Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 19 February 2014

All About Saying No

I have thoughts about porn.

I have seen porn. I have looked at magazines, films and the internet. I know a little bit about it. Not a lot. I’m not an avid consumer of porn, but I’m not a total porn-virgin either. I doubt that many of us are, in the internet age.

I have thoughts about porn.

My overriding thought about porn and the sex industry in general is that no nine-year-old girl playing with her dolls has a hankering to become a sex worker when she grows up. That’s sort of the bottom line for me. I believe that what we want to be when we grow up is a pretty good indicator of the sort of person we probably are. I believe that the sort of playing we do is a pretty good indicator of the sort of person we are probably going to grow into. I, for instance, didn’t play a great deal, but I did live an imaginary life in an imaginary world that was pretty real to me, and pretty close to the world as I experienced it. I was often a worried child, more worried than I should have been. It shows now. 

When I played, I played with a dolls house and I played dress-up and I made up stories about people and places. I told stories. I wanted to be a teacher at one stage and a barrister at another, because I thought that was about justice and solving problems. I wanted to tell stories too, but never realised that was a real job that real people did. Funny that.

I’ve never met a little girl who wanted to sell her body. At various times, my daughters wanted to be action men and lawyers and teachers and dancers and vets and musicians and politicians.

You get my drift.

The truth is, though, that some women, and men, too, end up being sex workers, and some of them make good livings and long careers out of those choices, and some of them don’t end up being clich├ęs. Some of them, many of them, don’t end up raddled on drugs or dead in parking lots. Some of them, many of them, aren’t victims. In the twenty-first century, many of them make good choices and add to our understanding of the world we live in and even the relationships we have and the sex we decide to indulge in.
Stoya, the pornstar behind the
New Statesman article

The New Statesman recently ran an article in which a sex worker, a porn star going by the name of Stoya, outlined her ideas about consent, what it means and how everyone can invoke the right to say NO. I think she has a point, so I’m posting a link to the article here (by all means check out the video, but it’s aimed at people who are interested in becoming performers in the adult entertainment industry).

I’m ambivalent about all of this. I hear tell that the proliferation of porn gives young people taking their first forays into their own sexual experiences unrealistic expectations, and that worries me. I’m ambivalent about all of this. I see the sort of trash porn that is freely available on the net and I know that kids are watching it and maybe thinking that anything goes and everything is normal, and that worries me. When I was a kid, we learned about sex by finding someone we liked and messing about with them, and, on the whole (no pun intended), I think that was probably what had been going on since time immemorial and I think it was probably pretty healthy.

Right now, though, it would be naive to think that’s what’s happening for this generation of kids and for a decent percentage of adults too, and, right now, we have to do what we can to ensure that we are all healthy in mind and body when it comes to our personal lives, and that has to include our sexual relationships.

I might not take advice from a porn star, but I also never, ever had any trouble saying no to anything. I never had any trouble laughing at anything or being shocked by anything. Perhaps now is precisely the time for many people to be taking advice from a porn star on the subject of sex and sexual relationships. I’m tempted to think that most of her advice is at the very least pragmatic for our times, and most of it isn't half-bad either.


  1. Interesting post, Nik, thanks for making it. I haven't read the original article but I'll seek it out.

    Have you read Ali Davis' "True Porn Clerk Stories"? It was originally a blog but is now available as an ebook. Some really interesting thoughts on porn and the relationship that its users have with it.

    1. Thanks for that, Matthew, I'll look it up.

    2. Thoughtful post, Nicola, about a complex area. I suppose the starting point would be making sure all kids CAN say no so that they can make free choices. Not sure everyone can at present.

    3. Just finished reading the True Porn Clerk Stories, Matthew. Really good stuff. I expect I'll be writing about them soon.


    4. Glad you liked them! She has a pretty cool Twitter feed too (@Ali_Davis).