Oct 8th, 2019, 09:18 AM

Let's get It On (Or On With It)

By Waldell Goode
Image Caption: flickr/walknboston
Porn is everywhere. Let's talk about it.

The first time I saw Kim Kardashian was in a porn video from 2002. The year was 2008. I was in the eighth grade. A male friend turned to me, his face beaming with excitement. “Hey, Waldell! Wanna see something funny?” Grateful to be acknowledged by my first name and not a common gay slur, I said sure and then he proceeded to introduce me to one of the most controversial figures of the twenty-first century.

I can’t say if that was my first time being goaded into watching explicit sex onscreen, but at thirteen, it was my first time noting the pervasiveness of the phenomena. Porn was a taboo, that much was obvious with the way others either overtly tried not to talk about it, or to morally aggrandize against it. And yet, there I was standing in a semicircle consisting of a small group of guys, of which I was briefly included, to appreciate the most lauded performance of Brandy’s brother’s career. Talk about wooden acting. Oh, and some new girl lacking star power.

Image Caption: Wikimedia/Wilmot

 

Why am I talking about porn? Porn, arguably, connects the world more than any other entertainment medium. Playboy, Hugh Heifner’s crown jewel, has been published in braille since the 1970’s. It doesn’t take sight to understand the strong-hold erotic literature has over culture. Porn is everywhere. This is a fact - perhaps an imperfect one – but I’ll take up the challenge should anyone possess the means to sincerely object. 

I’ve grown numb by way of its sprawling tenacity. Say, you click the wrong link and you’re suddenly bombarded with five pop-ups, each one more gratuitous than the last. One time, I hit my keyboard when I sneezed and almost signed up for cam modeling. Luckily, my Chromebook was incompatible with the software. 

There’s no escaping porn. If you don’t end up finding it, it will certainly find you.

Turning to my tribe for answers, I asked two friends, both AUP students, about a topic that we had never discussed before. After an appropriate amount of comical inappropriateness, they both revealed that they think that porn affects their real sex life. One said, “Maybe if I feel a man is disconnected and impersonal, I tend to think they are possibly influenced by porn.” They went on to say, “It creates highly objectified ideas of women as existing solely for male pleasure and leaving out what females actually may like or enjoy, instead of what a producer thinks they do.”

Another friend said, “[Porn] may give heteronormative men confusing or incorrect information about foreplay, and the speed at which someone moves. – porn makes men think they can go a lot faster than they should.’’ However, she also went on to admit she watches porn, likes it, and points of a critical truth: 

“Porn has helped people feel their needs are more acceptable. You can search for [kinks]. That is nice because we’ve carried so much shame in connection to sex and sexuality, and if there’s an upside to it, it’s that we can let go some of our shame.” 

While her thoughts are supported academically, the former claims that porn affects the type of sex we have perhaps does not go far enough. Samuel L. Perry of The University of Oklahoma posits that porn has an overarching effect on our mental functionality. “For male porn users who morally reject it, pornography use predicts depressive symptoms at low frequencies.” Perry continued saying, “For those who do not morally reject porn, however, only viewing it at the highest frequencies is associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms . . . ’’ The ramifications of porn not only forces you to renegotiate how you move inside another person, but also your very own skin. 

 

Image Caption: Max Pixel
 

Kids are regularly exposed to porn just as I was nearly eleven years ago. Socially speaking, I comprehend it as an economic necessity because so many lives are involved in the production and distribution, and it would not surprise me if entire communities would suffer without porn as a financial commodity. However, it does get weird. It is everywhere, and to some degree, we all have a stake in its prevalence around the world. 

Porn took a mediocre stylist and made her an international mogul, who is now using her privilege and status to free Black people from prison. Yet, something so magnanimous has potentially limitless potential to rewire our brain chemistry to extremes - such as the ‘foreign touch’ becoming an impossible sensation to navigate. Currently, porn is still a medium dominated by human bodies, which exhibit various expressions of human behavior. 

 

Image Caption: Flickr/Michael Sullivan

I still often wonder, far removed from that partitioned adolescent semicircle, what would happen if we stopped pretending like we don’t see exactly what we’re all seeing? Porn connects us beyond race, class, gender, and religion. So, maybe let’s not all sit in the fullness of our honesty 100% of the time. Conversational intimacy freaks out everybody, but can we all agree it’s there? It’s the one thing we have in common and it’s the topic we avoid the most. Not to be worried, but we should at least be able to cognitively recognize porn is more than just fucking: it’s fucking bizarre. 

  • Image Caption: Wikimedia/Jastrow

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