LOS ANGELES — The Economist has published an op-ed article by Casey Calvert called "Can Porn Be Good for Us?" as part of an 11-day online debate on the same topic.
"As soon as I saw The Economist was planning a debate on porn, I knew I wanted to be a part of the conversation," Calvert said. “Thank you to The Economist’s editors for giving me the opportunity to present my heartfelt viewpoint on the adult industry and misconceptions about pornography as a whole.”
Calvert, whose article appears on The Economist’s micro-site for the debate, asserts that morality and the shaming of those who are sexual has tainted the discussion of pornography and sex.
"Opinions on the morality of sex should not cloud opinions of pornography. Porn is not sex. It is a representation, a performance, of bodies coming together…” she wrote in her article. "The First Amendment to the American Constitution means I am allowed to do what I do. It is my right and my freedom to have sex with many partners and record it for the world. If you don’t like that, or if you think that is wrong, fine. But we aren’t discussing the morality of my actions.”
Calvert went on to express the divergent paths between mainstream society and the adult entertainment business when it comes to those deemed on the fringe.
“Porn has long offered a glimpse of the future,” she expressed. "Long before alternative sexualities were accepted in popular culture as they are now, porn accepted them. Gay porn, fetish porn — it has all existed as long as straight porn has. Porn accepts everyone. There is content for everyone.”
Debate panelist Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.com, found common ground with Calvert, stating, "Pornography can be used to help explore our sexuality, including what we like and don’t like; to discover that there are others who share our sexual tastes; and to reassure us that when it comes to the extraordinarily wide-ranging spectrum that is human sexuality, there is no such thing as 'normal.'”
Panelist Robert Jensen, journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, took an opposing view, saying, "The ethic of pornography is pretty clear: individual pleasure-seeking trumps all other values, and no one need pay attention to the consequences of either institutionalized male dominance or modern culture’s seemingly endless appetite for high-tech media that become more 'real' than our own lives."
Moderator Helen Joyce, international section editor for The Economist, wrote on the debate’s website that more information is needed on the value of porn. She said, “Compared with other common activities, the evidence on the impact of watching pornography is unusually poor. That is partly because it is almost taboo to study it. Academics report finding it difficult to get funding for research into sexual functioning in general and pornography in particular."
The 11-day debate began on Nov. 17 and runs until Nov. 27, with registered users voting throughout to determine which side is presenting their argument better. To read Calvert’s article in its entirety, click here.