Pornography is the depiction, both feigned and real, of physical interactions between human beings and other human beings and/or other stimuli. Like any other set of interactions--economic, social, spiritual, etc.--it spans a gamut that ranges from debased and degrading on the one hand to genuinely exciting and mutually "beneficial" (with respect to pornography this would mean arousal, heightened sensory awareness and confidence, and of course orgasm).

In my experience (that is, in my circle of acquaintances), there is a slightly higher frequency of pornography use among males; on the other hand, among the many woman I know who make use of it, it seems to be more straight-forward and uncomplicated by feelings of guilt and ethical ambiguity.

Trust, love, and intimacy are clearly precious foundations of any relationship. The question is, is there any clear, broad, statistical data that support the very common presumptions that you echo here? It would seem, no. So personal attitudes toward pornography have to be considered personally, and not based on false pseudo-epidemiological claims. One may take a personal spiritual or philosophical position against pornography that is sound, but it seems that empirical studies will not support such positions in the way we might want: that porn is a de facto emotional toxin that is inevitably harmful to psyches and relationships. Surely this is extremely interesting and worthy of discussion, whatever one's a priori position.

I might compare it to the eating of meat. An ethical commitment to vegetarianism is clearly noble and defensible; but the empirical examination of the contribution of animal proteins to human health reveals a spectrum of benefits (particularly to women) that outweigh the harms. Our good buddhist friends would likely be unfazed by this fact and continue to embrace vegetarianism. Perhaps this might help to nuance your own response?

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