Ran Gavrieli: Why I stopped watching ...

I stopped watching porn for two reasons basically. The first one was that porn brought so much anger and violence into my private fantasies. And these were anger and violence that were not there originally to begin with. And I did not want it for me anymore. This was not me and, I decided to just put an end to it. Easier said than done... I got it later, but... The second reason was that I became to realize... I came to realize that only by watching porn I take part in creating a demand for filmed prostitution because that's what porn really is: filmed prostitution. "Pornē" stands for prostitute, "graphia" stands for documentation. Prostitution was nobody's childhood dream, it is always a result of trouble and distress. Now, I became aware of that gradually, when I was volunteering with men and women in prostitution, some of them victims of human traffic, serving aid in brothels, under the bridge and street corners. But you don't really need to do all that in order to understand how this mechanism of porn and prostitution works. Because porn is a genre - it's not about erotica or healthy sexual communication. It's all about male domination of women, subordinance of women. Not only the sexual practice, but as a way of being, as a genderial hierarchy in this world. If we would ask porn, how does it define something as sexual? What qualifies, what defines something as sexual? Porn would laugh in our face. What defines sexual? Whatever men find arousing... Men find it arousing to choke a woman? To have a brutal sex without one touch, hug, kiss, tender caress? Well then it is sexual. It arouses men to see a woman or child cry? It is sexual. It arouses men to rape a woman, well, then it is sexual. In every mainstream porn gallery on the web, we can find the rape category side by side with the humiliation category, abuse category, crime category and so on. And this is all as if this regular porn is not already filled with these motives. Even in its mildest version, the mildest version of porn, what porn is showing us like, I know, 80%, maybe 90% of the time is actually sex with no hands involved. This is not how we authentically desire... Sorry, I'll repeat that, I see your look. Sex with no hands involved... okay. If you and I are not going to give up watching porn the next thing you do watch just you just notice that porn cameras have no interest in capturing any normal sensual activities such as petting, caressing, making out, touching, hugging, kissing... No... What porn cameras are into is the penetration. So normally the composition will be a man and a woman, hopefully just one, okay... so, one man and one woman... His penis is inside her. It doesn't matter where inside. Somewhere inside. His penis is somewhere inside her, okay? And in order not to block the camera for doing this extreme close up on the penetration, he's standing with his hands behind his back most of the time. And the woman is in this... uncomfortable position and she needs to handle the penis inside her without damaging the hair or make up or look down on her because that's money invested and time invested in her. Without disturbing his aggressive movement and mainly without blocking the cameras. So the result is that we got two people having sex different shapes and acrobatics or something... but they're having sex when the only body parts that actually touch each other are the penis and the part being penetrated. No hands involved. I talked, I don't know, 250-300 times a year, soldiers, students, pupils... No one has ever come up to me and say "Ran, you know that part with sex with no hands thing that was my authentic desire, like when I was 11 or 12 I never wanted to kiss or touch anybody. I was not curious about that. It was all the penetration to begin with." No one has ever said that... -- before porn. After porn... In my private fantasies before watching porn, there was always a very strong narrative and the narrative was of sensuality and mutuality. Which means that I always imagined what I would say to her? What would she possibly answer? What options do I have to respond? In real life it never worked like I planned, but it was important in my mind in term of arousal the build up, the location, the setting, where will it be? What are the circumstances of me and her being all alone all of a sudden. How will this bodily inflaming between us will emerge step by step? It was super important ...before porn. After making a habit out of porn... it conquers your mind and it invades your brain. And I lost my ability to imagine. Which mean I found myself... and I won't be too explicit, but trying to masturbate, just closing my eyes trying to fantasize desperately about something human and not making it because my head was bombarded with all of those images of women being violated and subordinated and forced into pretending they enjoyed diabolic sperm rituals. So, this is pretty much the result. We are all vulnerable to pornography. It's not just young people... We should be very careful. Not only what we put into our bodies in term of food and nutrition... But with the nutrition of our mind. Everything we watch invades us. I'll give you a short example from non-sexual areas. I came the other night, I came back home and my beloved one was watching some cultural junk. She was watching a karaoke show audition, the one with chairs spinning. We don't have a TV set back home, but only because it allows us to falsely present ourselves as deep and profound people. (laughter) I've never heard of that. Mastectomy who? Angelina? No, we don't have a TV. We watch every cultural junk possible, okay? Neither me, nor her, contemplate about existence. We download stuff. And we download all cultural junk. I am watching this 20 minutes karaoke show. And it was so boring and tedious. Two minutes talking, four minutes blabbering. I lost patience after 20 minutes and I went off to take a shower and the most interesting part was in the shower. Because what I found out there was myself in most pathetic state ever... I'm going to share it with you. I want to feel that you accept and love me, so I will share my most pathetic moment and you have to accept it now. I don't know until I got over myself if it took me five, seven, ten minutes to realize that I am standing under the water in the shower pondering severely what would've been my song for the auditions? Deep and profound, mind you! I won't be doing this Rihanna or Lady Gaga's. I will be doing Mercedes Sosa's Como Un Pájaro Libre. I'll be doing a cover for Bob Dylan's Blind Willie McTell. Ain't that deep and profound? I had to realize that I'm an idiot because I have no talent for music. More than that, I never wanted to be neither a musician nor a singer or songwriter. This was never a part of my inner world of wishes, okay? But I'm a human being. What can I do? I was watching that for 20 minutes It entered my brain for a while. So if we take this example we can try to estimate the impact of 20 minutes of watching no matter what, how it invades our mind and conquers our wantings and desires. Let's just try to imagine or I can share it with you orally what is the impact of 20 minutes of watching porn once or twice a week, nothing unmoderated. It's overtaking. And porn is in our household, whether we want it or not and I believe that it does not agree with our well being. Because we have internet in the western world all over the place almost in every cellular phone now we've got 90% of 12 year-olds watching porn on a regular basis. And it has both an addictive effect and a paralyzing effect. It's addictive, because it develops somewhat of a dependency on porn. And paralyzing because, mainly for young boys and men, porn is teaching us that as a man you are solely valued in sex by having a large penis and an eternal erection. According to porn, being a valuable sexual partner does not relate with being sensual, passionate, attentive, generous, well-coordinated. None of the above. It is all about large penis and eternal sunshine, which we don't possess. So boys become paralyzed. And if they don't become paralyzed by watching porn very often they turn into imitators of what they saw, which then means they become aggressors. Aggressors, even when emotion is involved. There is so much sexual abuse going on nowadays within the confines of what we perceive from the outside as beautiful teenage love stories, or healthy adult relationships. Because we don't really talk about sex we just see it all over, we don't really talk about it. So, what goes on in the confines of a certain room but these are all sexual mutations that happen. If we talk about women, it's not only that, but young girls even get the message not only from hardcore porn but from a porn influenced main stream culture. Have you seen any Miley Cirus, Lady Gaga video clips or commercials? That's porn with clothes on. So girls get this notion that if you want to be worthy of love first and foremost you have to be worthy of sexual desire. And now, the definition of sexual desire almost equals: be like a porn star. So I work in dozens and dozens of high schools and junior highs. In every single one of these schools I find girls that at a certain point agreed to be documentedin an intimate situation because they wanted to please some guy that they had feelings for. And this guy misappropriated their trust. Always the same story. So he sells it on WhatsApp application or on the web, on the internet. And normally nobody even addresses him in terms of moral. But it is always girls that suffer from shaming and mortification. They can change the school... they drop out normally. They can move to another city and still be haunted on social networks. They develop clinical depressions, severe eating disorders, as if we don't have enough reasons in our culture to develop eating disorders. They become so isolated socially. So some of them - like Amanda Todd, rest in peace... - some of them actually commit suicide. Because they find no more value in life or in themselves. So, porn is not only in our house. It is a capital case. It is not a minor phenomenon in our society. It is a question of life and death sometimes. It is mainly a question of life and death for the people who participate in porn, because porn is not an embodiment of freedom of speech, freedom of occupation, blah-blah... No. It's an embodiment of sex-exploitation, working side-by-side with human traffic raping, pimping, solicitation. For every one porn star with a book contract or a production company, we've got hundreds of thousands of women and girls who do not survive out there. Literally, they just don't make it. The sex industry just chews them up and spits them back into brothels, into hooking in the street, escorting, massage parlors with happy or unhappy ending depends who you ask. And I am not joking. This is the whole spectrum of prostitution. So many of them do not even make it to the age of 50. I am talking about countries that the life expectancy is at 75, 76 years now. They don't make it to the age of 50. 4 reasons mainly. Drugs, STD - Sexually Transmitted Diseases being murdered by a john, a pimp, a boyfriend and the fourth reason is suicide once again. Because if you are a prostitute, on camera or off camera, you are in the situation that we can refer to as social death. We have all sat on the dinner table with people who probably consumed prostitution that have been to a brothel once, twice at least. We never sit down to the table with a prostitute. Not with a declared one. So that's social death. It is not glamorous. Not at all. And when I sit in the privacy of my room and watch porn, even without paying... No need to pay, it's free. I hope you know that, if you're still consuming... Whatever I am watching is creating a demand. And wherever there is a demand, there will be a supply. There is a correlation. If I watch pornography of black, older women, somebody is going to go out and pimp black older women. Asian minors? Somebody is already trafficking Asian minors in order to film them. Israeli women, Palestinian women WASP, all American college girls. It's a strong in the last few years it's a very upcoming category. The scum of the Earth are already out there trying to solicit and prostitute these women on camera. So, I stopped watching porn for my personal well-being. My intimate communication, my private erotic life. Reclaiming control and responsibility over my mind. But by doing that, I actually stopped contributing to this horrible sex industry. That's a good thing to do, I believe. And I would really like to propose that notion of physically and emotionally-safe sex, emotionally-safe sex. It does not mean going back to be conservative or unliberated sexually. I am all for sexual freedom. It just means that we need to put genderial hierarchy aside, subordinance aside. And bring back in... let's just say, "laughter" as a critical method for intimacy. Two souls, two humans, two souls alone in private, can they please have a laugh together? Whether they know each other for a decade or for an hour... If two souls alone in a room do not manage to have a laugh together, what good could possibly grow there? Sexual and non-sexual. That's emotionally safe sex. I've got so many things I want to share with you but I feel like my time is almost up, so... I just really want to ask for us to speak about these issues more because I strongly feel that our history of silence never did us any good, because silence only perpetuates more silence, when talking normally gives birth to more talking, more sharing, more identification, more awareness, more change. A small change, we have a small humble life. But a real change, a true one, emotionally safer. Thank you for listening.

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