I’ve been meaning to post on this for a while. Last week, I read about Naomi Wolf making one of the only real arguments I’ve seen against porn, essentially saying that men will lose interest in real women when confronted with silicon perfection.
The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don’t know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.
So Dworkin was right that pornography is compulsive, but she was wrong in thinking it would make men more rapacious. A whole generation of men are less able to connect erotically to women—and ultimately less libidinous.
I have to disagree here.
To be honest, this sounds like a lot of whining. Men complaining they don’t know about real sex; women complaining men want too much crazy sex. We’ve raised a generation of whiners who are far too concerned that they’re not going to live up to what they imagine someone else’s expectations are. I haven’t noticed a drop in campus sex. Just have some God-damned sex. You’ll be fine. Trust me.
Everyone goes into sex with very little knowledge, no matter how much they’ve read or watched. Half the fun is learning what your partner likes (and what you like). Quit fucking whining, drunk some fucking wine and do some fucking fucking.
Most of the women in pornography are neither interesting nor that hot. As the poster says, “I’d much rather get jiggy with Naomi Wolf than any porn starlet. How can a woman who writes like this not be incredible in bed?” I’ve consumed my share of porn and have yet to encounter any starlet who was even a fraction as exciting as my least-exciting girlfriend.
Porn is, by its nature — for the moment, at least — passive. Half the pleasure of sex comes from pleasing someone else and no matter how much you rub the screen, your computer is not going to enjoy it.
Porn is clean and antiseptic. Most people prefer the mess of reality.
Does Wolf really think that men want their women to act like the girls in porn? To the extent that porn has made oral sex more acceptable, it’s a good thing. But I can’t think many men are really demanding “the lesbian scene, the ejaculate-in-the-face scene”, as Wolf claims. What people like to watch and what people like to do are often two entirely different things.
I know a few women who’ve been around and have encountered men who expect them to act like porn stars. They’re rare. Most men are perfectly happy with ordinary sex, including those who consume massive volumes of porn.
The huge movement in porn is toward “reality”. Amateurs, natural women and girls running their own websites are the thing. Men are tired of silicon-enhanced “beauties” and miss the kind of women who used to appear in Playboy — real women with curves and hips and pretty faces.
I do agree with Wolf that men and women have some trouble relating to each other. That’s not exactly new nor is it the result of porn. I didn’t have any porn when I was in college (the feminists would have burned my dorm down) but had trouble relating to women. Hell, I still do. But I’m just married so it’s less of a concern.
I don’t see why porn giving men unrealistic images of sex is any different than romantic comedies giving women unrealistic images of romance. Or Friends giving people unrealistic images of life in New York. Entertainment isn’t reality and hasn’t been since Homer gave people unrealistic impressions of war in The Iliad.
Tags: Culture War, Pornography