What Are Some Arguments for and Against Pornographic Imagery?

Arguments in favor of supporting pornography include that doing so upholds freedom of speech, that modern pornography engages in female-friendly policies and is empowering to women, and that it helps humans become comfortable with their sexuality. Arguments against pornography include that it encourages abuse and degradation, that it significantly limits the definition of beauty and sex and thereby marginalizes the female sexual experience, and that it minimizes the impact of violence.

Pornography has a lengthy historical background that involves many varied definitions and diverse manifestations, from Greek gods with oversized erections to contemporary depictions of bondage and submission, such as in the book "50 Shades of Gray." With all the nuances in definition comes the difficulty in identifying what pornography is, thereby underscoring the fear that people ban all free speech in an effort to limit access to pornography.

On the other hand, the prevalence of pornography does not diversify appreciation of differing forms of sexual expression, opponents of pornography argue. Rather, the same images continue to bombard society, reinforcing the idea that women should aesthetically alter their bodies to the point of losing sensation in their sexual organs. Consequently, women sacrifice physical pleasure in an attempt to fit a pornographic ideal.

Yet, proponents of pornography state, women lead much of the industry and enforce standards that are female-friendly, such as registry logs, adequate lubrication and drug testing. Rather than punishing the pornography industry, they argue, people should punish the people who breach common decency.