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A sign outside an Adult store.

The term anti-pornography movement is used to describe those who argue that pornography has a variety of harmful effects, such as encouragement of human trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, exploitation, sexual dysfunction, and inability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. Many of those involved in the anti-pornography movement come from religious groups, accredited psychologists, feminists, and individuals who feel that pornography plays a major role in the breakdown of marriages and relationships.


Medical research objections

Zillmann Fig 7.pngZillmann Fig 8.pngZillmann Fig 9.png
Figures 7, 8, and 9 in Zillmann, Dolf: "Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography", [2]

Dolf Zillmann asserts that extensive viewing of pornographic material produces many sociological effects which he characterizes as unfavorable, including a decreased respect for long-term, monogamous relationships, and an attenuated desire for procreation.[1] He describes the theoretical basis of these experimental findings:

The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children... Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again... Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring, and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments, and costs...[2]

Additionally, some researchers claim that pornography causes unequivocal harm to society by increasing rates of sexual assault[1][3], a line of research which has been critiqued in "The effects of Pornography: An International Perspective" on external validity grounds[4], while others claim there is a correlation between pornography and a decrease of sex crimes.[5][6][7]

Religious objections

A protest against an adult bookstore in Uniontown, Indiana, USA

Some Christian religious conservatives, such as Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, criticize pornography on religious-moral grounds. They say sex is reserved for heterosexual married couples, to be used only in accordance with God's will, and assert that use of pornography involves indulgence in lust (which in Christianity is a sin)[8] and leads to an overall increase in sexually immoral behavior. However, not only conservative christians object to pornography. A notable example is the often controversial website founded in 2002 by Mike Foster and Craig Gross.

Other non-Christian religions also oppose pornography.

Feminist objections

Radical feminists are opposed to pornography, arguing that it is an industry which exploits women and which is complicit in violence against women, both in its production (where they charge that abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant) and in its consumption (where they charge that pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment). Radical feminists charge that pornography contributes to the male-centered objectification of women and thus to sexism.

By country

United States of America

In the United States, the Supreme Court held in 1969 that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes[9]. This caused President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress to appoint a commission to study pornography.

United Kingdom

The anti-pornography movement in the United Kingdom is considered to be more concerted and better organised than similar movements in other Western liberal democracies.

In the UK, starting from 26 January 2009, possession of images which depict "extreme pornography" (violent pornography) is illegal, in accordance with Part 5, Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.[10][11][12]

As with other countries, opposition to pornography in the United Kingdom comes both from radical feminists (such as Julie Bindel, among others) and from conservative groups (such as Mediawatch, among others).

South African Parliamentary Commission on pornography

The South African government is reviewing the Films and Publications Act, which prohibits both virtual and real child pornography. Real child pornography involves the use of real children involved in sexual conduct while virtual child pornography is made up of a number of different types of erotic material that do not involve the use of actual children (including paintings, cartoons, sketches, digitally-created images and written descriptions as well as depictions of adults represented as under the age of 18). A recent submissionto the South Parliament argued that real child pornography ought to be prohibited while virtual child pornography ought not to be prohibited. The submission process, which involved discussion between members of the public, non-governmental organizations and members of parliament, was recorded by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group.

See also

Further reading

Anti-pornography advocacy

  • Andrea Dworkin (1979). Pornography: Men Possessing Women. ISBN 0452267935.
  • Robert Jensen (2007). Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. ISBN 978-0-89608-776-7.
  • Gail Dines/Robert Jensen/Ann Russo (1998). Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-91813-8.
  • Michael Kimmel. "Men Confront Pornography". New York: Meridian—Random House, 1990. ISBN 0452010772. (A variety of essays that try to assess ways that pornography may take influence or harm men.)
  • Catharine MacKinnon. "Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech," 20 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (1985) (arguing that pornography is one of the mechanisms of power used to maintain gender inequality).
  • Brownmiller, Susan (1999). In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution ISBN 0-385-31486-8.
  • Shelley Lubben. Former porn star and self-described "porn missionary"[13] who councils active porn stars on how to escape the industry.[14]
  • Dr.Victor Cline
  • Patrick Carnes

Anti-pornography criticisms

  • Susie Bright. "Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World and Susie Bright's Sexual Reality: A Virtual Sex World Reader", San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press, 1990 and 1992. Challenges any easy equation between feminism and anti-pornography positions.
  • Betty Dodson. "Feminism and Free speech: Pornography." Feminists for Free Expression 1993. 8 May 2002 [3]
  • Kate Ellis. Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship. New York: Caught Looking Incorporated, 1986.
  • Susan Griffin. Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revenge Against Nature. New York: Harper, 1981.
  • Matthew Gever. "Pornography Helps Women, Society"[4], UCLA Bruin, 1998-12-03.
  • Michele Gregory. "Pro-Sex Feminism: Redefining Pornography (or, a study in alliteration: the pro pornography position paper) "[5]
  • Andrea Juno and V. Vale. Angry Women, Re/Search # 12. San Francisco, CA: Re/Search Publications, 1991. Performance artists and literary theorists who challenge Dworkin and MacKinnon's claim to speak on behalf of all women.
    • "A Feminist Overview of Pornography,Ending in a Defense Thereof"[6]
    • "A Feminist Defense of pornography"[7]
  • Annalee Newitz. "Obscene Feminists: Why Women Are Leading the Battle Against Censorship." San Francisco Bay Guardian Online 8 May 2002. 9 May 2002[8]
  • Nadine Strossen:
    • "Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights" (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7)
    • "Nadine Strossen: Pornography Must Be Tolerated"[9]
  • Scott Tucker. "Gender, Fucking, and Utopia: An Essay in Response to John Stoltenberg's Refusing to Be a Man."[10] in Social Text 27 (1991): 3-34. Critique of Stoltenberg and Dworkin's positions on pornography and power.
  • Carole Vance, Editor. "Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality". Boston: Routledge, 1984. Collection of papers from 1982 conference; visible and divisive split between anti-pornography activists and lesbian S&M theorists.


External links


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