A LITTLE PORN TALK

There was once a popular afternoon radio DJ on KSFO-San Francisco by the name of Dan Sorkin.  Ever the iconoclast, he would often say that he never learned anything of importance until he turned thirty.  What epiphany did he come up with then?  “I discovered that women want it just as much as men!”

The elusive-yet-ever-popular “it,” of course, was sex, the bane of Puritanical thinking and the easiest fallback for religious humor.  (“Why are Southern Baptists so down on sex?”  “Because it leads inevitably to dancing.”  Rim shot.)

A recent piece in New York magazine reported on an extensive survey of our porn-watching habits.  As intriguing as porn is, in and of itself, how we view pornography is almost as enlightening.

There is, for example, the contention that free and easy access to on-line porn has cast a pall across our actual, real-life sexuality, diminishing its power and reality in some way.  There is also, the moral question:  Are these young women being subjugated to a life that degrades their existence?  Some actresses seem to be enjoying their time under the lights beyond all expectation, while others are only a leash and collar away from obvious exploitation.  (Then again—let’s be honest here—a few actually sport the leash and collar with alacrity.  No accounting for taste.)

Author Maureen O’Connor writes, “Pornography is more than a mere causal agent in the way we screw.  It has also become a laboratory of the sexual imagination—and as such, it offers insight into a collective sexual consciousness that is in a state of high-speed evolution.”  She talks about narrative memes that go beyond the “pussy-slapping and ball-squeezing which could theoretically be included in some crazily updated version of The Joy of Sex.”  She cites scene-setting, erotic situations and role-playing as reinventions of sexual stimuli for all of us.

The study provides an overview of where we’ve been, noting emphasis shifts over the last decade from the once-trending popularity of MILFs (sexy mature women) to squirting, from the prevalence of “amateurs” to the “casting couch interview,” from the year of the ass to “lesbian scissoring.”  Not quite sure why that last one was popular, but there you are.  Incest porn has always been popular; it titillates.  Female viewers are largely drawn to lesbian massage videos.  (Ms. O’Connor points at one drawback to this:  “Ever since massage porn became ubiquitous in my porn, I have been unable to endure professional, nonerotic massages.”  That is a sad and serious loss.)

“Yoga” is another popular porn subject area.  Here, wardrobe memes “yoga pants,” “ripped yoga pants” and “tight yoga pants” are enticing subject lines.

One interesting facet was this clear fact:  The typical “Barbie” type was not the most popular body type sought after by male viewers.  No fake-boob blondes.  Really.  The most popular female performers were slender, five-foot-five brunettes with B-cups (and, curiously, 48 pounds lighter than the average female).

You might think that gay-male porn would be the sole province of the fellas, but nearly forty percent of viewers are women, especially those over 45 years of age.  Then there’s this sad fact:  Kim Kardashian’s sex tape has been viewed 144 million times.  Go figure.

In the end, understanding internet pornography gives us a relatively accurate assessment of our sexual interests and proclivities.  That information might also provide a healthy means of exploring our own sexuality.  Last benefit?  The definitive discovery that women want it just as much as men.  Nice to know that guys are not alone in an otherwise cold, cruel world.

©2017 Richard Paul Hinkle

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