‘porn’

James Deen, Sex Workers, & Rape

You may have heard that several porn actresses have accused porn actor James Deen of sexual assault. In response, various production companies have terminated their contracts with him. Yeah, there’s bad people everywhere, even in the porn industry. If he raped anyone I hope he’s locked up for a thousand years. The case reminded me of a symposium I attended at Stanford University Law School a few weeks ago on the possible connection between sex work and trafficking, and America’s legal response to each. Panelists included a prosecutor, a sociologist, an anti-trafficking activist, and Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP (Erotic Service…

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Why does anyone look at porn?

Why does anyone look at porn? For tens of millions of American men and women, there’s only one answer: To get more sexually excited. The goal of getting excited, of course, is to enhance the process by which people eventually get not-excited—also called satisfaction. Lather, rinse, repeat three times per week for 75 years. How someone feels about that—deliberately doing something to get more aroused—is an excellent predictor of how they will feel about pornography. For those suspicious of sexual arousal, porn is bad. For those who think that tinkering with our own arousal is selfish or creepy, porn is…

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The Dirty Little Sex Secret of Therapy

It’s National Psychotherapy Day. I’ve been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for 34 years—over 35,000 hours of therapy with men, women, and couples. I make a living from it. Most of my friends are therapists. Like most therapists, I’ve been in therapy more than once. I really, really believe in it. Nevertheless, it’s time, once again, to critique the institution of therapy. Today’s criticism: If the public knew how little most therapists learn about sexuality, they’d be stunned. While there are exceptions, here’s what most therapists (and social workers) in America learn about sex as they’re being trained: *…

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Your Husband Watches Porn—Now What?

Another woman leaves my office, broken-hearted that her husband looks at porn. Or enraged that her husband looks at porn. Or terrified, confused, or ashamed. I understand the anguish, I do. It’s all the more poignant because it’s so unnecessary. Although porn feels like the problem, focusing on that rarely brings domestic peace or more intimacy. It certainly doesn’t bring more or better sex. Here’s what various women say they feel in this situation: * “I hate that he keeps secrets. I feel left out.” * “I can’t compete with those damn women who perform in porn films. I’ll never…

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Another Guy Who Isn’t a Sex Addict

He was 50, married, and he had all the symptoms of “sex addiction.” Let’s call him Joe. As he travelled the country lecturing (he was a pioneering ear surgeon), he’d hire an escort to spend the night with him. He’d lie about it to his wife, of course. He became a regular—or rather he had a few “regulars”—in cities he visited frequently, such as Chicago and St. Louis. What had started 12 years ago as an occasional treat eventually became a virtual necessity. While he wanted to be an attentive father and husband, he worked long hours and was emotionally…

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What Part of “Fantasy” Don’t They Understand?

The success of “50 Shades of Grey” and news about Pornhub’s most popular search terms has too many people buzzing about the alleged dangers of each. Both traditional conservatives and some self-identified feminists are condemning 50 Shades as encouraging violence against women. Clearly, these people know nothing about S/M, and not nearly enough about violence against women. Similarly, groups like xxxChurch and other anti-porn crusaders are dismayed that “teens” was the most popular porn search term last year, fearing this means we’re about to see a rash of adults trying to have sex with teens. The panic about both of…

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