THIS POST CONTAINS SOME ADULT THEMES: CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED
That’s right – now we come to the good stuff. I’ve danced around with all the other dirt and finally we get to the real dirty dirt, the naughty dirt, the good summer read with just enough to get you excited but not enough to embarrass you if granny picks up the book. Let’s talk porn!
But in all honesty that opening paragraph is probably as hot as it is going to get – I’m going to talk about porn, not talk in a pornographic way. However, if the mere though of porn turns you on then this should be a wild romp in the dirty hay – enjoy!
Pornography: loosely described as printed or visual material containing an explicit description of sexual organs or activity intended for arousal rather than aesthetic or emotional feeling – you know it when you see it (or not if you are me because I don’t care for it and therefore don’t see it, with the exception of the occasional mistype of what I thought was an innocuous url, but turns out, ‘oh my god what is he doing with that thing!’). So porn as we all know is a pretty big industry, and amateur porn has become the du jour method of skyrocketing oneself to fame, or at least a reality tv presence. And apparently porn is so engaging that people who should be doing other jobs, the jobs say for which they get paid are instead spending many hours a day on their computers looking at other people’s sexual organs – and let me say, personally, I am concerned that it may in fact also rot your brain because these people who are supposed to be intelligent keep watching their porn on a computer at work or in front of a video monitor or some such thing and keep getting caught – is the story of those organs really that compelling?
And the latter is a real question because as I hinted at earlier I am not a fan of porn. I do not spend my day at my computer watching it, I do not have a secret video stash in a hidden compartment under my bed (I don’t think I even have a hidden compartment under my bed – I’m pretty sure that kind of thing is custom and costs more), and I don’t get cable so my sexual creativity is limited to what I can get with an antennae. I have seen all of one porn video in my life and felt like that was enough from which to judge the category. I got the basic story idea and from what I hear the plot really doesn’t change that much, kind of like Friday the 13th only with a lot more nudity – seen one seen them all.
At the time that I was introduced to porn I was dating a man that did have an extensive collection of such films. He happened to be brilliant and well educated and yet even when he discussed the relative merit of pornography had a hard time describing any real value. In an attempt to make me appreciate the wonders of pornography he picked a film for me that he thought brought intelligent storytelling and cinematography to the genre. I was not without all of my faculties when watching so no excuses for not being able to fully appreciate the cinematic experience, but the only thing I can remember is a women not wearing much in a room that was pretending to be a kitchen but was clearly not suitable for food preparation stirring some instant oatmeal. How or why this connects I can not fathom, but as she is stirring with more hip action that arm action in walks a giant box of malt-o-meal containing a man whose distinguishing sexual organ protruded from where the ‘o’ should have been in the name of the product. Our protagonist abandoned her stovetop charge and promptly attended to the needs of the large box. They may have said some stuff to each other, nothing worth quoting, and I am left asking, ‘huh? Why this story? How does this make any sense? Is this supposed to be sexy? Is it supposed to be funny? Why would I want to watch funny sex, or sex with a breakfast food at all?’ I just don’t get it.
And that, in a nutshell my friends, is the whole story of Maggie and porn: I just don’t get it. Now this is not to say I don’t like sex, or sexy things in general, I am not suggesting that I am incapable of getting turned on and while I may be naïve I am not anti-sex. I just don’t get the appeal of porn. I am perfectly happy to read the section of the book that gets a little steamy, but I like that there might be something left to imagination – I in particular don’t like that with the limited exposure I have had to porn, not only is nothing left to the imagination but there may be things going on that never should have been imagined in the first place. So maybe there is a little moralizing in this. But, I maintain I am not a prude – for God’s sake I learned how to give a blowjob by reading Cosmo at 16!
But this is a multi-billion dollar industry and is truly launching the “careers” of some of our favorite tv characters, so there must be something engaging right? Even on the news sites I haunt (Huffington Post for instance) there is inevitably a column or article about some nude celebrity doing something that someone might find interesting. I don’t object to nudity, in fact you could say that we have a fairly nudey house, but again why would I want to spend my time looking at some stranger posing in some ridiculous way who has been so lighted, air brushed, enhanced, and modified that their resemblance to anything remotely human is slim – perhaps I don’t get turned on by Barbie and Ken and that is my problem.
I’ve seen the standard porn mags, playboy, penthouse and playgirl – and sure I can appreciate the human body but these people don’t even look real – honestly ask yourself what would you do if all of a sudden those breasts were staring you in the face – you could suffocate! And maybe being naïve is my problem here – I really just can’t imagine what the appeal is.
What I can understand is the fantasy world where all of the real life cares go away and there is another person, an attractive person, who wants to do nothing but you. I’ve discussed this before, how life gets in the way of the wild pursuit of our hedonistic pleasures. So I can understand how porn is like the ‘I’m in the mood for action’ version of ‘Calgon take me away.’ But none of the porn I’ve seen makes me feel like that would be an enjoyable experience – more like that would be a slightly gross and creepy experience with a semi-plastic creature that is now going to cause me to take a long course of antibiotics. Ultimately I think a lot of it comes back to some of the dirty secrets I’ve touched on – we all have images of ourselves and each other and maybe you don’t want to say to your husband or wife (actually I don’t know what you would want to say that you wouldn’t but insert whatever is in that recessed corner of your brain here) because you are afraid of what they will think of you if you say that. The old “lady in the street but a freak in the bed” right? But, maybe we are afraid to be a freak in the bed because we don’t know how to reconcile that with getting up in the morning to make smiley face pancakes and pack to go to Disneyland. So instead we use porn as the fantasy of what we want to be if we could be honest about what we want? Plausible, but if that is the case and that is what porn is, then wow are we ever letting our fantasies be controlled by the lowest common denominator.
At then end of the day I really just don’t get it. I’m not sure how much I care if someone else wants to watch it, look at, text it – whatever – though I do object if that is what you are doing when you should be at work and you are funded by taxpayers – then in that case, “get back to work damn it!” Otherwise, if that’s what turns you on then so be it… I could do the feminist rant on how it demeans women, because it does, it demeans men too but in a different way and for different reasons, but that is not what this is about. This is really about the appeal of porn, or the lack thereof and a challenge to those of you who might be reading this: ask yourself, “what is it that I can articulate that provides a positive value to my experiences by engaging with porn?” I’m not moralizing here, by positive value I mean whatever positive experience you get from this endeavor. And then, if you are so inclined, share that with me – because I’d really like to understand. The flip side of the coin is welcome too because anything that is raking in the money and attention that this industry does ought to be understand in a slightly more transparent way (pun intended)!