Monday, April 20, 2009

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for April 19

This week's brunch topic was about pornography and how it relates to your blog or the blogs you read. Here's the lively discussion that resulted:

A.S.S. - I'm pretty open minded about what consenting adults do with each other, most especially when it comes to spanking. Nudity and sex don't bother me either. So I'm not very easy to offend when it comes to spanking blogs. I personally enjoy sexy spanking images and stories. I like straight discipline too, but for me, there is a place for the sexual and erotic stuff too.

Not that I don't find sites and pictures I don't like. I bump into more than a few hard core things that I simply have no interest in seeing or even hearing about (usually on sites that are about far more than just spanking).

When that happens, I don't think "pornography" because to me that feels like I'm calling something wrong or depraved just because *I* don't like it. I instead prefer to just say it's not my thing and move on. And like I said, when it comes to spanking, I'm not easily offended.

Zero interest in anything to do with childhood spankings, and I won't link to anyone that posts pictures of children being spanked. That is wrong, and I'm comfortable feeling that way. Outside of that though - and true non-consent - I don't see anything I'd call pornography on spanking sites.

Of course, my dictionary says porn is "explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal." So I'm pretty much ignoring that definition. But, you did ask for my opinion and not Webster's!

Brambleberry Blush -
I find most spanking blogs are just for a little sexy fun, while the pay-for-view websites seem to be a little more hard core. I will admit that if I click onto a site that has really graphic photos, I will leave quickly. It's just not my thing. I want titillation, not porn. Mostly what I read is erotica, not porn.

Daisychain -
Yes, in some cases, is the quick answer. But who says porn is wrong?

Anything done that is tasteful and sexually arousing and available to consenting adults who know what they are getting into, I have no problem with. Personally, I find the pics or videos that home in on (or "accidentally" show) the woman's private parts as she is being spanked the greatest turnoff! That sort of exposure does nothing for me, though I am sure some find it exciting.

There is a difference between hard core and soft porn; to me, the written word is less potentially offensive, because you have to actively read it and can stop at any time if you feel its not your thing, but when it is images, one click and that's it, it's in your memory - too late to not look!!!!
Spanking blogs in general, although technically (according to the dictionary!) qualify as porn, are very inoffensive.

Great thought provoking question, Hermione! xxx

Prefectdt -
"Do you consider spanking blogs to be pornography?" - No, Even what most people consider as porn within spanking pay sites isn't porn to me, I tend to follow the blogs the way that many blokes on this side of the pond follow football (soccer). Following the model blogs is a chance to interact with the big league professional players (my equivalent of sport stars) and the other blogs (like my own) are like going out and playing on a Sunday morning, with the amateur pub league teams.

"What do you think determines if a blog is pornographic as opposed to erotic or containing adult material?" - As someone who isn't looking for a sexual thrill when looking at blogs, I feel totally unqualified to judge what is pornographic or not.

"If you have a blog, do you think of it as porn?" - LOL (literally there was audible laughter when this was considered) most of the pictures That are posted on my blog are from free galleries, so there are better places for people to go to see them on mass. The posts about my own play are incredibly unpopular (that is not going to stop me posting them, when allowed to by the relevant playmate). I can expect to lose between two and three hundred readers a day. for four or five days, after posting a "MY Play" account and the last time that I did such a post, the stat counter told me that the amount of people spending five seconds or less at the blog (clicking in and then clicking out without reading the post) rose to 88% and from the comments, it looks like the hard core of readers, that actually read these posts, are not finding them a sexual turn on. I doubt very much if anyone is using my blog as a source of pornography.

"Would you consider the blogs you read to be porn? Does the medium (words, photos, videos, drawings) make a difference?" - No definitely not, for me blogs are about interacting on an international level with other kinksters, picking up tips, tricks and ideas and generally sharing information, both incoming and outgoing.

Dr. Ken -
I don't consider spanking blogs as pornographic. Erotic, yes, but not porn. To me, porn would involve showing sex and male and female "naughty bits". And to me, spanking is a act all to itself--it doesn't, and doesn't have to, lead to sex.

And no, I don't think of my blog as porn. Yes, it's about spanking (mostly), and yes, I do have spanking photos as well as photos of some very spankable-looking women and their beautiful bottoms, but that's it. No males with raging erections, no females with legs spread wide while the camera acts as their gynecologist. I try for something more discreet and tasteful.

Most of all, I focus on the idea of "fun", because that's how I think of spanking--it's an activity that should be fun for all involved. If it isn't, you're doing it wrong. Hopefully, I succeed in getting the "fun" aspect across.

PK -
I sure don't think of the blogs I read as porn. I love the blogs that talk about spanking, erotic and discipline as well as their kids, their jobs, their vacation. In other words I like blogs that show everyday normal folks that, like me, enjoy spanking.

I do find things out here that I really don't like. Now I know this is sexist but while I have no problem with tasteful pictures of nude women I do not like frontal male nudity. And when I come across pictures of intercourse I click away as fast as my little fingers will take me. Is it porn? Who knows. I just like a little more subtle approach.

I think that the stories I find most places are wonderful and encourage me to go give my husband a kiss and a meaningful look. That can't be bad.

Karl -
Most of the blogs I read I would not consider pornographic.

For me, pornographic is the sexual equivalent of a tourist town. In a tourist town, things are set up the way the locals think tourists would like to see them. For instance, natives wearing animal skins instead of the T-shirts and jeans they normally wear when they're not dressing up for the tourists. Places like Disney world are for me the ultimate in travel porn.

With porn, you have the feeling of being pandered to. For me, that's not nice. When I read blogs, I'm looking to explore some reality, maybe not a mainstream reality, but I'd like to know what's real and important and erotic for the people who are writing the blog and those who are being written about.

I'm looking for reportage and cultural studies, not fantasy. But maybe that's just me.

PhilK -
I think my response would echo that of Woody Allen when he was asked "Is sex dirty?"

It is if you do it right.

Anonymous -
I'm sorry, but a lot of you guys' answers strike me as pretty pretentious.

We have a certain sexual fetish. If we look up stuff on the internet (stories, pictures, etc) that cater to that fetish, we're looking up porn. You can go on as much as you want about how your particular kink is "cleaner" in some arbitrary and subjective way than someone else's, but that doesn't change what it is.

Guys, EVERYONE looks at porn. Everyone. There's no shame in calling it what it is. I write porn stories for porn sites, I read other people's porn stories on those same sites, and I'm posting right now on a porn blog. And I'm not remotely ashamed.

As for the "dictionary definition of porn" that some of you seem to reject; sorry, but that's what the word means. You can't just redefine the meaning of the word "porn" at will in order to exclude yourself. "Explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal." That's what porn is. Yes, even writing can be porn, and often is.

Prefectdt -
OK the Collins Gem English dictionary that lives next to my computer has the definition -

Pornography n. indecent literature, films, etc.

Pride and Prejudice - I find that to be indecent in all its forms, book, films, TV series, it is so indecent it makes my blood boil. So by the dictionary definition, Pride and Prejudice is porn to me Anonymous :-)

Anonymous -
Hmmm. I think a definition of "indecent" is in order.

I was going off of the Webster definition provided by ASS. Semantics time!

Hermione: I decided to ask this question because Ron believes that my blog is porn. He isn't being judgmental or critical; that's just the way he looks at it. He sometimes teases me about writing porn in my spare time.

Based on the definition Todd provided, my blog isn't porn. My intention is to amuse, entertain, and enlighten my readers with posts about consensual adult spanking. I never write with the specific intention of sexually arousing anyone, although I realize it can and probably does happen.

The blogs I read regularly aren't pornographic either. As PK said, many are about the daily doings of people just like me, and include other things besides spankings. I also agree with Daisy's comment that somehow pictures can be more disturbing than the written word, although writing can also be classed as porn and not erotica.

Lee -
I think it goes deeper than "is it porn?" If we're going by the dictionary definition above, then it would depend on each individual person who visits the site? I could visit a foot-fetish site that does NOTHING for me, and to me it would not be pornographic in this definition. In the same vein, a spanking how-to site would not be pornographic to me, but a story oriented blog might be.

However, that aside, I do not believe you can simply go by the dictionary on this one. Society has turned porn into such a dirty word, one which implies lack of morals, lack of perspective, inability to enjoy human interaction with sexuality, etc. Overzealous lawmakers will have you believe that pornography ruins the lives and relationships of anyone who dares partake in the joys of erotic literature, art, film, etc. We, as readers of spanko blogs, would argue this point. Another dictionary definition is "obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit." In this vein, I wholeheartedly disagree. Surely no one here would argue that Hermione's or Bonnie's blogs were without merit, or artistic value. Likewise, many of us have seen well-done erotic films, read well-written erotic literature, and well-written and maintained spanking blogs.

By this definition I would argue that no, spanking blogs, nor any other well-done erotic photograph, film novel, etc. is pornographic. I have to agree with Todd and Suzy on this one. Dictionary definitions aside, connotatively porn is bad, and I cannot call any spanking blog (aside from those which harm children, or condone true non-consent) horrible or life ruining.

Welcome, Lee.

Dave -
I‘d have to say no, spanking blogs are not porn by default. While they might meet a bare bones definition of pornography, they are not all that different in most aspects to romantic literature available in thousands of bookstores to people of all ages. Unless those books are going to be relabeled as porn, then simply writing about a topic with the purpose of sexual stimulation is insufficient to be categorized as porn.

Magazines like Cosmopolitan and FHM are loaded with sexually related material but are not called porn while Playboy grabs the label without much dispute. The difference is photographic material. Further complicating the issue are rated R movies which can display nudity and sex and avoid the porn label, but when the depiction of sex crosses a line between what can be called suggestive (ie not showing genitalia and/or penetration) and explicit, the porn label is applied. These are nuances of the way the real world deals with labeling material as porn versus art.

Bottom line, a blog which has picture or video content is not pornographic until it crosses a line between suggestive and explicit. For those who want to stick to the strict definition of pornography, I get it, but I don’t agree. It can’t be both ways. Either all those romance novels, magazines, and movies are porn, or we accept the societal definition that porn is more about the explicit showing and telling than the simple show and tell of sexually stimulating material.

All of this is really subject to each person’s thoughts on morality. When material crosses a line in our morality it becomes porn and for me that line is farther than some and not as far as others. In the end, whatever answer is given, we are all correct.

Glad you joined us, Dave.

John -
No, in my opinion the average spanking blog isn't pornography but I'm well aware there are other people thinking a different way.

And a big welcome to John.

Miss Jules -
I would say that some are. For me, pornography is mainly explicit photos or detailed stories, and since most blogs are a mixture of many different medias and topics, I think that it depends on the percentage of graphic material whether the blog as a whole is pornographic or not. For example, I do post the occasional detailed story or fantasy, but have no intention of showing the world certain parts of my body, so I wouldn't classify my blog as porn.

Thank you, everyone, for participating in this week's brunch. I hope you'll all be back next week at our regular location.

From Hermione's Heart


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

As for the dictionary definition. Meanings of many words are evolving, not just "porn".

I think porn is not limited to sexual subjects. I think its defining quality is the intent to pander to, or incite desire. By this definition a lot of advertising could be considered pornographic.

But editorial content also fits this definition. There's real estate porn, camera porn, gun porn, you name it and if it's a subject people are interested in or obsessed with, chances are there'll be a porn provider somewhere about to fill that market.

Hope that's all not too pretentious for "Anonymous".

Indy said...

I agree that much of the disagreement in this discussion is semantic. Personally, I am uncomfortable with using the term "pornography" as a synonym for crude or distasteful. The dictionary definition seems about right to me: there are crude and distasteful writings and pictures that would not be classified as porn. Conversely there are pornographic images and writings that are highly artistic, even though Lee is correct about the judicial standard that has been applied in the U.S.

To view pornography that way suggests to me that we as a nation (and probably not just in the US) have a very unhealthy attitude toward sex in general.

Embracing my own spanking fetish has led me to a fuller view of human sexuality and to a new understanding of the costs of denying our sexual nature. I don't equate spanking with sex, but there is no doubt that I find spanking stories and film clips arousing. I'm comfortable with calling them pornography, even where there is clear artistic merit or where a beautiful personal relationship is described alongside the play.

In sum, I don't see pornography as a bad word. There's good porn and awful porn (Disney porn, lol?) out there. I'll spend my time on the stuff of high quality that appeals to my personal taste.

Having said all that, I also like blogs that show more than one dimension of the writer. So while most blogs I like have some pornographic material, I certainly wouldn't classify all of it in that way.

A.S.S. said...

Fascinating question... and really enjoyed reading all the answers. A few people pointed out erect penises... lol... and that got me thinking. I shared a dictionary definition of pornography in my first comment, and how I didn't fully agree with it. My definition of porn is pretty simple... it's something *designed* to get people off, to aid them in masturbation. Beyond that, it has no use or purpose.

Nothing in the world wrong with that, IMO. Humans masturbate, and some enjoy the experience more thanks to porn. And certainly within the spanko world, there are sites that provide spanking friendly masturbation aids. I know of several pay sites that show a spanking, and then spankee and spanker having sex... complete with erect penis. Only one reason for doing that... so it's porn (which I have no problem with).

Spanking blogs though... I have never seen one that I thought was porn. We're just normal folks with kids, jobs, mortgages, errands to run and things to do. We're not taking our valuable free time and using it to create content that strangers can 'get off' on. We're sharing our experiences and thoughts because it aids us in our *journey* and we hope it will help others in theirs. We blog because we enjoy interacting with like-minded people that understand this thing we do. We enjoy the community we're a part of... we enjoy talking about spanking... etc, etc. Many reasons.

Certainly for some bloggers, spanking is sexy and sexual... and that part of it comes through in what they share. I think the stories and pictures that kind of sharing creates can seem like porn to some... because they can be hot (very hot). In my mind though, the intent is far more than just turning on readers. Even scorching hot blogs have posts about the mundane (a sick pet, a new job, bad weather, etc). These blogs are humanized and personalized... which is *not* what porn is about.


Bonnie said...


Great topic! It certainly generated some healthy debate.

A US Supreme Court Justice once famously defined obscenity by stating, "I know it when I see it." That's really not far from the truth with regard to porn as well.

It's a tough question because we each have our own definitions. Here's mine: Pornography is (1) video, audio, text, illustrations, and/or photographs that (2) depict explicit sexual activity, (3) are offered for commercial sale, and (4) whose primary purpose is generating and satisfying sexual desire.

This definition does not consider whether the material is offensive to anyone or the actual nature of the content. These discussions better fit within a definition of obscenity.

On this basis, most spanking blogs, including this one and my own, would not qualify as porn.

Thanks for taking over the brunch. I hope Ron finds these answers interesting and useful.


Terpsichore said...

Interesting discussion...

Hermione said...

I showed Ron this brunch recap, and he read it all. I think he was pleased that I had chosen a topic based on something he said. But it hasn't changed his opinion.

His reply - and I'm reproducing it as faithfully as possible - is that if my blog was about cooking, it wouldn't be porn. But it's not, and what it is about makes it porn. The subject matter is the determining factor. But there's nothing wrong with porn, so there's no problem.