Is Porn Natural?

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For tens of thousands of years, we have had cave images and erotic carvings, but did humanity evolve with porn?

In times where it seems almost normal for presidents to be paying off porn stars and entire movements to be launched such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, pornography as a cultural phenomenon may be due more investigation.

Examine Porn!

Don’t let your mind fall into the gutter here, people. No, don’t just search your safe-away-from work time googling porn, but take a closer look at relationships, erotic needs and our natural, human tendency to create pair-bonds and intimacy. Lust is also a factor.

Nature is many things, including whatever adaptation occurs in connection to our environment. But our twenty-first century culture is accelerated, and heavily influenced by modernity. Our lives are nothing like the tribal communities in which we evolved, and technology has added new twists and turns of its own, such as the internet, anonymity, pop culture, politics and privacy.

In our former state of nature, there really is no porn in the sense of exaggerated make-up, silicone implants on Barbie style bodies, the portrayal of readily accessible sex partners or ease of concealment. These are all new things under the covers.

People once did not widely or commonly venture beyond their village or town. Except in the case of dominating armies, slavery and kidnapping — which does happen, sadly even now — men and women were often raised in the same area. They would at least recognize one another, or know of some communal link, however distant. To keep the peace, rules evolved, restricting sexuality, but also creating a mystique that intrigued, and excepted, an entitled few to double standards.

Do Women Feel A Need To Compete With Porn, and Men A Need To Perform?

Many studies in masturbation, pair-bonding sexuality are quite unprepared for the explosion of pornographic availability. Those that do study it often report that women feel ill confident, and insecure as compared to porn stars. Men feel anxiety, loneliness, insecurity and guilt.

This is not surprising when one considers that frequency is often under-reported. Most women recently dating or engaged assume their partner does not frequently use porn. Men frequently do not seem to realize themselves the number of hours lost to porn. If they feel a need to conceal, guilt is bound to be a result. Variables such as frequency, concealment, confirmation bias (love is blind, lust is near-sighted) and non-reflection of the self and relationships obscure the issue.

Other variables include reduced desire and romance with an intimate partner, a need for more approval from partners, and a sense of missing out on just how intense any sexual experience should be. Many people feel that women having choice about reproduction, marriage, sex and liberation has created as many new problems as it has solved, since few people buy into the double standard about men being polygamous and women being monogamous, as society readily did. Once upon a time pregnancy bestowed either saintly motherhood, or fallen woman status.

According to researchers Carroll and Willoughby, et al, 2016, it is the issue of trust, erosion of confidence and self esteem which causes the trouble, and not just interest in porn itself.

Human trust evolved by way of tribal and village reputation, that part of our nature is still evident in our emotions and expectations, but it is often absent in our public presentation.

More than half of all researchers conclude that porn in its current form is degrading and exploitative of women. (Some of us are very surprised it’s only 30–50% of people who see it that way!) Even the most liberal porn fan will usually acknowledge porn is not exactly uplifting, especially to women. Especially today, when cultural movements are aiming for equality and a less patriarchal society; women who love porn and women who hate it share common ground in seeking freedom. Sexual politics is particularly fraught with the ideas of consent being both influenced by prior expectations, a fight against harassment and differing ideas of what, precisely, is consent. The objectification, women portrayed as objects, of human beings is being challenged as never before.

Men, also are human, and need to have approval, confidence, and human affection and connection. Most men will continue to try to achieve these goals along with ever-changing roles, but there are a few people, such as Men Going Their Own Way and InCels, who see women as so different from themselves that they declare a kind of independence. Some seek to find fulfillment in technology and virtual reality.

Porn bots to the Rescue!

Robotics and further objectification of persons is not necessarily a healthy trend. Even with just a keyboard as competition, many people feel ignored by their partners. Some feel genuinely betrayed. It is unclear whether making robots, or any technological ‘fix’, would help make relationships more even, equal, or most especially, natural.

Part of our societal difficulties with sexuality in general is the puritanical need to repress our animal instincts. Now that we are firmly established as evolving animals, and a rapidly diminishing need for religion world-wide is diminishing, people often assume sexuality is no longer a mystery. Some see it, curiously, as somehow dirty, and yet uncontrollable. Further, what was once seen as spiritual and sacred in most of our pre-monotheism days is now seen as natural is the sense of ‘average’, not wondrous. A drive to seek out the extreme then becomes inevitable.

Hoping to live neither in A Handmaid’s Tale, or Westworld, most of us prefer to curb our most destructive passions.

In summary, there are so many factors to consider in the ever-changing technological age of instant connection (and often alienating disconnection) that it is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. Just as Moore’s law, political upheaval and climate change are affecting all aspects of our lives, so too, is this massively accelerated pace. Nature will either accommodate or eliminate those who cannot adapt.

*** End of Part One***

In Part Two of Is Porn Natural? we will examine changing sex roles, liberation, physical attraction and mate selection theories

Written by

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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