Quantcast
Whore Next Door: Fight the New Outrage - By - October 7, 2015 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Whore Next Door: Fight the New Outrage

Giant red billboards reading #PornKillsLove have been popping up all over my neighborhood lately. The irksome hashtag has been hijacking my social media feed, too, reminding me that to many people, my job and life are things to campaign against.

I met my girlfriend on a porn set, and she and I have since performed together many times (even garnering an AVN nomination and a Feminist Porn Award this year for projects we did together). I met my husband through friends, but now he's a full-time employee at kink.com, where he spends 40 hours or more a week editing for sites such as Men On Edge or Public Disgrace.

For me, porn hasn't killed love at all. In fact, it has done the exact opposite. But that's not what has me so worried about Fight the New Drug, the website behind the new anti-porn campaign.

The slick, social-media-savvy marketing feels like it could be part of an Abercrombie & Fitch promo, complete with blond dreadlocks, a boy soulfully strumming a guitar while a group of teens with white teeth runs whimsically through the streets putting up posters while dancing to some Mumford & Sons rip-off band. With the slick visuals, it almost feels like browsing through Forever 21's fall fashions — but for a dubious cause.

There are multiple styles of T-shirts, journals, buttons, and bracelets for sale on Fight the New Drug's site, along with the most important product: Fortify — a $39, 12-step-style, online program to kick porn addiction. Fortify is free for anyone 20 or under, but the site encourages adults to sponsor teens and gift the program to people who are “struggling but don't know where to turn for help.”

Testimonies from ex-porn stars denouncing their old profession and vague-but-official-sounding claims (“Porn is harmful. Porn changes the brain. Porn hurts your partner.”) are peppered throughout the site. There's a blog, and plenty of links to donate money to fund still more videos of young attractive people wearing T-shirts and putting up signage in the name of raising awareness.

There's been a lot of hubbub in the past year over a paper published by JAMA Psychiatry that measured size frequency of brain activity in relations to pornography consumption. Headlines across the globe concluded that just as masturbation was once thought to lead to blindness, pornography is now said to be the culprit of brain shrinkage.

But as Wired writer Christian Jarrett pointed out, “The results of the study are virtually meaningless,” as the researchers conducting it failed to measure or control the personality traits of the 64 men they interviewed.

And although Fight The New Drug cites — but strangely does not link to — the studies that allegedly back up its porn-hating claims, it's important to note that clinical psychologist David Ley wrote last year in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports that “The theory and research behind 'pornography addiction' is hindered by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.”

Last year, the Toronto Sun reported that, according to Ley, only 27 percent of articles on the subject of porn addiction contained any data. Further, Heather Berg (a Ph.D. candidate in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara), told me that the research used by projects like #PornKillsLove is “deeply flawed,” both in its methods and its premise.

But Fight The New Drug is throwing a whole lot of money at the cause. For what it's worth, the group was founded by two young male entrepreneurs from Utah, where anti-porn treatment and crusading is already big business.

The site claims to be “pro-sex, and anti-porn,” pointing out that porn can't “kiss you, hold you, cry with you, start a family with you,” etc. Yet I couldn't find a single link to information on family planning, STIs, or consent, which gave me pause.

Is Fight The New Drug encouraging young people to masturbate less and fuck each other more? The attractive models and the emphasis on “real connection” feels like a push to reject porn in exchange for sex with your peers — which is fine for adults, but is that really the best message to send to teens? As the GOP continues its relentless assault on the low-cost sexual health resources provided by Planned Parenthood, Fight the New Drug's pro-sex, anti-porn crusade is incredibly irresponsible.

Say what you want about porn, but STIs and unplanned pregnancy are far more damaging to America's youth. And capitalizing on the promotion of behavior that increases the risk of both is far more insidious than a bit of jerking off. #PornKillsLove's lies do nothing to promote love or sex. It's a fraud, through and through.