Christians Ranting About “Porn”

February 15, 2016 in General

One of the problems that confront those of us trying to debate pornography, erotica, sexual violence, feminist sexual agency and LGBT concerns with anti-porn feminists is the lack of a systematic analysis of conservative Christian proponents of increased state censorship. Straight from the turkey’s mouth, I’ve decided to explore the current conservative Christian anti-porn discourse and examine its presuppositions.

The US Christian Right’s Family Research Council muddies the issue by associating “obscenity” with child pornography. But what is ‘obscenity?’ It is a notoriously fluid and minimalist concept, particularly when it comes to non-normative forms of sexual imagery. And remember, in this context, non-normative doesn’t mean illegal or necessarily harmful. For conservative Christians, even if sexual imagery depicts consensual sexual activity, it is ‘obscene’ if it represents group straight sex, lesbian or gay sex, or consensual BDSM sex. However, and fortunately, conservative Christians have to prove that something is ‘harmful’ in this context, often through citation of social scientific ‘evidence.’

So, what is their problem with porn? Well, ‘pornography’ or ‘obscenity’ erodes family solidarity, marriage bonds and relationship fidelity. It leads to non-marital straight sex and ‘illegitimate’ children. Moreover, their argument is based on “sex addiction’- a pseudoscientific ‘mental illness’ excluded from the latest volume of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Apparently, having non-monogamous sex can be ‘addictive’ and leads to thrill-seeking attempts at ever-increasing thresholds of satiation, from straight couples sex to group straight sex to bisexual porn to gay porn to BDSM porn to paedophilia or zoophilia. It can form habits- and no, I’m not talking about the late Patricia Bartlett’s nunly coif and wimple either.


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