Study: Female porn performers healthy, have positive body image

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Sex Research has put to rest the perception that female porn stars have low self-esteem, have been sexually abused as children and are less psychologically healthy compared with other women.

The study is Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis (US National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health).

It found no evidence to support the “damaged goods hypothesis” that actresses involved in the porn industry come from abusive backgrounds. Rather, the researchers found the women have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and are more positive, with greater levels of spirituality.

This runs contrary to one of the central arguments made by anti-porn feminists and anti-porn religious campaigners alike – that women who perform in porn do so because they have low self-esteem, do not value themselves as people – and the core assumption held by many that women in porn were sexually abused as children.

Nope. Now you can show anyone who perpetuates this myth the data. Here’s the abstract:

The damaged goods hypothesis posits that female performers in the adult entertainment industry have higher rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), psychological problems, and drug use compared to the typical woman. The present study compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Comparisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and drug use.

Porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual, first had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, were more concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and enjoyed sex more than the matched sample, although there were no differences in incidence of CSA.

In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group.

Last, female performers were more likely to have ever used 10 different types of drugs compared to the comparison group. A discriminant function analysis was able to correctly classify 83% of the participants concerning whether they were a porn actress or member of the matched sample. These findings did not provide support for the damaged goods hypothesis.

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Gail Dines, SlutWalk, “Normal” Sex for Women, and The Place of Porn in a “Just Society”

This is a cross-post from (NSFW) written by Thomas Roche and published here on Our Porn, Ourselves with permission. Some links are not work-safe.

Anais Pouliot by Richard Bernardin

As Violet mentioned in a Nibble earlier this week, anti-porn crusader Gail Dines‘ May 18 piece in the Sydney Morning Herald got negative responses not just from many of our fellow sex-positive writers but from commenters at the Herald itself. From the looks of the comments in the Herald, readers in Australia (where porn is de facto illegal) aren’t having it. Dines’ first misstep may have been in attacking home-grown Australian wonder, which is about as sex-positive and mellow as one can get in the realm of sexually explicit commercial porn. But she made up for that error by grabbing plenty of vague, cherry-picked and invented “facts” from the enormous arsenal up her ass.

For me to disagree with Dines is not news — though Dines’ article does, to me, put the Herald‘s May 6 article on the Feminist Porn Awards in sort of an Orwellian light. Responses from the sex-positive world have been strong, as they are whenever Dines opens her mouth. Never mind that The Sexacademic Jessi Fischer laid the groundwork for exposing Dines as a wingnut, when Fischer ran an awesome piece earlier this month on compulsive porn viewing from a scientific perspective. The Herald published a nice response piece by Joel Tozer, and Ms. Naughty and others point out the brain-bending generalizations required to get stats like the ones Dines trots out (when she can be bothered to trot out stats, rather than just stating the kind of received wisdom “everyone knows”).

For every population except squicked-out anti-porn commandos, Dines has all the credibility of a mad dog at a peace rally. She can’t say the word “porn” without foaming at the mouth. In all her writings, Dines expresses rampant anti-male sexism, and cherry-picks her information when she can’t be bothered to make it up. When she wants to conjure some violin music, she calls up some vague generalization about women she meets at her classes and presentations, and how “they” feel.

But the plural of anecdote is not data; the plural of anecdotes is anecdotes, and when Dines can’t even be bothered to relate specific anecdotes, she summarizes them…and guess what? Her summaries of the experiences of the “women” “she” “meets” suspiciously support the “truths” about male-female interaction that Dines has already told you she already decided.

But none of that is news. What troubles me most about Dines in this Herald article is her use of the term “normal,” which is, to my way of thinking about sex education, absolutely the most dangerous term there is. Dines uses it, here, to completely disregard any flavor of female desire that doesn’t exactly match what I presume must be her own.

A professor of sociology and women’s studies, Dines shows a shocking disregard for women’s experience. She infantilizes “sluts” and women who consume porn (about whom I’ve never seen her make more than a passing reference) as women making not their own choices, but choices dictated exclusively by the pressures of men. Meanwhile, men make choices based exclusively on the pressures of porn. Which are driven by the desires of men. It’s a classic circular argument that places the responsibility for men who behave reprehensibly on the shoulders of women who self-identify as sluts, and of men who don’t always feel like making eye contact with their girlfriends during sex.

But Dines is far more dangerous than that, because after decades teaching women’s studies, she doesn’t seem to have learned the explosive danger of the term “normal.”

Her comment about gonzo porn that “The feelings and emotions we normally associate with such an act – connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection – are missing, and in their place are those we normally associate with hate: fear, disgust, anger, loathing and contempt…” display a classic technique of manipulatively persuasive speakers trying to hype their audience for a moral panic — from the Crusades on down.

In doing this, Dines turns her journey into one of Tragedy Tourism, in which she assigns the reader, non-consensually, the status of tourist. Her statement is not addressed to those people for whom “such an act” does not “normally” have “connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection” associated with it. Any sex that is not built on such emotions, in Dines’ view, is “abnormal.”

And when, in the Sydney Morning Herald article, she enlists the reader in her campaign by asserting that “we” “normally” associate particular “feelings and emotions” with “such an act,” it flies in the face of Dines’ own assertion in another of her recently internet-famous hate-fests, the “Slutwalk” article in the Guardian, in which she said that women should not be fighting for the right to call themselves a slut (or be a slut, whatever that means) without getting raped.

Instead, claimed Dines and Wendy J. Murphy in the Guardian, women should be fighting “for liberation from culturally imposed myths about their sexuality that encourage gendered violence,” which in her view is something different than the right of women to choose what they wear and still be safe from bodily violence.

To Dines, “culturally imposed myths about their sexuality” means specifically the myth that women like sex, or, to meeet Dines and Murphy much more than halfway, the myth that women like the kind of sex specifically portrayed in pornography, since the sum total of Dines’ and Murphy’s “case studies” in the Guardian article are that they hear from women who feel  pressured for sex. “They have been told over and over that in order to be valued in such a culture, they must look and act like sluts, while not being labeled slut because the label has dire consequences including being blamed for rape, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-mutilation.”

But who’s doing the blaming here? Dines and Murphy are the ones who just blamed sluts for eating disorders and self-mutilation! I’m slut-positive — and, just speaking for myself, I blame eating disorders and self-mutilation on a sick, diseased Patriarchal society, dysfunctional mental health and health insurance systems, rampant soulless Capitalism, sex-phobic family interactions, sex-silencing religious structures, a culture that teaches girls they are less than boys…need I go on?

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to demonize the women Dines enlists, for all I know without their consent, as “straw men” in her assault on porn. Though Dines silences these women by generalizing about them, that’s not their fault. Women who feel pressured to be sluts have my compassion; the media has some fucked-up ideas out there, and pressure to conform can be hugely painful.

In addition, specific women who feel pressured by specific men to have sex also have my compassion — and no, I’m not being sarcastic. Being pressured by anyone for anything is uncomfortable; it’s far more uncomfortable when one is socialized, as a female, to be a people-pleaser, and to define one’s self vis-a-vis the attention of men. It’s still more uncomfortable if, having self-confidence undermined by a society that teaches girls they’re less than boys, and that girls who fuck are even less than that, you’re then told by a boy or a man with ulterior motives that your accession to him performing sex acts on you is something you’re expected to dole out in return for his precious kindness in wasting his time on you, or giving you a ride home, or buying you a drink, or getting you in to this killer party. That kind of brain-teasing mental manipulation sucks, and if anyone out there thinks sexually active women in the U.S. don’t endure a hell of a lot of double messages, they’re not paying attention.

And those men who specifically pressure or manipulate specific women in the interest of “getting” sex from them — those guys are assholes, utter assholes. If you don’t regard women as humans, you shouldn’t be sleeping with them.

But if a specific woman feels pressured to be a slut, in a vague, non-specific, overriding social or cultural way, because sluts get more attention from men? Well, that can hardly be blamed on internet porn. Guys also paid attention to sluts in the seventies, as I recall.

I would assert that one of the most dominant and pervasive myths about female sexuality is the idea that women don’t like sex. Its close corollaries are “good girls don’t like sex” and “normal women don’t like sex,” and “women don’t like abnormal sex.” Whether that is one of the chief myths that creates gendered violence, I don’t know, but it’s certainly true that what follows close on that myth’s heels is the idea that, by liking sex, by liking abnormal” sex, or by liking “normal” sex but liking it an “abnormal” amount, women abdicate their right to physical sanctity. For a women’s studies professor, Dines sure seems to blame the victim a lot. Is this woman friends with Camile Paglia?

Or, to see it another way, women abdicate their right to physical sanctity for liking sex without it being the kind of sex that “normal” women like. Women place themselves in jeopardy, says Dines, by being “sluts,” which to Dines means that their sex is not about, or not just about, “connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection.” That is to say, the crime of sluts is by liking sex without letting Gail Dines decide what kind of sex they have.

In Dines’ view, Women who choose to be “sluts,” especially proud sluts, are partly responsible for rape — not just their own, but all rape.

Because they like sex differently than Dines’ so-called “normal” women, “sluts” undermine their right not only to their own physical sanctity, but the sanctity of all women, in Dines’ view. That sounds like a pretty narrow definition of “normal,” and one that Dines has single-handedly decided on.

But how normal is normal, Gail? In case you haven’t noticed, “normal” sexual relationships are very often royally fucked up! Did Dines burst forth from Zeus’s skull the same year as AOL, or does she honestly not remember that sexual relationships were fucked up before the internet — even, believe it or not, before commercial porn?

In addition to Dines’ claim about what “normal” emotions “we” associate with sex are, there’s her close follow-on claim that in gonzo porn, “The man ‘makes hate’ to the woman, as each sex act is designed to deliver the maximum amount of degradation.” (Get it? “Makes hate,” as opposed to “makes love,” which Dines believes is “normal.”)

In “summarizing” for us the entire genre of gonzo porn, I’m not sure who she’s describing this stuff for — since anyone can hit Google and have all the free gonzo porn they want on their hard drive in about zero minutes flat. Even in porn-hostile Australia — where her attack on gonzo porn seems to be based on the fact that she objects to Abby Winters drawing a crowd at the Adult Entertainment Expo.

But if Abby Winters is about “making hate,” Dines has set herself up not just in opposition to the visceral and (she perceives) overtly misogynistic porn she describes as “gonzo.” She’s opposing the mildest, most “normal” porn there is. Or is her obvious homophobia such that any “girl-girl” sex exists solely for the pleasure of men? What about the ten zillion sex worker women I’ve known over the years who prefer “working” with other women?

Ooops!! Those are just anecdotes, right? Most people out there probably don’t know any porn stars, or at least don’t know as many as I do. But they almost certainly have internet connections, which is all it takes to get a first-hand look at the horrifying realities Dines is talking about. And there, she’s undermined her own argument.

See, when you’re trying to fuel a moral panic about bath salts, that’s one thing; most people who read an article won’t hit the street to score some bath salts at the local Circle-K, then go home and snort a few lines to see if this dangerous drug is really as dangerous as Doctor Oz says.

But in the internet era, when talking about porn, Dines is at a bit of a disadvantage. Anyone who wants to can watch the stuff and make their minds up for themselves. You can type Abby Winters into your browser (try it!). You can also go to YouPorn or wherever, and hit the “gonzo” category, or if you’re really savvy you can type “hardest gonzo porn” into Google and see what really apocalyptic brain-searing weirdness you can dig up.

If they do either or both of those things, people already inclined to hold Dines’s view that “gonzo” porn is about hate will think what they already thought. They’ll either be outraged by it or decide, “Um…yeah, I already knew that.” Or they’ll look at a few Abby Winters videos of perky, makeup-free college-age girls having perky, makeup-free, college-age sex. They’ll scratch their heads and say “I thought this stuff was about “making hate.”

But doesn’t Dines’ claim that “There is no room for porn in a just society” also torpedo her attempt to paint specific porn as objectionable? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Dines has shot herself in the foot by shooting off her mouth. Her arguments tend to be loaded with self-contradictory hand-waving, but when someone like Dines starts throwing around ideas like “a just society,” I can’t help but feel my elf ears perk up.

See, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about what actually constitutes a “just society.” In fact, these were the last seven truly incredible books I read on different societies. They’re about Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Iran, the cocaine trade in Colombia, the diamond trade in Sierra Leone and the genocide of the Zaghawa people in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Think those regions are unconnected to Gail Dines? Think again. She’s the one who decided she knows what constitutes a “just society.” I, personally, haven’t got the foggiest. But if she wants to talk about what an unjust society looks like…there, I think I’m getting to be an expert.

What my studies this year all have in common are that they’re all of phenomenally “unjust” societies. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both fundamentalist dictatorships created explicitly by the Western thirst for oil resources (albeit, with Iran, indirectly). In both nations, the “just society” Dines seeks has been built — porn is illegal.

There, in Saudi Arabia and Iran and the similarly Sharia-governed Sudan, women’s safety doesn’t hinge on whether they dress like “sluts.” It hinges on whether the religious police decide to go after them, for phenomenally arbitrary and impractical reasons that shift not just with the tides of society, but with the brain farts of the religious police, their male relatives, thugs with powerful connections, and random judges potentially of a different religious sect than the victim.

In their randomness, the excuses used to brutally enforce female subjugation in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, and to punish those women perceived to have transgressed, can be compared to the reasons that “victim-blamers” often ascribe to a woman’s victimization in the United States. In Saudi Arabia, one might hear “She allowed a man not her immediate relative to be given a fully-clothed photograph of her; clearly she deserved to be raped.” In Western culture, you might hear an accusation about short skirts, push-up bras, walking alone after dark, sending too many texts or showing nipples on your Facebook page.

In more acutely-disintegrating countries like Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, the Darfur region specifically and to a lesser extent Colombia in the ’80s, First World “commodity capitalism” has created a realm where developing countries are turned into slaughterhouses because of the First World’s decision to support unstable and dictatorial regimes that give private enterprise more favorable terms, allowing the West to exploit resources (platinum, and soon diamonds in Zimbabwe, diamonds in Sierra Leone, emeralds and cocaine in Colombia) rather than creating genuine democracy.

To their citizens, those three nations are among the most dangerous places on Earth. There, women’s safety doesn’t hinge on whether they dress like “sluts.” It hinges on whether armed thugs with AK-47s show up in their village to rape and murder them. The questionable attitudes that such men display toward women cannot be blamed on internet porn.

Women are suffering and dying worldwide, and women in the U.S. (and everywhere) are subjected to sexual harassment, rape, unwanted pregnancy, lack of healthcare, and gender-based economic disadvantage every fucking day. But Gail Dines has chosen as her target the man who looks at too much internet porn, the woman who wishes to reclaim the word slut. She sees a plague of internet pornography only because she is, from her list of publications, completely blind to the real dangers of being a woman anywhere in the world.

Suggesting that internet porn caused any significant portion of the plague of violence against women — which has been going on since before history started — is ludicrous.

If internet porn is damaging men’s brains? Well…it seems to me that our brains must have been pretty fucking damaged to begin with, Gail.

Empowered by a First World press that has repeatedly and willfully abdicated its responsibilities when it comes to the rights of women in the non-Western world especially poor women Gail Dines gets to kick back in the comfort of a tenured position at a university.

Locked in her ivory tower, Dines gets to reduce female personal freedom — and for that matter, for what it’s worth to her (if anything) male personal freedom — to an abstraction.

Using hysteria to promote her book, Dines gets to a build an apocalypse of men who, by her assertion, will display the “sickness” of finding their minds wandering during sex.

Her bourgeois, privileged, simple-minded value system reduces feminism to whether men look their girlfriends in the eye when they fuck them.

And if, as Dines asserts, looking at porn means a man would rather rather look his girlfriend in the tits, or ask politely if he can pull her hair?

That criminal act, to Dines, demands an entire career’s worth of activism. And a world without it is, thus far, Gail Dines’ only stated requirement for a “just society.” After a lifelong career in sociology and women’s studies, that’s the only published recommendation Gail Dines has for a “just society.” No porn.

I can’t help but wonder what other restrictions a Gail Dines Utopia would offer us?

Photo: Portrait | Anais Pouliot by Richard Bernardin

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A Woman Asks: Is My Porn Habit Ruining Sex With My Boyfriend?

Last week, a reader asked’s Cory Silverberg if her porn watching habits were interfering with her libido. I think a lot of us have put significant thought into our porn viewing, from what we watch to what it means for us. We love how well it can work to get us off and give us fantasy fodder. But when something goes awry with arousal, it’s tough to know our own personal grey areas when it comes to figuring out what’s affecting our sex drives.

Silverberg’s answer is required reading for any porn watching girl who’s had this question, and it might even be good for anyone that has wondered what’s going on when they find they’re having a hard time getting turned on, even though everything’s fine when they’re alone and watch their favorite kind of porn.

Here’s a snip from Is My Porn Habit Ruining Sex With My Boyfriend?

Q: I’m a woman in her late twenties and I’ve been with my boyfriend for more than two years now. I’m in love with him and attracted to him, and I think our relationship is pretty healthy. Lately, though, I’ve been having a hard time getting turned on. It’s occurred to me that it’s related to my watching porn. (…)

A: Thanks for asking this question. Most public conversations about pornography fixate solely on men and how they watch (or over-watch) porn. But the truth is that people of all genders watch porn, and most of us have at some point questioned how healthy or unhealthy it is, particularly when we are also struggling with some aspect of sex with other people.


To Porn or Not to Porn: Must That Be the Question?

You’re not necessarily off on the porn thing. We all can easily get habituated in a sexual routine, that is, get into a sexual rut and stay there for a long, long time. If you’re in the habit of always watching porn when you masturbate, by all means, take a porn vacation (not the kind where you go away to Hedonism with porn stars — the other kind, where you don’t watch porn for a while).

If you’ve been able to masturbate to orgasm ever in the past without porn, you can do it again. It may take a while, but you can get back to that non-porn inspired place. If you’re really struggling, using a vibrator may help. Some people say that’s substituting one prop for another, and that the goal should be “natural” sex meaning “just the two of you.” I have to preemptively, and respectfully, disagree with this idea.

Forget what you think you know about “natural sex.” There’s no such thing. (…read more,

Image by Ellen Von Unwerth.

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A Short Guide to Feminist Porn by Anne G. Sabo [Book Excerpts, Two Parts]

Quizzical Mama Anne SaboWriter Anne G. Sabo (aka Quizzical Mama) is working on her upcoming book New Porn: By Women, For Women and Men – and has two new posts floating around that are excerpts. These bite-sized samples are part one and two of Sabo’s “Short Guide to Feminist Porn” (these posts have been published, perhaps a bit confusingly, on two different websites).

Both pieces are comprised of first-person stories surrounding Sabo’s encounters with porn through the lens of feminism (which she makes clear is her own brand of feminism, something to be appreciated) and offers up tips based on her experiences. The first piece Part I: My very brief guide to feminist porn (link NSFW, on GV Magazine*) is a pitch for her book, her porn for women website, and a short list of films that Good Vibrations carries that are Sabo’s picks for feminist friendly fare.

The second article is where we find substance. My very brief guide to feminist porn, part two (work-safe, BlogHer) is much less of a sales pitch and something we can sink our teeth into. Sabo doesn’t offer tips, and while still first-person and openly personal it offers context around first-time porn experiences. And it’s from a point of view that is seldom visible in this discussion space: that of a married mom.

(…) There’s no telling how you will watch and react/interact when faced with porn. Here I shall relate my own experiences, with the belief that hearing people speak openly about this topic is an important positive step in breaking down dated taboos, inspiring others to listen constructively and look at porn with open minds. Until society has re-evaluated often misguided preconceptions about porn, it’s likely that, for most, watching porn at all will feel a bit awkward.

(…) When finally I started watching porn of my choice, I preferred to watch it alone at first. While on sabbatical and researching feminist porn at the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Oslo, I remember colleagues sheepishly asking if watching porn turns me on. There’s somehow something incorrect for a scholar to be turned on at work, but as film scholar Linda Williams points out in her historical analysis of porn, HardCore (1989), the intention of porn is to stir a physical reaction, just as tragedies strive to induce tears, and horrors goosebumps (5). In the updated version of HardCore (1999), Williams encourages us to think more about such visceral viewing (289-92).

(…) We’ve since become parents of a toddler daughter who is not fond of sleep, so we don’t have time to watch much of anything together, that is to say not just porn. (…) If my husband and I have time together at night after our daughter is asleep, we often sit next to each other on the couch working on our laptops. (read more,

* Fun fact: I founded the Good Vibes Magazine in January, 2000.

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Did Your Congressperson Just Sign Fallacious, Religious Anti-Porn Propaganda?

Mine did. And I’m not happy about it, at all.

This week, Christian anti-porn groups Porn Harms and Morality in Media – and their pet project The War On Illegal Pornography – issued a press release bragging about how they got Congress people to sign one of their bizarre petitions: More Than 100 Members of Congress Sign Letters Urging Attorney General Holder To To Enforce Federal Obscenity Laws.

The actual number of signatures is 42.

Mainstream news reported things a bit closer to the truth: in Forget Jobs, War and a Government Shutdown: The U.S. Senate Focuses On Porn, TIME stated the signature number was actually 42. It’s a good article by a seasoned reporter explaining what’s on the horizon. Unfortunately, the reporter didn’t qualify that the “research” cited in his piece is the product of a Morality in Media campaign to create data they can use: the kind of research and data that was not independently verified, and does not stand up to standards and practices that citable data and research is held to.

This development is deeply troubling, if at least in that members of Congress can so easily be taken in without due diligence. They’ve signed a petition created by a group of people widely recognized as a bunch of religious wingnuts.

Here’s a link to the .pdf of the petition in which members of the U.S. Senate urge the Department of Justice to “examine evidence” provided by Pornography Harms to move forward on creating more obscenity prosecutions against people making porn in the United Stares.

The Porn Harms press release clearly states “More Than 100″ while their own link to the petition clearly shows 42 signatures.

This is really important.

Throughout the history of this country, fringe and extremist groups have employed similar tactics to manufacture facts and prosecute groups of people as a result of religious and moral crusades. This reminds me of fake propaganda and petitions against gay marriage (which Porn Harms opposes), current campaigns against interracial marriage, and – perhaps most especially – the McCarthy Era communist witch hunts.

The Porn Harms press release speaks volumes: however, as this is a blog about women and pornography, it is especially remarkable in that it is clear they are not speaking for women. Unless those women are victims; no, the 1 in 3 American women who are just fine with their porn viewing are not included here. As usual, we are invisible, and so is our right to watch – and decide how we spend our masturbation time. Their definitions of pornography also do not include the gay porn industry, which is a glaring oversight if even from a financial perspective.

This petition, and its press release, is an openly stated product of February’s Southern Baptist Convention.

Morality In Media Reboots Their “War On Porn”

The press release states that “obscene pornography and evidence of its harms have multiplied” – when in fact multiple independent sources have emerged to show studies saying there is no evidence of porn’s alleged harms. The release states that “In the past several months Congress has experienced a public outcry” – problematically, Porn Harms has a well-documented history of manufacturing outrage, and bragging about it.

Here is how crazy the press release gets:

Pornography addiction is rampant, leading to grave social costs documented by a plethora of researchers at and at a groundbreaking conference held by the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton University entitled, “The Social Costs of Pornography” ( Violence against women, increased sex trafficking, divorce, addiction to pornography by children and adults and many more societal ills can be traced to pornography consumption, according to research.

But it’s not just the Porn Harms press release that sounds like the boilerplate for extremist tracts used around the world. The petition signed by 42 Senators includes this:

Last June, an important briefing in the Capitol outlined how pornography has changed, becoming more harmful, addictive and available, and linked to other crimes. Researchers, scholars and other experts explained, for example, how today’s hardcore pornography is typified by extreme violence against women and how pornography consumption can contribute to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Another expert warned that Internet adult pornography normalizes sexual harm to children, while another addressed the growing connection between pornography and sex trafficking. You should also be aware that the next version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual will include a disorder that includes pornography addiction.

Set aside for a moment that there is no universally agreed-on definition of “porn addiction” (outside of anti-porn businesses that sell “cures”) and that no objective researcher can categorically state that it “porn addiction” even exists.

The “important briefing in the Capitol” in the Senators’ petition is last June’s Pornography Harms Briefing – which included born-again Christian Shelley Lubben and anti-porn feminist Gail Dines. It’s important to remind those who promote Dines’ agenda that she is deeply linked to American Southern Baptist extremists and shares their views. These views, I believe, would be very unsavory to most women who identify as feminist.

The Pornography Harms Briefing was big on fear and short on fact.

Needless to say, Porn Harms, The Social Costs of Pornography, Candeocan, and every one of the players behind the petition stands to gain financially by these developments. The harms of pornography is their business, and a very lucrative one at that. Now they’re backed by the following Senators – is yours one of them?

Charles Grassley, Orrin G. Hatch, Michael S. Lee, Tom Coburn, John Kly, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, Roger Wicker, Saxby Chambliss, Mike Johanns, John Barasso, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Jerry Moran, Bob Corker, John Boozman, Pat Roberts, Dan Coats, Tom Carper, Bill Nelson, Mike Enzi, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio, John Isakson, E. Benjamin Nelson, Joe Lieberman, John Hoeven, Kelly Ayotte, James Risch, Thad Cochran, Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Mitch McConnell, Mark Kirk, Jim DeMint, John Thune, Mike Crapo, Mark L. Pryor, Dianne Feinstein, Lamar Alexander, Amy Klobuchar.

My question is: do they realize what they’ve signed on to? And do their now-stated religious and sexual values reflect yours?

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Women and Porn Roundup: Extreme Porn, Experts on Porn For Women, Women Making Porn, The Porn We Want, and More

Anti-porn flowchart by Miss Maggie Mayhem

Anti-porn flowchart by Miss Maggie Mayhem

What these women (from all around the world and from a variety of perspectives) have to say about porn is eye-opening. I highly recommend the following posts:

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Porn Survey: Seeks (Your) Everyday Porn Use Answers

For The Girls PornlandAs Australian female pornographer Ms. Naughty tweeted, “Studies are becoming the battleground.” I’d like to thank her for the image in this post, and the prompt to encourage you to take the anonymous survey on porn use by They have details on the privacy and anonymity, but if you’re extra concerned when you take the survey, use a browser such as Chrome and open a new window in “Incognito Mode” so your history isn’t tracked. That said, I highly recommend you check this out, excerpt:

Thank you very much for your interest in our research. We want to emphasise from the outset that the research we are conducting is unlike almost all the previous research that has been conducted on pornography. In the past, pornography has overwhelmingly been assumed to be a ‘problem’, and the only really important questions to ask about it are – how much do people (and especially children) encounter it, and how great is the ‘harm’ that it does? This research is different.

Our project is concerned with the everyday uses of pornography, and how the people who use it feel it fits into their lives. Pornography is of course a highly topical issue, subject to many opposing views and ‘strong opinions’. And we are not saying that there are no moral or political issues. But we are saying that the voices of users and enjoyers have been swamped. In fact, there is very little research that engages with the users of pornography, asking how, when and why they turn to it.

We want to gather the thoughts and responses of people who have chosen to use pornography of their own accord. We believe that there can be many different and complicated reasons for looking at pornography. We also don’t believe that all the materials that go under that label, ‘pornography’, are the same – only to be distinguished by how ‘extreme’ or ‘explicit’ they are.

If you want to go straight to the questionnaire [click here] but if you want to know more about the project, read on! (read more,

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Lady Porn Day and Cambridge Porn Debate Results

Read more about today’s celebration of women taking back the right to look at pornography Lady Porn Day here and below in this post, which is a politely edited re-post from (NSFW)

Sex academic, teacher, SFSI volunteer and sex educator Jessi Fischer beat Gail Dines last week in a room packed with academics at Cambridge.

Cambridge University Union Society decides porn is a ‘good public service’ (

A heated debate about whether pornography provides “a good public service” ended late Thursday in the historic hall of the Cambridge University Union Society with Cambridge students voting 231 to 187 in favor of the motion, according to the U.K. Press Association.

* If you’re not familiar with Dines and Co. take a minute to get up to speed here. Also: all writing on Gail Dines.

Today, February 22, 2011 is Lady Porn Day, and it is being celebrated in a massive way around the Internet and the world. I think that pondering the anti-porn takedown by a pro-porn sex educator is very fitting as we turn a wheel in the revolution.

Continue reading

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Dutch Porn Channel for Women “Dusk” Proves Popular

Jennifer Lyon Bell Blue Artichoke Matinee boxcoverToday’s item about the 24/7 Dutch porn for women channel “Dusk” is very exciting news. And some cool people are quoted in it – like feminist, female Dutch porn company Blue Artichoke Films. And Dusk is now three years old! I would *totally* pay to subscribe to this channel. I think a lot of people would, especially as it’s actually showing porn for women – layered, yet just as explicit – rather than softened stereotypes. On Global Post, A porn channel for women blossoms: Dutch station Dusk discovers that women like to watch sex that looks real. Here’s an excerpt:

HILVERSUM, Netherlands — The play needs spicing up, and critics have panned the sexual chemistry between actors Daniel and Mariah.

Then in one afternoon performance, she changes the plot, stripping off her silk robe and pulling him on to the bed. Soon they are naked and enjoying real sex in front of the delighted theater audience.

Welcome to the world of Dusk, the Dutch TV channel which claims to be the first in Europe providing non-stop pornography and erotica targeted at a female audience.

“We call it porna, to give the idea that it’s porn made for women, something different from traditional porno,” said Martijn Broersma, the man behind Dusk.

Set up three years ago, Dusk, with its distinctive chili pepper logo, now shows 24/7 on three Dutch networks including the Netherlands’ two largest cable providers, making it available to 1.2 million viewers. (…read more,

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Scholarly Research Survey on Women’s Experiences of Pornography

clipboard girl by Suzanne ForbesA former student of our pal Dr. Charlie Glickman is doing a survey on women’s experiences of pornography. A few more details are here in Dr. Glickman’s post, but the main info is this:

Are You a Woman Who Views, Reads, or Listens to Pornography, Erotica, Romance Novels, and/or any other Sexually Explicit Materials?

If so, please share your experiences!

Complete a Short Survey (30 min or less) and Contribute to a Scholarly Understanding of Women’s Experiences with Sexually Explicit Materials

My name is Kari Hempel and I am a female psychology graduate student who is doing my dissertation research on women’s experiences with sexually explicit materials. For too long women’s real experiences with these materials have been ignored. My goal is not to judge anyone’s experiences, but to accumulate surveys from as many women as possible around the country about their positive, negative, and/or mixed experiences with sexually explicit materials, and to present the differences and commonalities in a scholarly, respectful fashion.

Your Participation is Completely Confidential

Any identifying information that is asked for in the completion of this study will be kept completely confidential and will be destroyed once the study is complete.

You Qualify for Participation If:

You are a woman (at least 18 years old)
You currently view, read, or listen to any written, audio, visual, or audio-visual material that is sexually explicit (including but not limited to films, magazines, novels, and audio-recordings)
You currently live in the United States

To Participate Go To:

Image: clipboard girl by Suzanne Rachel Forbes.

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