According to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s resolution, pornography is a public health crisis. Yeah, right. According to Corky Siemaszko of NBC News, Herbert’s resolution calls for a fight against pornography, through:
Education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level
Except Herbert’s so-called policy change isn’t binding, doesn’t stop pornographic websites, and is simply fluff. It just looks like Utah’s incapability to create a separation between the government and religion may be clouding the judgement of its politicians.
Gary Herbert and Todd Weiler for Suppression
According to the masterminds behind this resolution, “pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment” and that pornography consumption is akin to addictive substance abuse. That’s kind of stretching it—but even if that were the case, aren’t there already safeguards available to parents who wish to prevent their children from utilizing porn? That being said, Siemaszko reports that Senator Todd Weiler would like to:
See default settings on the internet changed to make access to pornography more difficult.
Wait a minute, you want to make access to pornography more difficult for everyone, including competent, mature, free citizens of these great United States? What happened to a free and liberal society? Once censorship begins, it’s likely hard as hell to contain. Is this really in the best interest of all peoples, or is this just another case of arrogant, affluent, politicians imposing their own moral values on others?
We need to talk about masturbation. At this point, everyone has probably heard about the televangelist that stated that men who masturbate will have pregnant hands in the afterlife. While this sounds ridiculous (and hilarious,) I think it’s important to talk about self-lovin’ just for a little while.
Why Masturbation Is Seen As Dirty
A lot of it has to do with religion. Adam Fisher of the Kinsey Confidential highlights five different traditions and their views on masturbation. Their opinions range from total prohibition to acceptance. There’s also everything in between. I was pretty surprised at how flexible the “rules” were on masturbation in some of these faiths. For instance, Catholicism is pretty much against the idea of sexual activity outside of a true love marriage, including masturbation. The only exception to this is if a lady doesn’t get to cum while having intercourse with the hubby, then yes to masturbation. Sounds like a lot of terms and conditions to touch your junk.
A pretty neat booklet by Planned Parenthood on the stigma of masturbation highlights the history of self-love, facts about masturbation, and the benefits of whacking off. For instance, in 1999 Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was terminated from her position for supporting masturbation as a healthy habit to take since you can’t get AIDS or an unwanted pregnancy from touching yourself (unless you’re with that televangelist guy.)
That wasn’t too long ago, and only a little while before that happened, there were actually books (such as Kellogg’s Plain Facts for Old and Young) that would tell parents how to stop their kids from masturbating. This was because it was a dangerous sexual behavior, leading to impropriety. Kellogg even suggested genital mutilation, like putting acid on the clit to curb masturbation! Bland foods were considered to be a method for preventing self-love. Corn Flakes were even a way to stop what Kellogg considered to be self-abuse. That’s right, Corn Flakes were designed for anti-masturbation.
An Entire Industry Based On Masturbation
Obviously, there’s much controversy about whether or not masturbation is “good” or “bad.” I think that we could (probably not) all argue ’till the cows come home about the positives and the negatives of touching yourself, but honestly I believe that it’s pretty awesome. There’s an industry completely devoted to it, and I suspect they’re in favor of masturbating too. I think that it’s a person’s choice whether or not they masturbate, and placing stigma on something like this is impotent. It’s none of the world’s business if you masturbate, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else or break society’s laws.
There appears to be some sort of unanimous hatred toward masturbation. Based on the research here, it looks like it has something to do with control. Using religion, science, or fear to prevent sexuality to exert control is just wrong.
Let’s Just Be Free
Is it really that big of a deal if people masturbate? It’s a little far-fetched to think that a surgeon general would be terminated simply for supporting masturbation. Or that an entire cereal would be branded out of a want to suppress sexual urge. Urges are real, and satisfying them safely is important. If masturbation is a safe way to do that, then why stigmatize it and push people into hiding? Be free, and masturbate if you want to. Why be shamed for doing something natural?
Intimate partner violence, a specific type of domestic violence, affects about 10 million American men and women every year. Of these victims, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Stars of the adult entertainment industry are no more immune than the average Joe or Jane.
Christy Mack and War Machine
In 2014, War Machine, also known as Jon Koppenhaver, assaulted his then girlfriend Christy Mack quite violently. He horribly beat her friend, then forced Mack to undress before attacking her. The assault left Mack with several broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and a very terrifying recovery. Koppenhaver was charged 32 times, for sexual assault, kidnapping, and attempted murder, among others. Despite her attack, Mack subsequently attended a charity event for the organization Face Forward, which provides free reconstructive surgeries to any victims of disfiguring crimes, such as domestic violence.
Koppenhaver’s trial is scheduled for next September. He insists that Mack was “getting what she deserved.” Mack’s response is that he has yet taken responsibility for his actions, blaming everyone but himself.
A different type of domestic violence, though no less abhorrent, was what Gigi Allens survived. Allens is an adult film start from Sydney whose upbringing was riddled with violence perpertrated by her parents. Allens is quite well-versed in the effects that such violence has had on her, even saying it may have led her to the adult entertainment industry.
She talks about how frustrating the lack of federal funding that goes toward domestic violence programs in Australia. However, she mentions that the overall outrage her fellow citizens feel is encouraging. Allens makes an important point by highlighting that women can be perpetrators too. The denial of that reality means consequences for the children who live similar violence.
On the topic of perpetrators, she believes there should be programs that focus on reducing the risk of re-offending. Allens says her father is “just as abusive as he ever was,” and that he will not realize his wrongdoings by being behind bars.
Allens feels sexually liberated by the work she does, feeling free to both fulfil her sexual needs through it and to be able to do what she wants to do. She is, in her words, a “strong, confident woman who has dealt with [her] issues and now comes from a much happier place.”
What Can Be Done?
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, there is help for both the survivor and the abuser available.
If you want to help a friend or family member, be supportive. Acknowledge that they are in a scary situation. Be non-judgmental, keep on supporting them no matter what they choose to do. Encourage them to find support outside the relationship, and help them with a safety plan. Keep in mind that you cannot rescue them.
There is also a very useful tool called the Danger Assessment, available here, that helps determine the risk of homicide in an abusive relationship. It is comprised of 20 questions, and is quite easy to navigate.
What Does Violence do to Adult Entertainment?
Well, it certainly doesn’t help stereotypes of the industry. Allens even acknowledged that much. It casts a poor light on the industry, painting adult stars as “broken” people with troubled pasts. But they’re only human. Just because their job involves sex and sexuality does not mean that they should be treated as poor, fragile individuals. They do a job that they truly enjoy doing. This is not to say that claims of domestic abuse by adult stars should be disregarded, as they are obviously quite serious. Simply put, one should not assume that these entertainers have had a horrible past to end up in this industry.
Domestic violence is not okay, and shouldn’t be done to anyone. It’s truly upsetting that these two women and countless others have had to suffer through it. It’s very admirable how each of these performers have overcome the trials that they’ve experienced. Here’s hoping that Gigi Allens and Christy Mack continue to have fulfilling careers, great fans, and are supported by worthy productions who treat their performers well.