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The difference between escapism + pornography

To the reader who regularly argues with me about pornography:

I don’t have time to address the issue at length tonight – there’s haunting to be done – but I will say this: the differences between pornography and, say, horror movies are significant.

First, the people featured in horror movies are feigning decapitation / murder / torture; the women in pornography are not feigning anything – they are actually having sex/ being abused/ tortured/ and so on. If you are under any illusions about the realities of prostitution, please inform yourself of the rates of suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, murder, depression, psychosis and child abuse within its ranks. My interviews with prostitutes do not tally with their carefully calibrated public comments about prostitution. The only ones who publicly tell the truth are the survivors. Read former prostitute Rachel Moran’s open letter (below), or this.

Second, appearance in a horror movie enhances social status; appearance in a pornographic film destroys your life. If you are in any doubt about this, please start reading investigative journalism dealing with the topic, or read my interview with Sasha Grey in MOUTH.

Third, the human brain reacts very differently to pornography, meaning that it is metabolised differently. There are so many other differences but, as I said, no time to discuss.

Men who masturbate over pornography pay scant attention to the women’s faces and eyes. The looks of disgust, fear, boredom, anger, pain and indifference are of no interest to them as the women are reduced to the sum of their sexual functions: erotic chattel. This in itself creates a ripple effect through the man’s psyche, training him not only to be indifferent to female feelings and desires – in particular, the subtleties of emotion – but to become goal-oriented (orgasm) rather than regarding sex as a form of communication between two people who care about each other, invested with meaning. Sex is thus trivialised, stripped of depth, a form of stress release as meaningless as it is pathetic. Harvey Weinstein is the embodiment of this philosophy, a man indifferent to the women he abuses beyond their capacity to act as masturbatory aids.

Dear Reader, your sexual dysfunction is something only you can change. Your communications to me indicate that on some level, you are disturbed by your addiction, and yet you self-sabotage by refusing to address it. I do not know why you need to hate yourself – a hatred you disguise with grandiosity – but suggest that you seek help in addressing the issue. Everything in your life appears to be disconnected – love and sex, respect and sex, your private and public realities.

I wish you grace, serenity and integration.

With love,

By Rachel Moran

If you like sex, this is not a letter to you. If you like women, this is not a letter to you. If you’ve somehow put these things together and decided they give you the right to buy what you like, this is a letter to you.

If you’re a misogynistic bastard who gets off on hurting women, this is not a letter to you. Apart from the fact that nothing here would get through, I wouldn’t waste my fucking writing skills on you.

If you’re a man who buys sex and thinks you’re engaged in a mutually beneficial transaction that’s causing no harm, I’m talking to you.

I met many of you. So many. Too many. And I always wondered about you. I wondered, how could you justify this to yourself? How could you tell yourself – and believe it – that I was happy to have strangers’ fingers, penises and tongues shoved into the most private parts of me? How did you convince yourself that I’d be happy about something you’d never, in your wildest nightmares, wish on your own daughter? I wondered, most of all, how could you look at me and not see me?

Let me tell you who you are: you are the ‘good’ punter. You’re the man who has a laugh with the woman you’re buying. You’re the man who strokes her hair. You ask her how her day’s been. How she’s feeling. Why she’s doing this. Did you ever think to ask that of yourself?

You are the ‘good’ punter. If you see a bruise on her you’ll ask if she’s okay. Is anybody treating her violently? Yes. Many men are. Go in the bathroom. You’ll find one above the sink.

The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit. I would know; I doled out that currency many times, and we both were that, we both doled out currency in different ways, you and me.

You came along because you wanted to spend what you had to spend, your load, which also meant your money; and you looked at me and you touched me and you fucked me and then you held me. That was always the worst part. I want you to know that. That was always the worst part.

I didn’t want to be held by you. I didn’t want to be cuddled. I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me. Your arms around me made me want to puke more than your penis ever did. I shut out that part; it was too horrible. Every moment with you was a lie, and I hated every second of it. And you bought that lie; believe me it was a lie you bought. I know, because I sold it.

In Costa Rica they say: ‘Who is more at fault, the one who sins for the pay or the one who pays for the sin?’ Those words were taken from a book about men like you. Victor Malarek’s ‘The Johns’. Can you see the truth in them?

You can, but you don’t want to acknowledge them. You don’t want to face up to that. It doesn’t fit with your view of what you do. It doesn’t fit with your view of who you are. But I know who you are.

I can see you now. You are the ‘good’ punter. You’ve got your fists shoved in your ears. You are the ‘good’ punter. And you don’t want to hear.

Male Privilege / DA Clarke

This is not for male readers who get it, but for those who are confused/ disturbed/ bored/ affronted by #metoo. (In particular, I love the line about seeing your body battered/ butchered over and over again at the cinema and stripped/ fondled/ abused/ raped/ hurt in pornography and magazines.) The poem has been in my friend Anne Koppe’s journal for over 30 years.

Please share.

Male Privilege
by D. A. Clarke 1981

A poem for men who don’t understand what we mean, when we say men have it.

Privilege is simple.
Going for a pleasant stroll after dark.
Not checking the back of your car as you get in,
sleeping soundly,
Speaking without interruption
and not remembering dreams of rape, that follow you all day,

that woke you crying,

Privilege is not seeing your stripped, humiliated body
plastered in celebration
across every magazine rack.

is going to the movies and not seeing yourself terrorized,
battered, butchered
seeing something else.

Privilege is
Riding your bicycle across town without being screamed at

or run off the road,
not needing an abortion,
taking off your shirt on a hot day, in a crowd,
not wishing you could type better just in case,
not shaving your legs,
having a decent job and expecting to keep it,
not feeling the boss’s hand up your crotch,
dozing off on late-night busses,

Privilege is being the hero in the TV show not the dumb broad,
living where your genitals are not denied
knowing your doctor won’t rape you.

Privilege is
being smiled at all day by nice helpful women
it is the way you pass judgment on their appearance with magisterial
the way you face a judge of your own sex in court

and are over-represented in Congress
and are not strip searched for a traffic ticket or used as a dart

by your friendly mechanic,

Privilege is seeing your bearded face reflected through the history
not only of your high school days but all your life,
not being relegated to a paragraph every other chapter,
the way you occupy entire volumes of poetry
and more than your share of the couch unchallenged.
It is your mouthing smug, atrocious insults at women

who blink and change the subject politely

Privilege is how seldom the rapist’s name appears in the papers
and the way you smirk over your PLAYBOY.

It’s simple really,
Privilege means someone else’s pain,
your wealth is my terror,
your uniform is a woman raped to death here, or in Cambodia or
wherever your obscene

Privilege writes your name in my blood,
it’s that simple,
you’ve always had it,
that’s why it doesn’t seem to make you sick to your stomach,
you have it,
we pay for it,
now do you understand?

Sexual predators / porn addicts

A chilling recording of producer Harvey Weinstein pressuring Ambra Gutierrez, a young Italian model, on tape:

And this is Robert Weiss, a very funny and intellectually acute sex addiction expert and author of Sex Addiction 101, who has commented on the Weinstein case for CBS.

Sex and porn addicts, he has said, fundamentally believe that they are unworthy of love.