Emotional Remove and Porn Fantasy, Part III

But ah, that’s the thing. Porn may, for all abstract purposes, lie in the middle of this emotional/sexual spectrum as a safe zone for emotional and physical and fantastical experimentation, but that does not mean we treat it that way. For several reasons.

Firstly, porn is, we all know, pure fantasy. It’s not real. Or at least it’s not supposed to be for most of us, and for most of the people who make it. Because porn exists in this safe zone between the things we might like to imagine ourselves doing but never would do, we feel comfortable telling ourselves that it’s no more than fantasy. A way to act our our most depraved of desires without hurting anyone. And in many ways, porn is an excellent medium for us to explore our least politically correct desires (and really, all desire is politically incorrect, but that’s another series of posts) in a safe and nonjudgmental place, free from the probing eyes of others. But when we allow ourselves to believe, even for a few seconds, that while the porn we’re watching is a fantasy for us, it is not for the people who made it. Sure, most pornography is two-thirds smoke, mirrors, and editing, and many of the superhuman feats that adult performers seem to spend no effort on showcasing are the results of hours of sweaty and less-than-sexy work. And everyone involved in any professional porn production has had the proper tests and shown the proper paperwork, signed on the right line, and agreed to be a part of everything that happens. But the fact remains that, as far as the nuts and bolts of the action go, what you see is what actually happened. If a woman chokes on a penis and passes out, or if a man gets verbally degraded by a fem-domme, those things really happened. Watching them and enjoying them is no crime, but considering them the products of mere fantasy and allowing oneself to be emotionally disconnected from them as if they were products of Hollywood CGI magic, cuts off a very real flow of empathy from the viewer to the performer, and this is a matter of concern for me.

Secondly, just as many of us are removed emotionally from the events we see depicted in porn by the intrinsic fantasy element of it, the past decade’s explosion of cheap or free, easily accessible pornography has further distanced us from a synergy of sex and emotion. In the old days (and by “old days” I mean the seventies), porn wasn’t all that easy to find, and when you got your hands on a magazine or a film you liked, you experienced it to the maximum. (Of course I’m not speaking from experience, since I wasn’t even a glint in the old man’s eye at that point, but given my experience and research, I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong here.) You wore down the pages. You replayed your favorite moments over and over. You made up, or read a pre-written, or got lost in a script that told a story about the people involved. You made up scenarios of your own with these people that you used in your own fantasies. You developed a relationship with the performers or models, and you, in maybe a very tangential but still real way, cared about them. They were part of your emotional life. But now, the tables have flipped. As filming technology got ever cheaper and consumer demand remained as avid as ever, more and more pornography started being produced by more and more people. With the advent of the internet and digital technology, there became virtually limitless space and just as limitless access to as much porn as we could possibly produce. Now, there is literally so much porn available on DVD and on the internet that even if you started right now and spend the rest of the decade (the new one, I mean) watching porn, you wouldn’t even get to the end of what’s been made in the past two years. And production is slowing down because amateur material is constantly popping up to replace it, along with pirated versions of what’s already been filmed. In short, porn is no longer something you search for and hold dear. You no longer have to work for your porn, or spend more than five minutes with it (far less if you’re a clip-to-clip surfer, as I suspect many of us are) to get what you need out of it. You can literally watch dozens of different performers doing dozens of different things in the time it takes to masturbate these days, and though that’s lots of fun, you don’t need to spend any time forming any kind of emotional attachment to any of them. You don’t even need to remember what they looked like when you’re done, or what they did. You don’t need to form back-stories about how the got into those ridiculous positions, or what you might do alone in a room with them, because you’ve already moved on to the next pair, or threesome, or what have you. When you can get all the visual and therefore physical stimulation you need from an unending parade of breasts and genitals–for free and with incredibly little effort–there’s no need to see those naughty bits as anything more than stepping stones on your way to orgasm. There’s no emotion attached.

Of course, this isn’t true at all times for all of us. Again, I’m making sweeping generalizations. There are still plenty of true fans out there who have found a porn star they swear by, and for these people the internet is a godsend. Most performers have their own websites now, where fans can have an almost-direct line to someone they’ve established an emotional connection with, even if it’s imagined. And for many of us, the five-minutes-and-done frantic fap-fest that is a clip-to-clip masturbation session can leave us feeling cold and disjointed. Porn that shows an emotional connection, or that resonates with us on a deeper level, is by far superior. But just as porn itself used to be difficult to find, good porn is now difficult to find. Why produce quality when quantity is what the majority of the market is after?

Layer these considerations with the fact that, despite its ubiquity, porn remains a “dirty” habit. It may be one that almost all of us indulge in, just like drinking, but it’s far less accepted. It’s not something we’re supposed to spend much time, money, or effort on, and therefore the five-minutes-in-the-basement, no-strings-attached model becomes all the more appealing. We’re told from early on that we shouldn’t really like this stuff or spend any time thinking about it, and if we actually enjoy it (as most of us do), we tell everyone we don’t. More dangerously, we tend to tell ourselves we don’t. We denigrate our own habits until they become so shameful in our own eyes that we refuse to attach emotions to it; we remove the pornography we watch from the sphere of our deepest and most limbically-attached feelings. And we train ourselves that sex and emotion don’t have to go together.

All I’m saying is that this needs to change. Not that we need to always shed tears of joy or have important life-changing epiphanies when we have sex, or become deeply emotionally attached to every porn star we see (that’s called stalking, and it’s illegal), but coming from the experience I’ve talked about before, where shame and sex went hand in hand, and where (as I didn’t discuss) porn use became a bitter fight against my real desires and the constant terror of porn addiction reinforced the shame I’d been taught, connecting emotions with sex after a lifetime of keeping them far apart can be excruciating. As consumers, allowing the fantasy of pornography and the shame surrounding it to distance us from it emotionally hurts not just us, but the people who make it for us, and adds to the ever-deepening cycle of shame and mystery that keeps sex-workers living in the shadows, where truly terrible things can and do happen. So next time you’re watching porn, try looking into the performer’s eyes. Next time you have sex, with yourself or someone else, try letting go of your inhibitions. Let your instincts and hormones and desires go, and see if you don’t have a better experience. Find porn that shows these better experiences; watch it; enjoy it; go back to that company. Be involved. That’s all there is to say.

2 Comments on Emotional Remove and Porn Fantasy, Part III

  1. >++ like. i have a clear memory of posting a comment elsewhere on this blog yesterday & i saw it posted & now its gone. wtf? anyway, stepping out of shame, there it is: shame. can i tell my aged parents: no. can i tell the world: apparently yes i can, ref my own blog. can i tell my wife: yes, now i can, if she wants to know, which apparently she doesn't. i bring up the subject, she will wait for the subject to change. that blank spot in the conversation, by a different metaphor a turd on the floor, having essentially no effect on our active, completely monogamous, and not 100% vanilla sex life. i am at the moment i'll call it an inactive user, when i was active i feared the consequences of coming out on my fun monogamous relationship. kind of like the difference between a live animal with teeth & claws and a picture of that animal. easier to talk with the picture in the hand than with a squirmy thing trying to get away. are we all shrinking violets? does porn make us shrink more? do we learn & grow from watching experts do it? are there self-improvement possibilities in porn? we keep looking at it (in my case, currently, looking at looking at it) to amuse ourselves while we stagnate in whatever state we're in or for instructional/aspirational purposes (which, if that was the goal, would include mistakes, failures, messes, time out to clean up, etc.). or, most of us i think, we just do stuff, all the emotional strings and gooballs hanging off the thing we do, assiduously not looking at what we're doing, focused in where the camera is pointing, not looking at the hand doing its thing down there. i found myself over the last couple of years having more and more trouble sitting still to watch movies of any kind. i get bored, want to get up and do stuff. notwithstanding, i want to continue opening the conversations. something noble & transcendent implied in porn, something instructional in watching oneself watching porn. "i'm sorry, you're so sexy its impossible, i can't stand it, i'm going to go and jack off and then i'll be right back, we can continue this conversation, ok?" wouldn't that be some kind of conversation at a party with a stranger?

  2. >yeah. talk about all of it. have a partner, want something, put it out in the conversation, maybe nothing for 10 years, then bang, something exotic. partner's over there thinking own thoughts, not trying to telepathically evesdrop on my secret desires, if i didn't put it in the conversation it won't come up by itself. takes energy, patience. desire is now. disconnect, short circuit to porn or whatever, food, tv. quick fix to immediate desire imbalance, then can go back to normal society & fake normality like everyone else (is faking it). except in those moments of transcendence that so regularly show up in porn, diamond moments of realized passion shining in the mud.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.