Friday, March 5, 2010

Pornographer in Chief

All prisons have a smattering of prisoners who are the porn-merchants. These are the men who collect porn, swap it and lend it. They are a social and economic nexus.

Porn is more than merely an item in prison, it is a commodity in its own right. Porn is swapped and traded, it is a secondary medium of exchange both for other goods and for the staple of prison economics, "favours" to be called upon in future times.

For most of my sentence, I was one of these pornographers. Books and magazines, and later DVD's, gravitated towards me. Some I bought or swapped, some were donated or found. The role of pornographer is a socially useful one that provides a service to the general community. Honest. It's not just that I'm a degenerate.

This stash of filth was eclectic, from Fiesta, Escort and Mayfair through to Club, Whitehouse, Colour Climax and Private. This ranged from the benign girly-mag available in the newsagents through to foreign hardcore.

Staff knew it existed and used to watch me scuttle around the wing, bundles of mags being delivered and collected. On cell searches, or periods of boredom, they would park themselves in my cell to read my merchandise. It is vaguely disturbing to return from work to find a screw sitting in your cell, rifling through your porn for the newest additions.

Being a pornographer gave insight into the psychology of other men. In order to ask for a particular magazine or book, they had to reveal their sexual preferences. This ranged from spanking to schoolgirls, Black to White, bondage to gerontology. The whole of human life resides in our sexuality and I find its span and complexity fascinating. And it reinforces my broad belief - men really are dogs!

However, those days are long gone. The shift in the official view of prisoners and their sexuality makes it dangerous to hold any quantity of pornography. Gone is my collection of Victorian erotic novels, my stash of continental filth has long been dispersed. For a while, I did move into DVD's as they are easier to hide, but such is the wrath of the institution on discovery that I decided it just wasn't worth the effort.

The danger comes from the Psychology Department. If one is busted with a stash of porn the inevitable question arises, are you obsessed with porn? It then follows your sexuality is malign and therefore dangerous. The accusations inevitably include having a poor attitude to women and relationships, of objectification and unreasonable expectations. It returns to the familiar ground, everything prisoners do is viewed through the lense of criminogenic needs, and never as just plain human.


  1. Ben you are very honest, and I am told from very reliable sources that with honesty comes responsibility ... I wish you well my friend.

  2. just makes you a human being. Society has gone crackers over pc. Tiger Woods likes a shag, but according to the pc brigade he's addicted to sex. More money for the therapists.

  3. I'm sorry your porn's been taken: my problem isn't with grown men viewing it, but with the "lads' mags" directed at teenage boys that are warping their view of women.