You’ve obviously been quite involved in lots of causes, but some readers will be surprised to see you’re involved in a debate at the Oxford Union about porn. How did you get involved?
I've spoken at Oxford before on Veganism. And I've also done a talk at Cambridge about the negative effects the meat industry has on the environment. My latest appearance at Oxford is to start a Conversation with Young adults who I think are extremely prone to and affected negatively by technology's easy access to vile pornography - taking the twisted visual along with them into the rest of their lives. It might pollute their relationships or even affect their mental health. I worry about college campus sex crimes. I do think porn is partly responsible. It's sending a bad message - that it might be ok to do hurtful things to others? Or accept bizarre acts from others. and therefore hurting people. Infecting the human experience.
What drove you to take part? It feels like a critical moment for porn.
Well, I have grown male children - (that's enough of a reason) and I have friends and family who have suffered as a result of others addicted to porn . I have had my own negative experiences. And think it's something we all need to talk about more. I'm in a unique position. I can't compare the pornography I'm worried about with Playboy or the home movies that were stolen from my husband's and my house. I'm worried about violence against women, demeaning a spouse or neglecting a spouse- it would be very sad if the world forgot how to make love in this 'pop a pill' - fast food sex era- I see percolating. We all get into relationships to be desired- not discarded.
Has porn affected any of your relationships, or those of your friends?
I can tell you - I don't wish be treated like a porn star . It's terrible, terrible unimaginative and very boring sex. Having An intimate experience with another human being is engaging in the world like an artist does. It is a dance. It takes effort and skill - It takes someone brave to be vulnerable and open. Letting go might not come as natural to some men- but when they do - it is explosive in more ways than one - Buying sex is very one sided. I'm concerned even the consumer is missing out on being truly loved. And I'm also concerned about people that have given up or been forced into sex work.
Do you worry about porn in relation to your sons?
I don't like that children as young as 10 yrs old? can gain access at home or at a friends or at school. Kids know more than we do about computers. It is not funny. It is imprinting a poor message. Love does not look like porn. It is not how we want our children to treat people. Or even think that they should accept that behavior. I think it's putting pressure on young people to behave in an anti sensual way. Ways that don't feel right. We need a sensual revolution. We have gotten all the good stuff we need out of the Sexual Revolution. Unfortunately it gave us really bad sex.
Some might say that your career has been based on a somewhat porn aesthetic – how can you distinguish between good and bad porn?
That is a personal choice and needs soul searching. . I know where I draw the line. What about you?
What do you think is damaging about porn? The nature of it? The depiction of women? The easy access to it?
It's a disconnect. I want to encourage human interaction esp at this time when we need to save the world. We need intimacy and empathy more than ever. We cannot check out. And we must hold our relationships dear.
Is there a healthy environment for porn? What constitutes good porn? Is there such a thing as ethical porn? Would you ever direct or produce porn for women?
Whatever happens between 2 consenting adults is between them. I just hope people aren't putting up with behaviors because they are 'trying to be cool'- it is much cooler to respect yourself. Sexy is healthy. To be demeaned in any way is not.
Are you nervous about standing up in the Oxford Union? Who are you debating against?
I love speaking at schools - of course it's a bit scary- but-I'm trying to engage students. What is Activism?. When you read a book you are an activist, when you contribute to the arts and consume less you are an activist. When you stand up for the vulnerable, use green energy, stay away from plastic or ride your bike or grow your own tomatoes. You are an activist and Activism is Sexy. Learn about the world and be kind to one another as a friend, as a lover, as a parent-Sensuality is a sexy kindness.
Where would you say the easy access culture porn exists in is taking us?
I thinks its a dark place. I hope people can speak to one another about it. And know I'm on your side. I am fighting for you to have incredible uninhibited romantic experiences. I'm not a prude. I just felt someone needed to speak up. I can take the heat. I know that it may seem hypocritical? coming from me-considering the perception some have - but that's perception manipulated-
I am a very creative lover.
But, even I can't make love to a brick wall.