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Objectivist On Pornography

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When I come up with a question on Objectivism this website is super quick to respond so I am sorry if I am seem like I am going posting crazy. My question pertains to pornography and the Objectivist stance on it. For what I gather the idea is to do things out of self interest which watching porn would be, however, watching porn is purely body and doesn't seem to involve the mind though I may be wrong, and Ayn Rand doesn't believe in the split between mind and body, there in lies my question.

Thanks,

David C.

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Why would watching porn be in your self interest? That's an assumption. It might actually be self destructive and there's a decent body of evidence to suggest it is. Objectivism is in favour of rational self interest. That does not mean simply doing whatever feels good or whatever you happen to already like doing.

It's clear you're new to Objectivism by your questions. Welcome! Doing things 'purely body' is not bad. Anyway there's almost certainly a reason other than your 'body' to be watching porn. In fact, Objectivists generally reject the Mind-Body dichotomy all together. By rejecting the dichotomy, Ayn Rand didn't accept that there is a difference, not that you shouldn't do thing for your body. So there is a result on your mind and stemming from your mind for wanting to watch porn. You are just unaware of it. Since there is no split, you see? In any case, take for example, Objectivism is 100% supportive of masturbation.

Lastly, if it is in your self interest, if it's really serving your life in some way without negative consequences, then fine. It might fall under taking your sexuality into your own hands, as per masturbation. And sexuality according to main line Objectivism is not bad, and is not 'purely body'.

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Porn being in supportive of self interest or not being in supportive of it, I agree is debatable. I completely agree with all your other points. The only thing that doesn't add up to me is the doing things purely for your body which you said isn't bad, but if Ayn Rand didn't believe there was a split between the two how can you ever do things purely for the body. I understood that sex was not purely body, what I didn't get was how porn could involve the mind, but as you said which makes sense it could on some level which I am not aware.

Thanks,

David C.

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I agree with rational self interest. Because reality is an absolute, and this is where you get reason from, how would you argue porn is for or against self interest. I am just curious how you would make that argument.

Thanks Again,

David C.

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Generally, I think the question for objectivists regarding pornography has more to do with free association. That is, there should be no regulation around the sexual activity of consenting adults. If you engage in a sexual activity there's no issue for Objectivism as long as you are not initiating force against any other person involved in that activity with you.

As for the mind/body connection, I simply want to point out that very few people, even men, can separate the two. Sex has an emotional element. Period. That's not objectivism, that's me.

EDIT: to clarify, when I said above "that's not objectivism" what I meant was that I don't know what objectivism says about that. I was trying to say that this was personal opinion.

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Rand's position is that sex is never purely body; what you find arousing, according to Rand, follows automatically from what you've done with your mind to date. If you prefer porn to sex with a live and caring partner you have a problem and you ought to work it through. Otherwise, while it's not preferable to the real thing, I don't see any reason to condemn it.

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But, of course sex has an emotional element! How does anything in Objectivism contradict that?

No mind/body dichotomy, corresponds with no mind/emotion dichotomy and further, with no 'body/emotion' dichotomy, I think. Which, could be a strong argument against getting to the stage of excessive, mindless - therefore, *emotionless* - dependency on porn. How "real" is it, and how does it eventually affect one's pride and self-esteem? I don't know for everyone.

I'd also question free association and force used in this context - though, naturally what happens between consenting adults

(or one, alone) is their right.

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But, of course sex has an emotional element! How does anything in Objectivism contradict that?

No mind/body dichotomy, corresponds with no mind/emotion dichotomy and further, with no 'body/emotion' dichotomy, I think. Which, could be a strong argument against getting to the stage of excessive, mindless - therefore, *emotionless* - dependency on porn. How "real' is it, and how does it eventually affect one's pride and self-esteem? I don't know for everyone.

I'd also question free association and force used in this context - though, naturally what happens between consenting adults

(or one, alone) is their right.

Tony, I see how I was unclear in my wording. I was trying to say that I was stating a personal opinion about the relationship between sex and emotions because I don't know what Objectivism says about it. Also, I brought up free association and force because that's the typical argument against porn that tends to come up. You know, exploitation of women and such.

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Agreed as to the free association issue.

Since the status quo is that men watch more "pornography," which I might add no one has defined yet.

Shall we use an old white guy's standard? Potter Stewart explained that:

potter_blog_20070927144416.jpgThe Law Blog unabashedly loves Fred Shapiro, the Yale Law School librarian and the author of the indispensable “The Yale Book of Quotations.” In a column in the Yale alumni magazine earlier this year, he listed some of the most famous quotations by Yale alumni. Among them was the characterization of pornography by Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart (pictured): “I know it when I see it” (Jacobellis v. Ohio, 1964).

We also love Ray Lamontagne (Yale Law ’64), who sent Shapiro a letter after he read his column:

Shapiro contacted Novak (click here and scroll down for his bio), who sent his own account via email.

You might be interested to know that the Potter Stewart quote was actually provided to him by his law clerk, Alan Novak ’55, ’63 LLB. Justice Stewart was a great justice and I do not want to take anything away from him. But he was stuck on how to describe pornography, and Novak said to him, “Mr. Justice, you will know it when you see it.” The justice agreed, and Novak included that remark in the draft of the opinion. Whichever way you might want to attribute the quote, it came from a Yalie.


After several days reviewing with the other court members the materials related to the ’63 Term pornographic materials, Justice Stewart came to the office for a Saturday stint of opinion writing. I was there alone when he arrived, and we visited together to discuss his reaction to the case. . . . I had been a Marines officer; he a Navy officer. We discussed our experiences with material we had seen during our military careers, and discovered we had both seen materials we considered at the time to be pornographic, but this conclusion was arrived at somewhat intuitively. We agreed that “we know it when we see it,” but that further analysis was difficult. The justice went back to his office, and shortly thereafter produced a draft concurring opinion, which has by now become somewhat famous. I am sure he never expected, intended, or desired notoriety for this element of his work.

Thanks Yalies for that nifty little Supreme Court history lesson. Go Crimson!

Additionally, have you asked a woman to define pornography?

There are some Swedish female directors that are producing some interesting fillm on this.

A...

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But, of course sex has an emotional element! How does anything in Objectivism contradict that?

No mind/body dichotomy, corresponds with no mind/emotion dichotomy and further, with no 'body/emotion' dichotomy, I think. Which, could be a strong argument against getting to the stage of excessive, mindless - therefore, *emotionless* - dependency on porn. How "real' is it, and how does it eventually affect one's pride and self-esteem? I don't know for everyone.

I'd also question free association and force used in this context - though, naturally what happens between consenting adults

(or one, alone) is their right.

Tony, I see how I was unclear in my wording. I was trying to say that I was stating a personal opinion about the relationship between sex and emotions because I don't know what Objectivism says about it. Also, I brought up free association and force because that's the typical argument against porn that tends to come up. You know, exploitation of women and such.

Ah, I get it. Shows you, I didn't even consider the exploitation thing.

Null and void, to me I suppose, though very relevant to many.

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I think some orthodox Objectivist should write a critique of "soft porn," since it obviously involves faking reality. Also of concern is the pixilation found in Japanese porn. Surely the blurring of reality must be immoral. Then there is CFNM, in which clothed women dominate naked men and use them as sex objects, sometimes laughing as they do so. I'm a little rusty on the official Objectivist theory of sex, but shouldn't that be the other way around?

Ghs

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Since the status quo is that men watch more "pornography," which I might add no one has defined yet.

If you enjoy watching a video that features explicit sex, then you are watching "erotica." If someone else enjoys a video that you don't like, then he is watching "pornography."

That's simple enough, is it not? 8-)

Ghs

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But, of course sex has an emotional element! How does anything in Objectivism contradict that?

No mind/body dichotomy, corresponds with no mind/emotion dichotomy and further, with no 'body/emotion' dichotomy, I think. Which, could be a strong argument against getting to the stage of excessive, mindless - therefore, *emotionless* - dependency on porn. How "real' is it, and how does it eventually affect one's pride and self-esteem? I don't know for everyone.

I'd also question free association and force used in this context - though, naturally what happens between consenting adults

(or one, alone) is their right.

Tony, I see how I was unclear in my wording. I was trying to say that I was stating a personal opinion about the relationship between sex and emotions because I don't know what Objectivism says about it. Also, I brought up free association and force because that's the typical argument against porn that tends to come up. You know, exploitation of women and such.

Ah, I get it. Shows you, I didn't even consider the exploitation thing.

Null and void, to me I suppose, though very relevant to many.

I guess I'm more sensitive to it as a woman. Nothing gets my hackles up more quickly than someone crying exploitation in defense of women who are perfectly capable of defending themselves. It encourages a victim mentality for women. Many young women are their own worst enemy, not just because they make poor choices but because they don't accept personal responsibility for those choices.

I think some orthodox Objectivist should write a critique of "soft porn," since it obviously involves faking reality. Also of concern is the pixilation found in Japanese porn. Surely the blurring of reality must be immoral. Then there is CFNM, in which clothed women dominate naked men and use them as sex objects, sometimes laughing as they do so. I'm a little rusty on the official Objectivist theory of sex, but shouldn't that be the other way around?

Ghs

Interesting. Isn't all video entertainment faking reality? A romantic movie with no sex at all, consists of people pretending to be in love. Further, since the topic at hand is sex, is faking an orgasm immoral? I'd say no more immoral than saying to someone you love, "Why, no dear, of course those jeans don't make your ass look fat. Don't be ridiculous."

Hmm, conversations I never thought I'd have on OL....

Sorry, Cowboy, if I'm hijacking your thread!

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This has become a super interesting thread. I find it amazing to learn where objectivism stands on certain issues such as porn which wasn't as prevalent in Ayn Rands day as it is now; and dldelancey don't feel bad at all, you made some very interesting points. If I understand correctly there is no mind body split in sex which makes sense, this also includes watching porn and masturbation, a problem only arises when there is force involved. dldelancey I find your point about faking a orgasm or lying and saying you don't look fat to be quite interesting. I would say that yes it is immoral because as it says in atlas shrugged "What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.” My question is does that mean Ayn Rand would say to tell the truth to a murderer if he asked for the location of a family member?

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On 4/23/2014 at 11:49 AM, George H. Smith said:
On 4/23/2014 at 11:07 AM, Selene said:

Since the status quo is that men watch more "pornography," which I might add no one has defined yet.

If you enjoy watching a video that features explicit sex, then you are watching "erotica." If someone else enjoys a video that you don't like, then he is watching "pornography."

That's simple enough, is it not? 8-)

Ghs

Lol...

Sadly, there are way too many folks that believe that!

Take a brief perusal of literotica.com ...

http://www.literotica.com/

 

Quote

You must be over 18 years old to enter this site. If you are under 18 or do not wish to view adult content, you must exit now. Adults Only.

Welcome to Literotica, your FREE source for the hottest in erotic fiction and fantasy. Literotica features 100% original sex stories from a variety of authors. Literotica accepts quality erotic story submissions from amateur authors and holds story contests for contributors. We offer a huge selection of adult fantasies to choose from, and are always on the lookout for new and exciting ideas. We encourage you to contact us with any comments or suggestions on how we can make this free sex story site more pleasurable for you. Have fun and enjoy yourselves while visiting Literotica Erotic Fiction! All story characters involved in sexual situations on this adult erotic web site are over the age of consent.

No minors allowed.

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"Obviously" (love that word) sex is up-close and personal with another warm body, one that also possesses consciousness, emotions and free will.

Take it from there, and decide for youself when, and by how much, any other replacement for that extreme, human intimacy is in your best self interests, and where it isn't.

"Faking reality" gets over-cooked sometimes, but to dismiss it as mere Randian jargon would be mistaken. All of Objectivism is premised on the observance of reality, and prohibiting any assault on the mind.

Where I have always disagreed, is with Rand's pretty inexperienced, top-down, one size fits all approach to sex. Not so much that there isn't some fundamental truth to it - because, actually, I've come to see there is some - but because there is so much more to one's psychology and subconscious it does not begin to cover. Particularly when young. Confusion and self-repression are a likely outcome, if one tried to follow her dogmatically on sex.

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Where I have always disagreed, is with Rand's pretty inexperienced, top-down, one size fits all approach to sex. Not so much that there isn't some fundamental truth to it - because, actually, I've come to see there is some - but because there is so much more to one's psychology and subconscious it does not begin to cover. Particularly when young. Confusion and self-repression are a likely outcome, if one tried to follow her dogmatically on sex.

Particularly when young and "male."

Although, I would like to hear from women on this one and neither of us qualify...

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Heh. Thankfully I didn't ever know any girl who expected a Howard Roark performance from me.

(Can you imagine: "Howard, OH, Howard!!)

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What about the Virgin Mary? Oh God! Don't stop now!!!!

Ba'al Chatzaf

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What about the Virgin Mary? Oh God! Don't stop now!!!!

Ba'al Chatzaf

What about Snow White?

Her autopsy found seven (7) dents in her maidenhead!

I can see thread is going to get raunchy pretty fast and I will have participated in it with glee...

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Oops, lady in the room.

I told 'em, Deanna, but you know how Adam always gets out of hand.

That's no lady that's a businesswoman...

OK, I will tone down.

Slinks into the salacious sewer of sensual surveillance.

A...

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Heh. Thankfully I didn't ever know any girl who expected a Howard Roark performance from me.

(Can you imagine: "Howard, OH, Howard!!)

This is crying out for a witty remark and I just can't think of one.

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What about the Virgin Mary? Oh God! Don't stop now!!!!

Ba'al Chatzaf

What about Snow White?

Her autopsy found seven (7) dents in her maidenhead!

I can see thread is going to get raunchy pretty fast and I will have participated in it with glee...

when we see it, i suppose we will know it

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