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Influence of porn seen as creeping into broader culture

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When New York’s Finest indulged in a bit of “dirty dancing” with some West Indian Day Parade participants, the crowd roared its approval. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said he didn’t want to make a tornado out of a tassle.

 

Not a big surprise.

Pole dancing and strip tease routines — once derided as seedy entertainments — are now taught in gyms citywide.

Fetish wear — studded dog collars, “hooker heels,” once seen mostly in X-rated movies and cathouses — is common in the fashion world.

Sociologists call the infiltration of pornographic imagery and behavior into mainstream culture “porn creep.” And some say it’s affecting not just entertainment and advertising — American Apparel and Abercrombie & Fitch ads, anyone? — but our interpersonal relationships as well.

Porn is the leading means of sex education in the country, and an entire generation has been brought up believing that’s the norm, asserted Gail Dines, author of “Porn Land: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.”

The result? “Intimacy is being socialized right out of them,” said Dines, a professor of women’s studies at Boston’s Wheelock College. Young women have responded to porn’s juggernaut by increasingly adopting hyper-sexualized, vampish self-presentations in order to attract potential partners, she added.

Most troubling is research showing that “hook-up sex” has replaced dating” on college campuses, said Dines. Young men report a boost in self-esteem after “scoring,” while young women find theirs plummeting, Dines explained. “The girls do it hoping it will lead to a date, but it never does,” as their partners increasingly prefer industrial-strength performance sex without intimacy.

Not too long ago, Internet “porn addiction” was almost unheard of as a factor in failed relationships. “Sexting” — sending and receiving salty messages as well as clips of variously bared body parts via cell phone — is not only the practice of disgraced politicians and golf champions, it’s common among teenagers as a courtship strategy.

Porn is even used as bait by misguided males seeking hook-ups, observed Kellie Wright, 21, of Yonkers. When she was dating, guys invited her to view porn on their laptops. “I covered my face and asked, ‘Can you turn that off?!’

“Guys are always wanting to try out what they’ve seen in the videos,” Wright said, adding that she has accepted that her current boyfriend follows “Pinky the Porn Star” and “Buffy the Bod” on Twitter.

Men, increasingly, feel entitled to sex almost as a form of recreation without the benefit of a relationship, chorused Yilianny Rodriguez, 21, of Kew Gardens. “They’ve forgotten what love is.”

“Soon, sex won’t even be about love,” added Wright. “It will just be based on who can do what the best. It makes me feel sad.”

Others decry porn’s critics as puritanical and alarmist, and claim its mainstream acceptance is a sign of social progress. Plenty of healthy, happy people who are committed to their partners use X-rated aids to keep their relationships interesting, they argue.

“Unemployment, financial insecurity or financial dependency does more to damage relationships than pornography,” said Dagmar Herzog, CUNY Graduate Center history professor and author of “Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History.”
Pornography has been infiltrating “public space for at least 50 years,” she said, yet “people still fall in love; people still seek intimacy and intensity.”

On Valentine’s Day, 35-year-old Queens resident Larry Russo said his wife gave him a lap dance “to “spice up the relationship.” However, “a pole isn’t in our budget,” he laughed.

 

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