What Is Porn?

After my recent Porn Addiction post, I received a variety of emails and comments that were not all posted on the blog. With the permission of a lovely fella from Denver, CO, I would like to share the question he emailed me:

“Joy. Loved your post on porn, but I have a twist on it that I’d love your consideration/input/dialogue on. What is porn? I know the conventional sense of which you discuss in your post, but I feel there’s a bigger danger than gratuitous sex scenes on film.

I haven’t admitted to anyone…but as you might have guessed through our conversations…I consider myself a bit of a sex addict. I don’t watch porn. I’ve tried, but I do not find it interesting or exciting. What I am “addicted” to is Craigslist ads. Why? There’s a hunt and chase element. There’s the overt quest for sex.But more than that, it’s the hidden vulnerability, the raw sexual needs and “perversions” from real, regular people. I find a threesome with normal bodied “normal” people to be far more erotic than the porn you talk about.

But more than that, it’s the hidden vulnerability, the raw sexual needs and “perversions” from real, regular people. I find a threesome with normal bodied “normal” people to be far more erotic than the porn you talk about.

BUT…isn’t CL, or the CL I speak about, porn? Regardless of whether or not anything happens, doesn’t the mere chase (for as often as I find myself on the site) just as damaging as the movies you speak of?Or what about your own thoughts and (attempted) visits to a dominatrix? Can you say that the pursuit of that is

Or what about your own thoughts and (attempted) visits to a dominatrix? Can you say that the pursuit of that is

1) not “porn” and

2) not detrimental to your own marriage?

Just free flowing thoughts here but curious to hear your take.”

C.L. Denver, CO

Dear C.L.,

First, let’s look at the definition:

por·nog·ra·phy pôrˈnäɡrəfē/
noun
1. printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

I am contemplating my response as I write my response while sipping a glass of Moscato and discussing this post with my hubby. If we approach this topic from a black and white perspective, we would say that porn is confined to visual material. Even before the 50 Shades movie hit the screens, I think we all knew that, when it comes to sexuality, nothing is black and white.

So how do we redefine pornography? Maybe we just look at this topic from a whole new perspective. What if we break down the components of a pornographic movie, picture, thought, or action? What if, for the sake of this discussion, we include anything that is connected to sex or arousal and causes intense arousal without creating or nurturing a deeper connection?

Of course, watching a porno could potentially nurture the connection between two or more lovers…Your Craigslist obsession could potentially be detrimental for a variety of reasons. Without knowing more about your background and current relationship boundaries, it is hard to fully address your personal situation. So let’s say you are a married man. Let’s also say that, like many of the clients I work with, you are dissatisfied with the intimacy in your marriage.

Your Craigslist obsession could potentially be detrimental for a variety of reasons and from what I can tell, generally speaking, it does not create or nurture connection. Without knowing more about your background and current relationship boundaries, it is hard to fully address your personal situation. So let’s imagine that you are a married man. Let’s also say that, like many of the clients I work with, you are not feeling sexually connected or satisfied in your current (probably monogamous) relationship.

In that scenario, there are so many ways that perusing the adult-themed Craigslist ads could cause you and unintentionally your partner harm. I am not one to state the obvious, but in this case, I think it is warranted. If you not only peruse the ads, but you also follow up and take action, you could suffer some very real health issues as a result of what first seemed like an innocent outlet for your sexual desire. Clearly this could also negatively affect your unsuspecting partner.

As for my potential visit (which I canceled) to visit a dominatrix, I think I was not clear enough about the purpose of my visit. I was not planning on experiencing a session with a dominatrix. First off, if there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt about myself it is that I am NOT a submissive. There is not a submissive bone, cell, or thought in my body or spirit. With that in mind, I would never agree to attend a session with a dominatrix, even for the good of humanity. I have my limits. Pun intended.

My intention was to gain a deeper understanding of the psychology behind domination and submission. I have recently had my photo (not with my knowledge) posted on a “Goddess” site that educates people about ancient Greek Goddesses. It is fine, I posed for the photo, which was a recreation of a vintage nude painting from the 1600s. It was a fun shoot and I like the digital painting. This Goddess education site purchased the digital rights to my potential pornographic photo. The down side or up side, depending on how I choose to look at it, is that I now receive many, many requests from people who want to “worship me.” I guess there is a whole Goddess Worship fetish and an even deeper movement of people who see Goddess Worship as a spiritual path.

It baffled me. Especially being dominant by nature myself, I could not understand why someone would want to submit to my every whim and command, all in an effort to please me as their guru/Goddess. Because of the desperation presented by one man in particular, I agreed to allow him to worship me as his Goddess, but it was much more confusing than I first realized. He took this whole Goddess worship thing very seriously. He in fact saw it as a spiritual path and he seemed to need constant reassurance. It was honestly pretty draining (I hear Mountain saying oh yeah, my worshipers are equally exhausting, lol). It was like a super charged session. I would make a gentle suggestion and he was all like “Yes, Goddes.” It was unnerving. My intention for going to visit with Ms. Robin was to learn from a woman who has been dominating men and women for nearly 2 decades.

Working with this client t was like a super charged session. I would make a gentle suggestion and he was all like “Yes, Goddes.” It was unnerving. My intention for going to visit with Ms. Robin was to learn from a woman who has been dominating men and women for nearly 2 decades. I wanted to understand the psychology of my client so I was able to help him transform what I saw as a negative obsession into something more positive. As I have continued to learn, I have realized that certain people seem to need this type of interaction to feel whole. I am not saying that is healthy, just sharing what I have learned thus far.

I know I am not your average woman. My husband certainly knows that too. I picked him up on the side of the road while I was traveling across the US under a very strange set of circumstances. I was up front about who I was and he loved me even though I was a bi-sexual, ex-stripper who loved sex almost as much as I loved air. He loved me even though I struggled with flashbacks from some of the horrendous things that had happened to me in my life. He loved and still loves me because I am not afraid to be who I am. Not to say I don’t sometimes doubt myself, just ask my coach, he will tell you I definitely have my doubts and face my fear.

I do not hide anything from Mountain. I am fully open, transparent, honest, and above all, respectful of the unique relationship boundaries he and I have created together. Mountain often comes up with these ideas. We converse about the conundrums I face (without breaching confidentiality, of course). He is incredibly supportive of the work I do. He knows that in my own way, I help make the world a better place. Also, he understands that this is my life’s passion. How could he say he truly loves me if he did not want me to do the work that I feel passionate about?

So back to the topic at hand. What is porn? The definition os porn is different than the one for pornography:

porn
noun
1. pornography.
2. television programs, magazine, books, etc. that are regarded as emphasizing the sensuous or sensational aspects of a nonsexual subject and stimulating a compulsive interest in their audience.

If we take one aspect of this definition “…stimulating a compulsive interest in their audience”, I guess the Craigslist ads you obsess over are “porn”. As for what I do and the strange ways I learn about the sexual psychology behind my client’s unique interests, I personally do not see it as pornographic in nature. However, to truly understand my work, people have to experience it first hand. It is not easy to describe because it is 100% individualized.

I have helped women overcome sexual abuse and trauma, taught people how to reclaim their bodies, showed women how to orgasm, and taught men how to pleasure their wives. People are definitely capable of becoming addicted to pleasure and I often times teach people how to give and receive pleasure. Is that porn? Such an interesting topic. Not sure there is one right answer, but I look forward to hearing your thoughts…

From my heart to yours,

Joy

ps: I advertise in many places, Craigslist being one of them. Why? Because my work walks the edge between conventional and taboo and the keywords I use are often not permitted on conventional advertising platforms, but don’t even get me started on censorship!

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Bare Beach Bum (@BareBeachBum) says:

    This person from Denver has a completely different perspective on the definition of “porn” than me. It is so easy to use the Google definition of pornography. I thought that the definition may have been PC’ized so I went back a few decades and looked at the definition. It has been modified a bit over the years. It is interesting when the definitions were written they changed considerably. This leads me to back to Justice Potter Stewart’s definition that he doesn’t know what pornography is but he knows it when he sees it. This is basically going back to strictly defining it as community standards. Personally I prefer the definition of the depiction of sexual acts with no apparent artistic value which relies on beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    People draw the line of ponography at different places. I think that much of the “porn” content out there is more adult entertainment. There are a small percentage of works that qualify as erotica with an artistic and entertainment value. Much of the commercial stuff is typical slam bam sexual entertainment that is the equivalent of reality TV. Then there is the degrading and disgusting stuff which ranks as porn. Reality TV is big business and so is commercial adult entertainment. It isn’t just for pervs anymore.

    Much of the content has entertainment value for adults and can be healthy when viewed and consumed in the proper context. Sex is a perfectly natural and human thing to do and it is the shame and taboo that we place on it that lowers this material into the porn category. If we acknowledged and stopped pretending that all of us don’t view this material then maybe the quality would increase. Society needs to start depicting sex in a healthy and human way instead of something naughty, degrading, and taboo. Depicting sexual acts in this way will lead to healthier attitudes towards sex and women.

    Let’s stop categorizing erotica and sexual entertainment as porn and normalize it for healthier sexual attitudes.

  2. obriend1936 says:

    Here comes my 2 cents once again:
    It would be better if we spend more time analyzing why some men (and women) become addicted to porn and give less attention to defining it.
    Barebeachbum (BBB) is on the right tract when suggesting that porn be more “educational” and not just titillating. I like to put a bit different spin on that and repeat my suggestion that we need more Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross types who will lead us to experience uninhibited joy in our sexual interactions by jettisoning the shame and guilt regarding sex, that our upbringing often causes.
    This is a classic case of the importance of focusing on root causes of sexual addiction rather than the symptoms. Learning to get beyond the fears that women and men often have regarding sex and beginning to enjoy uninhibited sex, will eliminate the frustration and sexual “starvation” that creates an insatiable appetite for sexual satisfaction.

    Thanks Joy for initiating this dialogue.
    Namaste,
    Dan

  3. sachafossa says:

    Joy! I would love to know more about where you do advertise, in addition to Craig’s list? My work also “walks the edge between conventional and taboo” and this does make advertising challenging. Curious, what categories/how do you advertise in Craig’s list? Thanks!

    1. Joy says:

      Checked out your site, looks beauty-full! Sounds like you offer a much needed service to the world. When I had my practice in Victoria, BC advertising was unnecessary. Everything was done through word of mouth.

      Then at some point, Molly Kaye, who is a journalist for Focus Magazine (an alternative health mag) attended a session with me and wrote about her experience in Focus. Things literally exploded for me.

      Moving to the Midwest has been so challenging for me on many levels, including professionally. It has all but killed my practice. The only place I can find here in Iowa to advertise is Craigslist.

      The only part of Craigslist that functions is “Therapeutic”, which is mainly happy ending massage and escort offerings. I try really hard to differentiate my offerings so I am able to avoid the less desirable clients from trying to book sessions with me.

      I find that there is a price point that helps weed out people who are looking for sexual services. Generally $125 for an in person session (which is much lower than what I received on the West Coast).

      I always include “Please honor my boundaries by not asking for sexual services.” That helps as well. I also find that posting a fairly non descriptive title like “Learn Tantra With Joy” and only a link to my site works well.

      Honestly though, my main source for coaching clients comes from my blog. This is both good and bad in ways. Sometimes I feel more vulnerable or exposed because I share so many personal thoughts and feelings in my writing.

      If you are interested in being interviewed, I would post the interview on my blog with your bio and a link to your site. That is also how I first got coaching clients.

      I didn’t notice on your site what area of the world you are from. I think it makes a huge difference. I am glad we connected. joy@tantrachick.com

      From my heart to yours,

      Joy

      1. sachafossa says:

        Thanks so much Joy for your reply, compliment, and support! I am going to take your advice and give Craig’s list a try, with similar parameters as yours. I live in the small coastal town of Rockport, MA, which is about 50 minutes North of Boston. Not far from Salem, where the witch trials took place. Having my practice here has been extremely challenging as there is so much repression here, too. And these areas need us/our work the most! Even using the word “sex” has caused backlash for me. In all local marketing I now use “intimacy” or “passion”. My goal for the coming year is to expand my virtual coaching, and to have people come to me from other places for vacation retreats and intensives. I love your Blog and how vulnerable, authentic, outspoken and in integrity your are, it would be my joy and honor to be interviewed by you and featured in your Blog! WOW! Thanks so much!!!! 🙂

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