Feb 012012
 

avoiding internet porn makes my girlfriend happyI’m sorry I’ve neglected this blog for so long. I’ve been busy trying not to be homeless, so much so that I had to ask my parents for money last month and it looks like it’s going to be the same for this month. I can only hope they say yes.

 

But that’s not what prompted me to write today. What prompted me to write was an article that came across my Facebook feed. As with anyone on Facebook, articles come across my feed all the time and rarely does one of them even put a glimmer in my eye, yet this subject…. well I knew when I saw the title, I was going to write a post. I didn’t even need to read the article, even though I did that too.

 

The article is entitled, “The Cost Of Porn On Men” and talks about porn in the way that I’ve always thought of it. The costs of it that I’ve witnessed in those around me growing up who spent a lot of time watching it. The costs of it that I saw first hand from my few dating experiences with men who loved porn.

 

As many of you know by now, I grew up pretty sheltered and there wasn’t one thing of porn in our house growing up. Had it not been for the 4 progeny, you’d have had a hard time convincing me that my parents had any kind of sexual relations. Even hugging and kissing and what is considered “normal” affection was racy in our home. A peck when parting was about as affectionate as I ever remember seeing them.

 

So growing up with my avidly sexual sense of being was a little odd. It wasn’t until the internet and found informative articles on the subject, that I really realized I was pretty normal…. ok, not normal, but at least not the worst pervert alive. Embracing that is still a work in progress.

 

My second experience with porn was at a neighbor girl’s home. Her father’s Playboy collection which she dragged out a few magazines to show me. She was bragging about how brave and brazen she was to show me these things. Wasn’t it cool?

 

I remember looking at the women and thinking “These are women?” and “Is this what we’re supposed to grow up to look like?”  The magazines weren’t that exciting to me. It was more about learning what I might look like full grown. Consciously, this was probably the first time I remember having that thought. Is what women were supposed to be?

 

I was fortunate that my first experience with porn was with my grandfather’s racy calendars of 1950’s pin-ups who had a clear plastic overlay with clothes painted on it and when you lifted the plastic you were able to see them topless. These pin-ups weren’t the anorexic women shown in the Playboys I’d seen later, but ample breasted women with full-figured bodies.

 

It is fortunate for me that this was my first experience because it’s really what helped me set a better example for myself of what “beauty” was. I can still remember the slight gleam in my grandfather’s eye any time those calendars were mentioned in passing. We were scolded if we were caught looking at them, but Grandpa couldn’t hide that gleam.

 

Over time, I began to understand that gleam in men’s eyes and the differences between it. The gleam that my Grandfather had for those old pin-ups was a nostalgic aroused gleam… the kind you’d have for an old girlfriend who got away, or a long lost love. You could almost believe that they were pictures of old loves of my Grandfather.

 

The gleam I too often see in men when it comes to porn is something altogether different. It’s a scary gleam. It’s filled with lust, shame, guilt, anger, frustration, and self-hatred. I’ve too often heard things that as a woman I can’t unhear no matter how much I would love to. The anger. The degradation. The… well there’s no other way to explain it than.. The abject hatred of women. (You can also hear a lot of this in Rap & Hip Hop music as well.)

 

Then men I’ve known who loved porn developed a barrier between their feelings and their sexual relationships.  Soon feelings weren’t in them at all. If they were nice to the woman it was merely to get what they wanted. It became a power play to see how much they could do.. how far they could push it.. how much of a whore they could get her to be. Would she be able to do all the things they’d seen on film?

 

Others who were even further into porn, gave up women all-together. They pretty much stayed to themselves, abandoned friends, abandoned relationships of all kinds really. Some even talked about women in porn as if they really knew them. Slowly losing that line between reality and fiction.

 

These are extremes, but even in smaller ways porn has messed with things. One guy couldn’t get hard at all unless he was given a blow job. And not just any blow job, but one in which the woman was in a subjugated position. When we talked about why…

 

He simply explained, “I’m not sure. Over the last few years, I’ve been watching a lot of porn. That’s how it’s done. I like it that way.”

 

There wasn’t any compromise to be had. It was so ingrained in him that “THIS” is the way to have sex that nothing else would do.

 

Other’s simply have expectations of women’s bodies. The areola’s aren’t dark enough. The bush isn’t trimmed right. Let alone all the differences in how bodies should look vs how bodies really look. Or how to do dirty talk, or rules about moaning.

 

But mostly, it just sets in unneeded expectations of sex and sexual relations if it’s a big part of someone’s sexlife.

 

And.. that.. is why I’m not a big porn lover, and prefer my man isn’t either.

  3 Responses to “The Cost of Porn?”

  1. Hmm…I believe that porn is a symptom, not a cause. I wish our society would take a healthier and happier approach to love, sex, and beauty–we should embrace and enjoy instead of repress and stigmatize. Humans are inherently sexual creatures–and when you take that away, they act out in funny ways. Eliminating porn will not magically create healthy sexual interactions!

  2. Hmm…I believe that porn is a symptom, not a cause. I wish our society would take a healthier and happier approach to love, sex, and beauty–we should embrace and enjoy instead of repress and stigmatize. Humans are inherently sexual creatures–and when you take that away, they act out in funny ways. Eliminating porn will not magically create healthy sexual interactions!

  3. There is a distinction between watching porn and being obsessed with it. Watching it, getting turned on, brainstorming and comparing fantasies, comparing styles, learning anatomy and physiology, identifying what tempo, body types, and intensity of sensation we prefer- those can be helpful lessons from porn. People can also walk away (or stay hooked) with wrong conclusions, like 1) every woman wants to be treated the same way as the one on the screen, 2) bigger means guaranteed/faster orgasms, or 3) the pace of seduction in porn is the same pace of real life seduction. Like therapy, what you take away from porn is most important, and this will vary from person to person. Thus, the cost varies, and is more likely to be more costly in the sense of confusing and misinforming men if men expect porn to be an objective, well-informed summary of what most women enjoy and a blueprint for how to treat women. That’s like watching choreographed wrestling and assuming
    all the moves are spontaneous and the most effective for countering a hold, or expecting to learn a complete lesson on martial arts from playing MortalKombat.

    I cannot speak for all men, but I know certain things about myself both from porn, personal education, and experience. I know that most women I have been with cannot identify their genitalia with much accuracy (wrong terminology for vulva, vagina, clitoris, clitoral hood, cervix, uterus, some think they have a prostate?), that contact beyond p in v can be satisfying, comforting, and important, that foreplay is its own treat and should go on until lovers can’t stand it anymore, that I derive no pleasure from kissing though many women do, and that I find the intensity of the sensation more pleasing than verbal statements. The gestures and communication during sex that make many women feel lustful or turned on have an opposite effect on me, and going too fast, slow, deep, or long can be annoying or painful. These are realities I have to work with and adjust my approach accordingly to make the experience mutually satisfying. No two women are the same, nor will all women have the same preferences.

    I have watched porn for straight women and contrasted it with male porn. The contrast is striking, with emphasis on body closesness and faces over genitals and buttocks, different lighting and camera angles, slower movement, more kissing, more gentle/less rough intercourse. Porn made for women is not my preference; male porn, while predictable and somewhat unsatisfying for being pretty cliched (minimal to no plot, tawdry music, actresses who appear to be faking by how over the top they act or not being into the scene at all, or in pain), male oriented porn for straight men resonates with me. While I don’t want to see a woman in pain or clearly not enjoying the scene, there is a degree of dominance in porn that makes it feel even better than actual vanilla sex with a new partner. Just as there can be good sex and bad sex without pain necessarily being involved, I’ve found some of the best porn can exceed the experience of bad or even mediocre sex.

    If I can generalize a personal preference and assume it holds true for most men as well, I believe most men like male dominant, semi-aggressive porn because it echoes our core desires quite well. Not simply for sex or contact, but for intense contact. A female hand firmly gripping my back or my arms while I embrace or have her sit on me adds a flare of dominance, which boosts the experience tenfold. Men like watching women who take off all their clothes while having sex (depending on the timing, mood, and situation) as porn depicts more so than being with women who perform sexual acts while wearing clothes because female anatomy and geometry excites us. Mystery and intrigue will only get us excited to a certain extent; actually seeing skin propels that excitement to the next level, which is a necessary step for us in escalating our interest. Quite frankly, porn is for men what romance novels are for women, an escape into fantasy. Different medium, same goal. But I think the appeal it has to men is that it mirrors our innate preferences: we prefer casual sex, lack of romantic involvement, lack of emotional bullshit, and we find some romantic gestures of foreplay (not contact foreplay, but moodsetting gestures like flower petals in the bath tub and around the bed) to be revolting both in their lack of novelty and in how such gestures are too mild to keep us in the mindspace of wanting to have sex. Romantic gestures are often too bland, like eating Corn Flakes when you want some spicy Cinnamon. It’s like men having to negotiate their freedom and sexually preferred intensity and pace just to have sex, and most of us get tired of it when it’s all the time. Many of us are circumcised, and so in both a physical and emotional sense, we don’t feel sensations you feel and we *can’t* feel them; thus, it takes more intensity for us to feel them. Regardless of how similar our bodies and brains are, there remain oceans of differences. Given our gendered/sexually dimorphic preferences, sex ought to be adapted for both partners’ pleasure, where you please each other, yourself, and sometimes both partners at the same time, so long as it is consensual.

    Porn has good and bad influence, and can be beneficial or detrimental depending on who watches it, for how long they watch it, what they learn, what they assume, and how they use it. Some physical effects of porn, like increased dopamine secretion, increased pain relief, and mood elevation, resemble prescription medications and street drugs. But some positive activities like exercise can do the same things, showing that porn is not a “drug”, though it can be used similar to one. However, obsession and addiction can hijack its benefits. Also, depending on one’s religious and moral perspective, porn, sex, and masturbation can cause intense guilt. Ironically, one of the factors of post-orgasmic guilt is simply biochemical: the release of prolactin upon orgasm tends to negate many of the positive feelings of arousal and orgasm. Sadly, people believe that the chemical prolactin is a “hint” from their body that what they are doing isn’t right. But it’s just an amoral hormone, secreted at other times too (like pregnancy, when prolactin increases milk production for nursing); prolactin doesn’t know right from wrong and cannot be a decent guide on how to live your life. Engaging in sex in a healthy manner and viewing porn in a healthy mindset and frequency can make both activities beneficial and add spice to life without negative consequences upon sex, romance, and partnered companionship.

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