Women Like Porn

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[Note:  This article, by two sisters, illustrates the pervasiveness of a very serious societal problem.  It’s not just a problem for men.  It’s everybody’s problem.]

By Amy and Adena

I have a distinct memory of being a teenager in my local library, waiting in line to check out books. A lady in front of me had several large bags filled to the brim with Harlequin romance novels.  It took the librarian a good 10 minutes to check them all out, and then the lady staggered out the door. It struck me at the time, though I was probably too young to understand the depth of it.  Years later I still think of that moment, and given the recent controversy over books like 50 Shades of Gray, I have come to some conclusions.

Women like porn, we just don’t realize it. We may accuse men of objectifying women through their porn habits, but we aren’t much better. Here’s the thing: our version of pornography looks different from your run-of-the-mill pornography; it is specialized for women’s tastes, preferences, and emotional needs. As women, we like pornographic content dressed up all cutesie and pretty in “chick flick” and “romance” sequins. We love to lust, just as men do, it’s just packaged differently. The characters in our stories aren’t just random strangers who cross paths and have sex, they are two people in a relationship with depth and meaning. It’s not porn because it’s a love story. We’re not embarrassed in the least going crazy over pornographic media that masquerades as romance, because the thought doesn’t cross our minds that it’s porn.

Society generally goes along with this–Harlequin novels are available at public libraries out in the open, not in some seedy curtained room in the back. There aren’t stores on Main Street filled with female-oriented romance novels and movies, windows papered over in black. No, these are in every store; the movies are mainstream in regular theaters.  Such glamorized pornography has become the norm in female media consumption. Even more, it’s become an obsession, a cultural fad, a group party. Unlike how we imagine more traditional pornography being consumed–huddled in a dark corner of our basement nervously viewing a computer screen–the nicely packaged porn women consume is so socially accepted that women celebrate with dinner and a night with our lady friends, experiencing the scintillating experience en masse.

Before you decry my conclusions here, let me explain why I feel romance wrapped around sex is porn. In this type of book or movie, there are pages upon pages of detailed descriptions of foreplay and sexual tension. The entire storyline is built up and used to support the main act of the storyline, which is the sex between the two characters. In fact, neither the author nor the content matter, as long as they follow a formula specially programmed to appeal to women: characters falling in love, the relationship briefly interspersed between foreplay, lusting, and a slow build-up of sexual tension before the final climax. The male, of course, is beautiful–perfect body, good looks, and in the end, an excellently sensitive, caring, and amazing companion.

With all of these stories, in the end, it’s just the same story with nuanced changes that don’t really matter. This is female porn. Male audiences don’t need the build-up, the sense of emotional connection with the partner. This is why the “typical” porn industry is filled with what we tend to associate with “typical” porn–chance encounters that get straight to the sex; the storyline is a pretense. Women just require the storyline to at least try to be the main point, in order to satisfy our emotional craving for love and a sense of specialness and romance. We like porn that’s slow to warm up, filled with enough time and emotional connection to become adequately intrigued; we are romantic; we want emotional connection manifested hand-in-hand with the sex, we want the sex to at least try to mean something.

Porn marketers apply this formula cleverly, in such great disguises we don’t even realize what we’re consuming. And at the root of any porn, no matter how lovely flavored it may be, is lust. And lust isn’t always born by viewing bare skin, as is masterfully exemplified by a googly-eyed, drool-dripping theater full of women watching a movie that doesn’t even contain a full sex scene. Somewhere along the way, we’ve decided it’s okay to view material that creates intense feelings of lust, if it’s cloaked in an emotionally-strung love story. And we’ve also decided that objectifying men is acceptable, though objectifying women is perverted.

Where were we as Hollywood planted the seed of lust that began it all? We certainly weren’t crying out then. We’ve been right there, watering and nurturing this seed into a tree by swooning over sensual boy bands, stripping Channing Tatums, and provocative vampires. And now, as society hangs a swing on the resultant branch of potential rape or sexual abuse, we feign either innocence (“it’s just a love story; they are consenting adults!”) or abhorrence (“They are glamorizing rape!”).  Either reaction is irrelevant to the more important fact that we are reaping the fruit of seeds we ourselves have nurtured. This newest twist in the female romance drama is no surprise.  This is where the seeds of lust always end, with increasing levels of deviancy and extravagance, until we live in a world where anything goes.

So, women go out en masse to sit in mainstream theaters and become aroused at a pornographic movie scantily clad as a love story. Men, on the other hand, consume pornography that is called what it is.  They know it, their spouses know it…it isn’t masquerading as something else. This is a dangerous double-standard, one that makes it okay for women at the library to check out dozens of Harlequin novels, and to become just as addicted, aroused, and damaged as any person addicted to typical porn, without even realizing it.  Insidious, clever, brilliant, and sad.

 

Porn is porn, no matter how it’s wrapped, and yes porn is evil, unhealthy, degrading, and destructive to relationships.  Let’s stop glamorizing it, in any form. And women, stop falling for it. Just stop. If you are reading and getting turned on, coming back to the sex scenes time and again….you’re as into porn as the male next door downloading images on his computer. Let’s take the sequined costume off the truth here and be honest–women, we are porn addicts.

 

From Inside-Out Minds

Related article:

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Protect your children from pornography while they’re still young (from BYU Magazine)

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One thought on “Women Like Porn

  1. Elder Gordon T Foote says:

    Thank you for the courage to post such TRUTH!
    I am a therapist of 40 years, specializing in pornography addiction and recovery. I estimate that 20% of those addicted to porn are female, who need our understanding, support and treatment recovery just as their male counterparts.
    Elder Gordon T Foote, LCSW
    (You have my permission to post this comment with my name and contact info)

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