I don't know about you, but none of my friends really talk about porn. We debate its morality; we joke about it; we occasionally make drunken allusions to it; once I walked into a college party and a group of people were guffawing over a pirated copy of "Who's Nailin' Pailin?"; but in all seriousness no one ever talks about The thing itself. Many porn connoisseurs tend to keep their habits private, and it's a common misconception that women don't enjoy porn at all (even though big-name porn websites have a female friendly section, my male friends still raise their eyebrows when I admit to having favorite porn stars and genres). Part of that's madonna-whore complex, part is that many feminists consider porn to be inherently misogynist, and I can definitely understand the reasoning of the latter. It certainly poses an ethical dilemma whenever I wade into pornhub or kink.com, or even pick up a used copy of Fanny Hill. But pornography and its high-fallutin' sister erotica have been around for-fucking-ever (seriously, google the history of porn*. I'll wait till you finish) and will be around as long as human beings get aroused. Or even want others to get aroused (google panda porn too*). So we might as well treat it like any other media** on this site, right? And the first step to that is to bring your average joe(sefina), feminist-identified porn-watchers out of the closet.
I was always one of those kids who accidentally discovered sexual things (before I knew how to read properly I was gifting cousins with found erotica because I liked the pictures), but my journey with porn began when my parents let me watch "The Red Violin" with them. I saw that part where the woman was naked and orgasming to the dude playing his violin. Those sounds, that image, is burned into my brain, and probably influenced my desire to play the violin in first grade. In middle school my best friend would loan me her romance novels. I'd skip past the vapid plot and head strait to the sex, which made me squirmy with feelings I didn't yet recognize. I'd devour YA books that had the slightest mentions of sex and read them again and again, imagining myself as both the male and the female characters. Eventually I moved to adult fiction with adult sex scenes, to Anais Nin- I even discovered a copy of Fanny Hill that I briefly perused, my ears burning and my mouth slightly open, until I came to my senses and hid it. There was certainly an element of shame in reading these things, not least because I always identified with the submissive participant. I'd dream about these things at night, but there's only so much the written word can describe about sex positions or moans of pleasure, or the sheen of sweat on someone's skin. I would imagine these things and draw a blank, and the only visual aides I had were in textbooks or the movies my parents watched (and that sometimes I'd have to sneak downstairs to see), where either the scenes were too short or the sex was supposed to be awkward and unfulfilling. I figured that sex was probably a good thing in theory, but impossible or un-fun in practice.
Then I stumbled onto kink.com (through Jezebel, I think, back when Fleshbot was a part of Gawker), and the rest is history. Porn helped me refine my tastes, desires, and ethics when it came to sexual fantasy. It helped me realize my bisexuality, it helped me express those desires in a way that wasn't harmful to anyone, and it helped me easily relieve a lot of stress and tension. When I was super depressed and couldn't get myself off through books or dirty thoughts, porn was there. In the good times, when I had my dorm room to myself in college I'd spend one devote one afternoon a week to this: shower, lotion, massage, porn, and pleasure myself until I was relaxed and buzzing with joy.
Of course there were times when I'd turn off my computer feeling disgusted with myself and humanity in general. I'd have to wade through a lot of depressing shit in order to find video of two (or more) people who seemed to enjoy their job, and there were times I'd go through long hiatuses because I couldn't stand stumbling across another woman who looked coerced and unhappy, another woman who had modified her genitals to the point where her flesh looked strained and painful, another woman whose partner said degrading things about her race, gender, age, or body-type (I know this last is sometimes a part of BD/SM play, but in a supposedly non-fetish setting it's incredibly jarring and upsetting to me). Porn has real problems and these should be discussed and dealt with, no doubt about it. But I don't think it should be swept under the rug and written off without thorough analysis, not only of the industry and its sociological effects but of our desires as consumers, progressives, and individuals.
Plus, I'm tired of acting like I don't give two shits about it. So let's talk about it, Jezzies. What porn do you like? What porn do you watch or avoid? How did you come (pun intended) to porn, and how do you feel about your consumption? Please note that while I don't mind having a debate on porn's feminist-ness or lack thereof I'd rather not have it overwhelm the whole discussion. Let's keep that particular topic to three threads or less-any more will be deleted. No thread-jacking please! Let's play nice -or naughty- but let's keep it fair.
Without further ado, here's some fun old-timey pics I found when I was googling!
*Korra bears no responsibility for the results of said search.
*You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have....a way to fap........