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Prescription for a Porn-Positive World

One of the enduring hot-button issues in our culture (and every other culture) is sexually explicit material. Everyone has an opinion on what we, as a society, ought to allow—and what should be prohibited.

Everyone has an opinion, but not all opinions are formed through sound reasoning. More often than not, our opinions are visceral responses to things that frighten us, or that we don’t understand. And if we don’t like it, don’t understand it, or it puts us off, why, that’s reason enough to have it banned!

It’s no surprise that people on both ends of the political spectrum can comfortably join forces in a pogrom against porn. It’s the great boogieman, after all: the corruptor of youth; that which erodes family values and degrades human sexual expression. What’s not to hate about porn?

I suppose if all that were true, there wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry cranking out everything from soft-core erotica to extreme hardcore. But there is, and it reflects the simple principle of supply and demand. If so many people honestly believe that sexually explicit material is bad for us and our society, why the huge demand?

Case in point—19-year-old Alex from Indianapolis writes:

Hey Dick,
I noticed from your bio that you are a pornographer. How do you justify that? Isn’t pornography basically an insult to human sexuality? How do you square that with being a sex therapist and believing, as you say, that you affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond?”

Wow, Alex! You actually took the time to read my bio? I’m impressed! You bring up a very interesting point, albeit with a bit of a jab. You’re right; I have been a pornographer. If that’s the only word you can come up with to describe what I did at Daddy Oohhh! Productions. I like to think that the adult material I produce is not in conflict with my basic, overall philosophy about human sexuality. (By the way, thank you for quoting it as accurately as you did.)

Admittedly, porn is a thorny issue in our sex-negative culture. Lots of people are hostile to the notion that there could actually be something uplifting and life-affirming about the depiction, in any medium, of sexual behaviors. Lots of people believe that even nudity, let alone full-blown sex, is bad and that it corrupts the consumer, especially if the consumer is a youth. I don’t happen to share that perception. But this is such a touchy subject for most that it’s very difficult to have a civil discourse about the place pornography has in our (or any other) culture. Since we find it so difficult to talk about sexual issues in the public forum, it’s no surprise that pornography—i.e., the public exposure of sexual things—continues to be the big, bad boogieman for even otherwise enlightened people.

I hasten to add that, for the most part, the adult entertainment industry richly deserves the dubious reputation it has. There is an enormous amount of content in the marketplace that degrades, dehumanizes and exploits. And I’m not just talking about the stuff that doesn’t suit my tastes. Because there’s a lot of good stuff out there that doesn’t particularly appeal to me.

Therefore, I caution you in your youthful zeal not to reject everything that depicts sexual behavior as worthless just because a good portion of it is indeed shameful junk. That would be like discarding all religion because a good portion of its practitioners degrade, dehumanize and shame those who don’t share their belief system.

You apparently also think there is an inherent contradiction between being a sex therapist and a pornographer. I don’t agree. For nearly 30 years, I’ve been involved in all sorts of cutting-edge sex education and sexual enrichment projects. So why not attempt to bring a fresh, healthier perspective to adult entertainment? Sounds like the perfect role for a sexologist to me.

Humans have been depicting sexual behavior, in one fashion or another, since we were able to scratch images on the walls of our caves. Some of these depictions are intended to titillate, others to educate, even others to edify, but all are expressions of the passions of the person who scratched, painted, wrote or committed to film (or videotape) the images they did. I think that if you were really interested in getting to know my thoughts about pornography, you’d do well to check out some of my work. And let’s not forget that in more sex-positive societies than our own, sexual practices were and are integral parts of worshiping the deity.

Porn, like most forms of human expression, has both gold and dross. And just maybe, we need the crap in order to appreciate the treasures. Also, today’s porn may be tomorrow’s art. Ask Henry Miller or Anaïs Nin. A lot of stuff that hangs in the Louvre museum today was, upon its creation, considered scandalous and pornographic as well. Happily, we, along with our perceptions, evolve.

The definition of what is ‘pornographic’ changes with the times. Community standards also play a part. A lingerie catalog that showed women in bras and panties might be “pornographic” in one place, but no big deal in another.

I argue that there is a purpose to sexual depictions, pornographic or not. Otherwise, why would these depictions be so pervasive and appear in every culture? And it’s not just because it’s art. Most pornography is decidedly not art. So if it’s not art per se, what is it? Most pornography is simply designed to arouse sexual desire. And that, generally speaking, is a really good thing. It’s precisely this pursuit that probably brought you, young Alex, to me in the first place. Am I correct?

Sexual desire can stimulate an array of thoughts and behaviors from tender, intimate and passionate to raw, fierce and cruel. The mood of the consumer also plays a part. If your libido is raging, you might find a certain depiction stimulating, while the same depiction can cause disgust when your hormones are more in check. Porn tends to imitate what people fantasize about, rather than what actually happens in the lives of most of us. As a result, nearly everything is exaggerated in pornography: body parts, sexual situations, as well as sexual responses. Everything is staged and a lot is faked. Exaggeration is a time-honored way of calling attention to something that is otherwise pretty commonplace…you know, like sex.

In the end, Alex, you will have to decide for yourself what merits pornography might have in our culture. I suggest, however, that you approach porn with a slightly more dispassionate eye than you are currently using. You may find that it has something to teach you about yourself, your culture and the history of humankind.

Good luck!

Sex EDGE-U-cation with Mistress Matisse – Podcast #217 – 07/07/10

Hey sex fans,

Mistress Matisse is back with us again today and this week she’s here as part of the Sex EDGE-U-cation podcast series. As you know, this series takes a look at the world of fetish sex and kink with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world. And who better to talk with about all of this than my favorite sex columnist, blogger and podcaster, the internationally acclaimed Pro-Dom, Mistress Matisse.

But wait; did you happen to miss Part 1 of our conversation that appeared here last week at this time? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in my Podcast Archive. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the sidebar to your right; type in Podcast #215 and VOILÀ! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Matisse and I discuss:

  • Her comfort with self-identifying as a sex worker.
  • The practice involved with becoming an upfront sexual being.
  • Unlearning early messages about sex.
  • The “problem” with porn.
  • Endorphins and adrenaline in power play.
  • Being dominant and submissive.
  • How the language has changed as kink moved mainstream.
  • BDSM — recreation, cathartic and her profession.
  • At this point in her career.
  • Being polyamorous.
  • Tips for looking for sex-positive and kink-positive healing and helping professionals.

Matisse invites you to enter her world and visit her on one or all of her websites HERE, HERE or HERE! Or read her Control Tower column at The Stranger HERE!

See another slideshow of Matisse & friends at work and play.

Click on the thumbnails below.

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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

 

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

More Sex EDGE-U-cation with Lady HotchKiss – Podcast #148 – 08/26/09

Hey sex fans,

We’re back with that delicious Georgia peach, Lady HotchKiss, for more of her unique Sex EDGE-U-cation.  In this series of podcasts we are looking at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles.  But you know that already, huh?Attitude

Did you somehow miss last week’s show?  That’s a pity!  Because Lady HotchKiss spilled the beans about her life with her two slaves.  Does that peak your interest?  I thought it would.  You’ll find last week’s podcast by using my site’s search function in the sidebar.  Type in Podcast #146, but be sure to include the #sign.

I’m so lovin this conversation, because Lady HotchKiss is bendin’ my mind big time. This week we shift gears a bit; Lady HotchKiss takes us on a little tour of her Pro-Dom life.  We get way more eye-opening chat and loads of laughs too.  You don’t want to miss a moment of this.

Lady HotchKiss and I discuss:

  • Pro-Dom activities —
  • ——Interrogation  to medical play; tickling to slave training.
  • BDSM etiquette and protocols.
  • Sexuality/Genitality/Power play.
  • Tips for the novice kinkster.
  • What newbies need to know.
  • Care to “munch”?
  • The need for kink-positive healing and  helping professionals.

Be sure to visit Lady HotchKiss at her websites HERE and HERE!

See a slideshow of the fabulous Lady HotchKiss at work and play.

Click on the thumbnails below.

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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes.  You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Eden Fantasys.

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Sex EDGE-U-cation with John and Deanna – Podcast #127 – 06/03/09

Hey sex fans,

Today we take another audio field trip.  I have the distinct pleasure of introducing the Co-Executive Directors of the amazing Sharma Center right here in beautiful downtown Seattle.

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John and Deanna welcome us to the center, show us around, talk about themselves, their lives together; we discuss polyamory, swinging and the sex positive mission of the Sharma Center.

This oh so charming and insightful couple add their voices to this Sex EDGE-U-cation series.   As you know, in these podcasts, we’re taking a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles. And we are chatting with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world.  And John and Deanna fit that bill exceptionally well.

John and Deanna and I discuss:

  • Swinging, Polyamory and Open Relationships; what’s alike about them and what’s different.
  • Some common terms used by those in the lifestyle.
  • The education and enrichment mission of the Sharma Center.
  • Coming out as a sexual minority.
  • Her activities, including her double sessions and private lessons.
  • Personal morality v. the morality of the dominant culture.

Be sure to visit them at the Sharma Center’s website HERE!

See a slideshow of the Sharma Center.  Click on the thumbnails below.

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Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

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Sex EDGE-U-cation with Max – Podcast #113 – 04/08/09

Hey sex fans,

Today I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming the Seattle-based, yet internationally known and respected, bondage artist, educator and Dom, who goes by the name Max.  We will be exploring all sorts of interesting topics; not least among them is his polyamorous life with max-picSeattle’s finest professional Dominatrix, Mistress Matisse. This is exciting and thought provoking stuff, sex fans.  You don’t want to miss this.

Max is my latest guest in this new series of podcast interviews I’m doing called Sex EDGE-U-cation .  As you know, we’re taking a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles. We are touching on topics both familiar and exotic.  We are chatting with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world.

Max and I discuss:

  • Seattle being a hotbed of perversion.
  • How BDSM, polyamory and kink infuse his life.
  • His role as an educator and activist.
  • His workshops at The Center For Sex Positive Culture and his private lessons.
  • Safety and compatibility issues between top and bottom.
  • Building intimacy through BDSM.
  • Differentiating between BDSM, kink and genital sex.

Be sure to visit Max at his website HERE!

See a slideshow of some of Max’s work.  Click on the thumbnails below.

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Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

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