Tumblr’s Ban on Porn is Wrong


This message is for John Bothman, member of the Board of Directors of Tumblr. Please forward.

Dropping porn from Tumblr leaves me deeply offended. Like millions of others on Tumblr I found people as weird as I am. I’m 76 and like young men; Porn is not an option, it’s a source of profound pleasure. Without it my sexual life is drained of significant vitality. I’m not some lonely guy sitting in front of this computer. I enjoy sex with attractive vital men who enjoy fellatio including my best fellow a friend for 14 years. Porn is an important addition. It is the deeply pleasurable recollection of my pleasant affairs. At 76, my active sex life is a source of pride.

I am not alone there are millions like me whose histories are replete with orgiastic moments. I know that because we find each other on sites like Tumblr. To have our wishes and memories discarded precipitously and without just cause is offensive. A possible flaw in the decision-making is the sense of disgust that surrounds pornography because the practices often convert pain to pleasure and mutuality is forsaken for games of dominance and submission. But the spread of pornography is associated with widespread compassion for sex workers, the LGBTQ community, and recognition that in some respect most of us have queer habits when it comes to sex. The notion that porn is bad for us is controversial and improbable.

Parents all over the world live with the knowledge that their children watch porn and porn enables teenagers to have mature discussions with their school teachers and other students that advances sexual education. Far from being offended, many students exchange nude pics of each other, a practice that raises eyebrows but is in fact safe sex. There seems to be a predisposition towards pornography in this country as great as among the ancient Romans. Pornography has been around for centuries; a sign of the pleasure enjoyed by viewers.

Shutting pornography down is falling prey to the illusion that banishing the problem will make it go away. But it won’t because Tumblr and porn are so entwined that the website will lose an extraordinary number of users and the chief executive will be called to task for this loss of business. It won’t be forgotten; users like me will have an animus towards the site. Tumblr will remain mired in controversy. Tumblr’s prosperity will be called into question, and its reputation will suffer.

For make no mistake, this drastic action is giving aid and comfort to those who would revive anti-pornography laws and eviscerate the free speech decisions that made the industry legal and aboveboard.

And its revenues are in the billions. It employs all races, all income groups. Pornographers don’t ask if you graduated from school or went to prison they are looking for performers who can be sexually convincing. It offers work to people who face obstacles applying for other work. It’s a business to be regulated and responsive to public opinion like all others. Tumblr should not ban it.

There is a graceful way out. Before Government embarks on a change it asks for public comment. Tumblr would be well advised to consult its users and interested parties. These conversations will bring better policy outcomes and increased harmony.