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May 01, 2019, 05:55AM

The Potentials and Realities of Ethical Porn

The good stuff is out there.

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Not all porn is created equally. And because of this, we masturbate. Millions at a time, around the world, all masturbating in the common language of loneliness. And some of us like to use porn to help with that loneliness, provide a visual aid, or just feel like our fantasies are acceptable and validated. But porn as a whole has obtained a bad reputation in the public sphere.

Porn has the potential to cause so much unnecessary harm. It’s often male-dominated, catering to an overwhelmingly male and heterosexual audience. Men have a more image-oriented sexuality, which is part of the reasoning behind this imbalance. It also can actively, through the content, or inactively, through the consumer’s actions and thoughts, degrade and objectify women. The industry has a reputation for treating models poorly, and it’s a realm that has potential for exploitation. And the stigma it creates around those who look at it is often negative and discouraging, as most cultures tend to hide inner sexual longings from view.

But porn isn’t always like this. It’s a diverse and multi-faceted cultural phenomenon that can be used in the way that the user intends to use it—for good or for evil. It’s still arguably beneficial when used and produced in a sensible manner. It can coexist with feminist ideals when it’s for consensual, playful sexual activity. It can also cause people to rely upon it and to express their sexuality in an unhealthy and harmful way.

What holds up as ethical? The three main factors are related to the production of pornography, the consumption of it, and whether it coexists with feminist ideals. Work should be done in a non-exploitative fashion, in a setting where everyone involved is treated with respect. The work shouldn’t involve minors or be illegal, though some countries have different restrictions which are questionably ethical. For example, the UK in 2014 banned a slew of sexual acts such as spanking and female ejaculation. Are those things really so wrong?

Amateurs and freelancers often do the work. The less potential for middle guys to mistreat the models, the better, though some studios do treat everyone with respect. The work doesn’t even have to involve real models in order to be considered porn. Cartoons, drawings, animation, 3-D rendering, and other forms of art can be utilized to create porn without anyone else involved. Essentially, in the production of porn, steps should be taken in order to mitigate any negative side effects or consequences that could reasonably be foreseen.

It’s not solely up to the producer to make ethical porn a reality. Even the porn that’s created with the highest of ethical standards may be brought back down if it’s consumed in a poor fashion. Ethical consumption requires responsibility for one’s self, and it maintains that it is a healthy expression of sexuality that’s expressed. There are a lot of psychological parameters that must be observed, such has how one views the models, how it affects one’s relationships with others, how it affects one’s sexuality, and so on. Careful consideration must be taken, impulses must be checked, and lines of thinking must be examined in order to ensure that one’s views on sex are healthy, responsible, and aren’t out for real harm or subjugation for anyone, including themselves. The material might also be obtained through direct and proper channels so that people who should be getting paid (if applicable) are doing so successfully. One doesn’t want to overdose on porn either, and balance is necessary to curb overconsumption, abuse, and addiction. Porn is fake. Any other thought process is unhealthy and could lead to negative consequences.

This last point is important when regarding porn coexisting with feminism. There will always be people who are turned on by power exchanges and scenes that flaunt such power. Any gender can be the dominant figure. The thing to keep in mind is that if there’s a power exchange in your porn, the exchange on the production end must be consensual and of the model’s free will, and it must then be viewed in terms of play. One’s dominant side of their sexuality can be expressed without having to step on any ideals held within the equality of the genders.

So now that the ethics have been laid out, the realities are up for viewing. But for someone who’s this strict about their porn, it can feel like there aren’t many options out there. Often, porn that may be ethical will coincide alongside non-ethical porn within the same search. Thankfully, there are sources already out there that help narrow down the search for good porn.

FetLife, for example, is a popular social media network dedicated to kinks, BDSM, and fetishes. You can find discussions, content by amateurs and independents widely shared, connection, specific groups, and local gatherings and events. Whatever your niche is, they probably have a space for you. There are resources for education for all facets of sexuality.

Some websites boast about their respect and treatment towards their models. Kink.com, which had a documentary made about them back in 2013, is one. They’re BDSM-based (with categories like “Fucking Machines” and “Hogtied”) and have different related educational resources available such as the “Kink University” category and the “BDSM Resources” section of the website. Kink also complies with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee’s (APAC) Model Bill of Rights in their model program, making sure that the models in all the videos get treated with respect.

There are also freelance and amateur models, in addition to artists who host their own content from a personal blog or website. If you find someone in particular you like, it’s worth checking to see if you can find those kinds of things in relation to them. That could offer a much more direct line to the content they make, and it would ensure that they’re the ones who get paid for it. DeviantArt is another place to look for non-photographic pieces of whatever niche you like.

Not all porn is created equally. It’s not all consumed equally either. But that doesn’t mean you have to delete all of your porn. It comes down to a judgment of what was created, what the intentions of the creation were, how the process of the creation went, and how such a creation is viewed. The good stuff is out there, and a growing consciousness of ethical porn is starting to take shape. If these ethical variables pan out, the negative consequences and side effects that give porn such a bad reputation will be alleviated, and the world can go on masturbating knowing that they’re approaching the practice in a sensible manner. 

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