Cambridge society debate: is porn good for the public?

The Cambridge Union Society, reportedly the oldest student debating society in the world, is to host a controversial debate on pornography.

The Society, which was founded in 1815, will debate the motion: “This house believes that pornography does a good public service”.

The debate will include contributions from pornography director Anna Arrowsmith, who last year stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the General Election.

‘Not glamorous’

A former pornography actress and prostitute who is now a chaplain, Shelley Lubben, will also speak at the debate.

She said: “Porn is not glamorous. It destroys lives and is an industry of human trafficking and rampant sexually transmitted diseases that is destroying our nations and families of the world.

“Porn is a huge lie and I intend to expose it.”

Prevalent

Incoming Society President Lauren Davidson told Cambridge student newspaper The Tab she was not making the debate on pornography “controversial for the sake of it.”

She said: “The issue of pornography is prevalent in today’s society; it’s easily accessible online for people of any age, and seems to be increasingly covered in the news and on TV programmes.

“At the Union this term we’ve got the traditional debates on politics, foreign policy and the media, but I thought it was important to look at the bigger picture and debate a wider range of hot topics.”

Pornography

The incoming President added: “Sexuality is something that everyone is very aware of and I want to create a proper discussion around it.”

She commented that she hoped the debate would be “both academic and lively.” It is set for 17 February.

Also included in the line up for the debate is Benedict Garrett, known as Johnny Anglais, who is a porn film actor. He was suspended from his teaching job after his work in pornography was revealed.

Addictive

US writer and so-called “Sexademic” Jessi Fischer, child psychologist Richard Woolfson and sociologist Dr Gail Dines will also appear at the debate.

In the coming months The Cambridge Union Society is also set to hear from Sir Ian McKellen, who co-founded the homosexual campaign group Stonewall, and Scott Rennie, the Church of Scotland’s first openly gay minister. It will also debate the institution of marriage.

Last year author Dr William M. Struthers argued that pornography has an addictive effect on men’s brains which affects how they interact with women.

In his book, Wired for Intimacy, Dr Struthers said: “Men seem to be wired in such a way that pornography hijacks the proper functioning of their brains and has a long-lasting effect on their thoughts and lives”.

Dr Struthers, a Professor of Psychology from Wheaton College in Chicago, said that pornography is a “visually magnetic” stimulus which draws men in.

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