Pornography: Censure, Regulate, or Let It Be?

November 4, 2011

Political Theory


Over the last few decades, the use of pornography, or of literature, films or other material with the intent of becoming sexually arousing, has become more prominent among young and middle-aged adults. In the United States alone, this industry brings in, on average $4 billion dollars annually. This statistic alone can be used to say that this industry is thriving and probably will not be going anywhere any time soon. Because of this fact, many people have begun to question the morality of pornography and the possible effects it may have on it’s user. These same individuals have begun to question if the government should step up and put some type of restrictions on the industry. Naturally, at the hint of the government regulating any industry that can be used for personal purposes, others have begun to claim that this is censorship and goes against the natural rights of U.S. citizens. The question, in general, is should the government get involved, and if so to what extent?

In legal terms, pornography is separated into two categories: obscenity and erotica. Obscenity is defined as pornography that is foul, disgusting or lewd and can be found offensive to authority figures or society as a whole. The exact opposite would be erotica, which is pornography that is not considered to be degrading or demeaning to women, men or children. Many people argue that all pornography is dangerous because users can potentially believe that what they are seeing is acceptable and normal for all sexual relationships although some argue that porn should simply be regulated and that which can be dangerous should be discontinued. In the context of “obscene” porn, women and even children are typically abused by a male figure who has absolute power, most agree that this type of porn is harmful to society and the government should stop it’s production. A study was conducted, and it was proven that a man, when provoked or insulted by a woman, was more likely to be aggressive toward her if presented with the opportunity. The same study then proved if a man had watched violent porn and was then presented with the same situation, he was significantly more likely to be aggressive toward a woman. This shows that what individuals do in their free time maybe be affecting how they act in different social situations In other contrast, the use of “erotic” porn can be used during sex therapy sessions to help improve a couple’s sex life, and to help them resolve any problems may be dealing with. This type of pornography can have educational and beneficial purposes when used in the correct setting.

All in all, the question comes down to should the government be responsible for regulating pornography, and if so to what extent? Or should they attempt to shut down the industry, or simply just let it be?

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3 Comments on “Pornography: Censure, Regulate, or Let It Be?”

  1. sydstacker Says:

    Nice post. Pornography is such an interesting and controversial topic. I wasn’t aware of the distinct differences in pornography between obscene and erotica. I am extremely disturbed at the creation of such obscene pornography that emphasizes such graphic and horrible messages such as abuse and male domination. I definitely think that the government should regulate the TYPES of porn out there, such as obscene porn. I don’t think it’s right to allow such violence to be exposed to anyone, and especially sexual violence considering rape and sexual assault and abuse are such common phenomenons in our society today. I feel that no good can extend from obscene porn if it’s creating such dangerous illusions about male domination and the abuse of women and children. I personally don’t like the idea of erotica porn, but I could understand how it could possibly benefit those who are sexually frustrated and unable to obtain sex and potentially beneficial for sex therapy. But the obscene porn, I would fight to have that regulated and taken away from society’s grasp. That’s not okay. Thanks for sharing.

  2. zekeharris Says:

    I agree with sydstacker. The fact that some types of porn are viewed as unacceptable by the major strictly from the violence towards women and children should be controlled by the government. And lets face it, there is no way that our government will be able to track and shut down all of the erotica pornography sits that I believe controls the majority of the market. But if they were to target obscenity pornography they may have a better chance to ward off the twisted individuals who believe that some of the things they do are morally okay and more off should be recorded and posted on the internet. The government has the duty to protect its citizens from the harm that any industry may cause, whether it be porn or not. I believe steps should be taken. Yes, the U.S. is the freest country around, but we should draw lines somewhere.

  3. asgersh Says:

    I agree that there should be stricter regulations on porn and that children should never be involved in any kind of sexual or abusive material. There are laws in place that prohibit the use of kids in pornographic material, but i believe that there should even be harsher punishment for anyone involved in something like that. When it comes to the more hardcore or obscene porn i feel that more regulation is needed. It is easy for underage people to view obscene pornographic material. The government should be working towards a way to stop obscene porn from being so accessible to minors. I do believe though that if someone is of age and the material they are viewing is legal that they should be able to view what they want. There is pornographic material that is degrading towards males as well as females. If the government were to eliminate the production of porn even though it may be beneficial, it could be used as grounds to suppress other ways of expression. Even though i don’t agree with the messages that most porn portrays, it is not up to the government to stop an industry that is generating tax dollars and the government also doesn’t have the right to stop people from expressing themselves they way they want to even though it may be morally wrong to many people. In contrast I do believe that the government needs to take many more steps to make sure that not only that the porn is legal under the current guidelines, but that people are not exposed to obscene pornographic material at least until they are of age. I believe that someone who is of age should know that the things that go on in pornographic material is often not acceptable to do in their relationships and life.

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