I do not wish to offer a moral defence of pornography nor enter into the various controversies surrounding self-image, objectification, sexualisation of children and unrealistic expectations. My only aim here is to present pornography in a more balanced light with recourse to our deepest struggles as human beings. There are many different types of pornography – different types of ‘categories’ for various fantasies and fetishes. For my purposes, I will not be considering categories. I will refer to pornography as the depiction of a sexual act between two agents through any medium.
Given that pornography is used probably exclusively as a means to sexual gratification, it is not surprising that it has acquired a reputation of being ‘filthy’ and those who watch it ‘creepy’, but this is perhaps a high-minded approach to take. We are all sexual creatures, despite perhaps being too embarrassed to admit it. I want to make a distinction here between ‘having sex’ and ‘making love’ with the hope that most people will intuitively understand the intended difference. I believe that the best pornography – the pornography which will speak to us all, is that which depicts the latter. It will not be a quick, uninvested and superficial event whose sole purpose is to achieve sexual gratification.
The best pornography is essentially a tribute to love and its most intimate expression: sex. The best pornography will abound in gentle caresses and sweet whispers; it will be rich in passionate, sensitive movements which display finely attuned detail to the pleasures of each agent. The best pornography shows us two bodies intertwined in a state of pure ecstasy drawn from the intimacy of the bond between them. What could be more arousing than standing in awe of the sheer blinding force of this love?
Those that denounce pornography on the grounds that it is ‘fake’ have only to read some literature or watch a couple of movies to see that ‘fake’ things can move us incredibly, for various reasons. We may identify with the struggles of the protagonist, or find meaning in the unifying themes. Pornography is no different, and the reason we are drawn to it is that we can find a link between it and our everyday lives.
The best pornography reminds us of our eternal struggle – to love and be loved. Love is intrinsically fragile and requires careful nurturing and attention. What pornography shows us is that that basis of tenderness and care can yield an incomparably powerful state of ultimate pleasure. Seeing others in this state makes us want to lose ourselves to it, to give up everything in order to be so intimately linked to someone in such a complete and honest act of unrestrained love.
Our happiness may depend on whether we can establish meaningful connections with other people. The best pornography shows us the beauty of love by evoking an appreciation for its power. It makes us want to love, or to be better lovers so that we might take another step closer to attaining that state of total abandon, where we exist only in terms of the other person and where nothing else is important. Pornography should not be viewed only as a means to sexual gratification, for that would be to underestimate it. It presents us at our most vulnerable, naked and afraid and shows the intensity of the fire that can stem from this vulnerability. Pornography clearly has some sort of resoundingly unifying applicability to the human ‘condition’, and we should embrace that fact rather than try to hide it.