fighting for free hearts

Free Porn Is Still Costly

Recently i was asked this question: “If I don’t pay for porn, am I still supporting the porn industry?”

On one hand i understand this question.  On the other, i think the answer is rather straightforward.

This post, and perhaps subsequent posts on this topic, are really written at the behest of a colleague who cares deeply about this and asked me to address the question.

The basis for the question is a technicality, really.  If we convince ourselves that not paying for pornography means that we are somehow avoiding the commodification of sex, then we feel that we can justify our actions.

And by extension, if we feel that our not paying for porn absolves us of responsbility for horrors such as sex trafficking, or the abuse of women in the industry, then we can still enjoy our porn without a pained conscience.

But that’s flawed thinking.

In 12 years of being addicted to porn, i bought plenty of it, but when looked at overall, i viewed much more porn that was free. Was i contributing to the industry and fueling the demand for porn?

Absolutely. Why? Because i was at least fueling the demand for porn in my own life.  The more free stuff i looked at, the more i wanted to look at.  That eventually involved spending money on it.

But more than that, if i used the internet for porn — and i certainly did — that was not an anonymous activity.

Pornographers are tracking visitors to their sites and gleaning all sorts of crucial demographic data and market information. So you don’t need to give one cent of your hard-earned money to have your support for the industry and its material counted.

One of the key realities in today’s business climate is the fact that successful companies all understand the role that free content plays in driving their respective brands forward. Getting something for free is still a form of support by the consuming public. Porn is no different.

If anything, the role that free porn plays in shaping the consumption of pornography as a multibillion dollar industry is even more pronounced than the role free content plays in the average business. The reason for that is simple:  our unpaid support of porn fuels demand for more and more pornographic content because the consumption of porn creates a hyper-sexualized society.

In a hyper-sexualized society, pornography becomes normative and that always means that more content and more access to content become expected. Once that happens, pornographers gain more economic and social power to the point that they have increasing influence over the culture.

In the 1960s, Hugh Hefner had to defend his views on sexuality in a discussion format with William F. Buckley Jr. on Firing Line as Buckley challenged Hefner’s philosophy. In the 1990s, Hefner was treated a cultural icon and a celebrity, making appearances on sitcoms and other television shows. The Playboy Philosophy had taken firm root in popular culture.

Many people had bought into Hefner’s view. Many more of them helped promote Hefner’s philosophy even though they themselves didn’t pay for the magazine.

How? Men and adolescent boys might pass around one copy of Playboy; or  a group of boys might find the stash kept by one of their fathers.  Each kid wasn’t spending more money on the content, but they were becoming regular consumers of porn and they were shaped by it. As a result, in their conversations, their lifestyles and their entertainment choices they were promoting the ideals served to them in pornography.

Those men subsequently made more choices that fueled the demand for additional pornography. In short, any consumption of pornography — free or otherwise — fuels the industry.

This is without even delving into the realities of all the social costs related to pornography.

5 Responses to “Free Porn Is Still Costly”

  1. PRUK

    James, you make a compelling case when you say that ‘Each kid wasn’t spending more money on the content, but they were becoming regular consumers of porn and they were shaped by it. As a result, in their conversations, their lifestyles and their entertainment choices they were promoting the ideals served to them in pornography.’

    I’d be glad if you would checkout the pornrecoveryuk blog site at http://therapy-space.org/ We are always looking for people to contribute articles.

    Reply
  2. Senaida

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