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Pornography

  • ... the sex even in serious pornography has less singularity than the mating of squirrels.

  • All pornography is to a degree sadistic — inevitably.

  • Pornography is essentially reductive, an exercise in the nothing-but mode, a depersonalizing of the human beings involved, a showing-up of human lust as nothing but an affair of the genitals.

  • From so much of this seriously-intended pornography there rises, even when it is lewdly or boisterously comic, the acrid smell, unmistakable, of self-dislike.

  • Inevitably, the flood of literary pornography loosed on us is dulling our reactions of surprise or shock. Its writers are forced to raise the ante, to provide stronger and stronger stimulants. Or try to provide them, since both the manner, the naming of parts and the few inexpressive four-letter words, and the matter, are narrowly limited.

  • ... fantasy kills imagination, pornography is death to art.

  • Pornography exists for the lonesome, the ugly, the fearful. ... it's made for the losers.

  • ... pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.

  • ... I am against censorship. I prefer the chaos of uncontrollable communication of all sorts to selective banning of certain materials. I do not think human beings can be trusted to be above politics and to promote the common good. One group's common good is another group's evil.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Deliberate Lewdness and the Creative Imagination: Should We Censor Pornography?" What Do Women Want? ()
  • My reaction to porno films is as follows: After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.

    • Erica Jong,
    • in Charlotte Templin, Conversations With Erica Jong ()
  • The human body is not obscene, sexuality is not obscene. But it [pornography] is not sex, it is violence. It encourages acceptance of the idea that violence is a legitimate part of sexuality.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • in Molly Ivins, "Feminist Leaders Join Anti-Smut Campaign Despite Reservations," The New York Times ()
  • Pornography is the instruction; rape is the practice, battered women are the practice, battered children are the practice.

  • Pornography is about dominance and often pain. Erotica is about mutuality and always pleasure.

  • In short, pornography is not about sex. It's about an imbalance of male-female power that allows and even requires sex to be used as a form of aggression. ... But until we finally untangle sexuality and aggression, there will be more pornography and less erotica. There will be little murders in our beds — and very little love.

  • ... it's possible to be pro-sex and anti-pornography.

  • We often seem to be swimming through such a miasma of sexual violence — in advertising, television programming, heavy metal, rap, films, and worst of all, in the home — that even First Amendment absolutists sometimes daydream about how nice it would be to have government-as-nanny just outlaw all this effluent.

    • Molly Ivins,
    • "Speaking of Values, Here's Someone Who Took Action," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram ()
  • It is quite reasonable to subscribe both to the old saw that no good girl was ever ruined by a book and to the perception that it is not good for children to be constantly exposed to the sexual violence in our popular culture. Protecting children seems to me logically, legally, and rather easily differentiated from censorship ...

    • Molly Ivins,
    • "Speaking of Values, Here's Someone Who Took Action," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram ()
  • Pornography is one of the branches of literature — science fiction is another — aiming at disorientation, at psychic dislocation.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Pornographic Imagination," Styles of Radical Will ()
  • What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one's existence as a full human being and one's existence as a sexual being — while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Pornographic Imagination," Styles of Radical Will ()
  • Experiences aren't pornographic; only images and representations — structures of the imagination — are.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Pornographic Imagination," Styles of Radical Will ()
  • What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Pornographic Imagination," Styles of Radical Will ()
  • There are laws against discrimination; laws against sexual harassment; laws against doing violence to children; against lynching; against mutilating animals. These are not issues of speech. None of these are protected acts, even if they provide someone with sexual thrills. But do any of these to a woman in print or on a screen and we say it is speech and it is protected. In effect, protecting and defending pornography is the official state position.

  • ... pornography is not a matter of private virtue and public morality. As the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously found, it is discrimination, personal injury and collective abuse, and as long as porn is protected, women are not.

  • To deny that pornography has an impact is to deny entirely the power of advertising and the media. If sales of Reese's Pieces soared after the candy appeared in a single film ('E.T.'), how can we deny the impact of daily porn bombardment? We need to work on a number of levels at once: education, prevention and intervention, as well as public policy approaches. It is no longer a matter of obscenity. It is a matter of civil rights. The alternative is to abandon our children and grandchildren to the pornographers.

  • Pornography is literature designed to be read with one hand.

  • The two worst sins of bad taste in fiction are pornography and sentimentality. One is too much sex and the other too much sentiment.

  • Pornography has been so thickly glossed over with the patina of the chic these days in the name of verbal freedom and sophistication that important distinctions between freedom of political expression (a democratic necessity), honest sex education for children (a social good) and ugly smut (the deliberate devaluation of the role of women through obscene, distorted depictions) have been hopelessly confused.

    • Susan Brownmiller,
    • "Pornography: Anti-Female Propaganda," in Evelyn Ashton-Jones and Gary A. Olson, The Gender Reader ()
  • We are unalterably opposed to the presentation of the female body being stripped, bound, raped, tortured, mutilated and murdered in the name of commercial entertainment and free speech.

  • Pornography is the undiluted essence of anti-female propaganda.

  • Feminists who want to censor what they regard as harmful pornography have essentially the same motivation as other would-be censors: They want to use the power of the state to accomplish what they have been unable to achieve in the marketplace of ideas and images. The impulse to censor places no faith in the possibilities of democratic persuasion.

    • Susan Jacoby,
    • "A First Amendment Junkie," in Evelyn Ashton-Jones and Gary A. Olson, eds., The Gender Reader ()
  • If pornography is part of your sexuality, then you have no right to your sexuality.

  • Pornography is the theory, and rape the practice.

    • Robin Morgan,
    • "Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape," Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle for a Feminist ()
  • Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.

  • Mind and body are not to be taken lightly. Their connection is intimate and mysterious, and better mapped by poets than pornographers.

  • The real weakness of all porn, it seems to me, is its necessary repetition ... the pornographer must continually invent new sauces for old meats.

  • ... all pornography becomes repetitive.

  • If pornographers can hook adolescents when their hormones are raging, they know they'll have an ongoing consumer base for life.

  • Men may buy pornography but women pay for it ...