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Paul Ten
Paul Ten
4 months ago

I get puzzled. I thought the argument these days was that sexual orientation is innate and unchangeable, something to be celebrated with pride (or Pride). But if theirs can be developed as a result of social conditioning, why can’t everybody’s?

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Julie’s a Social Constructivist and seems to believe that nothing is innate.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Yes, she claims to have chosen to be a lesbian yet the main argument for the legalisation of homosexuality was that it is innate and she objects to the claim trans women are women which is a consequence of social constructivism. Separating sex from gender has rather backfired. If militant feminists had not insisted on the separation then gender studies departments would be full of genuine academics trying to understand the effect of sex on behaviour (gendered roles) instead of being full of irrational propagandists.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
54321
54321
4 months ago

Claiming to have chosen to be a lesbian and claiming to have changed sex are not equivalent for two main reasons.
Firstly, because a woman choosing to be a lesbian is actually physically possible, regardless of her motivations for doing so. But it is biologically impossible to change sex, regardless of the fact that some people would like to be the other sex and some other people have therefore decided that it is “kinder” to act as if it is possible.
Secondly, because being a lesbian, whether it is a choice or innate, does not interfere with the rights of anyone else. Whereas a man choosing to “change sex” does interfere with other people’s rights if they insist on everyone else treating them as a woman for all purposes. For example, interfering with women’s right to female categories in sports.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  54321

If one can simply choose to be a lesbian (rather than being one), and could just as easily have chosen to be heterosexual – then the distinction between being and identifying as pretty much disappears.

Gregory Toews
Gregory Toews
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

We seem to have reached an era where that distinction is meant to disappear.

54321
54321
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Well, yes. That’s exactly my first point. It is manifestly possible to self-identify as a lesbian. You just need to be a woman and intentionally have intimate personal relations with another woman.

Now I’m sure there are lots of lesbians who will say that they are innately lesbians and that’s fine. I’m not saying they aren’t. Just that’s it’s also possible to choose.

It is not possible to choose to change sex, unless you are a clownfish and even they don’t choose. You may choose to present yourself to the world as the other sex but that’s different.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Maybe you can choose to become a Lesbian .Some people may fail. What I mean is that having intimate relations with women would not make you a lesbian if you didn’t come to enjoy it .
Or am I wrong . I am suggesting deciding to become a lesbian is not like deciding to become a burglar . It involves developing an inner feeling rather than just ‘breaking and entering’.

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Osband
Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

It is impossible to know, in the case of sexual orientation, whether a woman who claims to have chosen to be a lesbian, is actually able to transfer her desire, or is being driven by past abuse and trauma, which can probably suppress desire, and a desire for safety. It seems to me that the best way to discover your sexual orientation is, when you start having sexual fantasies, who shows up in them? Boys? Girls? Either? Both? It seems simple and obvious to me, but apparently, for a lot of people, it isn’t.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  Kayla Marx

Yes but fantasies are self- reinforcing. Sexual experience may feed in to them, as also using porn .Girls are possibly more malleable and open to experimenting . Someone said that when a heterosexual couple are ‘making love ‘/ having sex they’re both making love to the woman . I wonder if this isn’t true of some lesbian couples who adhere to ‘butch -femme’ role play .

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  54321

Whether sexual attraction is innate or a preference makes a huge difference to this debate. An argument for minor attracted people (paedophiles) being provided with porn and dolls has been made on the grounds that they are not at fault but are a victim too (of their bodies immutable sexual preference) and it will help them not offend. Sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children is a perversion. If sexual attraction to pre-pubescents is innate then pornography cannot cause it. Julie Bindel’s attitude to her own sexuality suggests she considers sexual attraction a matter of choice. Sexual attraction to post pubescent children is not a perversion as according to evolutionary psychology, biologically, males are attracted to post pubescent girls because they are capable of procreation. In our society there is a legal age of consent and below that age young people cannot consent. The reason for not having sex with post pubescent children under the age of 16 is the same as for not stealing – it is illegal. Many post pubescent girls under the age of sixteen, physically, are fully mature women though clearly not psychologically.
Trans women base their claim to being a woman entirely on feelings and inner convictions, presumably Julie Bindell is a lesbian because of how she feels and inner convictions.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago

In a world free of G*d everything is permitted and nothing is forgiven.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Have you ever read or listened to John Lennox on YouTube?

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And truth becomes anathema as it destroys the illusions created by propaganda. The false prophets preaching their false religion. It may sound melodramatic but they are effectively followers of the Antichrist, given truth is an aspect of God.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
4 months ago

2 Timothy.iv.3-4.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

The reason for not having sex with post pubescent children under the age of 16 is the same as for not stealing – it is illegal.

I think for most people it is the fear that this would do psychological harm. And a repulsion for something that would feel exploitative. And the law is to stop people who don’t have those feelings.

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
4 months ago

Buy sexual attraction is all inner feeling. If someone, says, I am attracted to this or that, who can say that they’re not? Being a woman is not a feeling. “Feeling like a women” is not the same as being a woman, The only reason that men and women have come to exist is for reproduction: individuals are made to produce either small gametes or large gametes, and both are needed for reproduction.

54321
54321
4 months ago

Trans women base their claim to being a woman entirely on feelings and inner convictions, presumably Julie Bindell is a lesbian because of how she feels and inner convictions.

So what? Very few people deny that some people have genuine “feelings and inner convictions” that they are the other sex, whether that’s a mental health issue or whatever.
But that doesn’t make a man’s “feelings and inner convictions” that they are a woman and therefore entitled to access protected single-sex spaces equivalent to a woman’s “feelings and inner convictions” that they can have sex with another woman.
The fact remains that the former is (i) not physically possible and (ii) impinges on the rights of others. The latter is (i) physically possible and (ii) doesn’t impinge on anyone else’s rights.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Spot on.

It also shows that for zealots theory and “fact” is driven by ideology. They believe what it suits them to believe and construct theories accordingly. Sometimes that has unintended consequences they don’t like – and they are left dealing with the cognitive dissonance.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago

What on Earth does this have to do with porn industry?. Although I’m more familiar with gay porn, I haven’t any doubt that some of the popular products and “marketing” of some porn categories encourages the successive transgression to younger and younger men and boys is encouraged and facilitated by the porn industry.

Human character is a complex mix of innate and learned behaviour. The curse of the binary mind…….

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Isn’t the argument more that a person’s sexual orientation is nothing to do with you and two consenting adults should be allowed to do what they want? That tolerance stops at paedophilia for obvious reasons…

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I don’t think it is just that. I’d be very happy if sexual orientation were private and none of my business, but with the LGBT calendar, flags everywhere, Pride marches, redefining marriage, EDI ideology and generally waving sexuality in everybody’s faces, they make it my business. The doctrine of innate sexuality is also what leads to the concept of ‘LGBT children’, LGBT affirmation even in primary schools, and the blurring of the boundary with paedophilia.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

There is a HUGE difference between LG and T. In fact, there are in direct opposition to each other philosophically.
Most gay and lesbian people do feel they are innately gay or lesbian, just as most straight people feel innately straight. That said, if Julie feels comfortable and happier with a woman, that is her choice. It doesn’t not negate the fact that most LG people feel it was not a choice, but just who they are.
As for the trans issue, they completely reject same sex orientation and replace it with gender, demanding that gay and straight people ignore biology and bodies for whatever the person claims to be. They, therefore, undermine innate sexual orientation, by claiming you can be attracted to someone just based on their inner gender identity, which is false for most people.

William Shaw
William Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

It often seems as though Feminism requires one to believe two totally incompatible ideas simultaneously.
Which one is cited in the moment depends on the circumstances.
Consistent logic is seldom in evidence.

Last edited 4 months ago by William Shaw
A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

That’s like saying politics is contradictory, ignoring the fact that there are different Parties. There are several feminism’s. Liberal feminism is pro trans and pro sex work; radical feminism is gender critical and opposed to prostitution.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It does. It also insists an aborted foetus is a conglomerate of cells to be disposed of (medical waste) without a second thought and the same material object when miscarried is a baby to be mourned and treated with dignity.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

This is not the point of the article at all. Why do you care if Julie is a lesbian?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

Because the article focuses on problematic male behaviour and he is not interested.

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Sexual orientation may be innate, but what we call paraphilias may not be. Now that porn has become easily available, all the time, society is going to have to grapple with the fact that porn is addictive, and that porn watchers progress along different pathways. Having read several full-length memoirs of so-called trans widows, and many more shorter such stories, and also reading about sissy porn, and so-called hypno-sissy-porn, I think it’s highly likely that autogynehilia is a condition that develops from porn over-indulgence. Unfortunately, the men who have this condition believe they are actually women, or else they decide that claiming womanhood is the easiest way for them to live, and so they proceed to make all kinds of demands on real women and girls, much to their detriment. So their porn indulgence is not socially neutral, far from it. This is just one example. People, mostly men, who regularly watch porn, are prone not only to developing a dependency, but also of needing new, more extreme material to get satisfied, and they so progress along different paths, seeking sissy porn, child porn, or more-and-more violent porn, &c. Perhaps not all porn users progress in this way, but certainly sex offenders travel these pathways. So eventually, porn affects everyone. Very soon, porn will probably be AI-created, and very realistic, so there may fewer victims needed to create porn. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the rest of society won’t be affected.

William Shaw
William Shaw
4 months ago

“It’s been very difficult to deal with non-convicted people,”
Not surprising really.
Non-convicted people are considered to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Regulating the behaviour of innocent people is not supposed to be easy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

So the robber, having broken in, walked off with a TV and flogged it on facebook marketplace only becomes guilty and worthy of correction when the gavel hits the block?
There’s a difference between being considered innocent in the eyes of the law and actually being innocent in fact at any one time.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes but the point, obviously, is that it is virtually impossible to identify such people prior to a conviction. They may know they’re guilty of a crime, but they are hardly likely to admit it to anybody, are they?

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I suggest you look up the case of Morris Fraser, child psychiatrist and convicted pedophile who was protected by the British establishment because his view of chidren in Northern Ireland suited the government’s agenda

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

What does this have to do with my point?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

My point is that there have been well known active paedophiles in positions of responsibility who have been protected from either detection or prosecution from others in power who found them useful. Either that, or people who wanted to cover up in order to save their own reputation. Eg Liberal party regarding Cyril Smith, Catholic Church …I could go own indefinitely about this. The reason there have been so many large payouts to former residents of children’s homes is that police, government etcetera did nothing and sometimes actively persecuted whistleblowers.
In other words, yes, you can’t always predict who will offend but known offenders have been allowed to get away with it.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Sorry, but the context of the thread was that the research into the motivations of paedophiles is persistently obstructed by the fact that it is usually impossible to know who they are unless they’re caught and convicted. What you say here is also true of course, it just doesn’t seem specifically relevant to this part of the issue.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Ok, to some extent this is about harmful content being a money spinner – so there is the ostensible argument that Porn causes or exacerbates attitudes that lead to sexual offending and both liberals and defenders of free enterprise refuse to look in depth at the evidence.
So my link is vested interests – of those who make money from porn and those who have a heavy habit, possibly feel guilty about it but want to justify themselves.
You can only justify porn use where the ‘performers’ are adults – and when you are looking at actual filmed assaults, that justification collapses.
What might be helpful to those who are influenced rather than inclined is a very comprehensive sex and emotional education in schools, made compulsory, which would tackle all the issues, including porn use.
Loads of educators who are concerned about children’s porn exposure and the effect on relationships have been arguing for this for a long time. It is expensive and there are two main opponents: the religious right, and the Porn industry. Also governments who’d rather spend large amounts on defense than any kind of education.
Porn may be used by the sexually experienced and sophisticated but undoubtedly, it also relies on myths and ignorance. That these appeal to the more infantile areas of our brains is perhaps difficult to counter.
The kind of education I would want to see would have to be graded in age appropriate ways but it would have to go everywhere for the older students – gay/straight/fetishes/kink/porn/safeguarding and examining different beliefs about sexuality from traditional views about masculinity and femininity to feminism, the views of anti patriarchal men, religious and secular views, cultural differences. Something to offend everyone and challenge everyone and perhaps support everyone.
Like I said, it would never be a ‘solution’ but it would be helpful
I’ve been recommended Jackson Katz’s The Macho Paradox to a lot of people. He’s a sports loving blokey type guy who happens to be very sympathetic to women’s issues who is trying to reach men without demonising them. The porn chapter in his book is predictably short and inadequate.

William Shaw
William Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

What does that have to do with anything?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

What does what have to do with anything? Sex education? A man trying to persuade other men to question toxic attitudes who struggles to face up to the realities of porn?

Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago

The numbers seem high. I couldn’t find a link to the survey via the University of Edinburgh ChildLight research group, just scattered press reports. 1 in 10 men admitting in a public survey they were child abusers on such a taboo subject is extremely suspicious data-wise – it could be right, in which case it is terribly shocking and very very scary, but we need to see the details. In these times of mass-exaggeration and ‘narrative’ driven journalism and with survey data quality being an issue, we need to know the writer has reviewed and confirmed the source material, so please link to actual survey or paper, not to a news report (and particularly not to a report behind a paywall).

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

1 in 10 men looks like an obvious lie
PS. This comment of mine is not an apology. I just now saw who I replied to. I apologize for what I told you earlier, but I will not delete it. I don’t like to sweep own mistakes under the rug 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by El Uro
Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
4 months ago

In 50 years time, the most important feature of the Cameron era will not be seen as austerity, the Scottish independence referendum, gay marriage or even Brexit. It will that in those years smartphones become ubiquitous and completely uncontrolled, not only amongst adults, but amongst teenagers and even pre-teens, and the utterly corrosive effect of social media and porn that arose as a result.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

What does Cameron have to do with the porn industry?

54321
54321
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

There’s a joke about pig heads in there somewhere, but I doubt it will pass moderation.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

While frequently obsessing over trivialities, he allowed this social revolution to occur with virtually no regulatory attempt at all to protect children from consuming this stuff at scale.

54321
54321
4 months ago

William Burroughs was spot on when he said that pornography invades new technology like a virus and the internet has unquestionably enabled a tsunami of the stuff.
Now in principle I’m not against any sexual activity between freely consenting adults, but there is an ethical line and some of the wretched filth which anyone can find without too much effort is way, way beyond that line.
So in that sense I want to agree with Julie Bindel. Its wrong in and of itself that some of this stuff is out there.
The problem is that I don’t really buy gateway arguments, at least not in the way they are generally used as post hoc ergo procter hoc explanations (“after therefore because of”). I don’t think cannabis is a gateway-drug in the sense that it leads to heroin use. I think the vast majority of heroin addicts are likely to have started with cannabis, but most cannabis users don’t go on to be addicted to harder drugs, so it’s a more complicated causal pathway and cannabis use may in fact be a largely incidental factor. Consequently I remain to be convinced that banning “gateway porn” would do much to change things, even if such a thing were even possible.
Which brings me to a second problem: if we decide that something must be done, what do we actually do? We could conceivably shut down mainstream porn sites by making it illegal for ISPs to carry them. But firstly it would be difficult in practice to do this in a way that didn’t also penalise legitimate but sexually explicit art. Perhaps more importantly though, the internet isn’t simply a road you can block with police cruisers. The dark web is a wild west town without a sheriff and has plenty of room for new prospectors. Any solution needs to recognise some of those realities.
Having said all that, when Julie Bindel says that some of this stuff people are watching is awful, I completely agree with her. When she advocates on behalf of women who suffer sexual violence from men, she has my support and admiration for her fearlessness. And we should certainly be teaching boys that women and girls aren’t just meat-toys for their own gratification.

RM Parker
RM Parker
4 months ago
Reply to  54321

Best comment in this thread so far, I think.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago

Amazing, how many responses here are not even about the content of this article, but conjecturing about Ms. Bindel’s personal life.
I am grateful Julie Bindel put to words something I have long felt to be true. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have always had a visceral revulsion to pornography. The idea of making a person, usually a woman, and often a women made to look like a young girl, an object or set of orifices for men nauseates me. No good comes from pornography. It definitely promotes rape and abuse.
I have been a teacher for 25 years, and my heart breaks for my current students who have grown up in the porn-saturated culture. I talk with them about the dangers of social media, and they all admit they saw things on their phones long before they were ready and regret it. These porn purveyors lie in wait for children and want to capture them with their perverse content, stealing their innocence and warping their perspectives. They cannot encounter sex in a natural way because their heads are filled with disturbing images. Is it any wonder so many young women want to become young men when womanhood has become so pornified and violated? Better to be Peter Pan and stay a prepubescent boy forever. Or so many young men wish to become women when they have watched addictive perverse porn, turning them into autogynephiles?
PornHub is especially evil and should be shut down permanently. But until adults can put the health and welfare of children ahead of their own prurient pleasures that won’t happen. It’s up to men to make that happen. So what will you do men to shut down porn and protect children? So many of you talk a good game about morality and the need for a decent, civilized society – put your words to action.

Last edited 4 months ago by Samantha Stevens
Anthony L
Anthony L
4 months ago

Perhaps the focus should be on what drives many men to consume ever-more toxic forms of porn, namely the over-sexualisation of society at large (thanks, feminism!) combined with chronic loneliness.
When you tell men that sex is the most important aspect of their life, whilst also insisting it’s toxic for them to pursue women for sex, is it any surprise they try to find relief through overconsumption of porn?

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Anthony L

Upvote from me for very effectively turning the guns around to face those doing the shooting.

David Walters
David Walters
4 months ago
Reply to  Anthony L

“When you tell men that sex is the most important aspect of their life
” Fact is, most men don’t need any telling to make this the case. It’s part of the male condition, notwithstanding that a minority are asexual, low libidoed, gay or religious etc.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Anthony L

Nonsense. Women didn’t tell men sex is the most important part of their life – men did. Looking for excuses. Many men who consume these things are not loners in their rooms – they are married, often with children.
It is not ‘over sexualisation’ per se but a capitalist, patriarchal libertarian left and right view of sexuality that can’t distinguish between self pleasuring and being in the presence of another human being.
Paedo porn isn’t new – there was a large Victorian appetite for it. Chid abuse isn’t new – talking about it openly and believing the children is what is new.
Traditional religions and the emotionally unaware radical libertarians are equally at fault: they both deny the effects and reality of sexuality.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

It is not ‘over sexualisation’ per se but a capitalist, patriarchal libertarian left and right view of sexuality that can’t distinguish between self pleasuring and being in the presence of another human being.

Absolute gem. They don’t write them like that anymore. Or at least I thought they didn’t.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

If I understand you correctly, David, do you believe that there is no difference (or shouldn’t be) between masturbation and sex.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Actually it was the 70s era hogwash I was commenting on.

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
4 months ago

So many male respondents seem to be more interested in the fact that Julie Bindel exists and dares to write about violent pornography & child abuse documentation, than the reality that hundreds of millions of images of physical & sexual abuse of women and children are circulated internationally each year, freely available to adult men and, even worse, to vulnerable pubescent boys whose budding sexualities are ruined.
I’ve read the following unsubstantiated and/or illogical claims 1) Bindel’s lesbianism is equivalent to pedophilia; that 2) the movement to prevent child sexual abuse & sexual violence against women in general by disincentivizing profit from documentation & circulation is tantamount to arresting men for thought crimes; that 3) “militant feminists” led to development of transgender ideology. Among other unhinged arguments.
Every time an Unherd writer attempts to address male sexual violence against women and children, including industries that promote and/or commodify it (trafficking & pornography), male commenters show up in the comments spewing as much inchoate rage as possible. That tells you something–that they are viscerally threatened. The hatred exceeds that shown toward terrorists.
Let’s say forensic IT folks find rape photos & videos from the Hamas kidnappers circulating online, and a male Unherd columnist writes about this atrocity, encouraging among other responses that end users of pornography learn the sources of whatever they use for personal stimulation so as not to further the harm to these innocents. Do you honestly think these same guys would turn up in the comments section, impugning the writer’s sexuality, or blaming Pro-Israeli forces, or implying that anyone masturbating to photos of kidnapped, raped, tortured, & killed teen Jewish settlers ought to be free to do so because they’re only engaging in “thought?”
What are y’all so afraid of? Will your penises no longer stiffen if you don’t have 24/7 masturbatory access to the documentation of violent sexual crimes? Did the species not reproduce before the advent of mass pornography? Why are your porn-addicted erections more important than protecting victims of sexual abuse from having photos of them circulated internationally in perpetuity? Are you really that sexually boring and monotonous that you can’t use your hand & your imagination?
The difference between porn-addicted & non-porn-addicted men in bed is literally palpable. The former have this glazed, trance-like stare, flaccid w/ 20-something female partners because they’re used to their own tight hand & junk-food-like fantasy. Guys who walk away from it are actually present in bed. Among my friend set, we’ve never met one who needed special meds, because they still respond to a real female body. Men don’t have to be feminists to see the motivation in that, far beyond the motivation to not literally orgasm at the documentation of a victim’s suffering.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

The difference between porn-addicted & non-porn-addicted men in bed is literally palpable.

I guess we’ll have to bow to your evidently more extensive experience. Do you survey their level of porn use first?

glazed, trance-like stare, flaccid 

Sounds like they might be drunk.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Trying to shame her by using the phrase ‘extensive experience’. Or are you just jealous, David. Probably the latter.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

True, and why the equation of porn watching with liking watching the female participants suffer ? Now I suspect most women do porn mainly for money , but they need to look like they are enjoying it for most porn users to enjoy watching , This idea that most porn users go for watching women being tortured or raped is ridiculous . This stuff may be available on the dark web but It isn’t normal

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Dear Alan, go and look at some of it and you will see. I once had the dubious pleasure of having to talk to two teenage guys at a college I was working at about issues surrounding pornography. One fairly mainstream magazine had a cartoon of a woman with flies coming out of her vagina. What does that suggest to you?
You are missing the point. A lot of the violent porn suggests that women enjoy being choked, assaulted etc – that is its purpose. The guy gets to vent his rage without guilt because the narrative is they like it.
It is not just available on the dark web – it is everywhere. Do a search (then clean your history!)

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

I’ll counter anecdote with anecdote.

Some years ago I went to see a film called Irreversible. It contained a really graphic, extended rape scene. As I turned my eyes away I saw that all the men had, like me, turned sideways in their seats so as not to face the screen. Within a minutes there was a queue of men trying to leave the cinema, myself included. The women, still in their seats, looked bemused.

I think that women have no idea how awful something like this is for normal men.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

a cartoon of a woman with flies coming out of her vagina

ï»żWas there a point to this? Was it some sort of visual pun or joke? Just how mainstream was that magazine? I’ve never seen any such thing anywhere, let alone in what I would call a mainstream magazine.

Though admittedly anything about a man’s p***s being cut off or mutilated does tend to get a laugh (even approval) from the ladies on mainstream tv. Just a bit of a laugh I guess.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A well known porn magazine – Hustler I believe. And yes, it was supposed to be funny

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

I think this is a deliberate confusion of S&M play with real violence. And that sort of stuff is clearly pretty popular with women – hence 50 shades and stats on female porn preferences. Particularly big with U.K. women apparently.

N T
N T
4 months ago

I clicked here, thinking there would be something substantial, like, perhaps, some sort of evidence, statistics, even.
I leave here with nothing, because there is nothing, here.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  N T

It might be said you brought nothing either, but thanks for letting us know.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  N T

Did you not check the byline for the author?

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
4 months ago
Reply to  N T

Julie Bindel never (dis)appoints

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

That’s true.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
4 months ago

The treatment of women and girls by men and boys seems to have become worse than before the ‘sexual revolution’. Shocking too that on what I thought to be a civilised forum so many people are more interested in discussing the author rather than the subject of her piece. Odd though that while governments are devising increasingly draconian measures to suppress online opinion, they have absolutely no interest in controlling
videos of violence and depravity. Why is this?

Last edited 4 months ago by Martin Smith
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago

This problem predated the Internet; tabloids had ads for telephone sex-lines graced with pictures of fake schoolgirls with the tagline ‘I’m not too young’ as early as the 70’s or maybe 80’s.

But the Internet has turbocharged it all and delivered it into the hands of younger and younger consumers.I saw someone buying an IPHONE for a young boy yesterday who was no more than 10 years old.

The porn industry knows exactly what it’s doing and was a great early investor in streaming services and the like because it saw their great, untapped financial potential. But it would never own up to this of course.

I think at this stage that the only way to keep kids safe from all manner of terrible content is to stop giving them the phones, but who’s going to vote for that ?

As for adult behaviour, some form of control needs to be re-imposed but this goes totally against the main thrust of our Liberal society. And now the cat has been let out of the bag, I can’t see how we put it back in.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mike Downing
Kat L
Kat L
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

I’ve already told them that they aren’t getting phones unless it’s the old timey ones that make phone calls. The online bullying and porno is a hard no for me, especially after the case of a teenagers girlfriend egged him on to commit suicide. She went to prison but there’s no coming back from that.

Sacha C
Sacha C
4 months ago

Thank you, as always, for your informative insight into this quite frankly terrifying issue that I honestly believe most adults and parents have absolutely no comprehension of what types of pornography have become mainstream.

You and you’re body of work are a real inspiration and reminder that there’s smart, analytical brains out there really engaging in this issue and how we should (or more importantly should NOT) engage in the issue. So thank you.

However the quality of some of the responses below completely turns my stomach. In light of your article, informed by decades of work and research I simply cannot believe some of the homophobic misogyny that exists.

Through reading and research, sadly I am no longer shocked by findings in your work (which IS shocking, in itself), but I am continually shocked by misogynists that are not even ashamed to make such embarrassing comments.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Sacha C

reminder that there’s smart, analytical brains out there really engaging in this issue

No need for sarcasm.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
4 months ago

I assure you that several conservative UK publications will not permit any talk about the fostering of so-called ‘intergenerational sex’ that is now taking place at some significant level now in public education as well as online.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Speaking of conservative UK publications can we talk about the weird thing their front pages had for teenage sensation Emma Raducanu?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Ditto Emma Watson (upskirted as soon as it was ‘legal’, Britney, Charlotte church (speculation over her 16th birthday activities)

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

“The scale of the problem is shocking. According to a major study released a couple of months ago, one in 10 men have carried out sex offences against children, either online or offline.”

I was unable to access the link because it’s behind a paywall, but I have to say anyway that I cannot believe that number. My guess is that it must include online behavior that is exceptionally widely defined.

Either way though, the argument in the article suffers from a misconception in its attempt to use the language of addiction to describe the problem. If we accept for the moment that mild forms of porn act as a gateway to more questionable appetites (I don’t myself, but for the sake of argument), then it does not follow that the language of addiction is appropriate here: the men led to satisfy these appetites this way always possessed them in latent form according to the mechanics of how addiction progresses, they were not handed them by their regular use of pornography.

Or in other words you can describe the problem in terms of addiction, or you can take a generalised opposition to pornography in moral terms, but you cannot combine both without subverting one or other parts of your argument.

That said, I do think there’s probably some sort of link between wanting to watch legal teen-like porn and wanting to watch actual teen porn that’s illegal. After all, if an 18 year old acts out a scene in which she successfully portays a 15 year old, it’s going to be indistinguishable from a scene in which the girl is actually 15, isn’t it?

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Probably so, and I don’t think the proliferation of pornography is a wholesome development for anyone, of whatever age, gender, or tendencies.
But allow me to pivot from your valid concluding suggestion: What about repeated exposure to graphic or sadistic violence? It seems that might lead to an increased likelihood of engaging in cruel or violent behavior, or at least a greater indifference toward victims thereof. Images of extreme violence–when presented as entertainment or without enough context–are a form of obscenity that is comparable to pornography, even if nothing overtly sexual is involved. In my opinion: Images and media that indulge in free celebration or fascination with violence are pornographic.
The process of so-called desensitization may have been heightened, in a real-world way, among our long-ago ancestors, many of whom would have witnessed public executions or shamings that were sometimes treated as entertainment. (Putting aside the ubiquity of early and awful deaths due to disease and “natural causes”). However, frequency and scale do matter.
We needn’t claim that watching a lurid show about serial killers or video montage of brutal/depraved sexual practices will lead straight to enactment in real life. But it’s no stretch to say that it will tend that way for some, especially those of tender years or more pathological tendencies. And especially after a sustained barrage of such material. This widespread filth is not going away, but harm-reduction in not without value.
*I agree that the 1 in 10 number is suspicious and likely dependent on a very loose notion of what it means to “carry out” a sex offense.

Last edited 4 months ago by AJ Mac
John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Well yes, you’re right in how you analyse the sort of porn containing violence and degradation – in fact, there’s a good reason why non-pornographic movies depicting extreme violence are often labelled torture-porn. The symmetries in question are undeniable, in my opinion.

I, for example, love horror movies but I’ve found in recent years that I have to qualify that statement to make it clear that while I love movies about ghosts and the supernatural generally, or creature features in which hapless Americans get chased by sharks/crocodiles/bears etc, I absolutely cannot watch anything containing rape, home invasion or torture scenes. (Slasher movies are a sort of middle ground, but usually because they can be made funny).

And to go back to my earlier point about addiction, I would say that watching degrading or violent porn reveals, not creates, a pre-existing appetite for such things. If it is true that millions of men possess a desire to treat women that way, complaining about pornography is a case of shooting the messenger here.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I’d agree that images and various media don’t create vicious appetites out of whole cloth, but I don’t think intense exposure merely reveals such appetites in an uncomplicated way either.
Not everyone can be persuaded (“taught” if you will) to derive a compelling thrill from killing cats, then people, something that has occurred with multiple true psychopaths who became serial killers.
However, the vast majority of people are potential murderers: they could and would commit an unjustified killing under certain circumstances, at some extreme level of mental distress or moral abandon. Most are potentially self-restrained and gentle too. Revealing this is no revelation.
Not all people would ever become the most vicious concentration camp official, for example. But I think Jordan Peterson is correct in his claim that most people of today, from whatever nation, would go along with it if it became the blood-enforced norm–at least shut their mouths.
On a smaller scale, growing up in a gangland culture–no shortage of ’em here in America–where people are murdered or “pimped out” on an all-too-routine schedule, doesn’t excuse one for becoming a murderer or pimp oneself, let alone compel those choices. But it certainly makes those outcomes likelier overall.
Shifting back to the comparison: The most damaged or deranged people may merely have their sexual deviance revealed through immersion in violent or age-transgressive porn. But there is a more common level of potential deviance that is not unaffected by the level and frequency of exposure.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

A second point follows on from this, which leads back to the headline: is the word “paedophile” accurate? Well no, it’s not. Paedophilia is a word that describes an attraction to children, not young adults. It is childrens’ very lack of secondary sexual characteristics that paedophiles are drawn to, so it is not possible that men can watch legal teen porn, be then drawn into illegal teen porn in which the participants are underage, and then finally end up on the dark web looking at kids, all as part of some progressively triggered sexual appetite that is self-perverting and which would not occur without the stimulating effect of easily-available online content.

That doesn’t make sense. Quite apart from anything else if it was possible to make someone a paedophile by such a mechanism, it would also presumably be possible to cure them of the disease by some sort of cleverly-devised reversal of the process, and it would also mean that people paid to police pornographic content online could not safely do so, because it would turn them into paedophiles themselves (Instead it tends to create people with PTSD but an unchanged sexual orientation, as we’d expect). It also flies in the face of the orthodoxy that one’s sexual orientation is not a choice. This looks like a can of worms which the author should beware opening, in my view.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree that Bindel’s view of sexuality is often reductive and simplistic.
There are lesbians sex offenders of course and that isn’t on her radar

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

the term for attraction to adolescents is ‘ephebe’ – still minors but not ‘children’ per se.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that for the Greeks this classification stopped with the first appearance of hair on a boys chin. Thus with the first appearance of secondary sexual characteristics. It would not include a sexually mature boy or girl.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yes, I believe you are right but people who call themselves ephebes often do so because it is more socially acceptable than paedophilia – so they have broadened that definition. One male writer I otherwise admire has called himself this.
The very varied age of consent in different countries also reflects the relative acceptability
And just to throw a sop to the men here who want women to be equal offenders, Germaine Greer’s photographic project The Boy did catch her a lot of flak. Justified flak in my opinion.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The study in question is about Australian men. It defined minors as those below 18 (in many countries the age limit is lower). Thus, in this study an 18 year old who had sex with a 17 year old would be a child sex abuser. This is a link to the study: https://www.humanrights.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/Identifying%20and%20understanding%20child%20sexual%20offending%20behaviour%20and%20attitudes%20among%20Australian%20men.pdf

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

If it is the case that the 1 in 10 statistic includes 18 year olds having sex with 17 year olds, then it is completely meaningless as a study of paedophilia. That is not to say there isn’t a legal issue with such a scenario, but it does mean that the inclusion of this statistic in an article where the word “paedophile” appears in the headline amounts to bad journalism.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

In the U.K., 17 year old girls date slightly older boys by choice. This is legal, most would consider it pretty normal and the only people upset by it would be 17 year old boys.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes. A person attracted to a sexually mature 17-year-old is not a pedophile but is breaking the law (in Australia, though not in the U.K.) if the attraction is acted upon.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

And a 40-year-old man dating a “fully-legal” 18-year-old–or 16-17-year-old, where legal–is doing something irresponsible and selfish (there may be exceptions, but they seem rare), but not at the same level of wrongness as someone who pursues a physical child.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

a sexually mature 17-year-old

Almost by definition, attraction to an attractive sexually mature member of the opposite sex is normal for someone who is heterosexual. For most, such fleeting feelings are easily dismissed as inappropriate if there is a significant age gap.

And most importantly – they are not acted on.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Some interesting stuff in the report, including the following:

Most men who had sexual feelings towards children 

. were born in Australia (62.9%),

So more than a third were not, but were first generation immigrants, perhaps from countries and cultures where considering young women of almost 18 to be children is not the norm.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Which means that if two 17 year olds were dating, and his 18th birthday came first, he would then become a child abuser until her birthday (and remain one in terms of this report for the rest of his life!). And this not just for full sex, but for “sexual contact”.

If her birthday came first, would she also be a child abuser?

The only useful purpose this study seems to serve is to provide artificially high figures for child abuse for those who want them.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

you have not looked into the whole of the site and all of its research I’m afraid. You have totally misread the whole of its findings.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago

I would ask the male readers to read this:
I am grateful Julie Bindel put to words something I have long felt to be true. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have always had a visceral revulsion to pornography. The idea of making a person, usually a woman, and often a women made to look like a young girl, an object or set of orifices for men nauseates me. No good comes from pornography. It definitely promotes rape and abuse.
I have been a teacher for 25 years, and my heart breaks for my current students who have grown up in the porn-saturated culture. I talk with them about the dangers of social media, and they all admit they saw things on their phones long before they were ready and regret it. These porn purveyors lie in wait for children and want to capture them with their perverse content, stealing their innocence and warping their perspectives. They cannot encounter sex in a natural way because their heads are filled with disturbing images. Is it any wonder so many young women want to become young men when womanhood has become so pornified and violated? Better to be Peter Pan and stay a prepubescent boy forever. Or so many young men wish to become women when they have watched addictive perverse porn, turning them into autogynephiles?
PornHub is especially evil and should be shut down permanently. But until adults can put the health and welfare of children ahead of their own prurient pleasures that won’t happen. It’s up to men to make that happen. So what will you do men to shut down porn and protect children? So many of you talk a good game about morality and the need for a decent, civilized society – put your words to action.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

Sorry to hear that, and frankly you are courageous to post in such an atmosphere. The lack of reply and comment means they have nothing meaningful to say to you. Those that have some empathy for women will continue to be empathetic : those that don’t are silenced because they could not try to challenge you without revealing their rampant misogyny.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Perhaps it’s because disagreeing with someone under such circumstances would be tactless! Why do you continually take such a negative view of men?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Because Samantha is asking for her personal experience to count – and to receive a considered response. Not silence even due to sensitivity or fear of tactlessness.
Yes, I have also been sexually assaulted over a long period and all of the women in my close personal circle have been as have both my closest gay male friends.
the fact that so many of the posters here were not even willing to discuss Bindel’s viewpoint shows denial. They would rather talk about her own sexual preferences, do whataboutery with ‘women do it too’ etcetera . All of this is a refusal to face up to the reality of the prevalence of sexual violence, even when faced by children.
It seems odd that some of them even read it.
As it happens I don’t have a negative view of men – I have a negative view of misogyny, bullying, narcissism and homophobia whether displayed by men or women. All of which have been on rampant display here in the responses.
If you display denial, insensitivity and indifference to discussing child abuse in a general discussion on it, then you are, by definition, not sensitive to anyone who has had the experience.
The bad attitudes are here for all to see. I noticed them. that is all.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

I suppose I’ll play the villain then. Free expression must be defended even when it is not popular. Your personal story is indeed a poignant one, and considering what you’ve gone through, I can understand your personal feelings towards pornography. In your experience, they are justified. While they may be justified, and sympathetic, they are still your personal beliefs, and none of us is entitled to a world that conforms with our personal beliefs. I have no issue with people advocating, educating, and promoting abstinence from pornography, or standing up for victims of crime, or pushing for harsher sentencing laws, or a broader legal framework that can be used to prosecute criminals who distribute and share criminal videos involving children and non-consenting adults on the internet. It’s apparent to me that Pornhub is a corrupt organization that needs to be shut down for profiting from criminal acts. We clearly need better protections in place for women and harsher penalties for offenders.
However, categorically banning a form of speech, however odious it may be, opens the door to all sorts of abuses. When a majority uses their power to enforce their beliefs, even one that is wildly popular and broadly agreed upon, it abrogates the rights of others. People must have to have a right to have unpopular beliefs, or even objectively wrong beliefs, and those rights must be defended or pretty soon nobody will have any right to their own beliefs at all. The fact is that the notion of human rights and freedom of expression stands in opposition to the bulk of human history where the powerful and the affluent have had free reign to persecute anyone who holds beliefs they don’t like. It is free expression that allows people to form their own opinions and reach new consensus. Racism and misogyny are no longer accepted because people spoke against these things, and because they weren’t banned from doing so. Freedom must be studiously defended, even when it isn’t popular.
I’m sorry for what happened to you. It was awful and criminal and I hope the individuals responsible rot in prison and then burn in hell afterwards, but I must contest the way you use your personal experience as a rhetorical cudgel to browbeat ‘men’ into adopting your viewpoint. Life is full of ugly realities, and the reality is that you want porn banned because you hate it and you know very well that’s the only way you can get rid of it. Your motives may be pure, but your tactics are not.

David Walters
David Walters
4 months ago

It’s a bit much suggesting that men who find small boobs attractive are potential paedos. Plenty of women over 16 are slightly built. In itself, slenderness does not imply sexual immaturity. Many men developed sexually at a time in their lives when the females in their age cohort were ‘schoolgirls’ – white blouses, uniforms etc. They often develop early crushes on them, have their first romances, experimental relationships and sexual episodes with them. It’s hardly shocking that in later, more complex and demanding times in their lives, men might think fondly back to those simpler, carefree times and recall intoxicating teenage emotions. This is not pathological. It is in fact the (obviously early) maturity of schoolgirls that is being recalled, not prepubesence.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  David Walters
William Amos
William Amos
4 months ago
Reply to  David Walters

What on earth am I reading? The writer is talking very clearly and intentionally about scenes which “make adult women look like children”.
This is not about a consoling reverie of the careworn man-of-the-world, this is about the masque of child abuse.
Thinking fondly of the loves and embraces of ones youth is a clean different thing from making a fetish object of the prepubescent female form.
Surely that is chillingly obvious to all?

Last edited 4 months ago by William Amos
David Walters
David Walters
4 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

Respectfully, that’s just not the case. “Teen w***e used and abused part 2” – Teens 13-15 are children. Teens 16-19 can consent to sex and often do. I see no reason to assume that finding the acted sexual antics of ‘teens’ stimulating refers to children rather than legally consenting individuals – especially as the performers are almost always in their twenties.

A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  David Walters

You’re saying you find it stimulating to see teens being used and abused?

A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  David Walters

It is never ok for adult men to “think fondly” (IE sexually) about under-age girls.

This shouldn’t need to be said.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

Are we talking about under 18 (under age) and over 18 (adult) here? Everybody knows that girls of that age prefer to date older boys. Presumably they “think fondly” of each other.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
A J
A J
4 months ago

From the survey. 15.1% of men would have sex with a child below 14, 12, or 10 years old if they thought they would get away with it.

Men who have sexual feelings towards children
Six survey items were used to determine if men had any sexual feelings towards people below the age of
18 years. These were:
Ćč Has sexual feelings towards people below the age of 18 years (3.4%);
Ćč Would have sexual contact with a child between 12 to 14 years if no one would find out (5.7%);
Ćč Would have sexual contact with a child between 10 to 12 years if no one would find out (4.6%);
Ćč Would have sexual contact with a child younger than 10 years if no one would find out (4.0%);
Ćč Has concerns about sexual feelings towards people below the age of 18 years (4.5%);
Ćč The lowest age they typically find attractive is under 18 years (5.7%).
Around one-in-six (15.1%) men endorsed at least one of these items and were indicated as having sexual
feelings towards children.

Arthur G
Arthur G
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

3-5% of people are basically pure evil. That’s the prevalence of narcissistic sociopaths in most societies. The only reason they see for them not to do evil things is that they might get caught and punished.

A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Ah yes, the “not like other men” argument. The survey quoted here shows that the majority of men viewing child sex abuse porn are married, have children of their own, and are in fairly well-paid employment. Ordinary men.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

Oh please, go and read a stats primer.
The majority of men viewing child sex fit your description because the majority of men fit that description!
It does not follow from that that the majority of such men watch child porn.
God I weep over our education system sometimes.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

A quick look at the report shows the men to be atypical in many respects: 6 times more likely to have been sexually abused themselves, binge drinkers, suffering higher rates of depression and anxiety etc. Not “ordinary” men.

Ian Wray
Ian Wray
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

Where exactly in the survey does it report “15.1% of men would have sex with a child below 14, 12, or 10 years old if they thought they would get away with it”? On page 12 it does state that “Around one-in-six (15.1%) men endorsed at least one of these items and were indicated as having sexual feelings towards children”.
I note that the men in the offending category of the survey were significantly more likely to experience mental health problems and/or alcohol over-use. Moreover, they were significantly more likely to have suffered ‘adverse childhood experiences’. Particularly noteworthy is their raised likelihood to have themselves suffered sexual abuse in childhood. This reminds me of other studies that demonstrated that male sex offenders were much more likely to have been childhood victims of sexual abuse, very often by adult women. For a discussion of this issue see chapter 20 of The Empathy Gap, by William Collins.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Men who have chosen to stop using porn need to have serious conversations with boys about its harms. 

A reformed porn addict is the last person I would let near any children.

This is like having reformed alcoholics (who have now found the lord) bludgeon kids about the evils of alcohol. It’s not the alcohol that is so terrible – many people enjoy it in a sensible way – it’s the messed up personalities of people now doing the preaching that is the problem.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You’re wrong. You are assuming that people cannot change or recognise harm in their own behaviour.
It is a fact that ex gang members who have renounced violence are some of the most effective mentors for educating vulnerable adolescents/children against the lure of gangs.
Ditto porn

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Depends really. Were former gang members addicted to violence or was it a means to an end? Also, such individuals have usually been through lengthy periods of incarceration and supervised rehabilitation with time to think about their actions. I’m not sure that the same is true for reformed porn addicts or ex alcoholics.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Psychopathy, sociopathy and narcissism (indeed personality) have all been shown to be stable over time. All are highly effective manipulators able to take in the gullible. I wouldn’t want them near children.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

I can just imagine the scenario. Former child porn addict stands in front of a classroom of children. “Hello boys and girls. Just imagine, there was once a time when I used to 
.. over pictures of children just like you. And now, surprise, surprise here I am talking to you about porn. I’d just like to give a quick vote of thanks to al, the gullible adults who made this possible.”

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

No I wasn’t talking about child porn addicts. You misunderstood me. All child porn is a record of actual child rape. I am talking about those addicted to adult porn counselling those with similar problems. counselling paedophiles is an entirely different proposition. Most counsellors in the field do admit that working with actual contact sex offenders is tough with a high recidivism rate – but not impossible.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

OK – fair reply.

I still don’t think using people with addictive personalities is a good idea.

First because these people clearly have personality problems, even if they are currently redirected or held in check. I would avoid exposing children to such damaged people, especially as role models of some kind.

Second, because they are not typical of normal behaviour. They are prone to addiction, whether to alcohol, gambling or porn. Children need balanced sensible advice from people who can manage their lives effectively, not from the extreme fringe who cannot. And post addiction they can become fanatical, assuming that because they were incapable of managing something, that thing must simply be evil.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Addiction is not abnormal – it is exceedingly common. As is sadism. After all, humans seem to think boxing is a sport. Sexually coercive behaviour and violent behaviour are not uncommon. It it is James Bond doing it, it is applauded (yes I know it is fictional)
If you read any amount of literature by male writers you will see normalisation of rape. Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie ends with an potential gang rape. In no way does he describe these characters as aberrant. It used to be regarded as a young adult classic. Louis Macneice, a poet I love, has used the word rape more than once to mean ‘assertive sex’.
People who have no understanding of the temptations cannot help – they only judge as you have done. Those who have successfully mastered their compulsions do have a lot to offer. Yes, some relapse but many do not.
There is such a thing as maturing and learning from your mistakes. Plus the self discipline it takes to overcome an addiction is a valuable quality and the skills you need for this can be transferred.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Addiction is not abnormal

It is in the sense of “something wrong”. Comorbidity with personality disorders is common. Almost by definition the inability to manage one’s actions and emotions is at the least immature. That’s what adults do, and what distinguishes them from children.

Obviously once one has become physically addicted to something that is harder to break.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

This seems to be a lot of rationalization to justify censorship. In the name of ‘preventing’ crime, we ban something that leads some individuals to commit crimes. Whether the thing banned is the true ’cause’ of the crime in the first place is, of course, nearly impossible to determine on a case by case basis. Of course no person who wants to be taken seriously can make such an argument, because for every consumer of porn who goes on to commit child abuse, there are probably a great many who do not, and this is fairly easy to verify. So, in order to justify censorship, we get studies of correlations between X and Y and because Y is so horrifying, we are justified in the banning of X. This article follows that same predictable pattern, an academic argument about correlations and studies between porn and child abuse, then a pastiche of horror stories of child abuse that ended up being filmed and used as porn. I may as well be reading an article from turn of the century prohibitionists about ‘demon rum’ or some other fear based propaganda. There’s an argument to be made for closer regulation of the porn industry, but this isn’t an argument, it’s an emotional appeal dressed with a veneer of science.
The Pornhub suit has been mentioned in other articles, and it has quite a bit of merit. People shouldn’t be allowed to profit from illegal activities even if they themselves didn’t commit the acts, and knowingly profiting from rape is clearly a ghastly crime, but this falls well within the bounds of crime and punishment in a law based society. That said, it’s quite a leap to ban something categorically because of the actions of a few bad apples. We wouldn’t ban automobiles because some people drive recklessly and cause accidents. We prosecute and punish those who break the law, and that’s that. This doesn’t need to be so complicated, but regrettably we’ll probably never be free of moralist crusaders for utopia determined to eradicate sin using whatever ideology happens to be convenient and willing to step over whatever individual rights are inconvenient.

Last edited 4 months ago by Steve Jolly
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

“We wouldn’t ban automobiles because some people drive recklessly and cause accidents. We prosecute and punish those who break the law, and that’s that.”
Finally, something that accounts for reality. This is one of the very comments that relies not on ideology, not on pop psychology, not on emotional virtue signaling but rather on common sense.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The problem is, Steve, that rape trials do not result in convictions and of course many cases are dropped before trial.
There is a male researcher in Scotland taking seriously the prospect of having judge only trials for rape cases because juries are failing victims repeatedly.
The Savile case shows that it is easy to get away with it even when you are blatantly dangerous but less powerful offenders get away with it too.
Because not enough people care – as the comments here so amply demonstrate.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Problems with the application and enforcement of laws are not relevant. You’re raising a separate issue, and I’m sure it is important, and using judicial trials might be advisable for these kinds of cases, but it doesn’t change the basic fact that banning pornography to possibly, marginally decrease the rate of sex crimes is the exact sort of macro level social engineering that tramples upon individual rights and ignores personal responsibility. You are looking at the issue from a collectivist, all of society perspective, which I believe is fundamentally invalid and will lead to all sorts of bad behavior and tyranny, because it always has throughout history. It may start with porn, but it won’t end there. It never does. Some other moralist do-gooder will do a study that link something else to some crime and then try to ban it for the good of society, and then another, and then another.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

We limit free speech according to harm. Incitement to racial hatred is a limit on free speech and an arrestable offence.
Actions are not speech. Filming sexual assaults is not speech, is it? Since the genre includes ‘faked’ assaults and the real thing, how are you going to tell apart which is which when the genre is violent, aggressive Porn?
And in fact the issues are connectedbecause even when actual sexual assaults are filmed and quite young people involved , the assaulters can claim that the person enjoyed it as an exhibition and a performance. It is a common line of defense.
by the way, what you said to Samantha was despicable and I’m reporting you.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
4 months ago

Your persistence in bringing these issues to light is most welcome. I have a question about the issue of free speech. Perhaps the legal framework in the UK is different on this than in the US, but in the US, The Supreme Court has ruled that, “transmitting obscenity and child pornography, whether via the Internet or other means, is… illegal under federal law for both adults and juveniles.” (Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1998).) Here is the US DOJ’s guidance on this, if of interest: https://www.justice.gov/criminal/criminal-ceos/obscenity

I also want to note, particularly to scoffers about the seriousness of this problem, this excellent article from Nicholas Kristof on the subject of children and Pornhub: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/sunday/pornhub-rape-trafficking.html

Keep it coming, Julie: you are on the right side of history here.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

But Sheath’s views come from profound experience. He qualified as a probation officer in 1988 and has spent his career trying to understand male sex offenders

And if he was dealing with murderers he might well have found particularly selective viewing habits too. He is looking at a particular group, who are, by definition, not typical.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
4 months ago

Is a sex theorist named Michael Sheath nominative determinism? Asking for a friend.

A J
A J
4 months ago

“Contact offenders in our study were more likely to be older, not younger: 95% of men who answered yes
to the question “Have you had sex or sexual contact with a person below the age of 18 while over the age
of 18?” were over 24 years of age, and almost half (48.4%) were over 54 years of age. The odds of having
had sexual contact with someone under 18 years was 4.80 (95% CI = 2.29 – 10.06) times greater for men
aged 65 years or older than those aged 18-34 years”

From the study.

Last edited 4 months ago by A J
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

If I’m reading this right, a man of 60 would answer yes if he had had sexual contact with a girl of 17.5 when he himself was 18. Is that correct? And what would constitute sexual contact? Touching a breast? If so, is that any surprise to anyone?

Or are you saying that large numbers of old age pensioners are currently having sex or sexual contact with teenagers?

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Rather than downvoting – if I’ve misinterpreted the report, please tell me. Otherwise you are just downvoting facts you don’t like. That’s childish.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
4 months ago

My overriding concern these days is that the sexualizing of children, in media and in schools, leads to children erasing the line of permissible adult behavior. How can it be bad when a trusted, even loved adult, messed with you when at ten years old, you’ve been introduced to the concept and fact of sexual pleasure?? And told that it’s normal and okay…. all the while being cautioned about adult participation. It doesn’t compute. Why would it?

It will drive the “age of consent” down. Adult restraint is giving way to hedonism throughout western society. There’s a price to pay.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

JB is simply anti porn. She is not anti porn because of child porn. That is not her motivation. She simply wants to exploit the victims of child porn as ammunition in her own crusade.

A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

She’s hardly “exploiting” them; she’s seeking to protect them and future children from being sexually abused. And children should be protected. If she wrote an article saying “let’s ban all pornography” it wouldn’t have any effect, would it? Because men like porn. But most people agree that children should not be involved in porn in any way.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

If she wrote an article saying “let’s ban all pornography” it wouldn’t have any effect, would it?

Exactly – that’s why she has to use children to make her argument. But that’s not her motive. If child porn vanished tomorrow she’d just need another angle.

A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yes, ending child porn is a first step, because Bindel, like most people, sees children as the demographic most harmed by the porn industry. If child porn ended, she may well then move on to seek to protect other groups who are used and abused within the porn industry, such as trafficked women. Women who are trafficked are sold into porn, prostitution and even surrogacy. It is modern day slavery and should indeed be ended. I support Bindel all the way in campaigning against porn.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  A J

And when all porn is AI generated?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

No-one victimised in production -psychological effects depend on content

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
4 months ago

A Marie-Claire survey found that 31% of women watch porn ‘every week or so’. A variety of other surveys indicate that between 20 and 25% of online porn audiences are women. The Philippines has women as the highest percentage of the Pornhub audience at 52%.
But Bindel hates ‘men’, so columns such as this.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

But do they watch it alone or with their male partner? I have never watched pornography, nor would I. I imagine most women watch porn to please a man. Women don’t want to look at other women with better bodies servicing men in painful and humiliating ways. Trust me.

Last edited 4 months ago by Samantha Stevens
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

You are assuming that you are typical, but you may not be. In my experience women vary a great deal sexually. More so than men. Some watch porn a lot, some never do. Some self pleasure a lot. Some never. I also believe there is a current vogue amongst heterosexual women for gay porn.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Last edited 4 months ago by David Morley
Phil Rees
Phil Rees
4 months ago

“I have interviewed male porn consumers who have freely admitted that their perception of women changed because they got sexually excited by watching them be abused, degraded and hurt. Few men start off logging on to porn because they hate women and want to debase them. But porn gives them the message that this is how sex is, that women really love having their heads shoved down a toilet, or strangled until her lips are blue.”
I’m not sure I believe this. I’ve accessed porn occasionally as have, I suspect, most men, and have been appalled and put off by any suggestion of abuse or anything non-consensual. I’m confident that normal men find that kind of thing utterly repugnant, so I think those men Bindel interviewed must have had a pre-existent kink of some kind. Indeed her very words shows this – for those she’s interviewed ‘got sexually excited by watching them be abused, degraded and hurt’. This illustrates the bias she brings to her investigations.

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
4 months ago

The claim is made that 1 in 10 men have committed sex offences against children. The linked article is paywalled. Anyone have any details about the contents of this report? I’d be very interested to see a breakdown of what these offences consist of.
I imagine most of them do not consist of actual abuse or consuming CP.

R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago

Somewhat surprised Bindel didn’t point out the elephant in the room, namely AI generated images. The implications of it on all if this will be staggering.

David Pogge
David Pogge
4 months ago

As a clinical psychologist who has been conducting evaluations and treatment of sexual offenders – both convicted and pre-adjudicated – for more than 35 years I can say that (a) child pornography is difficult to access on the internet and is typically only accessed by those who are willing to devote some significant time and effort to it, (b) most of the men who get caught accessing this material are not pedophiles (i.e., sexually attracted to prepubescent children), (c) viewing and masturbating to pornography of all kinds does have the potential to become addictive, (d) those who immerse themselves in pornography tend to branch out into a wider variety of images in their viewing as they become habituated to the images that were previously sufficiently arousing, and (e) most users of pornography – particularly those who view it frequently and masturbate to it – do not begin seeing sexual images of children as they broaden their interests. The ready availability of something that gives people pleasure (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods, gambling, marijuana, pornography, etc.) will always lead to greater use and always lead to overuse and misuse by some percentage of users. When this happens people are punished in a variety of formal and informal ways. But this is the price of a free society. In a free society people have the opportunity to misbehave but most do not; and those that do are usually punished in one form or another for their behavior. The alternative is an authoritarian police state. This would reduce, but not eliminate, the unwanted behavior, but it would come at a great cost in many other ways. All of life is a compromise. Adult life involves choosing between compromises based on one’s perception of their apparent relative costs and merits.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Pogge

What’s notable about your admittedly informed response is that you seem indifferent to the harms experienced by the addicted men,never mind the effect on everyone else.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
4 months ago

I have just listened to a broadcast where the main theme was how to live with the flood of sexual ‘content’ on social media – TikTok and Instagram featured prominently – that influences children as young as nine. The thing that strikes me most about it, having grown up well before social media, is that it is gratuitous one-way spoon-feeding, where earlier generations depended more on two-way experience that exposed them to be impacted directly by their own behaviour. Even titillation by e.g. magazines required some effort.
The headline photo shows Japanese Manga images, which have been around since the 19th century so have had plenty of time to be absorbed into culture without causing an explosion of child abuse, but which clearly depend on infantilised figures. Despite online porn being seen as intrusion of ‘adult’ material into the world of children, the underlying social trend is, as I see it, infantilisation of adult behaviour generally.
I wonder how much this applies outside ‘Western’ societies, neglecting child trafficking in countries that might be considered to have an excess of children combined with a shortage of cash, a situation that has even existed in Western countries within living memory. Even amid the visceral reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict, one cannot avoid noticing the difference between the ‘new age’ lifestyle of Kibbutzim compared with the hard reality of life in what is virtually an internment camp in Gaza.
The present situation seems to me (a) fundamental, (b) pathological, and (c) irreversible, at least as long as the energy-fuelled affluence that powers our leisure culture lasts. The paradox is that the pro-active measures suggested by the author go directly against the lines of least resistance that social media open up. Pushing water uphill is always going to be hard work.
This suggests to me that the only preventive other than starvation is, as with an infectious disease, vaccination with some level of critical capacity and moral resistance. This, albeit vaguely, was also a theme of the broadcast, focused on sex education in schools. All is not doom: as long as there is something more important to do, some people, and children, will have more important things to think about.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nicholas Taylor
Don Lightband
Don Lightband
4 months ago

“..the TIDAL WAVE of child sexual abuse” One can almost see Bindel frantically paddling her surfboard to catch a good ride on it before it smashes down on the sceptered (paedoph) isles once and for all, carrying every last good little child within them off to hell. Phrases like that one, along with the idiotic image Team Unherd has chosen to head JB’s latest serving of alarmist fever, bespeaks methinks nothing but tabloid-bound disaster for the journal…

Last edited 4 months ago by Don Lightband
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Rather ironic choice of picture and caption. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world for both women and children. So safe, that young children travel to school alone on public transport. It also has a rather odd thing about school girls.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Actually David, women and teenage girls are routinely groped and sexually harassed on Japanese public transport. I had a conversation with a guy married to a Japanese woman and he told me all about it. They even have a special name for the tube gropers because it is so common.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis
A J
A J
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Considering the ubiquity of global violence against women and girls, that may not be saying much.

Don Lightband
Don Lightband
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Routinely? Routinely?? That is a gross exaggeration. A straight lie, even. Having spent huge amounts of time on Japanese trains all over that country i have never observed any such activity, ever. Or heard tell of same. *Chikans* now belong to the domain of myth, and of course, the gleeful genius of hentai airtists. Besides, if any Japanese female fears getting groped, she can opt for a female-only carriage (where, on reflection, her chances just might improve)

NB: Japanese has a “special name” for everything that exists. For it is in fact a different language than English!

Last edited 4 months ago by Don Lightband
Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Don Lightband

So they have female only carriages for what reason, Don? Think you shot yourself in the foot there.
I admire much about Japanese culture. Fan of music, anime, art, could even fancy myself as a Shinto the more I read about it.
Their attitude to women – not their strong point

Don Lightband
Don Lightband
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You truly have to wonder why so many wish to downvote your simple observation. Almost as if the plain fact of Japan and the countless weirdos, otakus and chikans it manages to fully incorporate into its beautifully harmonious (and as you say maximally safe) blend, would spoil the vicious scapegoating-structure they much prefer!

Last edited 4 months ago by Don Lightband
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Don Lightband

I think they need a really simple black and white narrative of good v evil. When reality doesn’t provide that they suffer cognitive dissonance and become aggressive. I’m not sure if the issue is cognitive: they struggle with complexity; or indicative of some sort of personality disorder. But it’s concerning either way.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Japan, home of creepy anime sexy child characters, safe?

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

That’s precisely the incongruity that some of us are trying to point out! Reality does not simply conform to crude black and white narratives, feminist or otherwise.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

Dear Julie, while I understand why, due to your position on trans rights, you are writing on Unherd, if you bother to read these comments, you will see how inappropriate it is for you to be here and how wasted your journalism is in this environment.
Few of the responders seem to give a damn about children being abused because they are too busy hating women, feminists, or anyone else who doesn’t gel with their conservative world view.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

I’d say she should continue, since it brings out the misogyny into full view, which is better than having it hidden. Also, there are a few very well-considered comments/discussions (such as AJ Mac/John Riordan) and besides, i’m sure Julie Bindel isn’t one to flounce off where criticism is concerned.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Steve, I fired off that one in dismay before I mentioned the posts you reference. actually quite relieved

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Understandable. Ignore the downvoting, it’s pretty meaningless in the wider context of things.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s not misogyny. Her writing is shoddy and biased to the unindoctrinated. I suspect the reason Unherd pay her is precisely because her writing is shoddy and biased as it generates a heated discussion.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago

I have to disagree. The work she does – actual practical help and support to abused women – far outweighs any stylistic elements and although that provides her with a particular perspective she’s hardly going to worry about whether she’s producing great prose.
I much rather read what she has to say than any number of perspectives from those not actually involved in the groundwork. It’s that background which leads me to suspect she couldn’t give a damn about those – unindoctrinated or not – who take umbrage at telling it as it is.

Last edited 4 months ago by Steve Murray
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think it does matter. She produces propaganda which may well apparently support her cause in the short term but is nonetheless propaganda. I have learnt (often the hard way) that in the long term, truth really does matter.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

It’s also people’s duty to expose propaganda when they see it, and at least hope that this will help. I make a habit (no doubt irritating to some) of pointing out poor reasoning and bad evidence when I see it – even if it’s from a side in the debate that I generally agree with. We do need gadflies. The struggle towards truth, or at least away from falsehood, is too important to leave to those who shout way better than they think.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I have to disagree

Actually you don’t. Have a strong coffee. Open your mind. Her writing is terrible. But tremendous click bait.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

I think that’s exactly right, and if it wasn’t so much fun I would try and resist rising to the bait.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I also think she should continue: as it brings out the facts, exposes the rhetoric and reveals the half truths and activist research. Oh and the numpty fan boys and girls who swallow whole any nonsense they agree with.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Few of the responders seem to give a damn about children being abused 

Thats a particularly nasty ad hominem.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

But true, no, David? Because a lot of the responders didn’t even appear to notice that this article, whatever you think about the content, is about preventing child abuse.