Porn DVDs and Sexual Attitudes

Since adult films first became available there has been almost non stop debate about whether they harm individuals and society as a whole. Many have argued that whatever the effects, be they good or bad, restriction of such material is a fundamental attack on the freedom and rights of the individual. Opponents have always taken a moral stance and maintained that pornography must be tightly controlled or abolished in order to preserve standards within society.

There has been much written about this debate but almost always the arguments stem from passion or deep seated views that are not directly provable but revolve primarily around beliefs that come from a pre determined social or moral conviction that porn is either good, bad or indifferent.

Proponents of adult films say that it is not illegal to for adults to engage in sexual activity, so why should it be illegal or immoral for them to view material that depicts sexual acts? Those against porn say the individual's right to engage in sex is different from it being turned into a commodity for sale. They also generally believe that the rights of the individual are overridden by the need to protect wider society from what they feel is a negative influence.

In the UK, the Obscene Publications act states that "anything that is likely to corrupt" is not appropriate for distribution and public viewing. The difficulty with this of course is that the view of what is "likely" to corrupt and how this corruption is to take place and then be measured, is entirely subjective and not easily assessed objectively. This same thought pattern is prevalent in other spheres of censorship and moral debate such as violent films or video games and it is commonplace for the popular press to carry stories alleging that people who have carried out violent acts have been negatively influenced by violent material. As a logical conclusion to this, the two negative inputs can also be combined when making reference to sexual assaults.

For most of us it seems likely that individuals carry with them the ability to exercise measured judgement when allowing potentially damaging influences to enter their daily lives. There are many social academics who believe that as a society we have become increasingly adept at self regulating our more extreme tendencies simply because of the never ending assault of material that the modern world provides. For example, contrast the difficulties facing someone who wished to buy porn films just 20 or 30 years ago with the situation today. Formally it was generally speaking a huge effort, possibly involving placing oneself in somewhat unsavoury situations and dealing with people who operated at the margins of the law. Now any kind of material, covering any kind of sexual preference can be purchased or even viewed for free absolutely safely and from the comfort of our homes with a few clicks of a mouse or the remote control unit. We have the power to easily explore absolutely anything we wish and it is for this reason that psychologists believe that our natural self defence mechanisms have been augmented to deal with this potentially high intensity assault on our senses.

Those in favour of liberal delivery mechanisms such as the Internet that bring pornography directly to our doors say that we are not like the proverbial child in a candy store and that we do not simply take whatever we can get. They suggest that this was a more standard behaviour when adult films were not available on DVD or for download and porn buyers were forced to seek out such material where they could and, as is the case in any market, whenever things are in short supply, selective purchasing is effectively non existent. Pro porn advocates state that because everything is easily available and there are virtually no restrictions, we are firstly, a lot better informed and secondly are a lot more selective in our choices. With such a pro active attitude, we naturally tend to self govern what we watch and can therefore protect ourselves by being more objective in our choices.

Whatever the case may be, there is still considerable debate about the merits or otherwise of porn and adult material in general but what is absolutely certain is that it fulfils a basic human need and we must either learn to control it or live with it as it will certainly not go away.


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