In my view, the majority of porn that is out there merely depicts sexual activity amongst humans that real people already enjoy immensely; whether mere acts of beautiful women and handsome men masturbating and touching and groping and tasting and kissing; or whether it's a full blown orgy of mass fucking and sucking; or whether it's merely a couple finding each other's hot buttons. Unless you are of the view that the activities themselves are somehow "immoral" and a threat to "society" and "civilization", it would be highly hypocritical, in my view, to come down on the written or displayed depictions of consensual and mutally pleasurable sexual activity amongst adults.Since that time, this blog has gone through plenty of changes. Some of the original founders, such as Trinity, Amber Rhea, and Verte, have dropped out and moved on to other venues; the founding mother Ren Ev got so burned out by all of the controversy that she basically has opted out for the safety of her own blog; and while many of the other original contributors like Ernest Greene and Iamcuriousblue will comment on occasion, it sometimes feels like this is a one man (or more appropriately, a one 'Dog) show, especially since Ren Ev granted me the powers of head admin in April of last year. There was even a time during a relatively slow period when I was at my lowest point when I even considered just leaving and shutting the place down due to what I perceived to be a lack of interest.
Plus, those who are so quick to condemn porn so gravely miss the most important reason for its existence: to turn people on and get people off. In a world that can be quite lonesome, cruel, and unfeeling, anything that allows a lonely soul or two or fifty even some minimal measure of pleasure cannot be so bad after all....as long as no others are harmed by his/her actions.
Then the HIV/Porn Scares of 2009 and 2010, Shelley Lubben, Michael Weinstein, and The Great Condom Mandate Debate arrived to rekindle both my interest and the debate over the legitimacy of porn in general...and business picked back up enough for me to continue on.
And, thankfully, this blog has become more and more a go to place for a point of view that usually doesn't make the rounds of porn debate circles.
Even better is that it seems that the acceptability of porn has began to make some fundamental strides in the real world, too. The recent media circus over Charlie Sheen and his "goddess" Bree Olson (not to mention his past history with porn/erotica starlets) has brought forth the immense popularity (or noteriety, depending on your POV) of porn's reach, as well as the recent loving testimonials of actress Cameron Diaz -- who openly stated her love of porn in a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel's TV show -- and the recent victory of the porn-positive opinion in the recent Cambridge Union debate in England.
Nevertheless, it remains a long battle for people like us who see pornography as a potentially positive social and societal good to overcome the prevailing prejudices and assumptions about both the performers who create and produce sexually explicit media and the people who eagerly consume it.
I'll just give you two examples of what we are up against, and why we need to continue the struggle, so to speak.
When updating this blog this morning with commentary on the Shelley Lubben documentary post, I came upon a drive-by comment by an anonymous user that usually wouldn't find the light of day here, since it is not our perogative to give people who demonize and deligitimize us any more platforms than they already have. Nevertheless, his comment does say quite a lot about the prevailing attitude that folk like him have deep inside towards people like us, and just before I vaporize it to the Internet ether it belongs, I'll give it a bit of analysis. This was originally supposed to be a comment to Iamcuriousblue's initial post to the blog, "Why I'm pro porn..".
Not every Pro-Porn person is stupid...but every stupid person is Pro-Porn... So, if you are talking about a kid who knows her/his mom just have sex with all the men she met?? do you think that sexually positive?? porn people is selfish because they always talk about human rights, pleasure, etc...but there are so much people out there who want to have a great kid who make a good history of their country, not just to have sex with people.....So, that is why I said, only stupid people is Pro-Porn.
Once again, I wouldn't even post this nonsense, except to show what kind of mentality we are up against here. You can literally count on both hands and run out of fingers on all the usual assumptions and strawpeople that our Mensa relies on to prove our "stupidity". Of course, porn starlets aren't the only ones who engage in sex with different men; in fact, I'd bet that outside of the job they are paid to do in performing sex scenes, most performers are strictly monogamous. Heck, many performers are even monogamous within the scope of their jobs, only performing with their significant others or with women. (Funny how girl/girl sex escapes our commentator's mental grasp...I guess that he would see that as an asset for his voyeruism??) Besides, if a woman in or out of porn decides that she wants to engage in pleasurable sex with more than one person in her life, and she's willing to protect herself, what is it to us to deny or criticize her for that?? Even if it's more than one man at once??
And, oh, how funny, this "make a good history of their country"...as if porn starlets or sexually active women aren't capable of being successful outside of their sexual exploits. I mean, I guess that Nina Hartley only slept her way to earning that magna cum laude degree in nursing at San Francisco State University, right?? And, Vicky Vette's success in her early life as a mid-level executive and home builder prior to her entering the adult industry was only a myth in her brain, because she can only function when she's on her knees sucking Scott Nails; dick...am I correct, Anon?? And, what about the many performers whom actually served their country in the military prior to entering adult...are they merely reducable to a bunch of silly sluts, too??
Maybe Anon needs to stop projecting HIS stupidity onto others and actually talk to and listen to active performers before he shoots his mouth off next time.
But, fools like our Anonymous usually come a dime a dozen, fueled by their willfull ignorance and refusal to open their minds to the world. Far, far more problematic and injurous are the progeny of so-called "rescue organizations" who exploit the same misguided beliefs and assumptions to exploit the many varied experiences of performers in order to both promote a reactionary, neo-Puritan agenda, and to get paid.
I don't have to reset the antics of Shelley Lubben since you know plenty about her....but you might not quite know about the XXXChurch.com ministry.
Founded by Craig Gross around 2008, this organization sells itself as a hip, cool, vivacious youth ministry who, like Lubben's Pink Cross Foundation, glams around porn conventions and awards shows attempting to sell their message of redemption and salvation from the evil dangers of porn. They also include a seperate ministry known as X3, which claims to "save" formerly promiscuous women back to a "Godly" life of sexual "restraint". In effect, they are the "ex-slut" equivalent to the "ex-gay" ministries, and their damage to psyches and escape from reality is equally recorded and appalling.
Unfortunately, they, like some sexual predators, will sense enough of a weakness from someone whom has suffered legitimate injury or psychological harm to be able to turn him or her against their better sense. Such is the case, I'd say, with Stephanie Swift, who is the latest former performer to fall victim to (or, if you have a different point of view, be saved by) the clutches of Gross and the XXXChurch.
Swift's story is indeed not a particularly happy one: an Hall-of-Fame performer who gained superstar status during the middle- to late-1990s with over 370 videos to her credit, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, and began chemotheraphy treatments between then and the end o 2010. Apparently, while undergoing the therapy, she had a distinct change of heart and philosophy, and XXXChurch was able to impact her beliefs enough that she became "born again" and repudiated her porn past. The fact that the industry had pulled together to raise thousands of dollars to help her recovery apparently didn't factor into her ennui, since she doesn't even bother to mention such generosity; only claiming that "having breast cancer saved her life". As if porn had anything to do with her contracting breast cancer in the first place?
Ms. Swift was quick to join XXXChurch.com upon her "salvation", and they didn't take long to publicize their newest convert with a vengence; a section of their website dedicated to Swift includes not only a brief written testimony, but also a video clip where Ms. Swift shares her joy of being "saved" and converted to "the blood of Jesus" via Craig Gross' organization.
Now...this is in no way intended to be an attack on Ms. Swift or her personal conversion of faith; like many women who find comfort in religion at times of stress, she is totally entitled to her views and beliefs, and she deserves nothing but the best wishes for her recovery, both physical and emotional.
On the other hand, though...the role of XXXChurch and their methods of targeting impressionable performers for shaming and humiliating, and especially for distorting and denying the legal experiences and beliefs of other performers not so willing to feel shame for their profession or their personal lives, is more than worthy of analysis and even some derision.
Until recently, XXXChurch was though up to be the "good cop", feel good style of ex-slut evangelism, at least compared to the more ham-fisted, Bible in your face, off-the-wall, fire-and-brimstone approach of Ministeress Lubben. Recently, apparently due to either the competition and publicity of Lubben or the recent HIV scares, they have become far more aggressive in both their pursuit of candidates for conversion and their hard sell techniques. In particular, they have launched campaigns targeting active church members on their supposed "addiction" to porn, and how "porn addiction" negatively affects both individuals and the society as a whole. (During Super Bowl XLV Sunday, they hosted a campaign called "Porn Sunday", where they targeted churches throughout the country with testimonials from NFL players and coaches about the damages caused by "porn addiction".)
Their ministry is equally as aggressive in targetting young people who they consider to be especially receptive to their message about sexual shame and denial and the wonders of "modesty" as well as the alleged dangers of porn and mastrubation and all other forms of un-Godly sexual acts. The same webpage that featured Stephanie Swift also included another "story of grace" where Gross describes how his efforts to "save" Montana Fishburne from her recent porn outtings were taken to heart by another "18 year old girl" (funny how they are all "girls" even though legally they are adult enough to make their own choices, right??) whom supposedly was devastated when nude photos she did of herself on the Internet ended up becoming public against her will.
That in and of itself would not by much of a problem...except for the fact that like Ministeress Lubben, Gross and his gang are more than willing to stretch more than a few facts in order to sell their message of salvation from sexual sin. Lydia Lee (the former Julie Meadows) actually did a decent analysis of some of the more outlandish claims about "sex addiction" and porn's alleged connection with same, and came up with and throughly debunked some wild inaccurate claims. One such example:
Our interest, though, is in XXXChurch's essential denial that any porn performer could have an expierence or history in porn other than dire slavery or sin or shame. For obvious reasons, Gross' crew simply reduces the experiences of women in porn to its least common and most destructive denomination, as nothing less than the Devil's trial by fire. Apparently women whose experiences in porn were a bit more positive and fullfilling than Stephanie Swift's was are simply rejected as either tools of the Devil in need of prayer and shaming to convert them to "God's love", or simply dismissed as mindless sluts who deserve all the pain and hurd they're supposed to get...and the eternal damnation in Hell as well. Never mind that there are active performers in porn who are also regular churchgoers (Mary Carey, the former nominee for governor of California being an example), and there's also those performers/models whom have suffered tragic, traumatic life-changing situations and not quite moved to blame them all on porn or their sex habits (model Taylor Stevens currently fighting her own bout of cancer, for example). None of them will manage to make Craig Gross' salvation list...and that's quite unfortunate for him.
If I Google “how many Americans visit porn sites,” the first link talks about privacy on the internet, the second talks about how the FBI uses fake hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects (bravo there!) – validating the first links suspicions about privacy? – and the third talks about how an adult entertainment company evaluated the backgrounds of people buying porn and, as it turns out in February 2009, anyway, more conservatives and religious people bought porn than anyone else. Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School states,
- 4.7 million Americans visit porn sites in excess of 11 hours per week
“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by.”This is the kind of thing that I find usually happens when I’m left to research other’s information.
Of course, there are those performers who absolutely stand by their decisions to do porn; who see their profession as not only a decent job, but also an empowering, even liberating influence on their personal
sex lives...not to mention the nice paycheck and the means to explore their sexuality and their exhibitionism. Problem is, though, these women don't quite get the attention or publicity of the tragedies and tales of "defiliation" and destruction and salvation through Jesus (or through radical feminism) that dominate the conventional wisdom that flows from the dominant media. A few brave souls attempt to sell the idea that porn can be just as much a source of public good and liberation as it can be a source of tragedy...but most likely, they are simply shouted down by the fierce volume of anger from the antiporn crowd...if they are even allowed a place to speak to begin with.
And that's the main reason why BPPA exists today...to offer at least one more place where those who believe in the positive potential of porn can at least have a microphone to speak our peace. We may not have the money of XXXChurch or the stridency of Shelley Lubben or Gail Dines or the censoriousness of the GenderBorg radfems or the Morality in Media cartel...but we do have the commitment to accuracy, truth, and pleasure on our side. And sometimes, that all that counts.
As for the XXXChurch...well, I'll let Lydia Lee have the last word on them, since she says things so well.
What did irritate me about the confession (or testimony, if you will), was the point where she said that if there had been someone from the industry encouraging her not to do porn, she would have listened. I’m sorry, but I can’t think of a more disingenuous statement. People in pornography are in it because they want to be there. It’s too easy to blame an anti-porn porn person for not warning her. This gives kudos to XXX Church for being present at an adult convention. This may not be the blatant Lubben testimony of “The Devil made me do it,” “modern day slavery,” “I have herpes but God cured me,” schtick, but it still takes responsibility and transfers it onto someone else. I have so many mixed feelings right now. Sad because she feels she has to publicly insult an industry that made her a super star, heartbroken that she suffered sexual abuse, disgust that XXX Church is stooping to the same Lubben-esque standards of exploiting the model for more publicity and donations, anger that the general public does not know, especially by videos like this, that the majority of industry people are not seedy, weird losers that prey on people, and resolve to finish The Devil and Shelley Lubben and point at the exploitative organizations that mirror the porn industry. Pornography is a blatant and honest exploiting of the body. Honest! It does not lie about glamour, it does not lie about STDs and risk, and anyone in the world would tell you that. You don’t have to be from the adult industry to know that it’s not glamourous and that there is risk of STDs. That is the dumbest argument these ridiculous people pose. I lost a childhood friendship for wanting to get into the industry. I had no illusions about my choice to be in porn. And what did losing that friendship teach me? That she wasn’t really my friend. But these people exploit the soul. They exploit the darkest elements of human nature and offer salvation through your endorsement and donations, but they lie in order to do it, and I will take the adult industry over these heathens ANY DAY! I feel dirty visiting their sites, I feel gross watching them and listening to them. I wish Swift the best in her life, but I’m grossed out by these people and their tactics and the way they infiltrate an honest industry and use it because no one knows better. It is the most misunderstood and least exposed legal industry. They want it to go away so they can attack homosexuality and single mothers and all the things that don’t fit into a picture posed by a book they couldn’t possibly understand because of how old it is and how many times it’s been translated. They are obsessed. They suffer from addiction. Addicts need an addiction, and if you give up one, you have to replace it with something else, because that is the nature of addiction. Now their addiction is religion.If only more performers could be as up front and unabashed as Lydia Lee. THAT, my friends, is why this blog keeps going...and thanks to women like her, will keep going strong.
I’ve already heard some pretty gross things about Craig Gross. I won’t publish it because I was told in confidence, but believe me, he’s in the same league with the Lubbens of the world. I wrote about him on Mike South’s site, and I don’t care how many people like him. He is an enemy of truth. And again, I’m not against spirituality, but I am against the mass hysteria these people promote and perpetuate, and I don’t believe the man that I have read about would agree that idol worship and judging and giving money to people who promote such things is the only way to experience salvation. You know what I would like to see? Someone from the industry not sell out and kick it around just because they need a new gig. If Stephanie is happy, great, but the blame-shifting is sickening. It just smacks of bullshit to me. The industry rallied around her to raise money for her. I can’t tell you how many internet posts I saw about fundraisers and how many “Help Stephanie Swift” announcements… Certainly her fans were supportive? Did she talk about that in the video? No. No love. No love at all.