Pornography and Premarital Sex

….And we’re back.

Back to the blog after a short hiatus, and back to talking about premarital sex and porn, because we just can’t talk about those things enough.

I’ve been thinking about a conversation that my friends and I had over shabbat. Someone posed the question “would you be okay with marrying a woman who used to act in pornographic movies, assuming she no longer does that work?”

My response at the time was that the question is, really, the same as “would you be okay marrying someone who used to sleep around?”. At first, there was an uneasiness with my response, people seemed to be more okay with having a spouse who used to have sex with other people than they were with having a spouse who used to be a porn actress. (I say “actress” because no one seemed to even bring up the possibility that the man could have been the one in the porno, but whatever). I get that some people want to save the sanctity of sex for marriage. And I get that it’s extremely hard to share that with someone who does not have those same values. But, I don’t really see any difference between that and porn. Porn, in this context, should only be a problem in as much as sex is a problem. But then came the expected “It’s different, because with porn, it’s public. Your random uncle could recognize her.”

My response? Who freaking cares if your random uncle recognizes your porn-actress wife? Whatever shame you feel should be attributed to a woman who works in porn should be EXACTLY THE SAME as the shame you feel should be attributed to those who watch porn. In my opinion, there should be no shame in watching or acting in porn, but that’s me and I’m a flaming liberal. I’ll allow for the possibility that there are those who are opposed to pornography on moral grounds, but here’s the kicker: that stance only make sense if the same morality judgment is applied to both the actors and the viewers. In fact, the viewers are the ones supporting the industry, they’re the ones who make acting in porn such a lucrative position, so shouldn’t they have MORE responsibility towards whatever moral indecency occurs through porn?

The fact that your uncle (or aunt or cousin or random neighbor) might have watched porn that was made by your spouse should only be a problem IF YOU THINK IT IS A PROBLEM THAT SAID VIEWER WATCHES PORN. And if they choose to call your spouse out on his or her choices, go right ahead and call them out on their life choice to watch porn. I’m sure you’ll go far with that one.

To end, I’ll remind you about Miriam Weeks, aka Belle Knox, who got bullied from her classmates after they saw her in a pornographic film (How much sense does that make? None.) And then there’s Alyssa Funke, who actually committed suicide as a result of the cyberbullying she endured when her classmates at University of Wisconsin-River falls found out that she was a porn actress. Situations like these remind us that we need to reevaluate the dangerous, life-threatening, double standard that we hold for actors and viewers of porn.