Friday, September 24, 2010

Considering Porn, Perhaps Too Much

So, I have been thinking about porn. Not in the John Mayer "There have probably been days when I saw 300 vaginas before I got out of bed" way (each of the 300, I assume, a wonderland). No, I'm thinking about porn in the over-intellectualizing way that is my way as a compulsive reader/writer/lazy-ass (basic tenet of this life philosophy: Why actually do it when you can just read about it?) It was all spurred by an article, Should We Worry Whether Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality?, sent by an In Bed With Married Women reader from Michigan.

The article features an interview with Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, in which she "traces the history of the porn industry from Playboy and Penthouse, to today's brutal fare than resembles nothing less than the videotaped sexual assault of women." Dines says that today's porn is vicious, it's everywhere, readily available, and it's ruining our ability to have intimate relationships.

Dines isn't just some uptight lady revisiting the old "porn is bad for women" arguments and picking out the worst porn to support her points. She studied the most mainstream, freely available porn--the idea being that she would look at whatever would be available to the average 11 year old kid trolling for porn on the Internet. (Kids these days have it so easy. Why, in my day, we had to do serious reconnaissance to find a local dad's Playboys.)

Here is a sample of the opening text of a typical mainstream porn site Hines found:
Do you know what we say to things like romance and foreplay? We say fuck off! This is not another site with half-erect weenies trying to impress bold sluts. We take gorgeous young bitches and do what every man would REALLY like to do. We make them gag till their makeup starts running, and then they get all other holes sore -- vaginal, anal, double penetrations, anything brutal involving a cock and an orifice. And then we give them the sticky bath.
Okay. Yes, it's fantasy, not reality. Yes, it's just sex. And, yes, it's porn, for fuck's sake--of course it's supposed to be nasty. And yet... As much as it's fantasy and not real life, media porn does give people some sort of guideline for what sex looks like. Is this really how we want to instruct our young people (and ourselves, for that matter) in how to enjoy each other?

In the interest in pure journalism (and, okay, fine, some prurient interest), I googled "porn." Here's some of the available fare today on the top hit, PornHub: "Now Be A Good Bitch...", "Busty Brunette Gets Her Ass Nailed!" and "Three Guys Fuck the Blonde Whore." I watched "Three Guys Fuck the Blonde Whore." [An aside: I actually have a degree in film studies (you got to watch movies in class!), and it's all come to this. Sorry, Professor Bauland.] Besides some really really bad acting by the actress who scored the highly coveted role of "Whore"--at one point, her "passion" closely resembled "giving birth to twins"--there didn't seem to be anything super-offensive. I might prefer it was called "Woman Enjoys A Tryst With Three Attentive Gentlemen" or something, but that's just semantics.

What was striking to me was the lack of variety. Oh sure, there are your Asian chicks, MILFs, barely legals and the like, but the general tone is that the women are all "sluts" who need some jackhammer pounding. Whatever, that's fine enough, but that's the only choice. By focusing on only one form of sex--faceless man bones over-emoting slut--we miss out on the 8 billion other forms that sex can take. Where's the joyful, the transcendent or the deliciously slow sex? Where's the sex where the participants are overcome by passion--or at least glance at each other with slight friendliness?

I'm not such a girlie girl that I need a lengthy backstory involving Scottish Highlanders and a lost family secret or something, but some sort of recognizable human emotion would be nice. To that end, I turned to Good Vibrations thinking they, being female-friendly, progressive and all that, might have something more appealing.  I found a movie called Matinee.  Here's the description:
Two theatre actors who play onstage lovers without much zing -- until one critical peformance, when they decide to improvise. The results will thrill you as much as they do the Matinee audience who watches them really begin to make love. Bridging the gap between indy art film and sex film, this plot-driven, scripted mini-featurette by US-born, Amsterdam-based filmmaker Jennifer Lyon Bell features real actors performing their first-ever explicit scene, not porn performers, and the result is smart, nuanced, and oh-so-sexy.
"Smart,""nuanced," "Indy art film"? I'm all over that (see above, admission of film degree). So I am just going to order the damn thing to figure out if I'm just an uptight prig who thinks mainstream porn is kind of lame, or if most porn actually is kind of lame and I just seek a higher quality product. (see again: film degree, connection with pretentiousness).

If you want to watch along with me (not literally, I have enough weirdos sending me poorly worded invitations to meet up with them), click on this link or the picture at the end of the post to order the movie. (It's $29.95 but don't forget, if you're a new customer, use the coupon code GV15OFF to get 15% off.) We can reconvene in a couple weeks and discuss it.

In the meantime, what do you think of porn? Do you watch it? Do you shun it? If so, why? Have you found porn that's sexy? Tell me what you think. Just not in person.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Count me in for the movie!

Little Janie said...

Great article! I don't watch porn. I have done in the past and probably could find some very lame dvds hidden away somewhere
in the cupboard.. but nothing like what can be found on the internet or ordered from Canberra (to explain, Canberra is the only place in Australia that can legally sell X-rated movies - Canberra being the home of our Parliament and where all of our Politicians live???)
I absolutely agree that is has become 'the videotaped sexual assault of women' and as such, has desensitised generations of men who would be much more likely to find those practises OK to do to women (possible with or without their consent). I find that it is just the fundemental difference between men and women. Men are visually stimulated and women mentally. I personally find 1000% more stimulation from a mental imagining/fantasy then watching bad acting and the subjugation of women.

Moooooog35 said...

Do I watch porn?

I own stock in several anti-virus and spyware companies just BECAUSE I watch so much porn.

Financially, it's kind of a wash.

Leah said...

I don't watch much porn. I prefer erotic movies such as Secretary. Porn is too raw. Exciting but too raw for me.

Anonymous said...

There are many, many things to dislike about modern porn, and a few things to really like. The primary problem is that the porn industry thinks that the average person who likes porn is basically a drug addict, needing harder and harder stuff to get a fix because the mild product just doesn't do it anymore. 60 years ago, a pretty woman taking off her clothes was enough to get most guys off... now we have categories like "anal destruction" and "bukake" and "gagging." The Internet has sped this process up... allowing people to see so much porn so quickly that they seek out stranger and more hardcore stuff just to keep interested.

But there is good porn out there, and by good, I mean erotic, sexy, well-photographed, and filled with people who actually seem to enjoy making dirty pictures and videos. Some is softcore, but hardcore stuff can be well done too, although I admit this is less that 1% of what's available, and finding it can be time-consuming (and depressing).

KELP10 said...

I don't particularly like conventional porn because of the reasons stated above. I do, however prefer literotica and have read a number of books as well as written some of my own stories and these do MUCH more for me than video porn.

I think primarily the reason is because with literotica I can fantasize and I can interpret the scene as i want to see it. On film it is very matter of fact and most of the time it is just too abrasive for me.

Belinda said...

I've seen enough porn (the bad kind, not the 1% good stuff out there) and I can say I'd rather watch a sexy movie like The Lover or right now I'm watching The L Word series on dvd. Even though I'm straight, it is hot to watch. Much better than the porn I've seen so far!

DeliaDelish said...

Oh, I'm so glad you asked! Husband and I do watch porn. Probably the typical stuff. Sucking and fucking, we call it. I have some basic beefs:

1. The word shit does not belong with sex. Can they not find better words to express their pleasure?
2. What's with all the spitting? Gross. Is there no lube in Pornland?
3. Pussy slapping? Really? And why is it always the girls slapping each other's pussies?

Those three things have really been bugging me and until now I've had nowhere to vent, so thank you.

Candycan said...

I found a site with porn from the 60s and 70s. They are like feature length movies with loads of sex in them. I like it because it was so much more real, you kind of got the feeling the girls are really enjoying themselves.

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