The News Site of Fresno City College

Pornography, while free speech, Tests the limits of Decency in Sex

September 27, 2017

Photo by: courtesy of ign.com

Soon after the closing of the Silver Dollar Hofbrau in 2015, Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler Magazine, expressed interest in opening one of his chain stores in its place.

Silver Dollar Hofbrau was a landmark restaurant in Fresno and had been in business for more than 30 years.   

As expected, Flynt’s expression of interest to open Hustler Hollywood was met with resistance. He sued the City of Fresno, alleging that the city targeted Hustler’s business, changed development codes, and took actions “specifically designed to preclude (Hustler) from opening and operating its desired establishment.”

Hustler, of course, is protected by the first amendment.  Whether the founding fathers intended that material depicting sexually graphic acts be protected under the freedom of speech statute is anyone’s guess, but Hustler Hollywood won its case, and the City of Fresno had to pay $15,000 to cover their legal fees. The Hustler Hollywood shop is now open, and Larry Flynt will be present for the celebratory grand opening on Sept 30.

Flynt, a self-described “first amendment defender,” has had many public legal battles on the regulation of pornography and obscenity laws and has garnered scrutiny for Hustler Magazine, his most popular publication, which in the early 1970s was thought to be crossing the lines of decency by displaying women in themes of bondage and restraint.

Hardcore pornography depicting women in forced and violent situations might have been in the outer edges of the industry in its early days, but since then, it has become normalized.

Videos that portray women having sex with strangers for money, or a woman who is hard on her luck, resorting to work as an adult performer, aren’t the majority of porn produced, but are still popular.

There is a demand for material depicting women in rape and sadomasochistic situations that usually leave women subjected to the sexual whims and dominations of a male (or, males).

Of course, the purview of all this is not to apply any moral standards on people who view this kind of material, or pornography in general, or, to imply that violence in porn leads to violence in real life.

People are now more open to different ideas about human sexuality, especially since the Sexual Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s.

There have been social constrictions on women’s sexuality for centuries, and though society has a long way to go, it is more accepted for women to be open about their sexuality and desires, which may include acts or habits that many might find outside the norms.

However, the pornographic films, along with Hollywood films and television, have followed the trend of becoming more violent and sexual, and it doesn’t show signs of taming down.

People can now access porn through their smartphones on demand, another access for instant gratification. According to the American Psychological Association, the average age that people  first view porn is at 13 years old.

The content of current pornography heavily focuses on genitals and penetration and pays little attention to the story or the aesthetics.  Many fear that this can give young people very warped and extreme views of sexuality.

If more violent pornography, using degrading women as its selling point, becomes more of the norm, ideas about sexuality might be moved to more extreme sexual acts. What is extreme now might be seen as tame.

What we enjoy and what arouses us sexually say a lot about ourselves and society. Just because one enjoys being dominated or dominating others sexually doesn’t mean they cannot try to analyze why they enjoy these activities.

The direction that porn has been heading leads to the inevitable question: What next? Where will our sexual appetites lead us?

           

 

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