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The Great Porn Experiment

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The epistemology of pornography

Much has been said regarding pornography. It’s use, it’s consumption, it’s effects on both groups, and it’s effect on society.

I want to step back, however, for a minute and discuss how pornography itself constitutes a “way of knowing” regarding sex and how this method of knowing, this ideological grid, colors how we think about sex in general and our own personal sexual relationships in particular.

To begin with, we need to take a look at what pornography is, and isn’t.

The etymology of pornography is basically “writing about prostitutes/harlots/whores”. For our purposes we’ll take the first definition from The Free Dictionary: writings, pictures, films, etc., designed to stimulate sexual excitement So pornography is not merely a subjective description but one which is based on the intent (either stated or implied) of the author.

With that in mind we need to look at how pornography is often transmitted. The preferred medium pornography uses is often pictographic.

Videos and images.

Sure, there is such a thing as text-based pornography in the form of erotic stories and harlequin romance novels. However these are not what has propelled the pornography industry into a multi-billion dollar enterprise1.

Why is it important that most pornography is conveyed in the medium of images? Because the medium shapes the message.

In short; Context.

Pornographic images and even videos do not generally convey much context. Aside from a small amount of foreplay, mood-setting pretext, and, on the rare occasion, an “ending” to round things out, not much time is spent in pornography delving into the actor’s thoughts or feelings. Aside from obvious physical compatibility, the viewer is left not knowing what kind of person either participant is.

And herein lies the rub.

Pornography systematically destroys the context wherein sex normally lies and thereby produces a wholly unrealistic fantasy world.

Unfortunately many people in our culture, no doubt conditioned through countless hours of exposure to both soft and hardcore pornography, have tried to live out in real life what they have seen acted out in pornography. They embark upon serially monogamous relationships. Or, as is becoming more common, they embrace “open relationships”, “friends with benefits”, and the lure of so-called sexual liberation with wild abandon.

Why? What are they looking for?

Cheap entertainment.

You see, the antithesis to this sort of sexual epistemology is the one that has been traditionally accepted throughout the ages. That is, the idea that sexual activity takes place within the context of a long-term monogamous relationship. Or, to put it more specifically; the sexual epistemology of the past was rooted firmly in traditional marriage and family.

In the end, there are really only two ways of thinking about sex. Either it is within a specific context or it isn’t. Context-less sex is made to be appealing through the widespread proliferation of context-less pornography.

  1. You’ll be waiting quite a while if you’re waiting on a “Girls Gone Wild” novel. []

Wordy Wednesday: Pornography

What it means

Greek

Combination of πόρνος and γράφω

Transliteration/Pronunciation

pornos/por’-nos and graphó/graf’-o

Strong’s

Combination of G4204 and G1125

Definition

The etymology of pornography is basically “writing about prostitutes/harlots/whores” with the Greek root being pornographos from the words pornos and grapho.

Where it’s found

Pornos:

Genesis 34:31; Genesis 38:15; Genesis 38:21; Genesis 38:22; Leviticus 21:7; Leviticus 21:14; Deuteronomy 23:2; Deuteronomy 23:17; Deuteronomy 23:18; Joshua 2:1; Joshua 6:17; Joshua 6:23; Joshua 6:25; Judges 11:1; Judges 16:1; I Kings 3:16; I Kings 21:19; I Kings 22:38; Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 6:26; Proverbs 29:3; Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 23:15; Isaiah 23:16; Isaiah 57:3; Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 5:7; Ezekiel 16:30; Ezekiel 16:31; Ezekiel 16:35; Ezekiel 23:43; Ezekiel 23:44; Hosea 4:14; Joel 3:3; Nahum 3:4; Matthew 21:31; Matthew 21:32; Luke 15:30; I Corinthians 6:15; I Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25; Revelation of John 17:1; Revelation of John 17:5; Revelation of John 17:15; Revelation of John 17:16; Revelation of John 19:2

Grapho1:

Exodus 24:4; Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15; Exodus 32:32; Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:27; Exodus 34:28; Exodus 39:30; Numbers 5:23; Numbers 33:2; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 6:9; Deuteronomy 9:10; Deuteronomy 10:2; Deuteronomy 10:4; Deuteronomy 11:20; Deuteronomy 17:18; Deuteronomy 24:1; Deuteronomy 24:3; Deuteronomy 27:3; Deuteronomy 27:8; Deuteronomy 28:58; Deuteronomy 28:61; Deuteronomy 29:20; Deuteronomy 29:21; Deuteronomy 29:27; Deuteronomy 30:10; Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:19; Deuteronomy 31:22; Deuteronomy 31:24; Deuteronomy 32:44; Joshua 1:8; Joshua 8:31; Joshua 8:32; Joshua 8:34; Joshua 18:9; Joshua 23:6; Joshua 24:26; I Samuel 10:25; II Samuel 1:18; II Samuel 11:14; II Samuel 11:15; I Kings 2:3; I Kings 6:29; I Kings 8:53; I Kings 11:41; I Kings 14:29; I Kings 15:7; I Kings 15:23; I Kings 15:31; I Kings 16:5; I Kings 16:14; I Kings 16:20; I Kings 16:27; I Kings 16:28; I Kings 21:8; I Kings 21:9; I Kings 21:11; I Kings 22:39; I Kings 22:45; II Kings 1:18; II Kings 8:23; II Kings 10:1; II Kings 10:6; II Kings 10:34; II Kings 12:19; II Kings 13:8; II Kings 13:12; II Kings 14:6; II Kings 14:15; II Kings 14:18; II Kings 14:28; II Kings 15:6; II Kings 15:11; II Kings 15:15; II Kings 15:21; II Kings 15:26; II Kings 15:31; II Kings 15:36; II Kings 16:19; II Kings 17:37; II Kings 20:20; II Kings 21:17; II Kings 21:25; II Kings 22:13; II Kings 23:3; II Kings 23:21; II Kings 23:24; II Kings 23:28; II Kings 24:5; I Chronicles 4:41; I Chronicles 16:40; I Chronicles 24:6; I Chronicles 29:29; II Chronicles 9:29; II Chronicles 12:15; II Chronicles 13:22; II Chronicles 16:11; II Chronicles 20:34; II Chronicles 21:12; II Chronicles 23:18; II Chronicles 24:27; II Chronicles 25:4; II Chronicles 25:26; II Chronicles 26:22; II Chronicles 27:7; II Chronicles 28:26; II Chronicles 30:1; II Chronicles 31:3; II Chronicles 32:17; II Chronicles 32:32; II Chronicles 33:19; II Chronicles 34:21; II Chronicles 34:24; II Chronicles 34:31; II Chronicles 35:12; II Chronicles 35:19; II Chronicles 35:25; II Chronicles 35:26; II Chronicles 35:27; II Chronicles 36:8; II Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 3:2; Ezra 3:4; Ezra 4:6; Ezra 4:7; Ezra 4:8; Ezra 5:7; Ezra 5:10; Ezra 6:2; Ezra 8:34; Nehemiah 6:6; Nehemiah 7:5; Nehemiah 8:14; Nehemiah 8:15; Nehemiah 9:38; Nehemiah 10:34; Nehemiah 10:36; Nehemiah 12:22; Nehemiah 12:23; Nehemiah 13:1; Esther 1:19; Esther 3:10; Esther 3:12; Esther 6:2; Esther 8:5; Esther 8:8; Esther 8:9; Esther 8:10; Esther 9:1; Esther 9:20; Esther 9:23; Esther 9:29; Esther 9:32; Esther 10:1; Esther 10:2; Esther 10:3; Job 19:23; Job 42:17; Psalms 40:7; Psalms 69:28; Psalms 102:18; Psalms 139:16; Proverbs 8:15; Ecclesiastes 12:10; Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 10:1; Isaiah 10:19; Isaiah 22:16; Isaiah 30:8; Isaiah 65:6; Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 22:30; Jeremiah 25:13; Jeremiah 30:2; Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 32:10; Jeremiah 32:12; Jeremiah 32:25; Jeremiah 32:44; Jeremiah 36:2; Jeremiah 36:4; Jeremiah 36:17; Jeremiah 36:18; Jeremiah 36:27; Jeremiah 36:28; Jeremiah 36:29; Jeremiah 36:32; Jeremiah 45:1; Jeremiah 51:60; Ezekiel 2:10; Ezekiel 13:9; Ezekiel 24:2; Ezekiel 37:16; Ezekiel 37:20; Daniel 5:5; Daniel 6:9; Daniel 6:25; Daniel 7:1; Daniel 9:11; Daniel 9:13; Daniel 12:1; Habakkuk 2:2; Malachi 3:16; Matthew 2:5; Matthew 4:4; Matthew 4:6; Matthew 4:7; Matthew 4:10; Matthew 11:10; Matthew 21:13; Matthew 26:24; Matthew 26:31; Matthew 27:37; Mark 1:2; Mark 7:6; Mark 9:12; Mark 9:13; Mark 10:4; Mark 10:5; Mark 11:17; Mark 12:19; Mark 14:21; Mark 14:27; Luke 1:3; Luke 1:63; Luke 2:23; Luke 3:4; Luke 4:4; Luke 4:8; Luke 4:10; Luke 4:17; Luke 7:27; Luke 10:26; Luke 16:6; Luke 16:7; Luke 18:31; Luke 19:46; Luke 20:17; Luke 20:28; Luke 21:22; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:44; Luke 24:46; John 1:46; John 2:17; John 5:46; John 6:31; John 6:45; John 8:6; John 8:8; John 8:17; John 10:34; John 12:14; John 12:16; John 15:25; John 19:19; John 19:20; John 19:21; John 19:22; John 20:30; John 20:31; John 21:24; Acts 1:20; Acts 7:42; Acts 13:29; Acts 13:33; Acts 15:15; Acts 15:23; Acts 18:27; Acts 23:5; Acts 23:25; Acts 24:14; Acts 25:26; Romans 1:17; Romans 2:24; Romans 3:4; Romans 3:10; Romans 4:17; Romans 4:23; Romans 8:36; Romans 9:13; Romans 9:33; Romans 10:5; Romans 10:15; Romans 11:8; Romans 11:26; Romans 12:19; Romans 14:11; Romans 15:3; Romans 15:4; Romans 15:9; Romans 15:15; Romans 15:21; Romans 16:22; I Corinthians 1:19; I Corinthians 1:31; I Corinthians 2:9; I Corinthians 3:19; I Corinthians 4:6; I Corinthians 4:14; I Corinthians 5:9; I Corinthians 5:11; I Corinthians 7:1; I Corinthians 9:9; I Corinthians 9:10; I Corinthians 9:15; I Corinthians 10:7; I Corinthians 10:11; I Corinthians 14:21; I Corinthians 14:37; I Corinthians 15:45; I Corinthians 15:54; II Corinthians 1:13; II Corinthians 2:3; II Corinthians 2:4; II Corinthians 2:9; II Corinthians 4:13; II Corinthians 7:12; II Corinthians 8:15; II Corinthians 9:1; II Corinthians 9:9; II Corinthians 13:10; Galatians 1:20; Galatians 3:10; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:22; Galatians 4:27; Galatians 6:11; Philippians 3:1; I Thessalonians 4:9; I Thessalonians 5:1; II Thessalonians 3:17; I Timothy 3:14; Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21; Hebrews 10:7; I Peter 1:16; I Peter 5:12; II Peter 3:1; II Peter 3:15; I John 1:4; I John 2:1; I John 2:7; I John 2:8; I John 2:12; I John 2:13; I John 2:14; I John 2:21; I John 2:26; I John 5:13; II John 1:5; II John 1:12; III John 1:9; III John 1:13; Jude 1:3; Revelation of John 1:3; Revelation of John 1:11; Revelation of John 1:19; Revelation of John 2:1; Revelation of John 2:8; Revelation of John 2:12; Revelation of John 2:17; Revelation of John 2:18; Revelation of John 3:1; Revelation of John 3:7; Revelation of John 3:12; Revelation of John 3:14; Revelation of John 5:1; Revelation of John 10:4; Revelation of John 13:8; Revelation of John 14:1; Revelation of John 14:13; Revelation of John 17:5; Revelation of John 17:8; Revelation of John 19:9; Revelation of John 19:12; Revelation of John 19:16; Revelation of John 20:12; Revelation of John 20:15; Revelation of John 21:5; Revelation of John 21:27; Revelation of John 22:18; Revelation of John 22:19

  1. This is much more common as it can also refer to letters, writings, books, Scripture, etc. []