It feels risky.

Writing this blog brings how much I self-edit into very clear focus. I fear the disapproval of my friends and my society keenly and that fear silences me about subjects that are dear to me.

So today one of the scariest: Pornography.

I have wrestled with this subject for a long time and over the last 5 or so years have settled to this position:

I believe that pornography, or performance designed to arouse, is at its heart good.  I do think that it has been reduced by shame to an often tawdry and abusive genre but only in the same way unhygienic illegal abortions were fostered by a judgemental legal system.

People say that pornography objectifies women, Andrea Dworkin said that pornography is the blue print for rape, and it is true that pornography has been used to degrade and dehumanise women and men but I maintain that this is perpetuated by the shame and fear that surrounds our attitudes to sex. I believe that pornography is what humans do and that if we believe that sex is harmful and dirty our pornography will reflect this.

While we maintain that showing a woman nude is a shameful thing to do, that being aroused by the sight of human genitals does violence to the possessor of the genitals, then that dark hatred of humanity which is so often directed at women in so many different ways will claim this genre as its tool.

In reality is the divine beauty of the human form and the glorious sexiness of us all is reduced in the hateful eye to violence.

I love looking at breasts and beautiful engorged clitorises and I celebrate others’ enjoyment of our delightful sexiness. In my viewing of pornography as well as the rest of my life I seek to nurture a sense of the beauty and sexiness of all body types and I also have accepted that my sexuality is not all a bright nice thing. It is not a tame lion.

The spirit of any piece of pornography is not the nature of the genre but the expression of the spirit of its creator.  In the coming weeks I intend to post pictures of people being sexy in lots of different ways and links to other blogs and sites that contain pornographic musings and content. Just let you all know.

As an opening I recommend: ErosBlog

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4 Responses to “It feels risky.”

  1. Lauren Kumerich Says:

    You’re blog feels like I am coming up to the surface for fresh air. Thank you for your courage and humility. You are lovely. : )

  2. Heather Says:

    Hi Fergus,

    I’m finding your blog interesting and thought-provoking, and it taps into many of the same things I celebrate that are often unspoken and even unconsidered. However, this post from yesterday made me both angry and somewhat frightened. Knowing the importance you place on living lovingly, I want to try and share with you why.

    I love being naked. I love wandering around the house unencumbered by clothing. I love the feel of cool breezes, of warm sunshine, of slidey grass and scratchy leaves on my skin.

    But I hate being looked at as you look at the pictures you refer to. And for this reason, I am nervous of being publically naked, along with a range of other practises that may draw men’s eyes to me. I long to be able to swim naked in a river or the sea, but I shun nudist beaches and confine my naked swimming to private spa pools. It is of no surprise to me that Martin reports more than 75% of the people he sees in clothing-optional contexts to be men. Nakedness is not safe for women.

    It is not that I do not delight in my own sexuality. I love making love with free abandon. I am fascinated by my power to arouse. I am fascinated by the changes my body undergoes in arousal, and the amazing sensations I feel. I delight in Martin’s naked form in its many moods. I am moved to tears that someone would care enough to take the time to make me feel this way. And I know that God made us with this delightful and awe-inspiring sexuality. I not infrequently sing a hymn after making love 🙂

    And yet I am not like a porn image. I’m quite different, and in a way that has nothing to do with body type. I am not always available, always ready to excite and to satisfy. I am a person, not a body. My nakedness is sometimes sensual, sometimes practical, and only sometimes sexual. Were I to be with a man who had trained himself to see all nakedness as sexual, to delight in it only in ways linked to arousal, I would never feel able to let my guard down. I would always be unsure whether he was seeing *me* or a construct of me.

    To me, this is the way in which all pornography (which I define as any medium designed to sexually arouse in the absence of relationship) does violence. It encourages an objectifying kind of interaction. When I am looked at by those with whom I am not in relationship, it is not violence as such that I fear. It is the denial of my “self”. That ‘gaze’ is not the gaze of desire for *me*. Someone is putting an aspect of me into a scenario in their head, without any consideration for where I’m at or what scenario suits me. That frightens me and revolts me and corrupts much of how I interact with the world. I am angry that my freedom to ‘be’ has been stolen from me.

    I see this as part of the falleness of the world. I do not expect it to be this way in the new heaven and the new earth. I expect that there will be ‘no marrying or giving in marriage’ in that time *because* we will be able to relate truly and deeply to the entirety of everyone we meet. We will be able to have many deep, rich, satisfying, honouring sexual experiences with many, many different people.

    Towards the end of John’s gospel (possibly in Gethsemane? or after the resurrection?) Jesus prays for unity. That we his followers will be one with each other, with him, and with the father, just as he is already one with the others in the trinity. Which is mindblowing. To me the crux of a good sexual experience is the respect and trust that I believe can only come through relationship. When that unity for which Jesus prayed has come to pass, then an expression of those deep relationships will surely be good sex and plenty of it 🙂 But in our falleness it takes much humility and much time to make even one relationship that approximates this state. And you’ll never have such a relationship with a picture or a story.

    Incidentally, it is not only porn that I put into this category of things that encourage unhealthy relatings. I have long had a very conflicted relationship with ‘the news’. I was brought up to believe that it was my responsibility to be aware of what was happening in the world. And yet, at university, I took to only reading as much of the newspaper as I could pray through. To read people’s stories and look at their pictures without interacting with them in any way felt like a violation. Their suffering or joy titillating my idle curiosity. It was both a violation of them (even when they were totally complicit in it) and encouraged violation in my real-world relationships by encouraging me to think of others’ life events more in terms of gossip than in their impacts on those involved.

    Because we are scared of sex we single out porn for particular condemnation, but there are many other practises that I see as similarly objectifying and similarly harmful.

  3. fergasm Says:

    I think one of the things that scares me about writing about this topic is the deep feelings that evokes. These ideas speak to incredibly emotional and sensitive parts of me and I worry about my ability to respond to others in a way that sufficiently cares for their feelings too… I am going to try a respond to this comment in today,s post.

  4. Faith Says:

    This is all so fascinating! I adore being naked, especially in public. I frequent nudist beaches, and particularly enjoy being naked when others are clothed. Some years ago I went to a clothing optional beach to find I was the only person undressing. To my surprise (and utter delight!), all those around me were clearly intimidated by my bareness. I feel a little uncomfortable admitting I really enjoyed making my fellow beach goers awkward. But I feel a little sad, as I noticed it was straight men who were made most uncomfortable, and worry that a certain and somewhat common style of pornography makes some men feel that their gaze alone is a violence.

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