Recently a new article by sex columnist Dan Savage trigged a lot of discussion and debate online, and I thought that the subject matter was important enough to also add another piece of commentary to the already crowded field. Basically, Savage answers a concerned mother whose 15 yr old son has been “watching sadistic porn- and ONLY sadistic porn- for a couple of years” and that “he thinks about this porn all the time-all day, every day- and fantasizes about doing sadistic things to the girls he dates.”
Savage then checks in with a bunch of experts including Canadian sex researcher Dr. James Cantor, who suggests that the woman’s son is a budding kinkster and any concerns that he could be the next Ted Bundy should be put to rest. Some other folks add their opinion, including a professional dominatrix who brings up the importance of “ethical sadism.”
I’ll leave the description of the column at that for the moment, and merely suggest that anyone who is interested in reading more go directly to the column here: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=21679058 . I think it’s well worth the read.
So what should we make of this mother’s concerns about her son’s use of violent porn? First, let me get some basics out of the way. As I’ve written in this blog before, there is absolutely no evidence that violent porn leads to acts of sexual violence. In fact, in the aggregate those countries that have legalized porn use have experienced an inversely correlated drop in sex crimes. Second, fantasies involving themes of seemingly sexual violence are not uncommon as I’ve written about here and here. […]