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Getting Off: Pornography and also the End of Masculinity

Lewis Wallace
Date Published:
November 01, 2007


This book offered me a stomachache. For around 50 pperiods, I nearly thought the guy was making powerful relationships for me. And then I preserved analysis.

Jensen, that is a white male scholastic and the writer of the recent book The Heart of Whiteness starts by placing pornography in the conmessage of patriarchy, racism and systemic violence. Jensen honors the feminist tradition of connecting the personal to the political with fragile stories of his attempts at being an “alpha-male” and also his reflections on his life as a male in a woman-hating culture. He implores various other men to stop struggling to be “King of the Hill” and let go of their supremacy, crmodifying feminist women such as Catharine MacKinnon and also Andrea Dworkin as inspirations. He critiques patterns of violence and also imbalance in heterosex-related relationships and sexualities. And then, Jensen descends right into the worst of the worst of anti-porn, anti-sex criticism.

Getting Off proports to focus on the “commercial heterosexual pornography industry,” however proceeds to make sweeping statements and also tough indictments of all pornography and also of “the pornographers,” as Jensen typically calls porn producers. The middle area, entitled “Pornography” expends a far-reaching word count recounting scenes from mainstream porn featuring acts such as double penetration and also anal sex, and verbal abusage and some physical pressure. He quotes the woguys acting out fantasies that he sees as degrading, and also points out the reflection of mainstream misogyny in the movies, imploring men to “look in the mirror.”

As Jensen buries himself in rhetoric claiming that he does not desire to control or objectify women, nor to judge them based on their exterior traits, he definitively states that “a lot of womales execute not seek out” anal sex or double penetration (vaginal and also anal sex at the same time), among other sex acts he proceeds to explain with palpable disgust. He accoffers female porn performers of “saying they enjoy” particular sex acts. At one allude he even ideas that female ejaculation may or might not be actual (ouch). Jensen successfully maneras to use his “pro-feminist” pages to insert subtle hatred toward women’s sexuality that rivals the hatred of the worst, the majority of woman-hating porn producers. Same demon, different disguise. I wonder if Jensen needs his very own long look in the mirror.

He also doesn’t mince words regarding male sexuality. According to Jensen, “men commonly consume pornography particularly to protect against love and also affection” (one of many type of assumptions he draws based upon limited objective information) and also, to quote among his chapter titles, “We are what we masturbate to.”

Transsexual menace

Here are some questions Jensen could have tackled, yet doesn’t: Why do so many type of males fantasize about power play? What about once women desire to play via power? What is the role of sex-related repression in encouraging a misogynistic porn sector to thrive? What around consensual fantasy and BDSM as valid elements of healthy and balanced sexuality? How does anti-porn activism influence queer and also feminist pornographers and feed into conservative activities against us? As he critiques the misogynistic means that womales are shown as “sluts” and “whores,” Jensen also implies his idea that womales who would want to connect in particular sex acts are “sluts” and “whores”—and also provides no critique of why those words should have an adverse connotation. Jensen’s objections of an exploitative industry loss short in the lack of an essential look at sexuality itself as a natural and differed component of human experience.

A chapter in the direction of the finish addresses what the function of sexuality itself could be—a pretty daring question to explore, if not a wise one. Jensen takes concern via the principle that “sexual acts have the right to be detached from a genuine person” or that physical pleasure can be the point that matters about sex, claiming that these principles feed right into patriarchy. He also concedes “tbelow are psychoanalytic theories around fetishes” that he finds also facility to comprehfinish, and also anyexactly how, he finds “somepoint sad around it.” The sex educator in me is completely with through Robert Jensen at this allude, though the feminist boy may still be willing to listen.

In conclusion, Getting Off says functioning for an finish to masculinity and to male identity entirely—a clever idea, if only he had controlled to cite also as soon as the transgender activists and also sex justice motions that have actually lengthy been emerging nuanced analyses of masculinity, males, and also the principle of an “finish of gender”. It never ceases to amaze me how so many type of world that research sex still regulate to protect against the “transsex-related menace” in their composing and also analysis.

Jensen is a clever before writer and his book is a basic review with some shining moments. He speaks lucidly around the deep interest men have in undoing a mechanism that dehumanizes them by making them into well-trained oppressors in ways that deserve to extend right into the intimate and sexual. He attempts a look at racism in pornography, an facet of the debate many kind of shy ameans from. In a favorite tangent of mine in the direction of the finish, he argues that maybe “patriarchy is not a successful adaptation in evolutionary terms and also will result in the extinction of the species.” That’s pretty juicy stuff.

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Still, I couldn’t assist yet question what, after years of women’s debate on the concern, this certain book taking dvery own pornography has to market that is different and new? Is it just an additional case of a member of a privileged group capitalizing on an oppressed group’s struggle? For all his talk around finishing manhood, is Jensen’s very own manhood the totality reason this book matters? My transsex shoulders shudder to think.