covering up our guilty pleasures

It's no wonder our culture seems almost schizophrenic when it comes to sex. We can't even be honest with each other about it.
sasha grey

Sex is a biological need like hunger and thirst. It’s even controlled in the same part of the brain as all our basic needs and desires. We’re plan our entire lives around trying to pass on our genes and having a fulfilling sex life is known to improve the immune system, increase confidence and self-esteem, and help prolong our lives. But people are also a very hypocritical bunch when it comes to expressions of sexuality. We try to repress them and frequently vilify, demonize or put down the people who work in industries that cater to our more adult whims, lashing out at those who satiate our desires for a moral boost.

Imagine working in a field where you’re in constant demand but you can’t tell anyone what you do for a living without shocked glances and long-winded speeches about how you could do so much better and inferring that the only reason why you’re in your line of work is because your mind is just not quite right or because you may have been abused or mistreated as a child. As your try to refute their claims, you know that there’s a very high probability that they’re going to watch you and others like you at work in the next few days if not only a few hours after their lectures are over. But their speeches aren’t really about you. They’re a way to defend their interest in things they’ve heard demonized so often.

And that’s kind of what it’s like working in pornography. Sure some of your friends think it’s an amazing job and you’re very lucky to get paid to do what others find so enjoyable and try to get every chance they can. But mostly, you’re going to get scolded. Often clumsily, insincerely and stereotypically, but scolded nevertheless. These people want to see adult films, many probably have an impressive or notable collection or a few websites bookmarked in their favorites for an occasional viewing and they think it’s kind of interesting and neat to meet someone who works on brining them more of these videos firsthand. However, the message from society is that the workers in adult industries are to be shunned or at least lectured to and told that “they can do a lot better than that.” Kind of condescending and hypocritical isn’t it?

Surfing for adult videos used to be the number one activity on the web until late last year, when social networking managed to dethrone it. Even so, it remains a very strong number two as the adult entertainment industry annually rakes in more than all major Hollywood blockbusters for the same time span, combined. Our demand creates and fuels this industry yet we typecast the people who are simply responding to our demand as the Untouchables of Western society. We like to talk about morality, decency and self-control but what really hides behind our righteous speeches is our own shame at our basic needs. And I would argue that this shame is far more harmful than any pornography out there because it promotes repression of a normal, healthy desire and leads to societal stereotypes that wreck sex lives and relationships. Just ask mental health professionals specializing in sexual and couples therapy.

# sex // abuse / adult films / cultural differences / sexuality


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