Truth About Men and Pornography

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, reacting to the recent Internet craze over Britney Spears crotch photos, offers this “truth” about men:

The alternative sexual universes men create for themselves via pornography are fueled, not by sexual lust primarily, but by feelings of hatred and vengeance towards all women, but in particular, beautiful, successful, women who are untouchable, unreachable, impossible to personally dominate, something most men find intolerable. It’s not about desire. It’s not in any way about appreciation for beautiful women. It’s not really about sex, either.

The problem with this “truth” is that it is not true. While I’m sure there is a high incidence of pornography use among men who hate women, porn is simply ubiquitous in our culture. As technology has made access to porn easier and, more importantly, taken the stigma out of it by increasing privacy levels, it has become nearly universal–so much so that companies are having to install filters to keep employees from looking at porn instead of working.

Unless we are going to define “misogyny” in such a way as to include a goodly portion of the men in our society–and virtually all of our teenage boys–feminists should disabuse themselves of the notion that porn is primarily about a secret desire to harm women. As Freud observed, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Hat tip: RightPundit “McCain”

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, Uncategorized, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tim says:

    She probably was a Feminist Studies major in college.

  2. MobbyG says:

    Pure and simple truth? I think she just needs to get laid.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Way to confirm a thesis, MobbyG.

    Unless there are two Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoffs out there, she’s the mother of 11 children, stepmother to 5 more, and grandmother of 9.

  4. DC Loser says:

    What she doesn’t mention is that lots of women also get into watching porn, and doing their own amateur porn with their boyfriends or husbands.

  5. Anderson says:

    Seelhof also pretends that sex is some kind of Bouguerau painting, rather than an emotional experience that can have elements of violence, hatred, sadism, masochism, etc., sublimated into lust.

    She reminds me of the kind of feminist whom Joan Didion so memorably pegged as “wounded doves.”

    (OT, saw that Everyman’s has an omnibus edition of Didion’s nonfiction — an excellent idea. Didion’s like Orwell; even when she’s wrong, it’s very difficult to be aware of that while you’re reading her.)

  6. Cernig says:

    in particular, beautiful, successful, women who are untouchable, unreachable

    I’m sorry? I thought we were talking about Britney here.

    There’s a massive…umm…hole…in Seelhoff’s pet theory. As far as anyone can see Britney created both the pic and the hype through a deliberate set of actions. The pic wouldn’t be out there to oggle if she hadn’t. Her co-conspirator Paris Hilton isn’t exactly unknown for such antics either.

    How did that become the sole fault of the folks who took the pics she had obviously set up? Or those who viewed them?

    The trouble with extremists of any stripe is they have no sense of nuance when it doesn’t fit their narrative. It’s always a case of “Death to All Fanatics!”

    Regards, C

  7. Anderson says:

    I’m sorry? I thought we were talking about Britney here.

    Comment of the Week, Cernig!

  8. LJD says:

    I don’t get the ‘beautiful, successful, women who are untouchable, unreachable, impossible to personally dominate’ part.

    Britney is a dumb trailer ho.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff is a flaming moron who should be given a drool cup. I bring up one bit of data that blows her theory out of the water: Gay Porn.

    Oh wait…gay men…hate other men. Like I said a flaming idiot who probably should have a computer and all other forms of communication taken from here lest she hurt herself even more.

    Just thought I’d add, I haven’t even tried to find pictures of Spear’s coochie. Just isn’t my type of girl…now crotch shots of Kelly Hu on the other hand…

  10. Gollum says:

    Unless we are going to define “misogyny” in such a way as to include a goodly portion of the men in our society . . .

    That’s exactly the premise that underlies Seelhof’s “truth.” Here’s a lovely excerpt from one of her commenters:

    I can’t believe there are still women who don’t get it: ALL men. ALL men. All. It’s concealed to get laid. It’s revealed when they lose it. . . . Get real. They’re all rapists. It’s not this guy is good, that guy is bad. Men. They are all men, and they all have the privilege. The man you are sleeping with/working with/sitting next to in your gender studies class/being a blood donor/working for community issues/saving your babies life in the pediatric ward~~~~~~~~ALL.

    The level of open hatred in the comments (this quoted one is among the worse) is really quite astounding.

  11. Monica says:

    I don’t have any issues with my husband looking at porn on the internet as long as he doesn’t hide it from me and it isn’t demeaning to women or over the top nasty. He only does it maybe 2 times a month. I’ve had some friends recently tell me that this isn’t “right” and that there must be a problem if my husband is looking at porn. Any guys here have any insight as to whether or not this is “normal” behavior?

  12. Steven Plunk says:

    Men look at the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, various movie stars (some undressed), Victoria’s Secret catalogs and usually we are imagining things that are not likely to happen. The next step would be naked women so I don’t see anything abnormal at all. I can’t even watch “Raymond” reruns without having a few thoughts about Patricia Heaton. Who I certainly don’t hate and have no vengeful feelings toward.

    Normal is whatever a couple decides.

    Lust is a normal human emotion. Men lust after cars, power, and women. We even look at sports photos and imagine ourselves grabbing that touchdown pass. That doesn’t mean we hate athletes either.

    It seems to me violent porn appeals to violent people and not all porn is violent so why make the leap that all porn leads to violence?

    If we can have beauty pageants to admire beautiful women then why would it wrong to admire naked beautiful women. Or men (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  13. Anderson says:

    Monica, guys look at porn for all kinds of reasons, very few of which suggest any problem with their relationship. I wouldn’t worry about it, so long as your sex life stays good.

    and it isn’t demeaning to women

    You sound like you have a fairly commonsensical definition of that in mind — god knows there’s some creepy stuff out there — but virtually all porn is “demeaning” at least in the sense of treating women as fantasy objects. As long as a guy can tell the difference, no problem.

    One does hear, however, of women wanting to have recon Brazilian waxes, or surgery on their breasts, nipples, even — I do not make this up — anuses, b/c their boyfriends or husbands want them to resemble the women in porn. This is nutty — nutty that the guys would want that, & that the women wouldn’t kick ’em to the curb.

  14. Anderson says:

    Oops — “Brazilian waxes or recon surgery.” I’m not sure what a reconstructive Brazilian wax would be, but probably someone wants that too.

  15. floyd says:

    was that freud??? or clinton!!

  16. Anderson says:


  17. JOse Luis Agüela says:

    I think all men looks porn.But not for to hate anybody, but to love naked women

  18. Renali says:

    Way to be complete dishonest, Gollum. YOu know full well that comment had NOTHING to do with Seelhoff’s thesis. And too take it out of context is a whole new level of low.

    And way to prove Seelhoff complete right, LJD, Mooby et, by trotting out the idiotic misogyny in response.

    Lastly, thank you for the few commenters who actually tried to address the issue instead of proving Seelhoff’s thesis correct. It’s comforting to think that there’s some of the male sex that aren’t too busy surfing the net for pics of Britney’s nether regions.



    not all men look at porn. However those that do are easily identifiable by how lame and awful they are in regards to sex.