There’s good news and bad news about the new California law that bans a jilted lover from posting his ex’s nude photos online. On the positive side, the new law has shut down a bunch of websites where men have been exchanging photos and videos of their ex-girlfriends for a fee. One big one, RevengePorn.com has sold its URL to a porn dating site, so don’t bother to log on unless you are looking for a tacky looking dating site that promises that “everyone gets laid.”
But the sad news is this: The law only covers photos taken by the one who posts them online. Eighty-per cent of nude sexting photos are taken by the victim and sent digitally via text messaging, while the couple is in the throws of romantic bliss. Those photos, the law deems, are gifts and the recipient is now the rightful owner to do whatever he or she pleases with them. It’s a clear “blame the victim” law that reinforces the double standard. According to this law, bad girls bring this on themselves.
I want people to understand how dangerous this brand of cyber bullying is. Some female victims, have had their nude photos splashed across their Facebook wall and even on their employer’s website. Some women have had to legally change their name to keep the photos from showing up in Google searches. Revenge porn has, tragically, even been a factor in suicides. All because a woman placed her heart and trust in a man who requested a digital memento.
Please call upon your lawmaker to ban all forms of revenge porn. This is a token law that barely scratches the surface of the deep crime involved.
Pornography is easily accessible with new technology, and can be a helpful aid to keep the spice in long term monogamy. But porn does have its downside if used incorrectly. For some men, pornography has become a paired stimulus with their sexuality. One study showed on average, single guys consume pornography on their computers or iPhones 40 minutes, three times a week. The statistics for guys in committed relationships and pornography showed they view on average 1.7 times a week for 20 minutes. Here’s the problem. That same device that feeds them an endless stream of novel erotic images is also used for business and platonic friendship. For some this can be a little confusing.
WATCH THIS DISCUSSION ON CNN HERE:
So how pornography is affecting our everyday text messages and e-mail communication? Men are using their phones and computers as a source of arousal, but they also use them to communicate for courtship. They are used to having a stream of new images, or exciting lovers. So what happens when they meet someone they want to date or their wife? What do they say? “Hey, can you send me a naked picture?” Or they want a frisky sext. This technology has become an extension of their sexuality. And for some men, it’s hard to separate the two types of digital data — business and porn.
In dating relationships, sexts may seem harmless, but now we are seeing sexting scandals and people that blur the boundaries of what should be platonic text relationships. Think of it this way, about 20 years ago the way to contact a couple was to call their house phone. The husband might answer and then pass the phone to his wife, who maintained their social calendar. Now, couples have individual Facebook pages, their own iPhones where private text messages. They are able to have individual relationships with a lot of different people and it starts to beg the question, are we a unified front? I have to tell you, when I see a Facebook page for a married couple, with their wedding picture and they are both answering questions I love it! That’s how it used to be. How do you think technology is affecting our dating, mating and relating?
Women’s love of romantic comedies and men’s love of porn have a lot in common. Both forms of modern media skew our expectations about relationships. That is the subject of the new romantic comedy “Don Jon” written, directed, and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and co-starring Scarlett Johansson. Tune into The Katie Couric Show on Thursday on ABC network to see my discussion with renowned sexuality counselor, Dr. Ian Kerner.
While Dr. Kerner deals with issues like erectile dysfunction relating to addiction to pornography, he also says moderate use of porn can have a vital place in long term monogamy.
No matter, like fast food, cheap, available, junk food sexual eye candy is not going away. Fully one third of all content on the internet is pornography and a 2009 study from the University of Montreal showed that single men, on average, are consuming about forty minutes, three times a week. Men in committed relationships, on average, consume about twenty minutes, twice a week. As an interesting side note, the researcher wanted to study the effects of porn on men and to do so, he needed a control group of men who had not consumed pornography — but he could not find one man who hadn’t used porn. And all this porn use is changing the way some men think a relationship should look and feel.
Women, on the other hand, are being fed a constant stream of unrealistic relationship expectations in the form of romantic comedies. The plots of movies like When Harry Met Sally, No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits, etc, send the message that the key to a perfect relationship is to find love and get him to commit. In fact the key to a great relationship is to become a good partner yourself. But most romantic comedies end at the beginning of the relationship, and we never get to see the challenging emotional work. The same goes for pornography. Women as sex objects with no emotional integrity simply isn’t realistic. Don Jon is a fascinating movie because it addresses this issue head on. Kudos to Joesph Gordon Levitt on having his finger on the pulse of modern relationships.
This week, in a landmark ruling, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK will begin a new pornography filtering system, whereby household cable subscribers will have to opt-in if they want to see naked bodies, sex, and rape in their living rooms. I mean, if they want to see digital versions. Cameron’s rationale is that unfiltered, easy access to porn is “corroding childhood.”
But it was only minutes after his speech that US media, including The Washington Post, began their tired chant about the dangers of censorship and regulation, as if freedom to consume something that could have an addictive quality is actually freedom. They also worry that a bid to make any village safer for children would suddenly become a slippery slope toward censorship of political speech and online surveillance of the populace — as if we don’t have that already.
The truth is that online pornography, an increasingly amount of which includes depictions of rape and the usage of “actresses” that resemble children, isn’t good for most. It’s not good for children in households where a mere click on a remote will bring them from fun with “Dora the Explorer” to “Dora’s Tight Anal Fun.” Yes, I Googled that and found it easily. And it’s not good for adolescent boys coming of age in a high supply sexual economy where the reigning definition of male sexuality is that of player. In that realm women have become opponents rather than partners.
Who is porn good for? Couples who want to add spice to their lives. Men without partners in the room who want a little eye candy. And women who may be more visually attuned than most. While these consenting adults might do well to learn about the addictive nature of porn and use as much self-control as they do with salt, sugar, and fat, all of these groups can still obtain pornography easily in the UK. They simply click an opt-in button, a button that parents with small children in the home may choose to not click. That’s all. No censorship. No regulations. No sneaky Russian-style monitoring citizens online.