Excellent stuff here:
The question put to the panel—which was comprised of director/performer Sinnamon Love, performer Tina Horn, ex-producer Dan Reilly, Museum of Sex curator Sarah Forbes, creator of Make Love Not Porn Cindy Gallop, the aforementioned Madison Young and moderated by Lynsey G.—was whether porn’s job was to entertain or educate, or neither or both. The panel fairly unanimously agreed that though most porn is not created with the intent to be an educational tool, it often served that purpose.
Cindy Gallop cited a study done by an ISP that the average kid these days sees their first pornographic images at age 8, but often receive no context for what they’re seeing. Makers of porn can not be expected to make what is meant to be a consumer product for adults also be a way of teaching young people how to have great sex, yet porn sex is often the only instructive sex they see. The issues at hand were ones that seem to shape our national problems with sex and sexuality: a lack of comprehensive sex ed, the unwillingness of most parents to have the kinds of conversations about sex that would be truly instructive for kids, a cultural unwillingness to talk about sex and porn openly. But what struck me as the most interesting part of the discussion was the money stuff.
Piracy is a problem not just because it undercuts the performers and producers, but also, she contended, in terms of what kind of porn people are exposed to. Porn, like any form of expression, is not a monolith. Madison Young described porn as a medium, like photography or painting—some is good, some is bad, some is art, some is high quality, some is low quality, some is disgusting, some is educational, some is entertaining. There is lots of amazing, feminist, kinky, exciting, authentic porn being made. But, Sinnamon Love said, if you have a generation of kids who think porn is free, should be free, if they’re raised on what you can get for free by googling, you have a group of people who think porn is only the crappy pirated clips people put on free sites. They don’t realize what is out there, and they also don’t respect performers, don’t see them as real people and don’t think they deserve to be well paid for their work. Madison Young, again, “If you’re not paying for porn, you’re going to get what you’re not paying for.”