The argument that porn could have negative psychological effects is the same as the age-old debate of how violence in cinema can affect impressionable minds. Those calling for a ban on pornography cite concerns that children might watch it. I have never understood the panic over children getting exposed to porn.

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Filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma opines that the porn stars performing on camera, the people shooting the act and the people watching them, are all doing it out of their own free will and no one has any business to stop them. File pic
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma opines that the porn stars performing on camera, the people shooting the act and the people watching them, are all doing it out of their own free will and no one has any business to stop them. File pic

The truth is that for a kid who hasn't yet reached sexual awakening, those images will mean nothing. Once he reaches the age, nature and instinct will awaken him, like it has happened ever since Homo sapiens came into existence. As for the so-called deviant sexual acts, they have been documented from the days of the Harappan civilisation, way before the 'P' of Porn was invented.

Pic for representation
Pic for representation

One other fear is that men will pursue more extreme forms of it, in order to reach higher and higher levels of stimulation. There is also the fear that porn could lead men to develop unrealistic expectations from the real women in their lives.

This theory holds as much water as a scenario in which women watch an action film and then expect their husbands and boyfriends to be as tough as the hero who beat up 20 people on screen. Porn is nothing but a stimulant for nature-given sexual desire, in the same way that tastier and tastier dishes are prepared to satisfy our hunger for food.

mid-day view: It's not about porn, it's about our freedoms

It's also similar to action films that are a stimulant for the natural aspiration to power. That's because the desire for sexual pleasure and power are the prime motivators of life. I believe that sex and career are aspects that require the most important decisions, which we should be free to make.

Other people's sexual desires should not be judged based on knee-jerk reactions from self-appointed moral policemen, but should instead be approached after careful examination of facts and scientific data. Yes, since sex is a very powerful drive, it's possible that porn might have excessive influence over some individuals in extremely rare cases. But to place a ban on it for this reason is like banning driving and traffic to avoid occasional accidents.

Adults in our society are embarrassed to talk to their kids about sex, and abstinence-only sex education is pervasive even today. But modern kids anyway learn about anything and everything from the Internet, including sex. They will, and do, form their own opinions just like adults.

The panicky sermons about the evils of porn only prompt people to think of it in a misguided manner, instead of just enjoying it for what it is – nothing more than a stimulant for a natural desire and a gateway to fantasies. There's no scientific evidence that the effect of porn on your brain is any different from what is generated by television or movies or video games.

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It's a proven fact that greater social access to pornography actually correlates to decreased sexual crimes. Instead of creating an atmosphere for sexual crimes, porn actually provides a safer outlet for sexual frustration. As for its psychological effects, thinking about slapping your boss doesn't increase the chances of you actually doing it; nor does desiring a woman one sees at the beach increase the chance of sexually assaulting her.

This is in the same way a person wouldn't become a dacoit just because he liked Gabbar in Sholay. And watching Hum Aapke Hai Kaun did not prompt more people to start joint families. The world is at a stage where everyone knows everything because of the Internet; an individual has the freedom to access anything available online, which includes pornography.

Porn is here to stay, but only because millions and millions of people want it - the proof lies in the trillions of views it fetches. That's the reason the US legalised it decades ago, because a true democratic government will never go against its people's wishes, especially the wishes of consenting adults. This is not to say that countries that have legalised porn have developed vastly because of it, but the legalisation is indicative of their liberal minds and their respect for an individual's freedom.

The porn stars performing on camera, the people shooting the act and the people watching them, are all doing it out of their own free will and no one has any business to stop them. The US Supreme Court had said in a judgment, “If you don't like porn don't watch it, but you can't come in the way of the people who want to watch it.”

I honestly think porn does more for the people than governments do, because it at least gives a few minutes of happiness, which I doubt any government can do. So as long as porn is accepted as a reality, it makes sense to talk to our kids about it instead of pretending that it doesn't and shouldn't exist.

It's only after letting them know that you are aware of porn that you can educate them about its ills, if any. Medically speaking as well, you can smoke yourself to death, you can drink yourself to death, but you can't have sex to death; the irony is that despite this, porn is where all the restrictions come into play.

This present attempt to ban porn is nothing but one of those processes that seek to choke an individual's liberty, just because it suits some regressive people intent on repressing society in every which way. I sincerely hope enough people especially celebrities and leaders shed their inhibitions and come out in the open to speak against any ban in general, and against porn in particular.