Pamela Anderson’s opinion piece in the “Wall Street Journal” a few weeks ago (Take the Pledge: No More Indulging Porn, August 31, 2016), calling attention to, as she puts it, “the true nature and danger of porn,” inspired me to revive my long dormant blog.
As difficult as it was to look past the hypocrisy of a woman who profited by using her sexuality arguing that depictions of sex have a “corrosive effect on a man’s soul and on his ability to function,” I seriously considered Ms. Anderson’s argument. I truly did. And, even acknowledging my understandable bias, Ms. Anderson and her coauthor, Rabbi Boteach, I believe, are wrong.
In their opinion piece, they state that as many as 99% of adult men and 86% of adult women have viewed porn. As part of researching the literature relating to porn, I came across a point of humor and frustration amongst researchers: There is no way to assemble a control group because everyone has viewed porn. Porn is, as it were, part of the experience of being human.
Ms. Anderson’s piece assumes, without support, that viewing porn is potentially addictive. The American Psychiatric Association disagrees, concluding that there is insufficient evidence for such a diagnosis.
Before I make the argument that porn is actually good for viewers, I’m going to put forth my strongest argument in favor of the wide and unfettered availability of a variety of porn. Such availability is, among other things, a clear sign of a free people and a robust exchange of ideas.
Although Ms. Anderson does not go so far as to argue that porn be banned, blocked or censored, a call for government action lurks just beneath her warnings of public hazard, suffering families, imploded marriages, and (I kid you not) Anthony Weiner’s shit show. Ms. Anderson either does not differentiate or fails to draw distinctions between viewing porn and sexting.
How would the public’s consumption of porn be monitored? Who would do the monitoring? Who would make the determination that certain content is illicit? What is porn? In the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio, which addressed whether Ohio could ban the showing of a film it had deemed to be obscene, Supreme Court Justice Stewart Potter famously defined hardcore pornography by saying, “I know it when I see it.” With that sort of undefined standard, the censors would have unfettered discretion to ban or block anything.
According to the International Modern Media Institute, a watchdog organization for media freedom, “It is technically impossible to censor content delivered over the Internet without monitoring all telecommunications. Not just unwanted communications or inappropriate material, everything must be examined automatically by unsupervised machines which make the final decision on whether to allow the content to continue or not. This level of government surveillance directly conflicts with the idea of a free society.” A society without internet porn already exists, Ms. Anderson. It’s called North Korea.
On a more personal level, I cannot tell you how many clients have told me that watching Internet porn was the first step in exploring and finding their true sexual identities. Porn is proof and reassurance to people that their sexual preferences and desires, though not necessarily accepted publicly, are not bizarre, and need not be cause for shame.
I am aware that researchers have attempted to determine whether viewing porn is correlated with sexual misconduct or violence. As I mentioned previously, the difficulty in answering such a question is in identifying a control group (those that don’t view porn) in a society where 99% of all men may have, at one time, viewed porn. That said, over the same period of time that porn viewing rates have climbed to 99%, the rate of sexual violence has in the United States has dropped substantially. I won’t make the claim that the wide availability of porn has caused the drop, but the numbers foreclose any argument that such wide availability has led to a spike in sexual violence. In any event, common sense tells me that if people are at home watching internet porn, they are not simultaneously harming other people.
Ms. Anderson and her coauthor ultimately resort to the weakest of arguments, the one that proves to me the intellectual bankruptcy of their ideas. They argue that porn is bad for kids. Kids are the “crack babies of porn,” they claim. The surest indication that one side has lost the argument is when it purports to be protecting children. For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply acknowledge that Internet porn, like motorcycles, tequila, and dynamite, are not appropriate for use by children. If the standard by which we determine what will be available to adults in a free society is whether something is appropriate for use by children, we adults would miss out on many, many things that make life rich with excitement, color, and pleasure. Imagine a world with lots of Dora and no Game of Thrones.
I acknowledge that this blog post has crossed over from informative to indulgent, but bear in mind, as I make this last point, that I have not posted in about a year. For me, porn is, among other things, an expression of sexual freedom and a rejection of patriarchy. I read recently in an article from “The Atlantic” online, that in Colonial America, “common scold” laws were used to prevent women from being too loud or too visible. Women that ran afoul of such laws were sometimes fitted with a “scold’s bridle,” which fit over the head and depressed the tongue to prevent them from speaking. I have no intention of submitting to the Ms. Anderson’s metaphorical “scold’s bridle.” I’ll continue to advocate for a free society by supporting personal autonomy, sexual freedom, and the widespread availability of pornography.
Take heart. The new sharing economy is not going to put us all out of business.
By now you have heard about Ashley Madison, a website promoting extra-marital and other illicit affairs among its members thatwas compromised by a hacker or group of hackers who exposed the confidential information of its approximately thirty million members. The exposed information included email addresses, credit card numbers, and sometimes naughty sexual fantasies. Ashley Madison’sCEO, Noel Biderman, has been forced out and a planned public offering has been axed.
Within days of the 9.7 gigabyte data dump hitting the web, multiple search tools were made available to aid both shameless rubber necks and voyeuristic in discovering which of their friends, families, and coworkers had been swindled out of their$70 fee, and fed delusions of being Mad Men’s Roger Sterling to a bargain version of Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).
Although it can be amusing when hypocrisy is exposed (thank you Josh Duggar!), I am generally concerned about the vicious moral judgment and public shaming of individuals with respect to private sexual conduct. I take exception to the suggestion that those who were “outed” got what they deserved for signing up for Ashley Madison’s service.
Ashley Madison is in a heap of trouble for a number of good reasons. It failed tosafeguard its members confidential information, and apparently failed to make good on a ‘Full Delete’ service it offeredwhich promised to completely eliminate user profiles and all associated data for a fee. But the part of the story that truly disturbed me, and which inspired me to write on this topic, were the claims by the vetted male members that they had not actually had an affair. “Skepticism is the chastity of intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon, ” wrote George Santayana. I was originally skeptical of such claims. I’d been as likely to believe Josh Duggar’s (reality tv personality from 19 Kids and Counting & family values activist) claim that he was only on Ashley Madison to find cheater so he could save their souls. But then I looked at the members, which really tell the story.
According to extensive research done by Annalee Newitz with the design and technology blog Gizmodo, of the thirty million members, only about twelve thousand membershipsbelonged to real women who were active users on the site. That comes out to one female member for every 2,500 male members. With odds like that, Ashley Madison basically duped these unsuspecting men out of their $70.00. In Josh Duggar’s case, it was $986.76 to maintain two accounts for two years, but who’s counting.
So how did Ashley Madison pull off a heist that would impress even Henry Hill? Aside from preying on men’s most obvious weakness, how did it sell its male members on this statistically improbable proposition?
The new sharing economy, the staff of Uber and Airbnb, has been well covered in the business press over the last few years. The sharing economy, or the gig economy as Hillary Clinton refers to it, allows people to convert personal, non productive assets, into productive capital, assets. This business model works well where what is offered is a certain type of the service as a kind of valued but vital commodity, such as a ride to the airport or lodging. It does not work when one needs child care or brain surgery. Similarly, it is a business model that fails with respect tosensuality instruction.
Ashley Madison’s attempt to democratize the refined pleasure of unattached, discreet, sexual exploration appears to have been an unmitigated disaster. Ashley Madison sought to be the ‘Airbnb of illicit affairs”, but it turned out to be the guest who hosts a gender-bending bacchanal in your condo before taking a shit on your bed and tossing your gimp suit onto the neighbor’s lawn. Ashley Madison misled its members, preyed upon their weaknesses, betrayed their confidences, exposed their identities, and took their cash knowing it could not deliver value.
Using the sharing economy to choose a sensuality coach, someone who helps others realize their true and best sexual selves, reflects a failure to distinguish between noise and music, foolery and passion, labor and creative work, or commodity and art. Sensuality coaching creates something where once there was nothing. When done well, is the highest form of art, at the intersection of reality and fantasy. It is the aesthetics of design, fashion, and the human form. It is the taste of wine, sweat, and each other. It is not a ride to the airport.
As a sensuality coach I am usually the one helping introduce new things to others, yet very recently a friend introduced me to the FC2 female condom. He talked of how it had dramatically changed his sex life after years of irritation from traditional condoms. The sensation was apparently much better as well. I quickly whipped my ipad Air from my purse and feverishly begin searching the web for information and what I learned had me excited! FC2 was created in 2009 and is made of latex-free Nitrile. This material helps conduct heat and allows for a more natural experience.The Female Health Company is currently the only producer. It looks like a very large condom with a polyurethane ring at the enclosed end. It is inserted by squeezing this ring and pushing into the vagina. I could not wait to try it! Luckily my friend had some on hand as I later found that it is very difficult to find these in stores. Walgreens carries them, yet I decided to buy in bulk online from condomjungle.com where I was able to purchase 100 for $135 with free shipping
I have to say that now I completely favor the FC2 over traditional condoms. The condom allowed the experience to feel much more natural than a male condom. With each thrust in I felt I could feel the penis just as if there was no barrier at all. I was hooked! Upon completion you grasp the sides of the condom which are draped over the vaginal lips and gently pull it out. I have been recommending these to all my friends! If you have any trouble locating these feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll be sure to get some to you! Enjoy
I read an article today sent to me by a close friend that I found very intriguing. Seeing as it held it’s rank as the number one most read article of the day on Slate.com, an online news venue for modern culture, it is obviously of great interest to others as well. Entitled “The Case of the Closely Watched Courtesans,” the article examines the obsessive nature of the 18th century Parisian investigating into the lives of high end courtesans of the time by the police. Through a plethora of countless years of watching and documenting these women, and their every move, it is clear that they were of great interest to the police, yet very little came of this surveillance. So why do it? Nina Kushner poses the same question in this thoughtfully written excerpt from her book Erotic Exchanges: The World of Elite Prostitution in 18th-Century Paris. In a cultural climate where social status was expected to fit into a clear hierarchy, many of these women defied norms. Kushner delves into the lives of the 18th century “kept woman” through the meticulous documentation of the police vice squad of the time. What is apparent is the clear role these women play in their society and the power they reap from being a vital component. Moving themselves up in status, wealthy, and autonomy, these women evade the oppression many women of this time experienced. My conclusion is this was, and still is, the intriguing component that surround women of this nature. Most were unmarried, heads of their households, freely employing themselves, and enjoying lavish lifestyles. They were not controlled. So as to the question of why the police were so interested; I think it is simple. They were powerful. They had something that many wanted and skillfully delivered without causing a disruption to society. The police were intrigued by them. Maybe even envious at times. Who wouldn’t be? They were strong women in control of their own lives and destiny. One must speculate they were leaders in a revolutionary ideology towards seeking self gratification, evading oppression, and fulfilling a lifestyle otherwise out of their birthright. To have watched them so closely yet do nothing with the information over time makes me wonder if the police formed a sense of respect for them. It was a valuable service and positive impact on society in which they clearly provided. I applaud Ms. Kushner for bringing this to light and in my quest for further information am not only ordering her book, but hoping she will agree to meet with me for an interview. Details to come…..
Of course, when Hollywood stars or politicians have extramarital affairs, the whole world gasps. But if we peek into human biology, anthropology and sociology, the monogamous human appears to be non-existent.
Fact: Humans are mammals, and if we look to the mammalian world, just 3 to 5% of the about 5,000 species of mammals form lifelong, monogamous bonds.
Some scientists view both social and sexual monogamy in humans as a societal structure rather than a natural state. So if being monogamous is not a natural human state then why does society chastise us for mingling in our neighbours sheets? We have been taught that to stray from our spouse is considered to be ‘bad, bad, bad!’ But most of us have done so at least once in our life, or at least had the urge to do so. Wouldn’t that mean that the majority of humans are ‘bad’? Or maybe it’s only those of us that get caught that are ‘bad’. What a contradiction; societal expectation vs. natural instinct…gee wonder who wins this tug’o’war, duah. Why do we as a society make things so difficult for ourselves? Instinct always triumphs in the end. My philosophy is to just go with the flow and follow your natural instincts because human nature is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, it just is.
This is my recommendation: (and if any other providers out there find this post and have something extra to contribute, I more than welcome your input in the comments) Bring double the agreed-upon donation to your appointment. Give her the base fee immediately. (I can’t stress this enough — don’t haggle or ask what you’re getting. You made the appointment, she got herself ready for you and maybe even paid for a hotel room, just give her the fee. Place it somewhere where she can see it and do not discuss it at all.) If she expects an extra donation for extra services, she’ll let you know as soon as she is comfortable doing so. Some escorts charge a lower base fee and require more money for sexy time, others (like me) charge a little more up front and include release in the session.
Some charge a very high fee and also charge for extras, while others (usually crackheads) charge next to nothing and couldn’t care less about a tip, they’re just trying to get you out the door with as little effort and time spent possible so they can get their rock. Stay away from those girls! Ha. What I’m saying is that all providers are different; what’s included in the session and what is extra depends completely upon the escort and what she is comfortable doing. I knew one girl who loved it up the ass so much she included it with her base fee, but then charged double for vaginal sex. You never know.
Whatever happens, if your provider gives you good quality service, she deserves to be rewarded. Make sure to give her at least a 40% gratuity, either by way of negotiating for extras or just handing it to her as you leave to let her know you appreciate her effort. This is how you get good referrals, fellas, not to mention good karma. This is a luxury service, after all.