The production of pornography clearly hurts and degrades women performers. To deny that is to put lipstick on a pig. On the other hand, the “plots” or scenarios depicted in porn do not necessarily reflect what male viewers want to do with real women in real life. They function as sexual fantasies, complicated productions intended to arouse the viewer by counteracting his inhibitions. Most porn, for example, features women who are or who become sexually excited, something that a real woman might well never feel. But this arousal functions to reassure male viewers that the women aren’t hurt, which counteracts the man’s unconscious guilt about hurting women. Fantasies have a different logic than real relationships.
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