Sexual Aggression: Are there Reliable Effects and Can We Understand Them?”. United States: Annual Review of Sex Research, 2000. Print. Mies, Ginny. “Evolution of Alternative: History and Controversies of the Alt-erotica Industry”. United States: American Sexuality, 2006. Print. Milner, J.S., & Dopke, C.A. “Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified: Psychopathology and Theory”. n.p., 1997. Print. Montejo, JM. 22 Feb 2013. Personal Interview. Oblino, Vice. 22 Feb 2013. Personal Interview. “Orgy”. Webster's Universal English Dictionary. Geddess & Grosset. 1st Edition. 2004. Print.
  13. 13. Quiban, et. al. 13 Paul, Pamela. “Pornified:How Pornography is Damaging our Lives, our Relationships and our Families”. San Francisco: n.p., 8 Aug 2006. Print. “Pornography”. Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge. Grolier International. 3rd Edition. 2002. Print. “Pornography”. Webster's Universal English Dictonary. Geddess & Grosset. 1st Edition. 2004. Print. Sarmiento, La Rainne, Ph. D. “Pornography”. Philippines: U of the Philippines, 2013. Lecture. Stockman, BJ. “7 Negative Effects of Porn”., Nov 2011. Web. 1 Apr 2013. Tan, Sandino Daryl Uang. 11 Mar 2013. Personal Interview. Tolention, Ricardo. 11 Mar 2013. Personal Interview. Vekquin, K.M. “Common Misunderstandings about Fetishism”., 2010. Web. 29 Mar 2013. “What is the Difference between Art and Porn?”. United Kingdom: BBC News Magazine, 28 Sept 2007. Print. Yogielowicz, Stephen. “The New Face of Amateur Porn”. United States: XBIZ, 2008. Print.