Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Don't Think It's Because It Necessarily Makes You a Misogynist

A friend of mine describes pornography as "cigarettes for the brain" -- a kind of high that makes that you feel good at the time, even though you know that long-term, it's not something entirely healthy for you. As for why it's not healthy, I don't think it's because it necessarily makes you a misogynist (How then would we reconcile gay porn?), it's more that while having sexual fantasies is normal and healthy, having unlimited access to people enacting these fantasies (or what you think are your fantasies) for you dulls you to sexual reality because you will expect something from these real encounters that they cannot provide, instead of being interested in what they do provide, meaning that you will be constantly disappointed with the imperfection of reality.

I wouldn't say that I have an addition to pornography, just an unhealthy attraction to it. It's been part of my life ever since a buddy of mine showed me his collection of Playboys back in junior high. These days I'd have to say that I view pornography 2 to 3 times a week, which is much less than it used to be. Part of it is that I've got less time and my chances to masturbate are usually after everybody else has gone to bed. Like cigarettes, I view it as something that I should avoid if I can and if I can't, to keep my exposure to a relative minimum so as to maintain my mental "health".

I never really talked about pornography in my personal therapy, even though my relationships with women played a huge role in those conversations, probably because viewing pornography is really a poor relation of those deeper psychological issues. My mother was a clinical depressive and as part of dealing with this, isolated herself from us both physically and mentally. My therapist is a Freudian and her analysis is that this lack of female attention/intimacy in my childhood is the root cause for why I've struggled with an obsession of needing myself to be wanted sexually by women as a form of self-validation as a sexual adult. Pornography is be a natural partner in this as women are relegated to the role of being in desire to the point of being handicapped by it. And it wouldn't really alleviate the situation as I'm perfectly aware of the artifice involved, none of these women would give me a second glance in terms of raw sexual attraction (or at least that's what I believe).

The most disturbing aspect of my enjoyment of pornography is when I find myself enjoying the fact that the woman involved in the scene is not enjoying herself, yet must pretend that she is, in order to provide me pleasure. It's sadistic and cruel and thoroughly enjoyable in only the way that those who feel powerless feel when they find
themselves with power over others. Recently I've tried to prevent this from happening by avoiding mainstream porn and sticking to higher-quality niche bondage pornography, in which I feel power issues are addressed more honestly and I feel less like a cog in the machine of exploitation.

My wife has sometimes said that we should watch pornography together, although it's never happened. I think it's never happened far more because of me than because of her; it's difficult to tell her that I would, every time, much rather have sex with her and that pornography is mainly a masturbation aid, it's hard to find it actually sexy because so much of it so painfully forced and ridiculous. Watching it with anybody else, especially my wife, would be painfully embarrassing. Most of my time spent watching pornography is scrubbing through a movie or clicking through endless free image sets trying to find that one moment that I actually find sexually appealing. One thing I find particularly strange is the endless amount of time devoted to monotonous thrusting with forced dialogue. Does anybody actually watch that, especially when it's just two sets of genitals interfacing for what feels like an eternity?

Pornography is a crutch, something I lean on in times of need, in dry spells, in times of wanting to feel better about myself, to take my mind off my worries of sexual inadequacy. A lot of the time I resent it and feel like it's something I should take out of my life. When I'm more reflective, I feel like it's healthier to treat it as a cheap indulgence that I can engage in from time to time without feeling too guilty afterwards.