QotD: “Let’s start with the multidimensional power of pornography, which is basically a power of definition”

Let’s start with the multidimensional power of pornography, which is basically a power of definition. It is a power that is exerted over sexuality. But why is pornography able to exert any power at all? For, first of all, we have to say that pornography is a crutch. We all know that what distinguishes pornography from real sexuality is the fact that it is very limited sexuality; it is only two-dimensional. Pornography can only be perceived through the eyes and through the ears. But what makes sexuality so alluring for us human beings is the fact that it appeals to all our senses; and not only does it appeal to all our senses, but also to our whole personality. But we actually learn very little about it. We – like almost all civilizations in the history of man – live in a culture in which sexual knowledge is not passed on by observation. In almost all other areas of life we learn primarily by watching someone else doing something. In sexuality, however, this is not the case. Besides, if pornography is already a poor crutch for sexuality, then in a certain sense sex education is even more deficient, because sex education even does without the pictures. And it is for this very reason that pornography is so incredibly appealing to children and adolescents: “I do not need to listen, I do not need to read, I do not need to imagine things through the abstraction of words, because here I (allegedly) see what reality is like.” And this is signified by the last quote, which you all know: pictures are stronger than words. This is almost laughable, but it is certainly true. For us human beings, a picture is always more interesting, more exciting, more informative than a text or a speech. And this is of course the problem with sex education: many things have to be left unsaid and also undemonstrated. For porn producers, there are no such problems.

Professor Jakob Pastötter, Pornography and Power

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