Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
Home » Humans » Women | About me Impressum Contact Sitemap

Opinions on porn


The opinions of women on porn are very varied, ranging from women who condemn it utterly, to those who love it—be it by themselves or with their respective partner. Unfortunately, the “condemners” are still a very large group, and many other women have problems handling it in their relationships (e.g. in that they consider it cheating when a husband watches porn).

Something I find particularly disturbing is that they often use formulations with the word “excuse”, e.g. “[this or that] is my husbands excuse for watching porn”. This clearly shows pre-suppositions on their behalf that the man in question does not have an actual reason and that he is aware that he is doing something wrong. The first in clearly incorrect (he certainly does have a reason); the second is highly likely to be incorrect—from the POV of most men there is nothing wrong with porn (nor do I, personally, see any rational reason to consider it wrong).

Below, I will elaborate on some related matters.

Porn is something perfectly natural

There is a saying: “90% of all men admit to watching porn; the remaining 10% are liars.” (With many variations.)

This saying may not be the literal truth; however, it comes sufficiently close that this does not matter: The point is that almost all men who have the possibility to watch porn will occasionally do so—be they single, in a relationship, or married. It is perfectly normal for men to watch porn.

Porn is something that I freely admit to watching, and I see nothing wrong with it. I even, occasionally and somewhat paradoxically, use it to be able to continue undistracted with my non-sexual activities with as little waste of time as possible. (Porn makes it easier to reach an orgasm fast.)

Further, I have read sufficiently many accounts of women enjoying porn that I would tend to consider this the norm too; with the majority of those who do not falling into categories like “have never seen porn”, “have not yet encountered their thing”, “are governed by prejudice”. “refuse to admit the truth”. (Obviously, I could be wrong here; however, there is no doubt that enjoying porn is not specific to men. I have even seen porn links in the browser history of a girl-friend who had repeatedly claimed that porn was disgusting.)

Strawman attacks

In feminist discussions of porn, there are often claims made that simply do not apply to the vast majority of all pornography, e.g. that women are forced to participate—effectively attacking a “strawman”. A rhetorical linking to child-pornography is also common, e.g. in that an ostensible discussion of porn (in general) is immediately turned into a discussion of child pornography: “Porn should be outlawed: Every year [large, probably exaggerated number] children are raped in pornos.” Equally, we could argue: Every year x children are kidnapped using cars; ergo, cars should be outlawed.

Alleged degradation of women

Other common statements include that pornography would objectify women, be degrading, or give men a perverted view of women and sex. These positions, however, have never been supported by any kind of arguments in the discussions I have seen, but are just stated as if indisputable fact. (Exception: On occasion, references are made to statistical connections between porn and violence or rape. S. below.) Correspondingly, they lack credibility. Because I cannot attack arguments that are not there, a few general observations:

  1. Almost all activities that people engage in for the purpose of entertaining or serving others imply that they are objectified in that context. If I were to avoid any activity that would not objectify in a way similar to porn, then I would have to give up (regular) movies, music, watching sports, travel by public transportation, and slew of other things that are considered entirely acceptable even by the most rabid feminist. If I watch porn, I care only about a woman’s physical and sexual aspect; if I hear someone sing, I care only about his musical aspect; if I see a first-rate athletic performance, my interest is solely on the athletic aspect of the performer; if I talk to a colleague, his aspect as a partner in a discussion (possibly joined by other aspects based on the contents of the discussion) is what matters; ...

  2. I have read a large number of posts where straight women state that they, themselves, prefer girl-on-girl porn. By implication, they too would objectify women.

  3. The large number of male participants in pornos makes the claim that they are degrading specifically to women sound very hollow—yet, the argument that porn would be degrading to the participants in general is hardly ever made.

  4. What is degrading is in and by it self subjective, and there are many activities that could be considered degrading, yet are not met with even a fraction of the protest that pornography encounters. Consider e.g. the work of a garbage collector, a toilet cleaner, a shoe shiner, or even a waiter/ress. In fact, if a politican was asked about e.g. garbage collectors, he would likely say something about their valuable contribution to society, how they play a vital role in this-or-that, or similar.

  5. I have seen repeated claims (but have not investigated sources) that various studies have failed to show a connection between porn and, e.g., violence against women; as well as claims of anti-porn feminists having misrepresented other studies and/or individual cases. (Cf. e.g. http://libertus.net/censor/resources/fallacies.htmle.) The same applies to viewers of childporn and pedophiliae.

    The wikipedia article on loliconw (retrieved on 2009-08-11) cites several sources that indicate a negative correlation between availability of porn and rate of sex crimes—something that I have heard claimed without sources on several other occasions.

Correspondingly, there does not seem to be any solid factual reasons against porn.


In a high-school, during some kind of show-and-tell, a few of the girls in my class held an anti-porn presentation. This consisted of reading some sample descriptions from a booklet, interleaved with “horrid!”, “disgusting!”, and similar. Their point was exactly that women were objectified, abused, and similar.

The problem: Nothing they read was in anyway remarkable, objectifying, or abusive. The “worst” thing they mentioned, was a women “laying” a hen egg that she had previously inserted into her vagina. Frankly, that they found this so disgusting, I would consider a clear sign of a disturbed view of sexuality.

In the end what did they achieve? Well, several hot teenage girls give explicit descriptions of sex scenes in front of a class of mostly teenage boys—I leave the conclusion as an exercise to the reader...

Hatred of porn rooted in fear

Many of the problems women have, stem from their being insecure and feeling insufficient when their men watch porn and/or masturbate. Whereas this is understandable, it is not a reason for the man to abstain from porn/masturbation. Instead, the woman must realize that she has issues that do not relate to porn, and that she is unfairly attacking the wrong thing. (Obviously, this does not necessarily mean that the woman is to blame: Both her upbringing and her man’s overall behavior, among other things, can be the cause, and should be addressed in the appropriate manner.)

In particular, it is wrong for a women to assume that she is too unattractive because her man watches perfect-bodied women on the Internet—just as it would be for a man to think himself unattractive because his woman reads unrealistic romance novels. It is equally wrong for her to feel that she, or sex with her, is inadequate because her man masturbates. Masturbation is something different from sex, and it is perfectly normal for men (and women) in relationships to masturbate now and then. By analogy, if I lived with a woman who cooked well and often (I can dream, can’t I...), I would still occasionally eat a hamburger or visit a Chinese restaurant—and, as long as I did not do so with other women, she would have no right to complain.

Female lack of respect for sex differences

Men and women differ in opinions, feelings, and reactions on many topics. Both sexes have to respect these differences. Trying to impose an opinion which is not based on solid grounds (e.g. “porn is bad”; in contrast,“smoking is bad” would be acceptable) upon the other sex is entirely out of line. Doing so while claiming moral superiority is inexcusable. For a woman to force her husband to not watch porn because “it is cheating” or “disgusting” would be comparable to my forcing my girl-friend not to shoe shop (with her own money) because “it is cheating” or “a waste of money”. In fact, I would be more justified in doing so, because I could point to rational arguments. Alternatively, consider my wanting to forbid her reading romance novels, having “beauty days”, whatnot—I would risk public lynching if that became known...

In contrast, an embargo against sleeping with other women (resp. men) is perfectly in order: Although both sexes are naturally prone to cheating, both are also against it where their partners are concerned; and an exclusive relationship is basically a contract that both parties will abstain from sleeping with others.

That women try to impose their own ideals on men is not unique to porn, but includes e.g. beauty ideals.

Related issues

Porn addicts

On the dark side, there are people who are porn addicts, let porn get in the way of their ordinary sex life, or otherwise use porn in a way that has a negative effect. Here corresponding actions should be taken with regard to their specific situation—in the spirit of help, not condemnation. Under no circumstances, however, should this be taken as a reason to attack porn in general. Consider, in analogy, alcohol: There is nothing wrong with using alcohol—it is abuse that needs treatment. (Attempts to ban alcohol have done more harm than good.) Similar statements can be made about computer games, the Internet, television, coffee, work, sex, telephone calls, and even physical exercise.

Porn as compensation for lack of nakedness

It can be worth bearing in mind that humans for the greater part of their evolutionary development were used to seeing each other naked on a daily basis. I would not be surprised, if the current interest in porn is partially an attempt to compensate for the removal of these daily opportunities. Notably, a common claim about porn is that it would “de-sensitize” the viewer in various respects—including the odd complaint (from an evolutionary POV) that he would get too used to nakedness. Here, I would argue the exact opposite: Modern society makes too big a deal out of nakedness, and porn (if the de-sensitization argument is correct) would just restore the natural order. (I state for the record that I am, myself, pruder than average when it comes to nakedness.)

Alleged loneliness

In Sweden I repeatedly heard the rhetorical claim “There is no-one more lonely than a man with a porn magazine.” from anti-porn feminists. Not so: A single woman reading a romance novel is (all other factors equal and on average) much worse off. In fact, it is unlikely that the man would consider himself lonely at all.