“We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.” -William Hazlitt
This is particularly true of the pornography industry. Not that porn is prohibited, instead, restricted and considered taboo. Regardless, its presence in our culture cannot go unnoticed. With the internet as its vehicle, pornography is just a double-click away from every American household. This unlimited availability of pornography has certainly changed the face of American sexuality of the past 30 years.
Pornography has been around in one form or another since the 1st century B.C. The porn industry really got its start in the mid 1950’s when Hugh Hefner started Playboy. In the following years, other pornography pilgrims started magazines and created competition in the new industry. From this time on, pornography has flourished as its own kind of sub-culture.
The beginnings of this new industry came at a time when counter-culture propaganda was all around. The Beat generation of authors, artists and musicians saw the same resistance from the rest of society as there ideology did not match the masses. The ideas, once thought radical during the 1950’s and 1960’s, are not that radical today. Pornography has enjoyed a similar acceptance as time pushed forward.
Now it seems that American sexuality and pornography have reached the summit. Acts of sexuality are not such private matters anymore. Porn for (dare I say) every kink and fetish is available. This awakening of sexuality has opened the door for exploration within one’s personal interests. Desires, that perhaps once were too taboo to speak of, are now easier to make reality.
Single men, women and couples enjoy pornography today. In its beginnings, the industry was marketed to men. This separation of sexuality, even within a relationship, was also soon to change. The liberation of women indirectly liberated porn by closing the gap on the gender bias within the industry. Now, it is not unusual for partners to enjoy pornographic materials together. This allows for closer sexual connections between partners by making fantasies and desires not as taboo.
It is important not to forget that pornography is not for everyone and it should be regulated. It is still important for parents to have the “birds and bees” talk with their children before they make that double-click and find out for themselves. Sexuality is still a personal matter and sexual decisions should not be made in haste.
Pornography, much like alcohol, provides pleasure. Pleasure seeking behavior is natural for humans. I feel lucky to live in a country where my freedom of speech and expression protects my right to enjoy things that provide pleasure.