Just as refusing to regard the products of animal exploitation as food can help you rediscover your ability to feel compassion in a desensitized society, it can be a worthwhile experiment to avoid pornography and conventional representations of sex. These generally reinforce the notion of sex as a performance of domination and submission, and lust as a desire for objectified bodies that conform to unhealthy beauty norms–to such an extent that when two people who have spent their lives being conditioned by them come together in bed, it is not an intersection of two individuals, but of the images they put in place of themselves and each other…[I]f all your sexual encounters have taken place under the influence of hierarchical programming, you’ve never made love.
Pornography is telling us stories about what it means to be a man, to be a woman, to be sexual as men and women. Are these the stories we want told? Is this the world we want to build? If we start seriously asking those questions and struggling to answer them honestly, we may decide that the law is an appropriate tool to build a world rooted in real justice. But first we have to get serious about facing the world that is.
At the moment, it’s the pornographers’ world. They are the ones telling the most influential stories about gender and power and sex. But that victory is just for the moment, if we can face ourselves and then build a movement that challenges them. We have a lot of work to do.