It is accepted by many that the influence of the Catholic church on Maltese politics is not only present like it is in other democratic countries, but goes too far. This can be viewed by a series of censorships, as well as criminal charges on people who ‘vilified religion’ or used vulgar language in artistic works. It is all the more evident in the church’s tough stand against the introduction of divorce in Malta, the absence of which is only present in the all so Catholic Philippines.

However now we are facing a situation when a local MP that gets elected on the ticket of a Party that promotes itself as progressive wants stricter laws on consenting adults who like to watch other consenting adults having sex in front of a camera. Dr Adrian Vassallo goes to the extent of expressing envy towards theocratic countries such as Iran due to their stronghold on laws against religion.

Needless to say this is ridiculous. However even worse than that, I see the recurrent situation where we are discussing prohibition or not for things such as pornography without going into the issue itself. Waving farewell to secularity, people like Dr Vassallo find the main reason for opposing pornography in the bible or other religious texts.

In reality, pornography can have a negative effect on society if approached with the wrong attitude. However the reasons for this are not religious and the answer is definitely not prohibition.

I listened to an interesting discussion from Cindy Gallop. Ms Gallop is not very sympathetic towards pornography. However she did not derive her conclusions by reading the bible. Rather these were based on her own sexual experiences with men, conversations on the issue as well as browsing porn sites.

According to Ms Gallop what she terms as ‘the porn world’ presents a different reality towards sex than ‘the real world’. In her website http://www.makelovenotporn.com she explains these different realities. For example, the porn world gives the impression that women love having men cumming on their faces. In reality, the majority of women don’t. Another false impression is that a woman having fun while touching a man reaches an orgasm after another without having anyone rubbing her clitoris. In reality, things don’t work that way.

What Ms Gallop advises is not censorship (and let’s face it, with today’s technology cencorship is not only a nasty thing but also impossible to accomplish) but education. Women should learn that they are not obliged to (for example) accept men cumming on their faces or into their mouth. Refusing to do such things does not mean that she is a lesser woman in bad, because that is what the porn world has teached her partner. Neither should a man expect it.

Some men, especially those with a low self esteem are harmed by porn because they feel different, even inferior to the men performing pornography. They should learn that the reason their partner does not have an orgasm every two minutes for hours on end is not because they are inadequate but because it is the natural thing that happens when people are having sex. It is the porn world that is wrong, not them.

Censorship hurts in more than one way. On one side it is arrogant, theocratic and undermines democratic principles. On another side it prevents well intentioned and informed people from teaching the truth and exposing reality. Thanks to people like Dr Vassallo, we still have the porn but not the educaton.

I would also warn Dr Vassallo that if he really decides moving to Iran he might feel shocked by the fact that despite the strict prohibition he will still find access not only to pornography but also well organised brothels.

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