Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review of "Ethical Porn...", Lessons For Pedos

The author is David Ley, the full title is Ethical porn for dicks: a man's guide to responsible viewing pleasure. This is part 3 of a 3-part review, on implications for pedophiles.

Ley has not one good word to say about child pornography, nor should he. Not accessing it is a goal we should all share.

Yet we pedophiles can naturally ask what lessons are in this book for us.

One of Ley's main points is that sexual fantasy and private masturbation can be part of the good life, and partner sex is not necessarily the best. Applying this to pedophilia, we amplify the last point -- child-adult partner sex is illegal, immoral, and in many cases truly horrifying. But Ley's views would suggest that a pedophile's sexual fantasy and private masturbation are also part of the good life for a pedophile.

The market-level considerations also look very different in the case of true child pornography. Children are harmed when it is made, it is arguably unethical to get sexual pleasure from such material, and it is certainly highly illegal to even possess it.

But porn (defined roughly as material that is intended to be erotic) does not include everything that a person might find erotic.

In talking about adult porn, Ley did not spend much time on material that is only suggestive, including things as simple as women in lingerie catalogs or in bathing suits. Men often find such material erotic, but it doesn't play much role in societal debate because the explicitly sexual porn is legal and freely available.

The equivalent images of children is available, as are artistic nude photographs and material from genuine nudist colonies. They are usually considered legal, despite the seeming efforts of some zealous prosecutors to make any picture of a child illegal if in the possession of a pedophile.

Let's focus on girls and boys in bathing suits. Parents post such pictures on the web in vast quantities, with no hint of any erotic intention, yet they can be erotic to pedophiles.

I think pedophiles masturbating to such material is just fine, as long as they don't make their interest known in a way that can get back to the subject. I think Ley's values and reasoning should lead to the same place.

What are the potential problems? Perhaps it would lead men to abuse children? As Ley argues, studies suggest that the availability of porn decreases sexual violence, and the availability of (real) child porn reduces child sex abuse. Perhaps we are objectifying the children? As Ley notes regarding women in porn, objectification is a natural part of life in some circumstances. I argued much the same in <this post>. Perhaps the children are harmed because men are thinking sexual thoughts about them? There is <no spooky action at a distance>, and the men surely should not leave lewd comments on the blog where they get the pictures.

The real problem is not some actual consequence in the world. The real problem is emotional. Most people think pedophilic sexual attraction is horrifying and disgusting. A pedophile masturbating while thinking of a child is worse. If it's a picture of an actual child, it's yet worse. If he doesn't feel guilty about it, that's even worse. But that is all emotion. As long as it doesn't lead to abuse of children -- and there is no reason to think it will -- there is no actual problem that can be supported by facts and evidence.

There are many liberals who value human liberty and think that all people should be able to live the best lives they can. To be true to their values, they must extend this to pedophiles. They should overcome their icky feelings and eventually come to accept pedophiles masturbating to legal images of children, if they are freely offered with no erotic intent.


3 comments:

  1. I have used legal images of children. However, I find them immoral. Their purpose isn't to arouse me, it is to advertise clothing. That's it.

    With adult porn, it is immoral because much of it is debasing to women. Only a woman with mental health or financial problems would want to be a porn star, and so companies that makes these images and videos should stop exploiting vulnerable women.

    Also, for me, any pornography is a slippery slope to online offending. I have never seen child porn, and I hope to keep it that way...I have set up parental controls on all of the search engines on my browser, and I have locked them.

    I do not judge anyone who chooses to use images of children or legal porn. It is just that it goes against my own personal convictions.

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  2. Thanks for that Ethan, those three essays are very interesting.

    One of my problems with child pornography is that it poses a greater risk of 'objectification' for paedophiles than does adult pornography for teleiophiles

    My own experience of (legal porn) is that frequent (and vigorous) use can distort one's perception and expectations of women. One ends up building one's dreams and fantasies out of what one sees, what is depicted. Because I mix a lot with women in my daily life I constantly encounter corrective data to the impressions absorbed through pornography - so my expectations of adult female sexuality, and their bodies, is kept grounded in reality.

    However, the age-apartheid enforced in our society means that, to a consumer of child porn, it can become the principal, or even the 'only' source of knowledge about children. I know that during those periods when I have worked a lot with children my idea of 'the child' has been much more realistic, grounded and less idealistic than those periods when I have had few real-life interactions with children, and when my 'knowledge' of children has come from literature, films, photographs and youtube.

    During these 'dry periods' my 'data' was all innocuous – but I imagine a young paedophile, who has no real-life interactions with children, and who consumes child porn - and worry about the dangerous expectations this combination may give rise to in their mind and desires - based on unrealistically sexualised ideas of 'the child' uncorrected by real-life interactions with children.

    (I have read comments from consumers of Child Pornography saying that they 'don't like real life children' - that they are too noisy, smelly, disobedient etc)

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  3. Remember, I'm not suggesting child porn! I'm suggesting innocent pictures of children offered without erotic intention. It's true that those pictures are likely to be of attractive children in good moments. If that made real children seem unappealing, that would be a good consequence if we wanted to protect against hands-on offending. And when someone has a good reason to relate to a child (perhaps a new niece or nephew) then perceptions can be corrected at that time. Ads, movies, TV shows are all full of especially attractive people. Maybe that makes us adults feel inadequate and be more dissatisfied with the adults we are hoping to form sexual relationships with. But those are exactly the relationships we are trying to prevent, regarding children, so pictures of the cutest children imaginable would seem best?

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