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September 22, 2015

Why Porn Doesn’t Get Me Off.

RoberlanBorges/Flickr

I have a secret about my relationship with pornography.

It’s a secret that I haven’t told a lot of people.

It’s not that I haven’t watched it—I have; in fact, I have watched a lot of it.

Rather it’s something else.

I don’t like it.

It’s kind of a shocking confession even to myself, because I’m not the stereotypical person I grew up assuming doesn’t like pornography: I am not anti-sex, I don’t think porn is bad or necessarily demeaning to women and I also happen to believe that sex workers should be treated with respect.

Rather, my reasons are pretty simple: I don’t find it particularly sexy or hot and the majority leaves me feeling bored.  Interestingly, I think a lot of it has to do with coming of age during the mainstreaming of pornography.

For those who don’t know what I am referring to, let me take you back in time to the late 90s and early 00s.

The internet was still a relatively new thing, but it drastically changing the way people obtained and viewed pornography. Before then, most people had to rely on magazines or video cassettes. While the latter was revolutionary in that people could view pornographic movies in the privacy of their own homes, they still had to obtain them. (And most video stores, especially in the South were I grew up, did not carry “adult” videos.)

However, the internet was truly different.

It was possible to view pornography at the click of the mouse without anyone having to know. Furthermore, the stuff that was out there in cyperspace was a lot more hard-core than most mainstream porn.

Around the same time, porn stars were becoming famous.

Well before the rise of Jenna Jameson, there was Janine Lindemulder who achieved some measure of mainstream success by appearing in a Blink 182 video and talking candidly to reporters of mainstream magazines about her experience in the porn industry.

An article in the now-defunct George magazine by Lynn Snowden, called “Deep Inside the Valley of Sin”, was one the first things I ever read about the business side of the porn industry.

All of a sudden, it seemed that liking porn and even being in the business as either a performer, director, or distributor was normal. By senior year of college, it was not uncommon to see students—both male and female— strutting around in  t-shirts with the cheeky caption “Porn Star” (and bear in mind this was a very traditional, blue-blood university in the South). I also recall writing an essay for a political science class defending porn and arguing that it was protected by the First Amendment.

However, all this ease with pornography and easy access to it had a strange side-effect: it made it appeal to me less. Not only did I find most of it boring and predictable, and this was true in even so-called woman-centered porn, but I was aware of the reality of the industry.

The porn industry, like any other, is a business. Knowing the ins and outs of it made it hard for me to accept the fantasy.

In fact, more often that not, when I attempted to watch it, I was left wondering what had made these performers choose this particular path.

While I had no problem accepting the idea that there were happy, well-adjusted adult entertainers, there were plenty of stories of those who had taken a dark path (including the above-mentioned Lindemulder and Jameson whose well-documented woes became the fodder of various gossip sites). I would often find myself wondering if these performers would do this if they had other options available to them which, once again distracted from the fantasy.

Knowing too much about the unsexy realness of the porn business and having access to it pretty much whenever I wanted it killed any sort of forbidden thrill I may have gotten from it.

After years of being told I simply hadn’t found the “right” pornography and spending more hours than I should have checking out various types that I was “supposed” to like, I finally accepted the fact that porn was never going to turn me on.

Therefore, I always smile in wry amusement when anti-porn crusaders argue that easy access to porn leads to sex addiction and all sorts of things.

If my experience is anything to go on, no it does not.

While I will always the support the right of adults to have access to pornography and support their right to view it in the privacy of their own homes, it isn’t something that I will be doing myself.

 

Relephant: 

I’m a Woman who Watches Porn {adult}

Author: Kimberly Lo

Editor: Sarah Kolkka

Image: RoberlanBorges/Flickr

 

 

 

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