Pornography Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Sex

The title refers to a Facebook group I half-jokingly started a few years back. The whole thing was intended as a parody of the much larger “Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love,” though it never achieved a comparable level of Facebook notoriety. Aside from provoking a few lewd jokes, I’m not sure it had any lasting effect, though it may have convinced a few wayward cyber-stalkers that my friends and I were even more perverted than your run-of-the-mill undergraduate.

Other than a dopey inside joke, the group also suggests that many of us are intuitively wary of porn. Which happens to be the subject of this excellent Naomi Wolf article:

But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.

Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can’t compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond “More, more, you big stud!”)—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification?

There’s some hope for mankind, however, as the porn industry’s declining sales figures suggest we’ve belatedly realized that airbrushed tits and impeccably shaved pubic hair are less attractive than something a bit more authentic. The ever inventive free market has responded by increasing its output of amateur smut (creative destruction, baby!), which – for me at least – only emphasizes the fact that nothing in an adult video will ever approach real physical intimacy.

And yet – you knew this was coming, didn’t you? – it would be tough to give up porn completely for more than a few days. It’s not that I’m an addict or even a particularly enthusiastic consumer. It’s just that I’ve become habituated to letting off steam every once in awhile with the help of some dirty pictures. Would I be better off if I quit porn cold turkey? Or would I need to find a new outlet for pent-up sexual frustration? Morgan Spurlock ought to try life without porn for 30 days and get back to us. I’d watch that documentary.

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  1. Pingback: Music as Porn «

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