If by now, you realize that my titles to posts seem to be a lot like most episode titles to “The Tick”, which aired for three seasons Saturday mornings on FoxKids in the 90’s before being syndicated for years on Comedy Central, that’s good. I liked “The Tick”. Spoon!
At the suggestion of one of the very cool people who reads and comments on this blog, I will broach a topic which is both secretive and public, normalized and yet in the shadows. That’s pornography, and related subjects like fetishes and whatnot.
Porn has basically been with people since people existed; since civilization began if not sooner. For all we know, painting naked people on cave walls was what primitive people did in between foraging, hunting, and huddling around campfires. What constitutes porn is flexible and is different depending on the place, the times, and what society judges as proper. In the 1800’s in Europe and America, a woman merely exposing her shin or bare shoulders (or an image of her doing so) would have been considered pornographic. Merely what network TV censorship boards will allow to be shown on their shows currently would have been considered risque at best just 30 years ago. As a judge once said, porn can’t be strictly defined, but you know it what you see it.
As with many things, I feel as if people of my generation (30 and over) existed in a crossroads to many things, among them certain advances in technology and acceptance of various things. When I was younger in the 1980’s and 1990’s, porn was still very much a hush-hush thing, done on the fringes outside of the public. It existed as magazines in grocery stores with black wrappings or just out of sight of many other magazines and newspapers, or those mysterious rooms in the back of mom and pop video rental places where nobody under 18 was allowed. They were blocked off with beads or a door or a blanket or something, and if you were a little kid it was tempting just to peek into a room which was so forbidden. The Internet and access to it rose during the 90’s; hell, it is said that one of the first images ever transmitted over the web was a risque photograph of actress Terri Hatcher. Porn and access to it quickly became one of the main functions, it seemed, but it was still limited by broadband capability and download times. Still, by the late 90’s it was far more mainstream than it had been a decade prior. By then, most if not all of my friends had seen porn regularly and didn’t have to rent it from somewhere. In fact, two of my closest friends had seen so much of it, and seemed to have such strict standards of what made it “good” or “bad”, that by the end of high school I dubbed them, “The Siskel and Ebert of Porn”. Past the start of the 21st century, though, porn online got bigger and bigger, their customer base exploded, and access got easier and easier. Today, even simple search engine queries can link you to hundreds if not millions of porn sites, and it’s a multi billion dollar industry. Anyone can access it from a public library, and it’s even legal to do so. New York City even has a literal “Museum of Sex” (which I have never been to).
Naturally, moral guardians have lectured against porn as being evil and sinful since the beginning (especially as most religions only consider sex between married people as proper). Although porn exists for women as well as homosexual men, the lion’s share of it seems to be for straight men (and/or homosexual woman). Others will note that so long as it’s produced by consenting adults for consenting adults, it’s fine and allows the expression of urges. Some studies even claim that the rate of rape has declined with increased access to porn, although considering rape has always been an under reported crime I have a hard time believing that. It has certainly made it easier to see someone else’s naked body than in centuries past, and it can become both addictive and isolating. There are even differences between porn, such as “sort core”, “hard core”, etc.
Fetishes are hard to define, but they’re usually seen as something which garners someone’s attraction which isn’t considered “normal”. Obviously, what defines that is also variable. The body parts of the opposite sex such as breasts, rear ends, hair, and faces are more accepted. “Foot fetishes” are less so, but are probably among the most accepted “fetish” there is. Others include nearly anything, from bondage to whipped cream to no end of naughty things. It is said that nearly everyone has one, even if many seem more common than others.
My personal relationship with porn and fetishes has been limited. As a gift one year in my late teens, I received a two year subscription to Playboy, which is among the “softer” forms of porn and one of the most socially accepted (in that even today, it is easy to find at most newsstands). Even though it is a cliche, Playboy actually DID have good articles (as well as dirty cartoons) beyond the centerfolds. Once the gift was up, however, I didn’t have the desire to continue even if I had the money to do so. Beyond that, I can say I have never actually sat through one porn video, ever. Not in the video rental era and not even in the Internet era. I’ve seen bits and pieces of some that my friends may have had on their PC one day or whatnot, but it’s never been something I was into. Maybe it was because I had no desire to see other people having sex or the male organs of others (which are common even in straight porn), or some other reason I don’t know offhand.
Despite this being an anonymous blog where I try to keep identifying things about myself and those in my life vague (i.e. I always say I am “over 30”, meaning I could be 31 or 91), even typing about my own personal sexual desires on a white text publisher is difficult and seems revealing, dirty, and shameful. While I did spend my childhood at a private Catholic school, I never became religious. Not only is my mother a former “flower child” who was very sexually liberated (and who kept up her dating life through the time I was graduating college), but who even worked as a model in an art school. So, if I have become a prude, it has nothing to do with religion or my parent. I will admit that I do have a fetish; it isn’t feet, and it isn’t something which is illegal nor involves children, animals, violence, or food. And while I haven’t watched any videos of straightforward porn, I have watched videos and seen things online relating to that fetish. I don’t watch or view this sort of thing every day, but very often during a week (even if briefly). I don’t need such things to masturbate specifically, like some hypnotic trigger, at least. One major hurdle is it seems that a great deal of porn at least presumes that the viewer likes seeing women dominated, which is a turn off for me.
And that’s another “frisky” topic related to this – masturbation. Naturally, that is what most (of not all) porn is intended to provoke in it’s audience. Some couples watch it together but it is more than likely viewed by people who are alone, at least for that moment. And much like with discussing anything regarding sex or bodily urges related to it, even on a blog like this with my identity hidden, is embarrassing and feels “gross” or like I am going too far. I mean, read all the previous installments and I might come off as a tragic and almost poetic sort. But find out that I masturbate and suddenly it seems more pathetic. Yet when I have never had any sort of romantic success or opportunity, I’m the only one who can pleasure myself. I “discovered” such things when I was young and I suppose I still masturbate often. I won’t say how often, but I will keep it at that. I sometimes joke that I would have exploded by now had I not done so to relieve tension and fulfill urges as best I can. Is it wrong to have these urges? Men talk about them all the time, but I always feel embarrassed about that stuff.
Believe it or not, sometimes virgins like me who have sought advice (especially online) will receive a suggestion by others (usually men) to watch porn so you “know what to do” or for “pointers”. I have never done so nor have I have ever had the urge to watch legitimate porn for that purpose. That isn’t to say that I don’t need pointers or know what to do; if I did, I wouldn’t be a post 30 virgin. It is something that I have always felt I would prefer to experience when it happened, as an experience unto itself. Unfortunately, this would mean that should that occasion have arrived, I’d be a fumbling moron – which is standard as a teenager, almost cute in your 20’s, but at my age is beyond pathetic and a turn off for women. I sometimes joke that I’d need a “fuck by number” instructional guide (rather than “paint by numbers”). And one of the major differences between men and women in America (or at least NY) is that while men are trained and expected to be “explorers” or “conquerors” who don’t like being compared to other men and thus don’t mind if a woman is inexperienced, women favor experience much the same way most people prefer going to a restaurant which is well reviewed or where they’ve had as good meal in the past. I’m an untested baggage sandwich in the buffet of life, filled with all sorts of ingredients that nobody wants.
Over these past few months since I began this blog in the summer, I have wondered even to myself what the purpose of it to a degree; why now? Getting some of these topics and feelings about my aborted love life hasn’t done me any harm, and while I didn’t want attention, I am grateful for all those who read along with me. I have wondered as this year closes, and as I will soon grow older, if I see this blog as a way to “close this chapter of my life” as I have sometimes stated. You can’t close a chapter which has yet to be written, so perhaps here I am, writing it. The epitaph of a love life, in chapters and segments. Soon I will reach the end of past experiences, and then maybe I can walk away. Maybe those feelings and urges for romantic connection or intimacy can at least be exorcised from me, and I can move on with what is left of my life.
Some men may see a blurry line between porn and reality. I know they are actors, playing out a script, for a paying audience. I know that some of the female actresses are exploited, while others enjoy the money and move onto other things. Yet my desire to avoid such things hasn’t made me a better man or lover, and all of my friends who were all over that stuff as teenagers have gone on to have healthy romantic relationships and lives. While I won’t connect all of my trials in life or depression to my lack of game, I sometimes wonder how my life would have been had I been attractive to a woman I was into at least once, had I known I could pleasure a woman and had that swagger as many of my friends have had. Would I have had that confidence for a better job, or a higher sense of worth for myself? After all, it is easy to feel ugly, worthless, and obsolete when nobody has ever loved you, at least in that way. Anything regarding romance, even the juicy and pure physical urges and motions, has been nothing but one sided and frustrating for me. And I would like nothing more than to have it end, forever. That’s all I want for Christmas.
Tune in next time for that college encounter with multiple agents that I keep promising!