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Banning Free Porn Won't Make It All Go Away
Opinion|Aug 11, 2021

Banning Free Porn Won't Make It All Go Away

Parenting Simply Isn’t The Role Of The Government, Writes Emilie Dye.
Emilie Dye

After rudely booting Brandi Love from a Turning Point US event, the purity squad has decided to try cancelling porn altogether.

According to event organisers merely a porn star’s presence is X rated, and do-gooders are bringing up the overplayed refrain, “think of the children.”

Some have even begun advocating for a ban on free porn sites such as Pornhub.

But the attack on porn has very little to do with protecting children and everything to do with enforcing a particular ‘moral’ ethic on adults. It’s already illegal in both Australia and the US for children under the age of 18 to possess porn. But it’s primarily up to parents to protect their children from viewing pornagraphy at too young an age. And that’s as it should be.

A ban on porn would allow parents with one worldview to enforce that view on other people's children.

As much as I personally would love to ban purity balls, abstinence teaching, and virginity vows because of the sexual and psychological damage they cause children (particularly girls), I’d never advocate for legislation to that effect. Parenting simply isn’t the role of the government. Except in extreme cases of abuse, the government must step aside and let parents parent.

Luckily, keeping kids from  getting a hold of porn is easier than you might think. Installing the appropriate firewalls is a great place to start. But if you’re still worried, you could always simply deny your child a device that connects to the internet. No phone, no porn. The point is, we can do this on our own.

As someone who’s been on the receiving end of such parental oversight, I should know. My parents put up a firewall so secure on my laptop as a teenager that I was blocked from looking up Dick Cheney for a school project.

Should the government  bring back prohibition just because 16 year olds sometimes sneak into pubs or steal their parents' alcohol? God forbid. So how is banning porn any different? For one, prohibition doesn’t work.

Porn is older than the human species. Our paleolithic ancestors scrawled pictures of boobs, vulvas, and penises on cave walls, and dildos are among our pre-human ancestors’ first inventions.

Don’t our authorities have anything better to do than waste time and resources going after safe consensual porn?

Just as adults would prefer to enjoy cocktails free of quinine and other toxic chemicals, adults want safe, consensual porn. Banning free porn wouldn’t make it go away. It would still be just as widely available as it is now. But actors would no longer have legal protections, and viewers would risk stumbling across child or rape porn.

Don’t our authorities have anything better to do than waste time and resources going after safe consensual porn? How about focusing on addressing human rights violations and real abuse?

Adults are perfectly capable of enjoying porn responsibly. Couples watch porn together to spice up their sex lives. Disabled people watch porn to get off the only way they can. Lonely people watch porn to satisfy their basic human need for sex.

Governments ban activities and commodities where the detriments to the functioning of a healthy society outweigh the benefits. Porn is a multibillion dollar industry with estimates ranging between 6 billion usd on the low end to over 97 billion usd on the high end. That millions of jobs and even more satisfied customers.

Porn doesn’t just make money for itself. It supports cellular companies, hotels, and internet providers. Porn makes up 30 per cent of all internet usage. Additionally its a driver of innovation with virtual reality porn expected to reach 1 billion usd by 2025.

There are two main arguments against porn: It leads to an oversexed population. Or it leaves people less interested in sex. Which is it? In the end, the arguments against consensual porn for adults remain far fetched and moralistic.

Yes, people can abuse and misuse porn. But as it stands, porn provides entertainment and gratification for millions of adults every day. Cancelling this industry would be tantamount to cock blocking entire nations.

 

* Emilie Dye is the Australian Lead for Young Voices. Find her on Twitter @Emilie_Dye or on her website emiliedye.com.

Image: @askandy