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12 Jun 2004

Porn and morality
Mr. Shrink.
Do you think it is right or wrong to watch pornography?
Many people, espesially men of course, make it sound just normal. Though when I whatch I tend to feel guilty. My consience bothers me. If you think about it one way, sex is supposed to be private, no one is supposed to see, but if you choose to show people, is it alright for them to look?
What do you think?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Greetings, ( and I'm sure there's no truth to the rumour that Speculation can make one go blind ).
As a scientist and esprt in behavioural sciences, I can comment on facts. There is no evidence that watching pornography causes any significant damage to you or to other people. Like watching rugby, people can get involved in it to the exclusion of other necessary activities of life, and this can be a problem.
Beyond that, you're asking about matters of personal opinion, belief, and beliefs about moral issues. When you speak of "suposed to be private", and "noone is supposed to see", those "supposed to"'s are learned, and not universal, not present in all peoples, cultures, and historical periods. And we seem to be moving from a period of secrecy and repression in this regard, to one of greated openness. Some people will consider that a good thing, some will consider it definitively bad. It's worth unpacking thos concepts --- "not supposed to see" --- why ? What is the harm you are concerned about, ad is it a realistic concern ?
You feel guilty because you have learned that you are supposed to feel guilty about such activities --- it's not an inevitable reaction. It makes snse to me that sex and even love, between two people, is best when it is sincere, reciprocated, and private ; yet some people tend to kiss and canoodle in public in a way that seems to me to be less about actually expressing their love for each other, than trying boastfully to display that to other people who are almost certainly not interested at all. But in soapies and movies, people portray and display love and other emotions, and people enjoy watching this, and it isn't generally considered to be wrong. It seems to be the physical expressions of sex and love that make others sometimes feel uneasy about watching, even when the performers are presumably content and being paid for their performance.
You'll see, especially after the weekend, wnat other people think about this issue. TO me, I am less concerned about whether an adult chooses to watch other adults who are willing to be watched, than with the more common problem of interpersonal cruelty and coercive sex, with unwilling partners treated badly --- that seems to me more basically wrong.

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