The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sex on TV

So Husband and I sat down to watch some good old HBO tonight. I loved Six Feet Under, and have previously enjoyed Entourage. But after trying to watch both Allan Ball's latest, True Blood, and the 2nd new episode of Entourage, I had to leave the room. Within the fist 5 minutes of both there were graphic depictions of sex.

In True Blood a character (and the viewing audience including me) was watching a video of a woman hanging from her bound hands as a man had sex with her from behind while strangling her. Of course, she was smiling, and later was revealed to have revived and enjoyed it.

We had to turn that off.

So on to Entourage. The writing and characters have generally been good, but again within the first 5 minutes one of the characters accidentally turned on some porn movie while trying to watch something else, and the TV audience was treated to a woman lying on her back, pulling at her nipples and doing something else I think. I had to get up before I could mentally capture the whole picture.

Now I'm not a prude. I favor sex education, have no problem with pre-marital sex, and no problem (theoretically) with healthy, tender or lusty sex depicted in a context where it forwards a story. (Of course, I'd consider it appropriate only for adults.)

But I'm so sensitive now to how women and sex are depicted in the media. Negative sexuality (addiction, loveless sex) and negative, objectified images of women are so prevalent. So much so that I worry about what my son will pick up as acceptable from billboards as we drive around town.

I'm not in favor of prohibition although I believe in regulation. Porn magazines are for adults (although I consider them unhealthy.) But the more important thing here is that I think we're really sick as a society. And that the sexual revolution has gone beyond a healthy regard for sexuality, and into a mentality were anything goes. And with materialism foisted upon us via advertising that tells us we can never have or be enough, and the accompanying anxiety and fear that goes along with those beliefs, I think we are a society full of people who tend toward addiction, depression and low self-esteem. The dehumanization of sex and women are a symptom of that.

Maybe I'm just getting older. Am I just like every other generation that's gone before me, complaining about too much sex, too much violence, and young people these days?

These thoughts make me uncomfortable, because they sound so much more conservative that I feel. But I worry about the world. How can we get through this cultural crisis in a way that is progressive and not regressive?

I'm not a social conservative, but neither do I think it okay for society to accept unhealthy, negative, soulless attitudes as the norm.

I feel out of sorts and confused, and am going to go to bed and read my Buddhist books. I think for me clarity on this subject will be found in spirituality.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm so with you! On the disgust and the worry and the confusion.

MargauxMeade said...

I feel the same way you do and I'm a generation younger. It's strange, I never really had much of an opinion about porn until I started dealing with my husband's sex addiction. Now that it's had such a negative personal affect on me, I'm pretty anti porn. I don't think people realize just how damaging it can be--not just in the sense that it objectifies women, but in the sense that it can completely change the way the viewer sees sex. Since I've seen how porn has sucked the passion and wonderment out of my husband, I don't want that to happen to anyone else.

Mrs. Jane Doe said...

I feel the same way you do. I have young boys who are growing up in the rapid acceptance that porn, sex, and all those things are accepted. It makes me more worried then I can express. I am becoming one of the few who seems to be bothered by that kinds of views.

ThisJane said...

I couldn't agree more, I just left my ex abf 4.5 months ago and finally went out on a date....that turn into 4 dates..and already I'm feeling the pressure of what I should be giving even if I'm not ready. There are definite assumptions these days, and at my age "it shouldn't be such a big deal" - but I agree with you it is. There's more to it, it's to be shared with someone that at the very least has a mutual respect for you....

Mr. M said...

You're not alone. 2 years ago I received an email which started me on a journey to make a difference in the world we live in and the society and social norms that will influence my youngest son, now 6. You mention Porn Magazines... the true dangers of internet porn and it's affect on youth is my focus. Internet Porn objectifies women and demeans them, no doubt, but the point you touched on is the one most people miss, ‘what our kids will pick up as acceptable’, bravo!!. After several months of research, I set up a free website with loads of real resources (video clips, In-the-News, Parents Blog, How to talk to your kids, a monthly newsletter and much more! Since the beginning of September I've begun to do guest speaking at schools, libraries, and churches to educate teens about the True Dangers of Internet Porn and educate parents on what porn is in the year 2008 and how to stop it. I have also co-founded the first fully managed internet filtering service to block porn and keep inappropriate material out of homes, schools, and churches. As parents and caring adults we need to begin to rebuild the riverbanks of our society... I agree "it's not okay for society to accept unhealthy, negative, soulless attitudes as the norm".
I think you would enjoy my blog and hope it will encourage you to make a difference too! If someone doesn’t step up and take on the TV ratings, we will end up like other countries with nudity and casual sex on every channel, and young men and women completely desensitized to the beauty of love, commitment, and the true donation of one to the other.
Mr. M – My Internet Doorman

Susie Q said...

I am currently a women studies major in college with a emphisis on media studies of women. I find that these horrible depictions of women are everywhere in the media from ads about clothing to television shows. I dont understand why these depictions of women are seen as socially acceptable.

woman.anonymous7 said...

susie_q - I'm sorry to hear about your discovery. The pain of secrets and betrayal can feel so raw.

There is another community you can check out:

It's a social network for those of us dealing with someone elses addiction in our lives, and there is a group for partners of sex addicts in JWClub where you may find others whose experiences are closer to yours.

Also, there are lots of great blogs out there, and the ones that have touched me most deeply are listed on my blog.

There's lots of support for those of us on this path. I hope you continue to reach out.

Susie Q said...

Thank you for the encouraging words that you left on my comments. Also thank you for the link. It helps to know that someone else is going through something similar as you.