I haven’t written a trivial thoughts entry yet for January and since we’re both at the end and I have no thoughts worthy of a long-form entry, it’s the perfect intersection of deadline and laziness.

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I had a fascinating conversation with a friend the other day. I have been engaging in a little more anti-porn talk on the podcasts I appear on and presentations I make lately. I’ve tried not to come off as anti-porn because I believe the people who need the most help are pro-porn. Being anti-porn is passing judgment and addicts generally don’t respond well to being judged. That said, I also fully subscribe to the idea that all porn is objectification. There is no other reason to look at pornography than to objectify the person in the images being looked at or watched. Pornhub doesn’t exist to play “Guess this person’s IQ!”

I mentioned that porn is never a good thing because of the objectification, my friend asked the question if all objectification is wrong. I said that I thought it was, even when it’s a simple as seeing a pretty girl on the street. I’m not saying it can be helped necessarily, but I did say it was wrong. He brought up the idea of people making themselves look good, especially for a blind date. Aren’t those people specifically trying to appeal to the other person on nothing more than a visual level? He also brought up the fact that most people don’t want to be in a relationship with somebody unless they find their partner physically attractive. He said that’s just part of how evolution works.

I thought it was a fascinating point to make and one that I’m still wrestling with. I’d be curious to hear your opinions if there is such a thing as acceptable, or perhaps even necessary, self-objectification.

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I was going through the list of bloggers that I follow and saw the number had exceeded 100. It doesn’t feel that way when I look through the Reader section of WordPress, so I checked into the blogs I follow and it was amazing how many people haven’t kept up with their blogs. I went through and deleted every blog that hadn’t updated in at least four months. By the time I was done, I only had 56 blogs left. Some of them were amazing and I wonder what happened to those people. Others, often about addiction, just abruptly stopped and I worry what happened to those people.

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When I first went to rehab for alcoholism in 2014, I was told by a recovered heroin user that people who are heavy addicts will often dream for years about their addiction, and using. I have to admit, that’s never happened with me and pornography. I have never had a dream about it. I did however, go through a long stretch of having dreams about alcohol and over the last few weeks, they have returned.

Almost all of the dreams are the same. I am usually at a bar or a party and somebody offers me a pint of beer. I say no. Then, the dream jumps forward and I’m sitting with a couple of empty pint glasses in front of me and I immediately recoil in disgust. I can’t understand how I could have drank those beers since I haven’t had alcohol going back to April 1, 2014. I am thoroughly disturbed in the dream at the idea that I “just forgot” I had years of sobriety.

There was a wrinkle in the latest dream. I was faced with drinking and I said to myself, “Well, since I already slipped up, I guess I could” and for the first time in years, I recall drinking beer in one of my dreams. I think it’s fascinating that in my dream world, I relapsed in one dream and used it as an excuse to continue drinking in another dream. This is just another reminder that for all the energy I put toward pornography addiction awareness, I personally have to keep just as strong a watch over the alcohol.

5 comments

  1. The question of objectification is interesting. To me, the term implies something of a one-sided nature. If I dress up for our blind date I am hopefully (i) doing so because I want to look good for myself and take personal pride and pleasure in doing so, (ii) I hope to be visually pleasing to you, and (iii) I hope we have a mutually great date. I don’t think that I’m trying to be objectified. I want you to think of me as a person and get to know me. (Some dates fail to carry their end of that equation and we mostly consider them to be assholes.)

    If, on the way to that blind date, some douchebag catcalls me on the street, that’s objectification. He strokes his ego and I feel harassed.

    With porn, I think it’s one-sided. Yes, the stars may be willing participants (maybe), but I don’t believe most viewers think “Hey, I’m going to watch/ buy this so that the chick getting DP’d can fund her 401k or pay her tuition.” They are watching purely for their own selfish reasons and don’t give a crap about the humans they are viewing. In fact, thinking of them as real people with moms and dads and maybe kids, is kind of a buzzkill.

    I’m sure your friend could highlight exceptions to this analysis, but those are my thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting take, which I agree with mostly. Is it even really objectification or not on the porn stars part if they’re doing it for money? Seems like a business transaction with the studio.
      I’m still fuzzy on if self-objectification, like the blind date scenario is a bad thing. What if somebody sees you on your way to the blind date and thinks you’re hot, but doesn’t do the cartoon villain thing of catcalling. Is that objectification? If it’s silent and you never know, is it objectification still? I think that’s where my friend was going with the discussion. There are some very fine lines, or maybe they are large gray areas that I hadn’t thought about.
      Is there a “nice” objectification? I’ve worn a tie twice in the last 5 years. I almost expect people to comment on it. When I hear “Hey, you look nice” I take it as my physical appearance is better than usual. They don’t come up and say, “I bet you’re just as smart wearing sweatpants.” Then again, where is the line that a compliment becomes objectification? Clearly prior to catcalls.

      Like

  2. I believe many women buy into objectification because they have accepted it as a necessary evil and play along because most men won’t give you the time of day unless you are attractive to them. Instead of dismissing the shallow men and being themselves and waiting for someone who is less shallow or self-absorbed, they degrade themselves and men too really to not expect more and play the game. So many men are into porn- you know the stats- women can’t compete with airbrushed and feel they need to. Those are my random thoughts, based on listening to my younger dating friends. And as being married to a porn addict, I can say that the dynamic is horrible and he is constantly seeing women as stupid and loose because that is what he is watching so much, so every woman must be also and he belittles them all. That is a major downside of a culture of porn addicts. Sucks. I am so glad you are advocating getting off that drug.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Objectification is a human tendency just like covetousness, jealousy and a host of other not-so-admirable traits detrimental to one’s well-being. The only cure is developing self-control and the ability to say “no” to our base nature’s yearnings. Yes, it’s a challenge, but the long overdue “Me, too” movement stands as proof that porn has no intrinsic value to society as a whole and only adds to the problems selfishness creates.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I tend to agree with the last comment. Objectification is a natural detrimental feeling for all of us. The problems for sex and porn addicts is that its becomes compulsive and obsessive along with other negative feelings from which self control is absent.

    Liked by 1 person

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