Sunday, October 31, 2010

Age Appropriate

This post deals with a topic I've been thinking about for some time. But a recent conversation with Cindy Gallop, the founder of Make Love Not Porn , spurred it into writing.



I assure you the website is not anti-porn. But please have a look for yourself to see what it's all about. In the meantime, enjoy the following entry.





Age Appropriate

I remember attending a course at one of California's most prestigious universities. I'd taken my seat near the back of the lecture hall. A group of students sat several rows in front of me, clustered around a laptop computer. One of them clasped her mouth. She appeared to hold back something. A gasp maybe. Possibly her lunch.

From several yards away, I could tell what they were watching. I'd seen it myself a month or two prior. The video depicted two naked women shitting and vomiting into each other's mouths. Amongst the online community, it was a real hit.

For my classmates, it effected looks of mild horror. For me, a stifled laugh. In either case, we went back to work. We took notes and continued on our day. The sight was unusual. But no more than lightning or summer rain.



My account is telling. There's something here to point out. For those under thirty, twenty, and most likely fifteen, a visual familiarity with fecal consumption and regurgitation is more typical than one might expect.

From some perspectives, the future looks dim: Heavy metal turns kids to Satan, and video games incite homicidal revenge. A few viral videos and our youth will be plagued by shit-filled wet dreams.

Except (as far as I can tell) the world is not headed down such a path. The kids are smart, if not properly educated. They know coprophilia doesn't look fun. But they're also not shocked. Aside from the literal shit, they've seen it all before.



Today, the average age one first views pornography is rumored to be 11. It's a faulty statistic at best. But conservative estimates bump that age up a mere few years. By 14, it's agreed upon: most post-modern babies view hardcore porn.

The ramifications aren't so catastrophic. The fundamentals of sex have not been changed. One thing is still inserted in another. People still have fun. But the details now form patterns. And they include most everything ingrained in pornographic canon: anal sex, facials (ejaculation upon the face), choking, slapping, spitting, and more.

No aforementioned act is inherently good or bad, but neither is it inherent. Left to their own devices, removed from the internet, kids would still learn to fuck. Presumably, it's why we're all here today. But I can't imagine boys born in caves would instinctively jump to their feet to blow their load all over cave girl's face. Neither can I imagine cave girl requesting a proper gang bang.

But there are reasons 18-year-old girls can enter the business ready to shoot their first on-screen DP (double penetration). The adult industry is no longer a refuge for deviants and the sexually abused. Young, middle-class kids grow up wanting to be porn stars. And just like those with any childhood dream, the acts are studied, dissected, and sometimes rehearsed.




Example:

Months ago, I was hired for a shoot. The theme was some school girl fantasy. My co-talent was as fresh as they come: 18, cute face, perky tits, and the whole package. Dressed in her checkered skirt, she'd make any grown (hetero) man look twice.

But it was clear from the start she wasn't interested in me. I took it for shyness at first, and then a simple preference. That is, until she began to speak.

“I'm shooting for schoolgirlcrush.com?” she'd ask when the director would enter the room.

“Yeah,” he'd reply. “That's what it says on the paperwork.”

“So I'm fucking you?” She'd still be eying the director.

“No, that's your guy. His name's Danny.” He pointed to me. “You two haven't met?”

“We have,” I assured him. And it was true.

“I thought the girls always fuck the principal,” she said, her face lit with hope.

And that's when it all came together. The director was the principal, and he'd performed in plenty of scenes. She admitted to watching him for at least several years. He was her fantasy, and I was just the guy she got stuck with, the one to remind her it might never come true.



Now, my experience is unusual. I see the kids who go to the extreme. But most youth have aspirations that don't include fucking on camera (at least not for everyone to see). I know this because I've met them too. They're the ones I've grown up with and the ones who've become my collegiate friends. And from what I hear, they watch a lot of porn too.

“Freshman year,” a young man once told me, “I was pulled into a dorm with a bunch of other guys. Someone found a video on the internet called 'How to Make a Girl Come.' We were fucking glued to the screen. Next time I got laid, I pulled out all the tricks. And, let me tell you, it worked.”

But not all accounts are so positive: “Sometimes I feel like I don't have what it takes. I mean, how do you guys keep your dicks hard for so long? How do you just pound a girl and not come?”

Girls will tell me, “My boyfriend won't take charge. He just wants to make love. Which, I guess, is fine. But I want him to fuck me like a whore. I want him to put it in my ass.” Others will say, “It really freaked me out. Without saying anything, he just came on my face.”

Then the boys will counter. “I fucked this girl in the ass and she shit all over me. It was disgusting.” Or one will claim something like this: “I don't want to date a girl who'd do that on our first night out. She's probably a whore. What if I catch something?” Afterwards, he'll text me about his newest porn star crush.

From my second-hand accounts, it's clear porn can be helpful. It gives examples for those who'd like to try something new. But it can also create unrealistic expectations, and even diminish one's self-esteem. Because as dirty as it all appears to be, porn is just sanitized sex.

Condoms are absent, or else suddenly appear mid-coitus. Orifices are cleaned, douched, and flushed with enemas before the camera's started to record. Guys pop pills, or else the hours of limp dicks are cut from the final product. And everyone appears to enjoy every position, every act, every pull, slap, and tug. Because we (performers) are there to do a job, to make it look good, and to get you off. If we just mimicked reality, things would turn out different. For a large-scale business, “different” is not always the safest route to go.

That's not to say all porn follows one formula. Companies are emerging, and directors armed with a new kind of ideology. Dig through the slush and you'll find porn where transparency is cool. It's often labeled “sex positive,” and the scenes are stacked with interviews, conversations, or some other kind of auxiliary information. It caters to those who want to view performers as people, and find out what truly turns them on. It teaches, as well as entertains. It makes safe sex sexy, and can promote kink in most every possible way.

But “sex positive” is a niche market. It's not what kids will find first when scouring the net for their pornographic fix.



So here's an idea that will never take hold: teach kids about porn. Sure, there are plenty of arguments for why such a thing is inappropriate. But if every time we left our homes, children were met with graphic depictions of hardcore sex, it might be important to explain to them what's going on. Only that's not the case. It's more like every time a kid goes home, or to a friend's house, or the local internet cafe, he or she is met with graphic depictions of hardcore sex.

Not that any of it is necessarily “bad.” It's just made with a certain mindset: porn is a product intended for adults. The consumer should be mature enough to understand to what's going on. And what's going on is not always the way sex occurs in real life.

Perhaps such a statement gives kids less credit than they deserve. Most everyone's figured out we're not a bunch of space marines battling aliens, despite what other forms of entertainment might suggest. It's just that most porn carries a different aesthetic. The content invokes a more tangible physical reaction. In short, the porn we watch often looks like something we'd prefer to participate in. And unlike video games or mainstream film and television, everyone on screen (usually) appears to be having fun.

So by the time of most contemporary kids meet their first sexual encounters, it's safe to assume they've developed an idea of what's supposed to go down (or up). On occasion, I'm sure it happens according to plan. But more often than not, things have to go awry. Because real-life sex is rarely a calculated act. And individual preferences are as varied as what you can do with them.

But if porno standards have set the bar, and a child finds he/she is not up to par, I imagine sex to be a frustrating affair. What happens from there is anyone's guess. The point is, it doesn't have to happen at all.



To bring the issue full circle, and back into my lap, I have to admit this: I want porn to continue on many of its paths. Forget the financial ramifications. I know it's my job. What I'm talking about is the effect it's had on sex. I love that a young, twenty-something girl can feel comfortable sharing her consensual rape fantasy with me. In fact, I think it's really fucking hot. Not that I can attribute something like that entirely to porn. But I'm sure it's helped.

What I'm advocating is not a return to some white-washed past. Sex should not become more or less of anything. It should only be further discussed. Openly. There's simply too much information to gloss over. And it's relevant to every single one of us.

Forget what's age appropriate. Prior to puberty this stuff's barely even an issue. But just consider the fact that any kid with a laptop has an opportunity to see someone shit in another person's mouth. I'm sure they can handle a discussion about real-life, and pornographic, sex.





For an excellent sex-education resource please visit Scarleteen.com

9 comments:

  1. I really like what you've been writing about these last few posts - it's nice to get a perspective like yours on stuff like this, especially since I don't really know anyone else with experiences like yours. :P Most of the time porn has been a positive sexual outlet for me, at least in terms of exploring BDSM and anal, but sometimes it can be a knock to the self-esteem in terms of body image from myself and from others. But you're right, most of it is just fantasizing, and a lot of it depends on the stock one personally puts into it. Sex positive porn is harder to find at the store around here, but I'm glad there's a lot of sources for it online, and that there's good performers endorsing it and making it, too. Maybe it'll get more popular in the near future the more it's made and talked about. I hope so, anyway. BTW, yay for plugging scarleteen!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Danny - I very much enjoyed and appreciated our discussion,and am delighted to see this post. Very well said. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks again for commenting Amanda. Just curious, but do you have a "type" or "genre" of porn you typically prefer?

    And Cindy-

    Yeah, me too. Great discussion. I want to hear you speak sometime. You're brilliant at it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm...I'm not sure if I would describe it as a type or genre, but I guess I kind of like when there's some transparency, like when there's interviews before or after, just to hear about others perspectives, opinions, turn-ons, that kind of thing. Kind of like Rough Sex, actually. :) Heh, other than that, hmm...I guess more along the lines of alt-porn, how to's, some lighter BDSM fares (like some of the stuff on Kink.com, but it can get a little too much for my tastes), that kind of thing. Some combination thereof. :P I'm basically at a point where I want to try and explore new things that I was either too afraid of or too close-minded about, see if I like it or not. I'm kind of looking at everything, but I guess those are a bit more of my leanings at the moment. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a great piece. Thanks for writing! I like your balanced look at things and I agree, porn as well as sex should be discussed younger. Heck, I think masturbation should be taught to kids because its a great first step to figuring out your body. But thats just me...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for commenting Sequoia. I agree with you on all counts. It's just hard to really advocate this stuff outside one's personal sphere of influence. Oh well. Hopefully the next generation of parents will know what's up. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. So well written and thoughtful! I think you very effectively weighed the pros and cons of under 18 viewing of porn - as well as touching on how sexual acts which are commonplace in porn enter the mainstream. I would have loved to have used this when I was discussing porn in class.

    I wonder what the evolutionary psychologists would say about cavegirl gang bangs! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. Scarleteen is a great website. you totally rock for posting it above.

    ReplyDelete