NoPornNorthampton aims to increase awareness about the impact of porn on people and communities. We support the reasonable regulation of sexually oriented businesses in
Northampton, Massachusetts and elsewhere. We ask businesspeople to balance profits with compassion. We do not advocate increasing government censorship of porn.
This site contains documentation that some people may find unpleasant. It is reproduced for the sole purpose of supporting NoPornNorthampton's arguments.
Porn is an important subject because the abuse of women and children is common in America, porn is a factor in this abuse, and porn is pervasive in our culture.
There are 500+ articles on this website--over half a million words of content--organized into categories (see our Category Archives below). Our critique of porn includes specific
legal strategies that you can employ to reduce the risk of secondary effects (crime, blight, harassment) that can surround adult enterprises. Ultimately we hope to reduce the demand for
porn by educating people about the impact it has on themselves and their relationships.
View Professor Gail Dines' March 2007 lecture on "Pornography and Pop Culture",
which describes the increasingly harsh misuse of women in modern pornography, and how the people, money and values of porn have entwined with mainstream media and corporations. This 62-minute
Google video (see our overview) is an excellent starting point for any discussion of feminism, media and porn.
Our Frequently Asked Questions section (see below) addresses concerns that can arise, such as First
To understand how narrow, violent, unloving and distorted porn's vision of sex generally is today, we encourage you to review this content analysis of 50 top selling porn films and these cartoons from Hustler, Playboy and Penthouse. Professor Diana Russell has also kindly permitted us to
make her book, Against Pornography, available as a free PDF download.
Dr. Russell presents the science and the raw material about porn so you can draw your own conclusions.
On this blog, we use the terms "adult business" and "sexually oriented business" interchangeably.
NoPornNorthampton is composed of local volunteers. Please help fund our efforts in publicity, education and research. Send a check payable to No Porn Northampton, 351
Pleasant Street, PMB 101, Northampton, MA 01060. You may also send contributions via PayPal to email@example.com.
NoPornNorthampton has received a Certificate for Solicitation from the Massachusetts Attorney General's Division of Public Charities, meaning we are permitted to raise funds from the public. We have
no intention or expectation of making a profit from our activism. Since some funds may support political activities, donations are not tax-deductible.
Some links for books go to Amazon, where we have an affiliate relationship. Any monies generated from these book sales will be contributed to NoPornNorthampton. The cost of your purchase is not
Capital Video calls itself "the largest adult retail chain in the nation." It does business as or is affiliated with Met-Cap Management, Amazing.net, and Metro Interactive.
Headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island, Capital Video reported $25,000,000 in sales in 2006. The company was incorporated in 1979 by Kenneth Guarino. Dennis Nichols is the current
Capital Video has over 20 "branches" in the US, primarily in New England. These stores typically appear under the Amazing.net name and sell adult movies,
magazines and sexual paraphernalia. Many also have porn viewing booths.
Kenneth Guarino has been convicted of conspiracy to evade taxes. Court documents also
describe how he paid at least $1.7 million in cash to Natale Richichi, a capo in the Gambino family, "to fend off extortion attempts and to assist Guarino with other business matters where Richichi's
influence as a capo might benefit Guarino."
A July 2006 Dun & Bradstreet report says that Guarino owns 100% of the capital stock. However, a June 2007 Dun & Bradstreet report says that Nichols owns 100% of the capital stock. While it's
possible that Guarino sold the company to Nichols, we have no information that confirms this.
The Valley Advocate is the major alternative weekly newspaper that serves Western Massachusetts. We call on them to fulfill their progressive mission--to look out for women
and the vulnerable--and drop ads for escort services and other commercial sex enterprises.
Strip Clubs And Wall Street
...These clubs are like wrecking balls to marriages and communities. The dancers work under abusive conditions. Drugs, disease and prostitution are prevalent, and the realities of sex trafficking
from Eastern Europe are not to be taken lightly.
About "Secondary Effects"
Here are posts on our blog that give particular attention to the "secondary effects" of sexually oriented businesses. These effects include an increased risk of crime, disease, failure
of surrounding businesses, reduced property values, hazardous trash and harassment of passersby. These risks are the ones that motivate cities to enact zoning and health regulations on sexually
oriented businesses, and the reasons why courts uphold these regulations. Adult businesses aren't just about speech. They're about physical impacts on people and neighborhoods. That makes them a
State Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst): "I recognize the courts have upheld the Constitutional Rights of people to buy and sell these materials. The courts have also said governments have the right to regulate where such materials are sold."
We distinguish porn, which is generally harmful, from erotica, which can be harmless or even beneficial. The distinction is not absolute, but we suggest that erotica is that which supports love (examples), and porn is that which destroys love (examples).
Jill Manning writes, "While erotica has also been defined as literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire, it is distinguished from pornography in that it is void of violence, illegal portrayals (e.g., children), sexism, racism, and homophobia, and is respectful of the human beings involved."
An article in The Guardian suggests that porn is much more about power and domination than erotica is. An article in Writer's Digest suggests that porn is about masturbation, while erotica is about "sexual journeys ripe with character development". Hugo Schwyzer argues that porn is about having shallow experiences with lots of people, while eros is about having deep experiences with the same person.
Here are some characteristics we associate with porn:
imbalance of power
lack of consent
taking without permission
actors not proud of product
actors disdain audience
Here are some characteristics we associate with erotica:
balance of power
actors proud of product
actors respect audience
A complex work of art may have characteristics from both groups. It might be hard to apply a simple label to it. However, most porn is not that complex. You will not find much Henry Miller or Anais Nin in your typical porn shop.
While erotica may empower women, porn disempowers them. This is easy to see in the workplace, where porn has been used to harass and intimidate female coworkers.
Ultimately, the biggest difference between porn and erotica has to do with the long-term effect on the viewer, as well as the conditions under which the entertainment was made. By educating people as to the potential harms of adult materials, we hope they can look inside themselves to judge the healthiness of their media diet.
The following might be signs of unhealthy consumption of porn:
You feel guilty, ashamed, alienated, sad, confused, unsatisfied, or angry after viewing porn.
Clinician M. Douglas Reed offers further warning signs of porn addiction here.
Robert Jensen offers these definitions of pornography in Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (p.3):
"Pornography is the material sold in pornography shops for the purpose of producing sexual arousal for mostly male customers... Second, from a critical feminist analysis, pornography is a specific kind of sexual material that mediates and helps maintain the sexual subordination of women."
Green sexuality is sustainable sexuality. It is characterized by long-term, mutually respectful relationships that enhance the lives of the lovers and the wider world.
Green relationships look more like erotica and less like porn, as defined above. Green sexuality is a union between two equals, embracing both heterosexual and homosexual bonds
but excluding polygamy, adult-child sexual relations and bestiality.
Green relationships are mindful of the impact of sexual choices on physical and mental health. They value integrity, wholeness and communication and avoid exploitation, abuse, promiscuity,
infidelity and prostitution.
Green sexuality is consistent with the principles of the larger green movement, emphasizing long-term thinking, respect for other people, and an awareness of the consequences of personal choices.
The green lover avoids mindless excess. By giving up superficial, fleeting, unsatisfying experiences, green relationships cultivate a finer, deeper, richer and more robust way of living.
These articles illustrate aspects of green sexuality, or demonstrate the hazards when its attitudes are not present...
Healthy Sexual Behavior
Mutual consent (free will)
Behavior is a want or desire
Fulfilling, enhancing, mood stabilizing
Personal interchange of emotion
Rare negative consequences
Sexual behavior is fulfilling, satiating
Balanced sexual behavior
Addictive Sexual Behavior
Coercion, victimization, and force
Behavior is a compulsion for instant gratification
Associated with severe mood shifts
Impersonal and emotional detachment
Negative self-worth, shame, guilt
Lack of satiation, tolerance
Erratic sexual behaviors (excessive vs. anorexic)
Coleman-Kennedy, C. & Pendley, A. (2002). Assessment and diagnosis of sexual addiction. Journal of the
American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 8(5), 143–151.
U.S. News & World Report (2/10/97): "There is a constant demand for new talent, and few actresses last more than a year or two... Checks sometimes bounce. The borderline legal status of the industry
makes performers reluctant to seek redress in court..."
Strip Clubs: Dancers Pay to Work There
...the girls who work there, the dancers...pay $150 to $200 a shift for the privilege of working... I asked one guy in the business, "What's the biggest risk to your business model?" He said if the
government stops immigration from Eastern Europe.
Kara Nox, adult film star, on "What don't you like about porn?"
A: ...Mostly, it's the attitude among many men that I'm subhuman. The degradation of women is getting worse. Conditions for women on set are becoming more and more dangerous. As porn grows, more men
with Neanderthalean views of women are getting power as talent, and producers. The results are increased acceptance of violence onset. Women face enough danger outside of porn. It seems as though
many of the men we fear are now doing porn, and they legitimize their misogyny by saying it's for entertainment value. That scares the shit out of me, because it means there are even more troglodytes
watching this, and getting off on women being hurt.
The profits from porn movies and phone sex flow through several
"blue-chip" American corporations. These include Holiday Inn,
Marriott, AOL Time Warner, Comcast, EchoStar Communications,
DirecTV, Adelphia, Cox Communications, Charter Communications,
Cablevision Systems and AT&T. If you own shares in these
companies, you might consider discussing the matter with their
shareholder relations departments, or simply selling their
NoPornNorthampton also advocates the adoption of health regulations to ensure the safety and cleanliness of porn viewing booths, should any be established in Northampton. The city has not taken formal action on this as of yet.
Northampton Vote Tracker
See how your city officials are voting on adult-use zoning and matters relating to Capital Video:
On the satellite photos, observe the railroad tracks that run right behind 135 King Street. A bike trail is also planned to run beside the tracks (see PDF map). Presumably the bike trail will be used by many children. Many residents have expressed concern that a porn shop may attract prostitutes, drug dealers, and sexual predators to this area. The thick vegetation bordering the tracks provides many potential hiding places.
A quick check of Mapquest reveals that 135 King Street is less than a mile and a half from Exit 20 on I-91. People have expressed concern that porn consumers from around the region will converge on the King Street porn shop to avail themselves of the hardcore material to be sold there.
TechCrunch and DeerBeards cite the
following statistics from Good Magazine:
* There are an estimated 372 million porn web pages
* 12% of all websites are pornographic
* 266 new porn sites go online daily
* 25% of all search engine requests are porn related
* Sex is the most searched word on the Internet
* 35% of all Internet downloads are pornographic in nature
* 89% of porn is created in the US
* $2.84 billion in revenue was generated from US porn sites in 2006
* 72% of porn viewers are men
Are you advocating censorship? Why not let people choose the media they want to consume?
We are not advocating censorship. We don't want to establish any board of censors, nor do we want to see people arrested for consuming currently legal forms of porn. What we are trying to do
is to educate people, and demonstrate why they should exercise judgment and restraint on their own. We hope this will reduce the demand for porn, and induce businesspeople to think twice about making
money from suffering.
If people are going to make a choice, we want it to be an informed choice.
We do support modest zoning and health regulations for certain adult businesses to mitigate their well-known risks to the surrounding community (see About "Secondary Effects" above). These
regulations are no more strict than those found elsewhere in America. Capital Video, and the porn industry as a whole, have left a highly visible trail of tears in their wake. Must we repeat the miserable experience of other people and other towns with regulations that are
Some people argue that the reasonable regulation of an activity is tantamount to banning it. This is absurd. The government regulates many activities, including many kinds of speech. The government regulates the gasoline you can
put in your car. Does that mean it really wants to ban gasoline or the act of driving? It regulates the disposal of toxic waste. Does that mean it wants to ban toxic waste or all the activities that
produce it? It regulates the time, place and manner in which businesses may serve alcohol. Does that mean it wants to ban drinking?
Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, has been at the forefront of those who equate anti-pornography with censorship. Diana Russell rebuts Strossen's arguments here.
You just want to roll society back to the way things were in the 1950s, or maybe the 1650s, don't you?
We don't want to roll back the clock and give up the changes that were good. We want to preserve these gains while moving forward to address the current problems. Porn is part of what's holding our
society back. It portrays sexuality in a way that generally ignores the problems and risks or
even makes fun of them. The messages of
porn can and should be countered with more complete and accurate information about
sexuality and relationships.
The wisdom lies in deciding which social restraints to loosen, which to leave alone, and which to strengthen, not in abandoning them altogether.
By the way, Northampton's Puritans had a lot more sex than you might think.
Some women watch or make porn. Doesn't that mean that porn is harmless to women, or even liberating?
Being stimulated by or profiting from the subjection of others is a common human failing, and some women are seduced by it. "Madams", for example, have been around for a long time. Other women believe that a
callous attitude shows that they are as tough as men, that they can compete in a man's world. This phenomenon is
explored in Female Chauvinist Pigs.
That said, the substantial majority of today's porn viewers are men. 36.9 percent of the respondents to a Ball
State University survey (2004-2005) acknowledged visiting a porn site within the last month or more frequently. The percentages were 49 percent among men, and only 17 percent among women. Internet Filter Review finds that of the 10% of adults who admit to Internet sexual addiction, only 28% of these are women. A 2005 article from
MediaPost elaborates on the size and composition of the online audience for porn.
While we agree it is possible to make egalitarian erotica, today's porn is overwhelmingly about domination and abuse, even when the director is female. The target of this abuse is usually a
woman. Read about one woman's journey out of watching porn, as she realized it was a cheap way of
making herself feel good at the expense of others.
The First Amendment has only three exceptions: obscenity, libel, and speech that causes immediate harm. Any other restriction on speech, no matter how slight, is impermissible censorship, is
The First Amendment is worthy of high respect, but the courts recognize many more exceptions than is commonly realized. For example, many regulations cover commercial speech, there are rules governing where you can
"electioneer" on Election Day, and it is illegal to possess child porn. In the latter case, the Supreme Court holds that the value of child porn is so small, and the benefits of suppressing it are so
great, that it is acceptable to censor it. Even the ACLU supports this position, at least when actual children are involved. We encourage you to read the court's detailed reasoning.
What do you have to say to claims that porn is cathartic, that it actually reduces the incidence of rape?
The balance of the evidence (scientific studies, personal testimony) suggests to us that porn in fact stimulates rape and confuses people about what's acceptable behavior (such as whether to take no
for an answer during sex). We explore these issues in greater detail here.
The harms of porn are illusory. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say the harm stems from the stigma and shame surrounding porn?
Sometimes shame and stigma are unwarranted and toxic, but sometimes they are valuable signals that something is wrong. The stigma surrounding porn reflects people's understandable
aversion to the sexism, racism, exploitation, abuse,
disease, crime and blight that are associated with porn and adult enterprises. The key is assigning shame and stigma
to where they belong--the oppressor, not the victim.
In 1983, Robin Morgan reported that "[T]he work of Dr. Natalie
Shainess (psychiatrist of New York) and Dr. Frank Osanka [sic] (psychologist and child-abuse specialist, Chicago) show that convicted rapists who, even five to seven years ago, expressed remorse
about their acts of violence, recently show no such remorse and often cite as a reason for their guiltlessness that 'everyone knows women want to be raped; all the porn stuff proves that.'"
When shame and stigma restrain someone from harming another, that strikes us as healthy and appropriate. It is dangerous for porn to erode the sense of shame felt by abusers and sexual predators.
Examples of this at work are the cartoons of
Hustler, which frame abuse as entertainment, something not to be taken seriously.
You say porn harms, but are you really just saying porn offends you?
The harm is real whether or not a particular person finds porn offensive. Rebecca Whisnant clarifies the distinction between offensiveness and harm in "Confronting pornography: Some conceptual
basics" (p.22, see our review of this article):
Offense, we have repeatedly stressed, is a way of feeling bad, which can usually be avoided or ended by avoiding the stimulus that triggers the bad feeling... Harm is different. It is an objective
condition, not a way of feeling; to be harmed is to have one's interests set back, to be made worse off... Whether a person is harmed or not does not depend on how she feels. In fact, she can be
harmed without even knowing about it--say, by having vicious lies about her spread behind her back, thus damaging her reputation and diminishing her opportunities. In contrast, no one can be offended
without knowing about it, because offense is something that happens in one's head.
Feminists have claimed that the mass production and consumption of pornography harms women in general--by contributing to violence and discrimination against women, and by conditioning its users to
respond sexually to women as inferiorized, fetishized objects who crave humiliation and degradation. We have also claimed that the pornography industry harms many, if not all, of the women who
participate in it. Coercion and abuse [are] rampant in this industry--from the literal enslavement often associated with international sex trafficking, to women and girls who get filmed without their
Being stimulated by porn comes naturally to many people, so why fight it?
It's true that humans are naturally endowed with plenty of 'animal' instincts. Of course, in the animal world, some species eat their young. In others, the dominant male drives off other
males so he can monopolize multiple females. Humans are not animals. They can choose other values.
David Mura writes, "Except when the term enters debates among Marxists, 'natural' is invariably
used to preclude any investigation of whether or not people in other societies or in other times may have behaved differently. In addition, it discourages any examination of whether or not certain
behavior is learned. In such instances 'natural' is not a step-by-step reasoned argument, it is an ideology. It is used to justify whatever is customary in a given society, to blind critical
"In this particular case, the argument that pornography is 'natural' ignores the fact that there are men who have given up their obsession with pornography and who have not died."
Much of your evidence against porn and adult enterprises is based on correlation. How does that prove that they cause the ills you describe?
Wikipedia discusses the relation of correlation and causation at some length. It is true that some correlations are
illogical and false. Example: My failure to take an umbrella to work on cloudy days always causes rain. However, our opposition generally raises this issue as a rhetorical dodge to avoid engaging with the logical connections and
evidence we present. Edward Tufte, an expert in statistics and information design, puts it this way, "Correlation is not causation but it sure is a hint."
At this point, the onus is on our opposition to suggest alternate explanations for the impact of porn and the
secondary effects of adult enterprises, and to back this up with evidence and not armchair speculation. It would give them credibility to acknowledge that
neighborhood blight and abusive behavior are serious problems and, even if they are not
ready to concede that porn is a cause of abusive behaviors, that porn is supportive of them. All too often we simply sense despair from the other side that things can be made better.
Not everyone who smokes will get lung cancer, but today most people accept that smoking is a cause of lung cancer, despite decades of denials by cigarette manufacturers. In this light, consider the
words of researcher Edward Donnerstein: "The relationship between particularly sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression...is
much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer."
A mark of being human is having some free will and unpredictability, so theories about human behavior will never be as tightly provable as propositions in geometry. There will always be outliers and
exceptions. However, this does not mean we should abandon the methods of history and sociology as useless. The
stories we tell each other matter. Porn has its stories. We have ours. Ours are
better. The goal is to search for stories that are ever more true, not to abandon the search because we'll never achieve 100% certainty.
Porn makes money because people want it. Why shouldn't we leave porn merchants alone? They are just meeting public demand.
We believe many people consume porn because they are misguided as to what will make
them happy, and fail to appreciate the amount of suffering involved in the making and selling of porn. We have also seen
recent studies suggesting porn has addictive qualities, implying that porn consumers lose
the ability to make wise choices.
The danger of making uninformed decisions is especially high for the many people addicted to porn as children and teens, when their knowledge, judgment and experience are limited.
Plenty of high-risk, high-social cost enterprises make money. Why, we could open up a brothel or a crack den at 135 King Street [or if you prefer absurd but legal examples, substitute "bombing
range" and "toxic waste dump"]. These other uses might be even more profitable than a porn shop. But elevating money to be the only important value doesn't seem very "Northampton", does it?
Porn shows actions between consenting adults. Do you have a right to criticize them?
There is evidence that porn can be addictive and harms many viewers, but let's go further. Let's look at your
assumption of "consensual behaviors". Today's pornographers seem to have less and less use for this convenient screen around their activities:
A single issue of Adult Video News (April 2000) yields the following. Last October porno star Vivian Valentine attended the XXX-Treme Adults Only vacation in Mexico sporting the black eye she copped
from Jon Dough on Rough Sex (Anabolic Video).
"I have no regrets or bad feelings about it," she said. Regan Starr who worked on the second film in this "line", Rough Sex 2, had a different take. "I got the s**t kicked out of me," she said. "I
was told before the video--and they said this very proudly, mind you--that in this line most of the girls start crying because they're hurting so bad.... I couldn't breathe. I was being hit and
choked. I was really upset, and they didn't stop. They kept filming. You can hear me say, 'Turn the f***ing camera off', and they kept going."
Northampton is famous for its tolerance. How does that square with your goals?
We agree that tolerance is an important value. However, the making and viewing of porn cause suffering, and porn shops bring suffering to their neighborhoods. Tolerance in this case is callousness.
That conflicts with other important Northampton values, among them respect for women and compassion for
Arguments for and against porn are just matters of opinion. Why force your opinion on others?
Porn and adult businesses have physical effects on the real world that have been extensively studied. That changes the
matter from an academic debate about opinions to confirmed facts that people need to act on.
The notion that people freeing themselves from self-restraint would lead to a sexual utopia might have been plausible in the 60s, but it's laughable now.
The harmlessness of marriage-free living would certainly be news to many children of divorce. Barbara Whitehead presents excellent analyses of this issue in The Atlantic:
"The Love Family ideology has no theory of permanence or binding obligation. It is oriented to adults' interests and satisfactions because it emphasizes freedom of individual choice. You can pick the
one you love and ditch the one you no longer love without a backward glance. That's great for adults, but children don't have the same freedom of choice or the same enthusiasm about moving on. From a
child's standpoint the Love Family ideology is inadequate because it offers no basis for permanence in family bonds and commitments. When these bonds are lost, children suffer emotionally, especially
in their ability to trust. We've set up a failure-to-commit factor for the next generation."
--Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "What We Owe", The Atlantic, February 1997 (may require a paid subscription)
"According to a growing body of social-scientific evidence, children in families disrupted by divorce and out-of-wedlock birth do worse than children in intact families on several measures of
well-being. Children in single-parent families are six times as likely to be poor. They are also likely to stay poor longer. Twenty-two percent of children in one-parent families will experience
poverty during childhood for seven years or more, as compared with only two percent of children in two parent families. A 1988 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that children
in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems. They are also more likely to drop out of high school, to get
pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and to be in trouble with the law. Compared with children in intact families, children from disrupted families are at a much higher risk for physical or sexual
"Contrary to popular belief, many children do not 'bounce back' after divorce or remarriage. Difficulties that are associated with family breakup often persist into adulthood. Children who grow up
in single-parent or stepparent families are less successful as adults, particularly in the two domains of life--love and work--that are most essential to happiness. Needless to say, not all children
experience such negative effects. However, research shows that many children from disrupted families have a harder time achieving intimacy in a relationship, forming a stable marriage, or even
holding a steady job."
--Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "Dan Quayle Was Right", The Atlantic, April 1993, reprinted at the Catholic Education
Being anti-porn really means you are anti-sex, does it not?
...for someone to suggest that pornography cannot have an effect on you is to deny the whole notion of education, or to suggest that people are not affected by what they read and see. If you believe
that a pornographic book or film cannot affect you, then you must also say that Karl Marx's Das Kapital, or the Bible, or the Koran, or advertising have no effect on their readers or
Astute businessmen do not spend billions of dollars a year on advertising if their visual and verbal messages and imagery did not motivate people to buy deodorant or diapers or automobiles.
In 2007, the American Psychological Association issued a
report on the sexualization of girls by American media and marketers. Far from being impact-free, this sexualization has been linked to "three of the most common mental health problems of girls
and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression."
Porn represents an extreme yet pervasive form of this sexualization. If this entertainment is so harmless, or even empowering, why does the desire of women to have daughters
fall by more than half after they view porn?
It's unfair and inaccurate to claim that all porn viewers are immoral deviants, is it not?
We agree this would be unreasonable, so we don't make this claim. We do show that porn can degrade people's attitudes toward women, and that it's a factor in many
divorces. Not everyone who drinks
becomes an alcoholic, but drinking and porn viewing both have dangers that people should be aware of.
We believe that many porn viewers, on hearing the facts and looking inside themselves, will reduce their consumption of porn on their own accord.
A whole separate issue is porn's effect on people who are actual sex offenders, or who have sexual illnesses. These
effects are indeed of concern to researchers.
Is not your opposition to a porn shop just a manifestation of an anti-business attitude?
On the contrary, we want to see businesses thrive on King Street. One of our concerns about the porn shop is that it will scare pedestrians and shoppers away from surrounding businesses.
A study in New York concluded that "business locations with adult-oriented businesses had
a significant loss of sales tax collections (42%) as compared to control areas."
In Blaine, Washington, residents and local officials went to great
efforts (ultimately successful) to relocate an adult business from their downtown. "We've been hearing the community say get rid of it," said community development director Terry Galvin. "This
city is right on the edge of a growth spurt. Cities have windows of opportunity and this is it. We've got a problem in that the adult entertainment business acts as a kind of anti-gravity force." The
town succeeded only after "years of frustration and community heartache for many local residents," according to a local newspaper. We'd rather not repeat this experience of frustration and heartache
King Street is a write-off and not worth caring about. The neighborhoods around 135 King Street are a run-down collection of
multi-family homes who shouldn't expect better. Northampton has had mob-associated businesses before. Porn is everywhere. In short, why bother to oppose the porn shop planned for 135 King
We reject this defeatist attitude. As Sojourner Truth, Sophia Smith and other famous Northampton residents have shown, a handful of determined people can have a major impact on the course of events.
We're sorry some people have such low expectations for our city. It wasn't always so.
It's absurd to argue that because we can't make everything perfect, we should accept decline. Should we abolish the police because they can't catch every criminal? Never correct children because we
don't see every bad thing they might do? Give up on ourselves because we've made mistakes in the past? We have singled out Capital Video and its plans for 135 King Street for special attention
because they appear to specialize in despairing, misogynistic porn, their track record is bad
(just ask Kittery), and because this location--surrounded by homes, schools, churches and counseling centers--is
especially inappropriate for any kind of porn shop. We hope other sellers of porn take note of our campaign and reconsider what they're doing.
It's just a porn shop. Why are you so excited? Shouldn't you devote your attention to more important issues such as homelessness, AIDS and war?
As for our wars, securing the rights of women in Afghanistan and Iraq appears to be a point of pride for George Bush. He
specifically criticizes the Taliban for "public whippings of women". Does this really sound so different from the
Bondage, Domination and Gangbang categories at the Capital Video-affiliated site, AmazingAdult.com? Or consider these images from magazines sold by Capital Video, including one captioned, "Tied to the post, Tracy
takes a fearful whipping." Ironic that we might effectively lose at home what we fight for abroad.
Businesspeople have the right to do whatever they want as long as the law does not expressly forbid it. If the people oppose a porn shop, why didn't they get a law passed
The City of Northampton can't legislate everything. A quality democracy has to depend heavily on the good judgment of all the people. The law can have a hard time distinguishing between Oh My and
Capital Video, but your average citizen can make the distinction easily.
In general, we prefer to see fewer laws enacted rather than more, but this increases the people's reliance on the judgment of landlords and other businesspeople in the community. If businesspeople
fail to exercise good judgment, the people are justified in regulating them. See Hadley for an example of good judgment in action.
There are many cities in America that have all grown in accordance with the law, yet they are not as livable, walkable, or cherished as Northampton is. We are benefiting from the wise decisions of many people who have
gone before us.
We've all heard from businesspeople, and real estate developers in particular, that New England has too much regulation and it's impeding growth. However, when businesspeople ignore the reasonable concerns of the community, the people's mistrust of
business grows, encouraging the regulations that business finds onerous.
What's the big deal? All businesses have their flaws. Why don't you protest Dunkin' Donuts or Wal-Mart?
This argument only makes sense if you consider a woman to be equivalent to a sugary treat or a case of toilet paper. One can only imagine the public outcry if Dunkin' Donuts or Wal-Mart began
referring to women as "sluts", "whores" or "a nasty bitch" in their sales literature, all terms found at one time or another on Capital Video's website, Amazing.net. It is plausible to argue that the benefits of a Dunkin' Donuts or a Wal-Mart outweigh their problems. This is much more difficult in the case of a Capital
Video porn shop. We also observe that Dunkin' Donuts and Wal-Mart are much more responsive to public concerns than Capital Video is. See, for example, their PR pages: Dunkin' Donuts, Wal-Mart.
Lots of people use porn. Major corporations transmit it and profit from it. That means it's normal and mainstream, so why criticize it?
In America not so long ago, the majority of "normal, good people" either owned slaves, benefited from the slave economy, or didn't oppose slavery. George Washington was a slaveowner. So was Thomas
Jefferson. In hindsight, we see that that didn't make slavery right. Similarly, the fact that many people accept, profit from or use porn doesn't mean porn is beyond reproach. The evidence for the
harm of porn keeps piling up, and it's time for us to grapple with it.
Women enter the porn industry of their free will and are well-compensated. Why criticize their choice?
We would argue that many women who enter the porn industry do so without appreciating their slim chances
of a positive outcome. Others have their judgment clouded by drugs, sexual abuse and our pornified culture. STDs are endemic to the industry, and most porn actresses certainly exit the business
quickly enough. As for the supposed rich pay, this is enjoyed only by a few. U.S. News reports (2/10/97):
"There is a constant demand for new talent, and few actresses last more than a year or two... Checks sometimes bounce. The borderline legal status of the industry makes performers reluctant to seek
redress in court... The highest-paid performers, the actresses with exclusive contracts, earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year for doing about 20 sex scenes and making a dozen or so personal
appearances. Only a handful of actresses--perhaps 10 to 15--are signed to such contracts. Other leading stars are paid roughly $1,000 per scene. The vast majority of porn actresses are "B girls," who
earn about $300 a scene. They typically try to do two scenes a day, four or five times a week. At the moment, there is an oversupply of women in Southern California hoping to enter the porn industry.
Overtime is a thing of the past, and some newcomers will work for $150 a scene."
When you reproduce pornographic material for analysis and criticism, are you not exploiting the people depicted?
In a sense this is true, and unfortunate. It's the case anytime one holds up another's work for critical examination, but sometimes there's no other way to make a point but to show a picture.
Describing scenes of torture and misery with words is one thing. Pictures are more compelling, less mediated. It was the photographs from Abu Ghraib that made it such a scandal.
Pictures are important part of how porn works. Countless images from porn show abusers what to do and help them believe abuse is normal. Pornographic pictures are also used to season
victims--especially children. We want people to see the raw truth and judge for
Examining pornography and pro-porn arguments is critical to understanding how porn is harmful, its addictive qualities, and the toxic, narrow version of sexuality it sells. We appreciate that porn
advocates may be upset or embarrassed by having their materials used in this
way, but their interests must be balanced against the harms the sex industry imposes on third parties and its own
participants. We will not refrain from using the industry's copious amounts of self-damaging evidence against it. This
includes cases of commercial exploitation of other people's likenesses without their
consent, a far less defensible act than referencing material to make a political argument.
Some adult websites expressly forbid making any public use of their materials without permission. When you quote from them, are you breaking the law?
No, not as long as we stay within the bounds of fair use. Federal case law overrides any claims pornographers might make that their material can't be
reproduced for public purposes. The courts give broad protection even to parodies and critical commentaries that copy the "heart" of the original work, because the public's interest in debate trumps
commercial considerations. The adult industry is famous for supporting robust free speech protection even for works that some may find damaging, offensive or embarrassing. We are claiming our right
to the same protections. See more about this.
Some of your data dates from the 1980s. Is it still valid?
We've seen nothing to indicate that the older studies are no longer valid. If anything, porn in America has become more violent, degraded and pervasive over time, so there's no reason to believe its
harmful effects have lessened. Our ever-growing Impact of Porn category cites many recent studies as well as the older
ones. The fact that many studies over a wide span of time find problems with porn supports our case.
Certain kinds of controlled experiments on the impact of porn are no longer allowed by ethics panels, because the past results were so disturbing. See the discussion of the Zillmann-Bryant study in
our review of Pornified.
You haven't proven beyond all possible doubt that porn harms people and communities. Unless you do, why should I support you?
100% certainty is probably unachievable in any social science. After scouring the Internet and online bookstores for months, and receiving hundreds of comments from the public, we have become aware
of a handful of studies and papers that purport to show that porn is harmless or even beneficial. We haven't found these studies to be particularly compelling (see example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5). The strong majority of the evidence is in fact
that porn is harmful to people and communities. Marital counselors, divorce lawyers, police departments, serial killers, academic researchers, city planners and ordinary citizens report that porn is
a serious problem (see our posts in Impact of Porn). The evidence has certainly been enough for many US courts, which
have upheld regulation of adult businesses across the country. See the Alameda case, the Renton case and this law article (PDF) on adult
Your blog talks a lot about how porn hurts women, but it exploits men, too. Don't you care about men?
Absolutely. We are concerned about everyone exploited by porn. Some of the men in Capital Video's all-male movies appear to be quite young. On balance, however, women get the worst of things at Capital Video, so we made that our first focus. For
example, it's far easier to find bondage magazines in their Wethersfield (CT) store
that involve women than those that emphasize men.
Now that Capital Video has dropped the viewing booth element from its proposed porn shop, have they met your concerns?
Even without viewing booths, we're not ready to assert a Capital Video porn shop will be harmless. Obviously, for instance, we believe that many of the movies and magazines Capital Video sells are toxic.
Capital Video and its owner Kenneth Guarino have a long track record in the adult business,
much of which gives us cause for concern. We don't trust that they care about their impact on the communities they do business in. They put up lots of resistance when Kittery asked them to clean up their viewing booths and take the doors off. We
also note that Guarino has long-standing ties to the mafia
and has been convicted of conspiracy to evade taxes.
Aren't adult bookstores protected by the First Amendment?
Obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. Under the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Miller v. California, an expressive work (such as a book or movie) may be regulated or banned if: (1)
the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work as a whole appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way,
sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (3) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic,
political or scientific value.
Because adult book/video stores may contain some protected (non-obscene) content among their thousands of titles, courts have ruled that a city cannot ban such stores outright. However, cities may impose reasonable restrictions to combat the negative
"secondary effects" of adult businesses. These include zoning restrictions, special permits and health inspections, and limiting the hours that the stores may be open.
In City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc. (1985), the Supreme Court upheld an ordinance that banned adult
movie theaters from locating within 1,000 feet of any residential zone, single- or multiple-family dwelling, church, park, or school. The Court found that the ordinance was a content-neutral "time,
place, and manner" regulation because it was designed to serve a substantial governmental interest and did not unreasonably limit alternative avenues of communication. The interests at stake were to
prevent crime, protect the city's retail trade, maintain property values, and preserve the city's general quality of life.
These are the same issues that concern NoPornNorthampton. Given the wide availability of online pornography, and the fact that Northampton already has a shop selling sexually oriented media and
novelties (Oh My on Conz Street), as well as mainstream video stores with adult
offerings, there are ample alternative channels of communication for would-be porn consumers.
Finally, the First Amendment does not apply to sex toys, lubricants, condoms, and other retail goods with no expressive content, which Capital Video also plans to sell in the King Street store.
Some of your allies attack porn as "hate speech". Is this not proof that NoPornNorthampton does in fact support censorship?
The phrase "porn is hate speech" is indeed used by some of our allies. We share many of the same goals, but our approach and reasoning are not always the same. Similarly, our positions overlap with
those of some conservative religious organizations, but we are not identical with those, either. For example, we favor gay rights and gay marriage. Porn attracts criticism from across the political
spectrum and that's because it's broadly harmful.
NoPornNorthampton cares deeply about freedom of speech and values education over censorship. We favor narrowly tailored laws acceptable to the courts to meet citizens' reasonable concerns.
Our blog shows the effects of porn and adult businesses spread beyond the immediate consumer or porn worker. This takes them from the realm of private choice and makes them a public matter.
With respect to your zoning proposals, shouldn't we let the marketplace decide? After all, if you don't like adult businesses, you don't have to shop there.
Zoning doesn't seek to ban adult uses, but to relocate them away from vulnerable populations and reduce the secondary effects that impinge on their neighbors, whether or not they shop there. Zoning
restricts where you can locate many kinds of businesses, such as bars, restaurants and manufacturing plants, because of factors like noise, traffic and pollution.
We observe that Northampton lies on an interstate highway (I-91), such that even if no local residents patronize adult businesses, out-of-town traffic might be enough to sustain them.
The New York Times notes, "People do not, as a rule, buy pornography in their own
neighborhoods. As a result, pornography and sex-aid stores tend to be near mass transit, ideally as near as possible, so little time is spent walking to and fro. 'This is not impulse buying,' said
Carl Weisbrod, who for many years headed offices charged with the oversight and redevelopment of Times Square. 'It's people who come from wherever to make specific purchases.' As a result, he added,
'there's a desire in the industry to be in transit hubs.'
Would it be fair to say that adult-use zoning doesn't reduce the overall harm from adult enterprises, but merely shifts it from rich to poor neighborhoods?
There are two major types of adult-use zoning, the cluster method and the dispersal method. The cluster method aims to gather a city's adult businesses into one district. An example was Boston's
Combat Zone. It is indeed reasonable to argue that you're more likely
to find such a district near weaker, poorer neighborhoods.
In recent years, the dispersal method is the more commonly used. Dispersal zoning aims to put a reasonable distances between adult enterprises and homes, schools, and houses of worship, and between
each adult enterprise. This is the type of zoning NoPornNorthampton advocates. Rather than directing adult enterprises to where poor people live, dispersal zoning seeks to direct them to where nobody
lives. This truly minimizes the impact on everyone, rich and poor.
There is evidence to suggest that adult enterprises impact residential areas more than commercial and industrial ones (examples: Indianapolis, Oklahoma City). There is also evidence that a concentration of adult enterprises has a
higher negative impact on the surrounding communities than an area with one isolated adult enterprise (example: Dallas).
From a real-world standpoint, adult enterprises like to locate near transit hubs
and in places where they are less likely to get "guff". This means they frequently seek out neighborhoods
which they perceive to be 'weak', economically and politically. Working-class people busy making ends meet are less likely to have the time, resources, expertise or connections to give an adult
enterprise major resistance (example: Minneapolis). Dispersal zoning empowers
all neighborhoods to reduce the harm of adult enterprises.
Is there really evidence that porn increases crime? I thought they hadn't proven a link between watching porn and violent acts.
While the causal connection between media consumption and behavior is complex, government researchers have shown that the presence of adult businesses increases the crime rate in a neighborhood.
One of the most comprehensive studies on the subject is the Report of the Minnesota Attorney General's Working Group on the Regulation of Sexually Oriented Businesses. According to the statistical
analysis conducted in the Minneapolis study, the addition of one sexually oriented business to a census tract area will cause an increase in the overall crime rate index in that area by 9.15 crimes
per thousand people per year even if all other social factors remain unchanged. Read the full report (PDF).
Be aware that adult trade associations have begun commissioning their own "secondary effects" studies. Their interest is to portray porn shops as harmless to the community.
Won't the regulation of adult businesses put us on a slippery slope to censorship?
Most of our laws and regulations represent a compromise between competing interests. In this case, we are trying to strike a balance between the value of free expression and the health and safety of
adult business patrons and neighbors. One could make a slippery slope argument on just about any issue. "If we allow local bars to stay open one hour later, soon we'll let them stay open all night."
"If we reject this property tax override, the city will suffer a continuing erosion of its tax base and go bankrupt." Our proposed regulations aim to mitigate the severe, often hard-to-reverse
effects of adult theaters seen in many other towns and cities. If, over time, these regulations are seen to need adjustment, the people can adjust them. Northampton has a well-educated populace (25%
with graduate degrees) and a strong tradition of caring for the vulnerable and tolerance for minority viewpoints. It seems unlikely that the voters will support unreasonable restrictions on
We are not advocating censorship, but mindfulness about porn and a few modest zoning and health regulations to address local residents' legimate, well-documented concerns. Experience has shown these
regulations can be enacted without excessively infringing on free speech. Librarians in Western Massachusetts, for example, report no uptick in censorship pressures following the enactment of adult-use zoning in
Slippery slope arguments cut both ways. As "Lou" writes in a recent comment on the blog, "How about location--can they open a porn shop right next [to] the Bridge School? How about renting rooms in
the High School? I think that there is a limit as to location--and I think that a dense residential neighborhood is not appropriate."
Doesn't your campaign smack of elitism?
Why no, the reverse is true. The most visible porn advocates have been saying that freedom of speech is so important, it trumps all other things people might value, such as a safe neighborhood, one
that's comfortable to walk around in, economically prosperous, where people won't be harassed or solicited for sex.
Porn advocates appear to be indifferent to the suffering of ordinary people, whether it's porn workers with
STDs, spouses of porn addicts, or cities whose downtowns can't grow due to the presence of an adult business. Despite mounting
evidence of the social harms of porn, the porn advocates assert they simply know better what's good for America, and that
the people can't be trusted to impose the slightest regulation on adult businesses or soon we'll all be burning books. There's no evidence that adult-use regulations in Hollywood, New York or Boston
have led to censorship, but the real world seems to matter little to porn advocates. That's elitism.
We are amused that people have called us both left-wing and right-wing extremists. There are indeed arguments to be made against porn and porn shops from across the political spectrum. To
us, that underscores how broadly harmful porn is.
There is a serious consequence to the atmosphere of aggression and personal attacks
fostered by the opposition. Women who have spoken out against porn have been taunted
and harassed. A large representative of Capital Video
recently glowered and cursed at a citizen at a public hearing
in Northampton. In hostile environments like these, many citizens withdraw themselves from public debates. Some fear
for their personal safety. This does not serve the interests of free speech.
Some of your facts and arguments come from controversial sources like the Meese Commission or Andrea Dworkin. Do you endorse everything they did or wrote?
Not necessarily. We have selected out facts and arguments from many sources when we feel they have merit. These sources may present other facts and arguments elsewhere that we might question or
disagree with. This doesn't mean the facts we do cite on our blog are invalid, or can be conveniently ignored.
The founders of NoPornNorthampton haven't lived here for a long time. Are they qualified to speak on this issue?
It is true that we are relative newcomers to Northampton. We moved here in 2003. If the depth of local ties confers legitimacy, we note that Capital Video Corporation is a chain headquartered in
Cranston, Rhode Island. The profits from the King Street porn shop will flow south to owner Kenneth Guarino, while any ill effects will stay with us. Many Northampton residents more established than
ourselves have expressed concern. We quote from the Gazette's June 30 article, "Neighbors oppose porn
"'We're furious,' said Summer Street resident Mike Kirby, a former city councilor, who, with his wife, Lu Stone, have lived in their home for 25 years... 'We've put all this effort into our house and
garden, and now this happens,' he said. 'We're shocked.'"...
"'I have mixed feelings about it,' said Joshua Miller, who has lived at 33 Summer St. for 21 years. 'I'm for free speech, I'm for freedom of expression and I'm against censorship. What I'm worried
about is how pornography exploits women.'"...
"Mary Ellen Walsh, who said she has owned her Summer Street home for 30 years admitted that she would 'really rather it not' be located near her home... And she added, the establishment 'has a right
to exercise free speech, but I'm going to exercise mine, too.'"
Is NoPornNorthampton anti-gay? And how does religion fit into this?
We are not anti-gay. We understand there is a diversity of opinion about sexuality within both the religious community and Northampton at large. Our campaign is focused on preventing the objective
secondary effects of certain kinds of adult businesses, such as crime, sexual harassment, neighborhood deterioration, and spread of sexually transmitted diseases. We would also like to raise
awareness about how porn is made and the harmful effects of porn on many people. While our spiritual beliefs inform our opinion that porn often promotes a degraded and commodified vision of intimate
relationships, we aim to present evidence that will persuade people that careful judgment and some regulation are needed, regardless of religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
Your mass-mailed open letter to the Goldbergs could be viewed as offensive itself. What were your motivations?
This letter, mailed to voters in Northampton and Longmeadow on 9/27/06,
describes the crime and blight known to attend sexually oriented businesses, and describes some of the movies sold at Capital Video's websites. Many readers will find this material offensive and
disturbing. So do we. We take no pleasure in publicizing it. We do this only so the public will know the nature of what Capital Video sells, and understand why we are so concerned about it.
We are not trying to profit from offensive materials. We are asking businesspeople to have care for Northampton and important social values. We cite offensive documentation only the extent necessary
to support our case, and hope to have to do this as little as possible.
The fact that many people find it unpleasant to investigate or discuss the nature of today's pornography helps enable porn merchants to slip into towns like ours without sufficient debate. After
careful consideration, we decided that holding some of Capital Video's wares up to public view would help people understand what's at stake, and how toxic porn has become today.
What did the Massachusetts Attorney General ask NoPornNorthampton to do?
On October 3, the attorney general's office wrote to NoPornNorthampton and asked us to register as a charity before proceeding with further fundraising efforts. NPN both advocates for local
legislation and aims to increase public awareness about porn. The attorney general's office decided the latter activity is a charitable educational mission. We applied for a Certificate for Solicitation and received it on October 20. We are now
free to receive donations, and the matter has been resolved.
We keep all funds raised separate from our personal accounts, draw no salaries from NoPornNorthampton, and document all our expenses. We have no intention or expectation of making a profit from our
activism. Read a further discussion of this issue.
How come you turned off the standard commenting mechanism for this blog?
Under our host's standard system, the primary method of accountability is the IP address. Those who heckled, harassed, or otherwise abused their commenting privileges had their IP address blocked.
Unfortunately, some members of the opposition found and publicized a way to defeat this system.
By restricting comments to email, we are hoping to achieve the same level of accountability that many other blogs enjoy.
As always, we reserve the right not to publish any comment. This aligns with our overall position that private actors should think hard before publishing or profiting from meritless or harmful
This blog contains assertions and opinions, including quotations, from numerous sources. We are not verifying the content of this material. But we are verifying that, to the best of our knowledge and belief, the material is accurately reproduced and that it is attributable as indicated. If any information is not correct or would benefit from clarification, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NoPornNorthampton: Anti-Porn, Anti-Prostitution News and Strategies
An outstanding article from The Prostitution Experience rebuts the notion that prostitution somehow becomes OK at the age of majority, or that child and adult prostitution can be disentangled. FreeIrishWoman writes:
This is the dichotomy of adult and child and they are viewed as very separate, very distinct, so that there is a clearly perceived line between these stages, these ages, but in fact it is not a line. It is a bridge. It is a bridge that spans the in-between; that gap that connects the points in the lives of so many women who were prostituted first as children then as adults. I lived that bridge in my own prostitution life, when I was turning from a child into a woman, and I was used sexually for money on most of the days that made up my adolescence, as I was before in childhood and afterwards in early adulthood. And here is the crux of the matter: it was all the same nightmare to me...
Added to this, men who buy sex are obsessed with the act of despoilment; they are, as a group, blatantly obsessed with the desire to fuck the youngest girl they can find. The upshot of this of course is that there is great commercial value placed on youth in prostitution. I have thought at length and written a little about Prostitution and the Commercial Value of Youth, and I know both that this exists as a reality in prostitution and that is speaks with great clarity to the putrid sexual selfishness I’ve just mentioned...
By drawing distinctions between trafficking and prostitution, between under and over eighteen, some well-intentioned anti-trafficking organisations acquiesce to the perpetuation of a system known to be extremely violent and damaging while continuing to stigmatise and blame most of its victims. This stigmatisation maintains the disempowerment and marginalisation of the same population these groups want to help. It also empowers the predators who prey on our most vulnerable, whether under or over eighteen.
Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years (M.H. Silbert and A.M. Pines, 1982, "Victimization of street prostitutes", Victimology: An International Journal, 7: 122-133) or 14 years (D. Kelly Weisberg, 1985, Children of the Night: A Study of Adolescent Prostitution, Lexington, Massachusetts, Toronto).
Salon: Atlanta's underage sex trade
The problem isn't restricted to so-called Hotlanta; Herbert notes, dispiritedly, that "the overall market for sex with kids is booming in many parts of the U.S." But the city's role as a convention and travel hub has given it a particular boost. And advocates say that the prevailing preference for ever-younger prostitutes -- fueled by "the cultural emphasis on the sexual appeal of very young women and girls" and "the widely held belief among johns that there is less risk of contracting a disease from younger prostitutes" -- has pimps and sex traffickers recruiting more at-risk kids than ever before.
Pimps put up a fog of propaganda around what they do, but they can't fool prostitution survivor Stella Marr. Here's an excerpt from her invaluable post of June 28:
Pimp-affiliated groups such as the IUSW, SPOC, SWOP USA, COYOTE, the Erotic Services Providers’ Union and PONY must disband and reform as new organizations that are free of “management” members. Any organization claiming to advocate for women in prostitution that receives federal money or collects donations on our behalf must sever ties with all groups where this conflict of interest exists. Otherwise they are supporting the suppression of survivor voices.
The New Yorker: "The Countertraffickers"
Traffickers have become smarter...about recruitment, increasingly using a technique known, with some dissonance, as "happy trafficking". (Anti-trafficking organizations object to the phrase.) Happy trafficking involves a Faustian deal. Victims who have worked off their "debts" (invented by pimps, arbitrarily increased by "fines" and alleged costs, and fully reinstated, if not increased, with each resale) are permitted to go home on the condition that they send back someone else--or two or three someone elses--to take their place. In order to make the sales pitch persuasive, they must represent their own emigration experience as having been a positive one. They may sometimes admit that it involved prostitution, but never that it was an onerous, degrading job in which, say, they were given no choice about the number of clients, what sexual services to provide, or whether condoms would be used...
Psychology Today notes how porn use can impede sexual function. Fortunately, there is a solution.
Recent behavioral addiction research suggests that the loss of libido and performance occur because heavy users are numbing their brain's normal response to pleasure. Years of overriding the natural limits of libido with intense stimulation desensitize the user's response to a neurochemical called dopamine...
In the last decade or so, addiction researchers have discovered that too much dopamine stimulation has a paradoxical effect. The brain decreases its ability to respond to dopamine signals (desensitization). This occurs with all addictions, both chemical and natural. In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can't achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the Internet...
The brain needs a chance to "reboot," that is, return to normal dopamine sensitivity. This can take a couple of months...
Most men are astonished to learn that pornography use can be a source of sexual performance problems. Instead, many are becoming convinced that ED at twenty-something is normal.
National Feminist Antipornography Movement
"As Jerome Tanner put it during a pornography directors’ roundtable discussion featured in Adult Video News, 'People just want it harder, harder, and harder, because like Ron said, what are you gonna do next?' Another director, Jules Jordan, was blunt about his task: '[O]ne of the things about today’s porn and the extreme market, the gonzo market, so many fans want to see so much more extreme stuff that I’m always trying to figure out ways to do something different.
As for the patients who became involved in porn, most were able to go cold turkey once they understood the problem and how they were plastically reinforcing it. They found eventually that they were attracted once again to their mates. None of these men had addictive personalities or serious childhood traumas, and when they understood what was happening to them, they stopped using their computers for a period to weaken their problematic neuronal networks, and their appetite for porn withered away...
Sam Benjamin, porn director, reflects on the industry's attitude towards women for AlterNet:
...in due time, I came to learn that within the context of the heterosexual L.A. industry, while my overt task at hand was to make sure that the girls got naked, my true responsibility as director was to make sure the girls got punished. Scenes that stuck out, and hence made more money, were those in which the female “targets” were verbally degraded and sometimes physically humiliated.
None of it was written in my contract, of course; it was more of a contextual thing. Like: Everyone’s doing it . . . thus, so shall we. My various superiors across the years saw the issue from a businessman’s perspective, reminding me quite openly of the need to keep up with our competition. Anabolic’s getting nasty? Then we need to be nastier. Another one of their gambits was “We owe it our viewers.” We have to give them what they want! (And what do “they” want? Scenes of degradation, of course. Gloryholes and gang-bangs. The facial cumshot became de riguer sometime in the 1980s, but by the 2000s, you literally had to do it in every scene or risk not collecting your paycheck.)
...we’ve all seen “bad” porn, hateful porn, and I think most have a basic sense of where it comes from. Men get bummed when they can’t get sex. They feel ashamed when they turn to porn for release. Hate and disappointment is released along with their libidos. Disappointment and disrespect washes over the sex workers. It infects the camera crew.
National Feminist Antipornography Movement
"As Jerome Tanner put it during a pornography directors’ roundtable discussion featured in Adult Video News, 'People just want it harder, harder, and harder, because like Ron said, what are you gonna do next?' Another director, Jules Jordan, was blunt about his task: '[O]ne of the things about today’s porn and the extreme market, the gonzo market, so many fans want to see so much more extreme stuff that I’m always trying to figure out ways to do something different. But it seems everybody wants to see a girl doing a d.p. [double penetration] now or a gangbang. For certain girls, that’s great, and I like to see that for certain people, but a lot of fans are becoming a lot more demanding about wanting to see the more extreme stuff. It’s definitely brought porn somewhere, but I don’t know where it’s headed from there.'
Video Presentation: A Content Analysis of 50 of Today's Top Selling Porn Films (explicit language)
Ana Bridges: "...I'm going to begin to talk about what it is that we found after looking at these 304 scenes in these 50 top selling pornographic films. In total in the 304 scenes we coded a total of 3,376 acts of aggression. That ends up averaging...to an aggressive act every minute and a half. The scenes on average contained eleven and a half acts of verbal or physical aggression..."
Bridges: "So how many scenes didn't contain aggression? About 10%."
Bridges: "For verbal aggression, by far namecalling and insulting were the most common types. They were seen in almost half of scenes."
Bridges: "Gagging and choking were much, much more common than any of us thought when we first walked into this project."
Bridges: "Slapping happened 30% of the time... Most of the aggressors in these films were men...73%. By far the most common recipient of aggression was a woman. Even when women were aggressing, they were generally aggressing other women."
Bridges: "How did the person respond when they were aggressed?... In 95% of these 3,000 and some acts of aggression, the person was either neutral, as in no change of facial expression or verbal expression, or was sort of saying, 'That feels great. Keep doing it. Right on.' And in only 3% did we see some overt expression of displeasure or pain. Again, it seems to be very important to the people who are watching this to believe that the recipient of aggression is fact enjoying it, is choosing it at some level."
Porn Actresses: Most Careers Are Short, Few Are Lucrative (explicit language)
Although the industry is dependent on fans for survival, many of the respondents reported a fairly negative image of the imagined viewer... Ironically, then, actresses and actors are motivated in part to receive recognition from a group they know little about and often disparage. In addition, they reported little pride in the products they produce. Like most artifacts in the "sleaze industry", porn is disposable, mass-produced, fungible, and easily forgotten... Unlike the "straight" industry, actors and actresses are paid a flat fee for their performances, and receive no royalties for successful projects.
On November 21st, Governor Patrick signed into law a House-Senate anti-human trafficking bill that is being hailed as one of the toughest laws of its kind in the nation.
The new law includes criminal sentences up to five years in prison for attempted human trafficking, up to 20 years for trafficking adults, and up to life imprisonment for the trafficking of minors. Businesses involved in trafficking would face up to a $1 million fine for the first offense, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life for a second offense. These offenses also carry a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence.
The law also removes any statute of limitations for trafficking crimes and creates a 15-year criminal penalty for trafficking human organs, and it updates sex offender registration laws to include human trafficking and the enticement of a minor into prostitution through the use of electronic devices. Anyone convicted of these crimes would be required to register in Massachusetts as a sex offender.
To further protect and help victims, the law creates the "Victims of Human Trafficking Trust Fund" which will be funded from fines and convicted human traffickers' forfeited assets. Additionally, items used in the commission of the crime (buildings, cars, boats, etc.) are subject to asset forfeiture with all of the proceeds going to the victims fund.
The legislation also:
Establishes an Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, comprised of state officials, law enforcement, victims' services organizations and trafficking victims to investigate and study rates of human trafficking, prevention, and the treatment of victims;
Increases the penalty for soliciting a prostitute, and increases the penalty for soliciting sex from a person under 18;
Allows defendants who are victims of human trafficking and charged with prostitution to establish a defense of duress or coercion;
Establishes a "safe harbor provision" that allows the Commonwealth, defendant or court to request a hearing for a child arrested for prostitution to instead receive protection services;
Requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide services to sexually exploited children and to immediately report to the district attorneys and the police any child the department believes to be a sexually exploited child;
Amends the mandated reporting law so that mandated reporters, such as doctors, social workers, teachers and probation officers, must report to DCF when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child is sexually exploited;
Establishes a process for victims of trafficking to bring civil actions; and
Increases potential sentences for "Johns" to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and creates a mandatory $1,000 fine.
Porn defenders like to claim that "choice" and "consent" shield the industry from criticism, but the lived experience of porn performers suggests the validity of this consent is often questionable. Jessie Jewels tells her story at the Pink Cross Foundation:
First thing, gives a cocktail beverage on the scene. I took it. I was nervous as hell and knew by looking at him that I was going to need it just to get through my solo scene. He had me sign a consent without explaining it the way it should of been. He completely made it seem like no big deal and oh its just legal jumbo that says you need to be 18. Pressure pressure pressure. I said I’m doing a solo scene for this much and that’s it. He said sure. Just sign the bottom.
I knew very little, if that, nothing, about what I was signing. Well if I knew just by looking that I was signing a legal document with Satan maybe I would of stopped, but he deceived me. Brandon Iron lied to me to make sure his evil and selfish needs were met. He took advantage of young girl who knew nothing. If I could afford a lawyer I would of sued him for all his worth. This man pressured me repeatedly. I said no after no after no after no. He continued to pour me alcohol beverages one after the next. His intentions were morally wrong. He deserves to be in prison, but because of who he is in the industry, because I was just another "broken-home porn whore" to him, he didn't stop when he should of never started. Giving alcohol to a minor is illegal period. Slipping illegal drugs into a minor drink and forcing her to have any type of sexual foul play is 100% against the law in the State of California...
All I knew was what the agency (MetroTalentManagement.com) and I agreed on which was one solo foot fetish scene and it turned into more than that I found out later when the movies came out. I was sexually violated while being drugged by the director/producer Brandon Iron.
Why Jersey Jaxin Left Porn
“The main thing going around now is crystal meth, cocaine and heroin... You have to numb yourself to go on set. The more you work, the more you have to numb yourself. The more you become addicted, the more your personal life is nothing but drugs... Your whole life becomes nothing but porn.”
“I was a drinker. I drank a lot. Vodka was my drug. Vodka was my numbing toy. Before sets, after sets, and if it was a set where people didn’t care, they’d have it there waiting.”
Porn Past Haunts Women Long After Pictures Taken
She begged and pleaded to return the money she was paid in exchange for her photos being removed from the sites for which she’d posed. I had to let her know there is nothing I can do for her. There are hundreds of producers around the world, all of whom have models that change their minds and want to reverse their decision to work in the adult industry. The companies to whom we sell our content generally ignore all requests for removal.
"Testing is not a substitute for condom use, and it never will be," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. "No test can detect HIV from the moment of infection. There will always be a window period," which might not reflect recent infection...
"You can't dangle from a 30-story building from a rope; you have to wear a harness," he said. "The idea that hurting these performers is a matter of freedom of expression is simply wrong."
Advocate.com: "Business Before Pleasure?" (8/12/09) Though there are no scientific statistics, there is a quiet acknowledgment among adult industry professionals that a significant number of gay male porn performers are HIV-positive. A survey conducted by TheSword.com of nearly 100 gay male performers says 30% of them responded as being either HIV-positive or status unknown.
Mandatory testing of gay porn stars would all but bar HIV-positive performers from appearing in films...
Stephan Sirard of NextDoorMale.com is one of the very few studio heads who requires condoms and monthly testing for all: straight or gay, male or female, for partnered or solo scenes.
“Condoms break. Condoms come off. And with testing there are window periods. Combine both for best practices. Studios that don’t use condoms and don’t test should be in court for murder,” Sirard says.
Porn Worker Conditions: "Who failed Lara Roxx?" (explicit language) [To film a special effects scene where someone gets shot,] I had to hire a pyrotechnician licensed by the state. I also had to hire a county fire marshal, who monitored the pyrotechnician and had the authority to stop any behavior deemed unsafe. If you add in the city cops I was legally required to retain for crowd control, the actors and crew on my set had three levels of protection provided by government agencies.
Lara Roxx had zero protection by government agencies. There was no cop on that set. No fire marshal. No doctor. Nobody had a license. And nobody broke the law by paying a teenager to accept the uncovered penises of two men into her anus.
Condom Use Below 20% in American Porn Movies "In any sexual interaction where condoms are used, consumers tend to drift from that," said Graham Travis, head of production at Elegant Angel Video, a production company that turns out as many as eight new releases a month. "What the consumers want to see is performers without condoms, something that's as real and intimate as possible..."
Sharon Mitchell, a former adult-film actress who earned a Ph.D. in human sexuality before co-founding the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, said on Monday that condom use in the industry had gone up after the H.I.V. outbreak to 23 percent from 17 percent and that it was now back to about 17.5 percent.
Laura Johnston provides an excellent rebuttal of pro-prostitution arguments in The F Word:
The argument that decriminalizing prostitution will improve conditions for prostituted women sounds appealing on its surface. The first time I heard it I thought it made sense. But when I began volunteering in a rape crisis centre and shelter and met women in prostitution, I realized that decriminalization wouldn’t address the reality of women’s lives. This piece is my analysis from my experiences doing front line work, and in working on the Bedford v. Canada case. I’m going to argue that the idea women can be made safer by decriminalizing prostitution relies on a number of myths. I don’t think the position taken by the applicants or the government will help prostituted women, and in my conclusion, I’m going to discuss a third alternative, which was proposed by the intervener I did research for – the Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution.