Brain Heart World: Reaction to The Anti-Porn Documentary

Heard about the latest anti-porn documentary?

The industry took another small blow in September with the release of an anti-adult industry docu-series that claims to lift the lid on the harmful effects of porn. Brain Heart World has been produced by the charity Fight The New Drug who believe that ‘porn kills love’. A movement that has been gaining momentum over the last few years, their fundamental belief is that all porn is damaging to individuals, relationships and society in general. Using a mix of only facts, science and personal accounts there aim is to educate people to make an informed decision about pornography.

In this feature we take a closer look at exactly what the Brain Heart World documentary is about and why it’s causing a stir in the adult industry. We’ll also find out the reaction from pro-porn supporters and discover some of the reasons why there are always two sides to every coin.

What is Brain Heart World?

A three part series produced by the non-profit organisation, Fight The New Drug, Brain Heart World is a documentary exploring how pornography affects individuals and society. The episodes are  each filmed with a different focus and use a mix of scientific research and individual stories to present their viewpoint.

Which is?

Fight The New Drug believe that decades of studies prove that porn can have a detrimental affect on relationships, individual well-being and society at large. They want to provoke a discussion about how easily accessible and hardcore adult content can impact:

  • The brain
  • Understanding of consent
  • Our ability to get aroused
  • Mental health
  • Friendships and intimate relationships
  • Self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame

Episode One: ‘The Brain’

In the first episode, the filmmakers explore scientific research that they believe supports their views on the neurological and physiological harm that porn can have on us. The argument is that our brains are designed to love, think and live but porn destroys our feelings and emotions so we lose what it is that makes us human when we watch adult content.

People talk about being addicted to porn and how this has damaged their lives with some very personal accounts. One participant relates how they feel they have become asexual in real life, only becoming aroused around pornography.

brain heart world documentary reaction

Episode Two: ‘The Heart’

The second episode focuses on the way pornography impacts our relationships including both romantic and platonic. The documentary explores all kinds of interpersonal connections from those we have with our family and partner to our colleagues and friends.

It’s made very clear from the outset that the view here is about how porn damages our ability to form healthy connections and loving intimacy. There is an argument being made that by watching porn, we are bonding with a screen and failing to invest in human relationships.

brain heart world documentary anti-porn

Episode Three: ‘The World’

In the final part of this documentary series, Fight The New Drug examines the social impact of pornography. From presenting the case for interlinking between the adult film industry and sex trafficking to porn being on-screen prostitution. In it, the experts discuss stats and studies on the link between porn and sexual violence.

anti-porn brain heart world documentary anti-porn

Production of Brain Heart World

In putting together this anti-porn documentary, the producers have enlisted the help of former porn stars, including one of the most successful names of all time, Randy Spears (real name Greg Deuschle). They bring to the table plenty of advocates for the anti-porn movement in the form of representatives from One In Four, The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Prostitution Education and Research. They also use the personal accounts of people whose lives have been negatively affected by pornography including some explicit accounts of coercion, sexual violence and addiction.

In all, this documentary is proving to be a very powerful and persuasive tool in the fight against pornography production and is reaching a wide audience – latest figures from SimilarWeb suggest that monthly traffic to the site is already exceeding 375,000 people.

However, the films are not without their flaws and have been receiving plenty of counterargument in the industry as well as a good deal of criticism.

brain heart world documentary

The Porn Industry vs Brain Heart World

There is no doubt over how impactful the Brain Heart World documentary series is. It has been well produced with a whole host of factually correct information, persuasive presenters and heart rending personal accounts from people who have, undeniably, faced trauma and major issues in their lives.

The problem with Brain Heart World is the conflation of professionally produced, consensually created and ethical porn vs the proliferation of unregulated amateur porn.

Professional Porn vs Amateur Porn

The porn industry, like any other world of business, is in the game to commercially benefit from the sale of a professional product. As a result, the onus is on them to do so in a legitimate and principled way. This means creating adult content that is safe and consensual with adequate controls in place to ensure participants are of legal age and free from STIs. Without these controlled conditions being in place, they run a very real risk of breaking the law which is the last thing that any business wants to do.

By contrast, amateur porn has no obligation to adhere to any rules whatsoever and there are no mechanisms in place to identify the participants or to know if they have consented to a) taking part and b) being filmed.

Without any active controls being in place around amateur adult content and its provenance there is no doubt that some porn created for tube hosting sites (and other platforms) is made illegally. This could involve anything from sex trafficking to coercion, prostitution to revenge porn and even involve the use of minors.

The porn industry goes out of its way to steer clear of any implication of these kinds of activities and invests a lot of time and effort to ensure that this is not the case.

Professional porn actors and film producers are business people who do a job and (most of the time) their job is something that they enjoy doing and get paid a fair wage for. And, in most countries, porn industries are wholly legal.

brain heart world anti-porn documentary reaction

Premium Porn vs Free Porn

Which brings us to another issue that Brain Heart World doesn’t really address.

Since the internet has made porn more widely available and with the rise of tube hosing sites like Pornhub, YouPorn and XVideos, free porn is the expected norm and most audiences refuse to pay for their content.

There are thousands of tube hosting sites pedaling pirated premium porn and freely uploaded amateur content at a staggering rate. Three of these platforms occupy the top ten most visited websites in the world (XVideos, XNXX and Pornhub) and receive more visitors per month than Amazon, LinkedIn and even Netflix.

With this level of content being freely available, the adult film industry has lost a certain element of control.

Whilst under premium-rate protection, porn is kept at arms reach of those members of society who shouldn’t be watching it. Yes, of course teens could get hold of a credit card to pay for a trial subscription but, generally speaking, the vast majority of people would not accidentally stumble across hardcore content.

The porn industry has been against free porn-streaming sites since they came to market; the bottom-line is that this was bad for business.

brain heart world documentary free porn

Free amateur porn lacks any kind of regulation. Image via Pixabay,

The Brain Heart World  documentary is keen to lump the legalized global porn industries into the same category as amateur pornography. However, the two are very different things; one is (largely) a conscientious, ethical and professional business that plays by the rules. The other is a multi-headed beast that doesn’t know or care about the rules.

The core message at the heart of Brian Heart World that all pornography is bad is a bit like saying that education is evil. Bear with us on this one because we make a valid point.

The outcomes of taking part in, or watching, porn vary depending on the circumstances and the individuals involved. Education too can be abused and brainwashing kids into religious extremism, creationism or flat-earth-ism can all be viewed by the rest of society as being bonkers.

Just because this happens (and it does), doesn’t mean to say that we would all demand that all schools be torn down and teachers cast out of a job. No. That kind of wholesale reactionary response to a problem is outdated and at odds to the democratic ideals that we, in the West, hold dear.

If a single school or group of schools or curriculum was failing or found to be inadequate, we would examine why and find a solution and not just throw out the idea of ‘education’.

So, why is pornography any different?

The main arguments raised in Brain Heart World all have some compelling counterarguments that are just as readily backed up by studies, science and personal accounts. For instance, there are some studies that show an inverse relationship between porn and sexual violence with one report suggesting that assaults of this kind have been falling whilst porn viewing rates have been soaring.

Studies in Denmark support the theory that watching porn can be helpful in a relationship and it has been the stock advice of sex counselors for years as a way to ‘spice up’ a couple’s bedroom action.

Porn has also been shown to be a healthy way to explore your own body during masturbation and can help young people safely explore their sexuality.

What about the hardcore fetish stuff? Well, again there are arguments from some experts that suggest fetish porn is even more important in order to normalize sexual desires.

The bottom line is that a healthy discussion about pornography should be welcomed in any society and community. The opposite, of making the subject completely taboo or outlawed, would be disastrous. This documentary certainly makes for some interesting viewing and raises some interesting points. However, it certainly doesn’t paint the whole picture nor does it lay blame at the right doorstep.

The porn industry is not to blame for the abundance of, and ease of access to, free porn; nor is it responsible for the issues surrounding addiction and the lack of impulse control in some individuals. No, and we can’t blame the porn industry for sex trafficking either.

All of these issues need tackling and Brain Heart World must be commended for attempting to start some of these discussions. In our minds, however, the focus must not be on derailing the legitimate porn industry.

Featured image via BrainHeartWorld.

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