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Nina Hartley, Bolshevik Porn Star
September 23, 2006 2:05 PM   Subscribe

(NSFW) “If you are denying yourself pleasure then you have to take responsibility for where you are right now. When you get to a place where you are happy then love comes into your life. When you begin to love yourself then people recognize that and you can start receiving it. Self-pity will get you nowhere. Our society is sexist, racist, ageist, but I am a biological creature with all these amazing gifts of orgasm and I cannot wait for the world out there to change for me to be happy. I have all the happiness I need inside myself and I’m keeping it. I have denied it and avoided it for myself for too long. I have waited around for other things to be arranged before I gave myself happiness and I’m not going to do that anymore. It wasn’t until I stopped wallowing in all that self-pity and took matters into my own hands that things started to change for me. . . . Don’t wait around for another person to give that to you, give it to yourself. . . . We have been taught to not like ourselves and it takes a lot to unteach that to ourselves. There is a lot of conditioning and everyone has their own kind of conditioning that they have to unlearn. . . . All I can tell people about myself is that I give it to myself just as I can. My area just happens to be sex, while others have art, painting or public health or whatever. I’m just as true to myself as I can be.” --Nina Hartley
posted by jason's_planet (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Stop, stop, you're scaring me. An intelligent porn star: I don't know how to integrate that into my preconceptions.

*Shrugs*
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2006


nice reads. thanks.
posted by dozo at 2:49 PM on September 23, 2006


Neat! I'm not familiar with her work, and I ain't no Commie, but she seems like an intelligent and fun lady. Kudos to her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:58 PM on September 23, 2006


I wonder how quickly she can do the Rubik's Cube up the ass of the girl on the LHS of the first link.
posted by Joeforking at 3:09 PM on September 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Mental Wimp: "Stop, stop, you're scaring me. An intelligent porn star: I don't know how to integrate that into my preconceptions."

Heh. Liking Marcuse isn't the same thing as being intelligent.

from the article: "I have not found that any greater percentage of women in the business have had unwanted sexual experiences than in the general population. I find that many of the worst child abuser are those who are highly religious. They have rigid ideas as to what men and women are supposed to be about, which opens up the whole thing about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. Many people beat up their children because the Bible tells them to beat up their children. So, while 25% of all women are abused before they reach 18, I would guess that 60-75% of all fundamentalist Christian children are abused before 18."

"I was abused? No, you were abused! Take that!" Relying heavily on anecdotal evidence also isn't the same thing as being intelligent.
posted by koeselitz at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2006


From the Counterpunch essay:

Does anyone seriously harbor the idea that individual conceptions of intimacy and sexual pleasure are shaped more by exposure to pornography than by the examples parents set for their children?

Absolutely. I don't know too many parents who would discuss the concept of the "BangBus" with their kids.
posted by kgasmart at 3:46 PM on September 23, 2006


Sticherbeast: I can tell you that she was in The Best of Nina Hartley...

and ten points for anyone who gets the reference.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:46 PM on September 23, 2006


I don't know, she may have something with that, kgasmart. Mind you, what conceptions do we have that aren't shaped by our parents examples?
posted by liquorice at 3:51 PM on September 23, 2006


Does anyone seriously harbor the idea that individual conceptions of intimacy and sexual pleasure are shaped more by exposure to pornography than by the examples parents set for their children?

Obviously. First of all culture is mostly transmitted to children by older children, not their parents. And secondly parents don't really talk to their kids that much about sex.
posted by delmoi at 4:12 PM on September 23, 2006


You know it's weird. She's 36 which makes her pretty old for a porn star, but outside of the porn world that's not very old at all.
posted by delmoi at 4:14 PM on September 23, 2006


I don't know, she may have something with that, kgasmart. Mind you, what conceptions do we have that aren't shaped by our parents examples?

Dude, I know a couple of guys, and one of them happens to be my brother, who have a higher expectation of "pornstar" type sex any time they enter a relationship than they did 10 years ago, before porn was quite so ubiquitous. And if there IS no pornstar-type sex, there's a level of disappointment that I suspect might not have been so pronounced way back in the dark ages.

But I can tell you that my parents didn't preach that message, that if the sex isn't good enough, eh, find someone else.

Not that such things never occurred before porn became so ingrained in the culture, because obviously they did. But go back to the "BangBus" - if you're digging on the misogyny, well, where did that come from? From parental example? Maybe. And maybe it's all a matter of living vicariously (though as noted above, maybe not).

And so long as it harms no one, whatever. But methinks Ms. Hartley doth protest a bit too much.
posted by kgasmart at 4:19 PM on September 23, 2006


Delmoi:(I'm playing the devil's advocate, because I kind of agree with you) Isn't the fact that most parents don't talk about sex with their kids, the whole point? Seuxally repressed society, anyone?
posted by liquorice at 4:20 PM on September 23, 2006


kgasmart:I totally agree with you on that point. There's a level of expectation by guys and girls which has been generated by pornography and I think that has had a huge detriment on many a sexual relationship.
posted by liquorice at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2006


You know it's weird. She's 36 which makes her pretty old for a porn star, but outside of the porn world that's not very old at all.

Thank you, delmoi.
Yours truly,
Drew Bledsoe
posted by hal9k at 4:23 PM on September 23, 2006


"Does anyone seriously harbor the idea that individual conceptions of intimacy and sexual pleasure are shaped more by exposure to pornography than by the examples parents set for their children?"

kgasmart writes "Absolutely. I don't know too many parents who would discuss the concept of the 'BangBus' with their kids."

liquorice writes "I don't know, she may have something with that, kgasmart."

I think the odds are low. My conceptions of sexual pleasure were way more influenced by porn than by my parents (for example, the idea: "Hey, getting your dick sucked looks like fun!" was an idea that I got from watching a video, not from watching my parents), and that was in the early 80's, when Hartley was still a nobody in the industry.
posted by Bugbread at 4:28 PM on September 23, 2006


Oh, and to further my point a few posts earlier: Not only a huge detriment on sexual relationships but also opened many doors to all new kinds of kinky experimentation!
posted by liquorice at 4:33 PM on September 23, 2006


the idea: "Hey, getting your dick sucked looks like fun!" was an idea that I got from watching a video, not from watching my parents

I got that idea from watching a video of my parents!

No, just kidding
posted by papakwanz at 4:40 PM on September 23, 2006


She's 36 which makes her pretty old for a porn star, but outside of the porn world that's not very old at all.

Except in the real world your skin doesn't turn into that freaky porn star leather at 36. Hell not even at 46.

[ For the longest time i thought my Perineal raphe was a scar from some early operation that my parent's were too insecure to bring up - then I saw it on a porn star and realized my penis was normal- thanks porn!]
posted by srboisvert at 4:45 PM on September 23, 2006


She's 36

DOB 1959, ergo 46. Plus she has a 40's voice.
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2006


Does anyone seriously harbor the idea that individual conceptions of intimacy and sexual pleasure are shaped more by exposure to pornography than by the examples parents set for their children?

Absolutely. I don't know too many parents who would discuss the concept of the "BangBus" with their kids.


I don't know of any kids who would want to discuss, hear, or have anything to to do with their parents' sex life.
posted by semmi at 4:53 PM on September 23, 2006


Dude, I know a couple of guys, and one of them happens to be my brother, who have a higher expectation of "pornstar" type sex any time they enter a relationship than they did 10 years ago, before porn was quite so ubiquitous. And if there IS no pornstar-type sex, there's a level of disappointment that I suspect might not have been so pronounced way back in the dark ages.

When you say "pornstar sex" what do you mean? Good sex? Fun sex? Sex with a partner that seems to enjoy it? Sex with a partner that does more than lay there? Sex with someone who's paid to have sex with you?

The way you say it makes me think sort of all of the above, except that last one probably. And if that's what you mean, it seems like all you're saying is that your disgusting brother is hoping for good sex when he's in a relationship, and that his partner will actually enjoy it and get into giving and receiving pleasure with your brother.

Jeez, what a preevert, am I right?
posted by illovich at 4:55 PM on September 23, 2006


The way you say it makes me think sort of all of the above, except that last one probably. And if that's what you mean, it seems like all you're saying is that your disgusting brother is hoping for good sex when he's in a relationship, and that his partner will actually enjoy it and get into giving and receiving pleasure with your brother.

Blowjobs, for example.

Ever been in a relationship with someone who wouldn't do it? Has that ever been a reason for you to break off a relationship?

Has it ever been so important to you to partake of that particular pleasure that if someone wouldn't do it, that specific thing alone somehow made them less worthy of being in a relationship with?

No man, we're all preeverts, to some extent. We all want good sex. My point is that if you're going to hold out for Jenna Jameson both on looks and abilities, you might be holding out for a very long time, denying yourself intimacy specifically because you've set the bar way high. And I do think that's been an effect that porn has had on socieites and the relationships within them.
posted by kgasmart at 5:06 PM on September 23, 2006


Right on, illovich. I'm happy to see that someone's on the same page I am. How dare someone want good sex.
posted by quite unimportant at 5:07 PM on September 23, 2006


It seems to me that once you've been in a sexual relationship or two, your views on sex will be more influenced by reality than by porn. Maybe porn's more damaging for those who wait until marriage?
posted by callmejay at 5:10 PM on September 23, 2006


I know teenagers are dicks and all, but I've seen a few too many "relationships" go down the tubes because the partner wasn't into anal or threesomes. I think that level of expectation can be directly linked to pornography and how it depicts all women as willing and eager to do those things.
posted by liquorice at 5:11 PM on September 23, 2006


Blowjobs, for example.

Ever been in a relationship with someone who wouldn't do it? Has that ever been a reason for you to break off a relationship?

Has it ever been so important to you to partake of that particular pleasure that if someone wouldn't do it, that specific thing alone somehow made them less worthy of being in a relationship with?


Yes, yes, and yes. Emotional and mental connections aside, if my partner is in any way disinterested in any aspect of my sexual satisfaction, then it's on to the next candidate. Just taking something right off the table without discussion speaks volumes about a person's attitudes and philosophies. Don't be so naive as to think someone who simply WILL NOT NO WAY IN HELL EVER suck a dick is open and agreeable to everything else, into and out of the bedroom.

It's a two way road, too. I have to be just as open and indulging with my partner if they are going to feel good about being with me. If I can't give them that, there is not point in continuing the relationship, at whatever stage we find this incompatibility.

The only effect I can see with porn on society is that it's taught guys that having a three sentence dialogue, eating pussy horribly, and then pounding like a jackhammer constitutes sex.


No man, we're all preeverts, to some extent. We all want good sex. My point is that if you're going to hold out for Jenna Jameson both on looks and abilities, you might be holding out for a very long time, denying yourself intimacy specifically because you've set the bar way high.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. There is nothing wrong with having standards. If holding out for good sex and good looks is what someone wants, then let them wait a good long time. I abstained from relationships and sex for two and a half years before I found my gorgeous and sexually giving significant other. I had no problem waiting. I wasn't denying myself intimacy or setting the bar way too high. I was just waiting. It's not my problem you're impatient.
posted by quite unimportant at 5:18 PM on September 23, 2006


I know teenagers are dicks and all, but I've seen a few too many "relationships" go down the tubes because the partner wasn't into anal or threesomes. I think that level of expectation can be directly linked to pornography and how it depicts all women as willing and eager to do those things.


How can you draw that distinction? If the guy likes anal and threesomes, how is that porn's fault? Because it happened to show him that there are actually women out there who will do it?

I've seen my share of porn, but at no time did I think that all women did those things. Hell, to be honest, porn made me think that the only women who did those things were emotionally crippled cocaine addicts who probably got sexually abused by their older male relatives.
posted by quite unimportant at 5:22 PM on September 23, 2006


I'm not saying all guys and all porn and all sexual acts. (Jesus, I find myself in another porn discussion on the internet, what's UP with that?) I'm just saying some guys, some porn and some sexual acts. On the flipside, like I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of good about porn - in heliping men and women explore and embrace their own sexuality.
posted by liquorice at 5:25 PM on September 23, 2006


"helping"
posted by liquorice at 5:26 PM on September 23, 2006


the idea: "Hey, getting your dick sucked looks like fun!" was an idea that I got from watching a video, not from watching my parents

Me, I got that idea when I was making a video of my parents. I couldn't help it; my granddad kept shouting it at the dog. Made it dificult to keep the scene blocked right, especially with the priest being so annoying.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:27 PM on September 23, 2006


If holding out for good sex and good looks is what someone wants, then let them wait a good long time.

How 'bout 14 years?

Like I said before, so long as it harms no one, whatever floats your boat. But what it comes down to is, how important is sex ultimtely going to be in that relationship? Of the utmost importance? But, you know, what happens when you and little Ms. Jenna have been together five years and what used to happen nightly or, christ, hourly is only happening now twice a week, or twice a month?

That's a recipe for dissatisfaction, isn't it - "emotional and mental connections aside," as you say.
posted by kgasmart at 5:30 PM on September 23, 2006


If 14 years is what it takes, then yeah. I got lucky and found mine earlier.

What is wrong with sex being just as important as mental, emotional, even spiritual connection? It could be argued that sexual connection even facilitates all three.

When me and my lovely wife Mrs. Jenna Unimportant find our sexual appetites waning, we will be able to calmly and rationally look at ourselves and see that even if we aren't as interested in sex all the time, we have five years of history and bridge-building to fall back upon. It's not like we'd be fucking the ENTIRE five years, right?

I mean Jesus. Take any other facet of a relationship. Spirituality for instance. What happens if after five years you and your devoutly, say, Catholic/Wiccan/Buddhist girlfriend has a crisis of faith and no longer wants to accept the Blood of Christ while meditating on Saturnalia? Is that not yet another "recipe for dissatisfaction?"
posted by quite unimportant at 5:38 PM on September 23, 2006


Take the "you and" out of that last paragraph. It makes more sense that way. :P
posted by quite unimportant at 5:39 PM on September 23, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe, I told you man, I'm a reverend, and if you'd let me wear my regular clothes instead of that Pope-y costume, the shot would have been easier.

You owe me three new broomsticks, and now the dog does something else when I tell him to 'come'.

oh yeah, I've got a bunch of bug repellent... I think it's yours.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 5:43 PM on September 23, 2006


Is that not yet another "recipe for dissatisfaction?"

Without a doubt - but again, only when if it of the utmost importance.

And no man, what I'm telling you is that my bro sat around for 14 years lonely as hell but thinking that he needed someone who would sit on his dick and spin to make him "happy." But now he's found someone - and she doesn't do that. And he whines about it sometimes. But he's found that he can indeed be "happy" even though she's not quite as skilled in the sack and Nina or Jenna. Gee, who'da thunk - "happiness" is possible without complete utter slathering pornstar sexual gratification?

And I'm saying that didn't used to be so much a part of this equation. And now it is. And I really do think porn has a lot to do with that - use whatever terminology you like; exposure to kink that people might not otherwise have had opens doors and helps them decide that, gee, I want that too.

I think porn absolutely has had that effect. And nobody's "wrong" for wanting that. What I think is that it's skewed, or changed, our collective idea of what relationships, at their core, are about. And while we may all be more liberated now, I think the jury's still out on whether, overall, we're better off.
posted by kgasmart at 5:48 PM on September 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


My primary partner of eleven years delights in an activity which I cannot bring myself to share with her. Said activity has risks I'm not willing to take. She plays that particular game with someone else. Blowjobs and breath control might not be exactly comparable but I illustrate that to show that lots of people have limits and it's arguable how far limits "ought" to go.

I have a higher general appetite than she; I have several partners besides her - all of which are long-standing relationships.

The probability that two people would share one another's desire to experiment in every possible detail is small - and approaching zero if you like both genders.
posted by jet_silver at 6:09 PM on September 23, 2006


I guess this is where we differ. I am of the mind that exposure to the existence of kink allows people more access to who they are. Me, I've been exposed to damn near every kink out there, and most would probably describe the kind of sex I like as vanilla and bland, which is cool by me. I have no need to be tied up, spanked, peed on, pegged, etc. It just doesn't do it for me. But for those that it does, rock the fuck on. A healthy sex life with a consenting partner is one of the joys of this existence.

And your brother isn't whining. He's expressing disappoinment with his current situation. It's only whining because you don't care about it, and think he's wrong because he does.

This is akin to freedom of information. If someone would be better off because they remained ignorant of the world around them, I say tough shit. Know the world around you and accept it for what it is. Remaining ignorant does nothing. It's like a child covering up their eyes and thinking they are hiding from you because they can't see you.

I'll agree porn has opened up the experiences of some sheltered people, and for that I think it is without question a good thing. The fact that it has become more prevalent is a good thing for just the same reasons.

Also, I couldn't help but notice all of your happiness was in quotation marks. Happy with quotation marks is bullshit. Tell your brother congratulations on his complacency.
posted by quite unimportant at 6:13 PM on September 23, 2006


In that situation, jet_silver, you take the monogamy out of the equation, as it appears you have. Kudos.
posted by quite unimportant at 6:15 PM on September 23, 2006


I'm just delighted to learn that Ms. Hartley is Jewish.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:27 PM on September 23, 2006


Not familiar with her work?? What's the matter with you - haven't you seen Boogie Nights?
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:28 PM on September 23, 2006


And your brother isn't whining. He's expressing disappoinment with his current situation.

Maybe, but then guage the disappointment. He's not getting his kink on like the folks in his huge pile of pornos.

But she takes care of him. Loves him. Cooks for him. Respects him. Is his companion as he travels the rough road of life.

What's that worth, man? Nothing if she isn't giving it up every five seconds in every which way? Or less, if she isn't doing her best Jenna impersonation in the sack?

I say that's bullshit. "Happiness" is in quotes because too many of us, in this fucked-up society, seem to think that sexual fulfillment leads to spiritual fulfillment and ultimately societal fulfillment. Maybe it does, maybe it can, but it isn't always the bright shining path, and a lot of people are left strewn along the side of that fucking road.

Sexuality is part of the package, it ain't the package itself.
posted by kgasmart at 6:28 PM on September 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maybe, but then guage the disappointment.

Ask him. It's his disappointment. Maybe next time he "whines" about it, tell him to leave her or quit his bitching and enjoy what he has. You can guage his disappointment by the choice he makes.

Though I do just love your straw men. Where have I been talking about "giving it up every five seconds every which way?" I'm talking about respecting each other, and maybe if your partner likes it a certain way, you do it that way.

I happen to think sexual fulfillment is a prerequisite for mental, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. You can "maybe" me all you want, but you've long since made your stance known without stating it explicitly. And show me a road worth walking that doesn't have the bodies of the failed laying on the side.

Sexuality is part of the package, it ain't the package itself.

......aaand one more straw man for the road. No one was talking about sex being the entirety of the relationship. Men who want that go to prostitutes and sleep well at night.
posted by quite unimportant at 6:47 PM on September 23, 2006


aaand one more straw man for the road.

Ahem.

if my partner is in any way disinterested in any aspect of my sexual satisfaction, then it's on to the next candidate. ...

Ah, I see. It's not all about sex. Except when it is.

I happen to think sexual fulfillment is a prerequisite for mental, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.

Bully for you. I happen to think none are completely dependent upon the other.
posted by kgasmart at 7:11 PM on September 23, 2006


Ah, I see. It's not all about sex. Except when it is.

Nope, replace "sexual" with "mental," "emotional," or "spiritual," and it's pretty much the same. I was just talking about sex there. High standards and all that.
posted by quite unimportant at 7:19 PM on September 23, 2006


kgasmart: "I say that's bullshit. "Happiness" is in quotes because too many of us, in this fucked-up society, seem to think that sexual fulfillment leads to spiritual fulfillment and ultimately societal fulfillment. Maybe it does, maybe it can, but it isn't always the bright shining path, and a lot of people are left strewn along the side of that fucking road."

quite unimportant: "I happen to think sexual fulfillment is a prerequisite for mental, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. You can "maybe" me all you want, but you've long since made your stance known without stating it explicitly. And show me a road worth walking that doesn't have the bodies of the failed laying on the side."


You know, quite, you can think that sexual fulfillment is important without thinking that sex is important. My experience is this: these porn people like to talk all day about 'liberation' and 'finding yourself through sexuality,' but the fact of the matter is, they don't know shit about sex. That's probably because they have so much of it. Sex is, interestingly, something that has to be savored and contemplated. I don't think Nina Hartley knows any more about sex than Takeru Kobayashi knows about cooking.

Not everybody has as much sex as Nina Hartley, but sexuality is something everybody has. It's not something you can get rid of, and, as a certain someone I tend to look up to as a great liberator once said, it runs to the very heart of a person's soul. That person, by the way, apparently only actually had sex once in his life. Yet he knew more about it than someone who can lecture you on the methods of fitting various objects up your butt, and can explain to you the quality of orgasms reached in any number of ways.

Trouble is, nowadays people make that mistake. Sure, it's nice that we're liberated, but liberation doesn't have to utterly flatten the spiritual landscape like pornography does. I'm not saying it should be banned. I'm only saying it renders people as intellectually stunted as Ms. Hartley here, who ignores whole chunks of the real issues involved (such as, for example, its real, direct impact on her audience.) Pornography is anonymous people having anonymous sex so that an anonymous audience doesn't have to confront real human beings to have sexual gratification. Sure, it takes away the 'social stigma,' and allows you to 'do what you want in private,' but the social landscape is what sex is all about. Pornography, that is, lacks courage. It's cowardly. Better people start fucking in the streets than grow pale by the light of their computer monitors.
posted by koeselitz at 8:02 PM on September 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


porn is an all-consuming fire.
posted by quonsar at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


If holding out for good sex and good looks is what someone wants, then let them wait a good long time.


Porn doesn't determine how important these things will be to a person; it only shows a person that these things are possible.

What about someone who has a partner who is utterly fantastic in bed -- wouldn't this spoil him or her for others? (it has, and to some extent, it did) I could go on and on looking for someone just as good, but instead, I take a bit of perspective and decide that good sex + other good things is satisfying. OTOH, I could decide the opposite, and that would be valid, too.

I think too many of you are getting off on telling others just what their priorities should be.
posted by dreamsign at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2006


koeselitz: I share your concerns about the stunted, alienated social landscape in which we live.

But pornography didn't create this alienation.

My experience is this: these porn people like to talk all day about 'liberation' and 'finding yourself through sexuality,' but the fact of the matter is, they don't know shit about sex. That's probably because they have so much of it. Sex is, interestingly, something that has to be savored and contemplated.

That person, by the way, apparently only actually had sex once in his life. Yet he knew more about it . . .


So you have to savor it and contemplate it but not actually do it?

I'm confused.

And how do you know there's no depth or emotional content or spiritual dimension to Hartley's sex life? She was married to a couple for 20 years! Maybe the emotional dimension is something she doesn't write about so much because it's, you know, personal.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:16 PM on September 23, 2006


Yeah, she ain't 36. I'm guessing she's older than 46, actually, given how long she's been around. And I don't see why it's so shocking that some pornstars are pretty smart -- especially the ones who manage to stay in the business long enough to become millionairs (I'm assuming here, but I'd imagine she's set herself up for life).

And she still has a fantastic ass.
posted by bardic at 8:18 PM on September 23, 2006


Sex is, interestingly, something that has to be savored and contemplated.

Sometimes. Certainly not always.
posted by bardic at 8:19 PM on September 23, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe, I told you man, I'm a reverend, and if you'd let me wear my regular clothes instead of that Pope-y costume, the shot would have been easier.

You don't need to tell me, man. I know it. But Daddy said that if you didn't wear the Pope hat and the ape mask, then I'd have to put the genital cuff back on. And holy shit, that would have hurt after the... alterations... I'd done downstairs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:20 PM on September 23, 2006


dreamsign: "I think too many of you are getting off on telling others just what their priorities should be."

Ech, that's what porn does. That's why were doing it here. Pornographers have a unique position: they get to dictate to others what ought to be sexually stimulating. And they get to be as graphic about it as they want. At some point, we're all going to have to decide whether they're right about it or not, and that'll mean talking about priorities. Shying away from that is cowardice, too.

jason's_planet: "So you have to savor it and contemplate it but not actually do it? I'm confused."

No-- and 'savor and contemplate' are a little too abstract and detached for what I'm talking about, so I shouldn't have used them-- I mean that the enjoying isn't directly proportional to the time spent fucking. To put a little more provocatively: every damned one of us has a sexuality from the moment we look back at our mother's vagina. We eat, sleep, and breath it, all without being completely conscious of how much our lives are soaked in eros. It's completely naive to think that I can deepen that merely by putting my penis in as many people as possible; that would be like suggesting that a construction worker can learn more about his job by going to the library and reading obscure texts about building medieval houses.

"And how do you know there's no depth or emotional content or spiritual dimension to Hartley's sex life? She was married to a couple for 20 years! Maybe the emotional dimension is something she doesn't write about so much because it's, you know, personal."

Wow, married to some people for twenty years. Look, I know people who've been married for their whole lives and still lack emotional content or spiritual dimension! Yes, she must have had a reason for doing it, but it might well just have been to prove something to herself. And that something might have been wrong.

Maybe she just likes to keep her personal sexual fulfillment private? I don't doubt it. In fact, I'm sure you're right. But let me repeat, because I think it's important: a woman whose job, whose sole calling, to the point where she writes articles about it and starts advocacy groups, is to sell images of herself sexually involved with other people, and thereby to liberate herself and others, is so guarded that she won't say a word about the fulfillment of that very involvement? It wouldn't be so outstanding if every kind of literature wasn't so absolutely filled with people who really do talk about what sexual fulfillment means, to them personally as well as to others.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM on September 23, 2006


I mean that the enjoying isn't directly proportional to the time spent fucking.

This is true. Once I struck out across a desert with a Dr. Pepper in a bag across my shoulder. About 6 hours later, on my return, I was absolutely dehydrated and in miserable condition. But only then did I drink the Dr. Pepper, and you know, it was the best Dr. Pepper I've ever had.

But I don't think that's the way to live your life.

Why is it that anti-porn or "savour and contemplate" (nay revere) sex people have to resort to near-absolutes to make half a point? If it's not deriding the need to "have sex every five minutes", it's "putting my penis in as many people as possible."

Because the extremes are the only options available, right?

Pornographers have a unique position: they get to dictate to others what ought to be sexually stimulating.

Yeah, unique. Car ads don't tell me that I need that Lexus to be happy. Beer ads don't tell me that I don't need that Molson to party with the girls. Maybe these things determine your priorities, in which case I can understand why you feel threatened by the existence of porn.
posted by dreamsign at 8:52 PM on September 23, 2006


double negative / ads don't tell me that I need to
posted by dreamsign at 8:53 PM on September 23, 2006


"When you begin to love yourself then people recognize that and you can start receiving it."

Makes sense. If you're not comfortable in your own skin, why would someone want you in theirs?

"I cannot wait for the world out there to change for me to be happy."

Song of the Zen Master! First accept.

"I’m just as true to myself as I can be."

Sensei!
posted by Twang at 9:17 PM on September 23, 2006


Sure, it takes away the 'social stigma,' and allows you to 'do what you want in private,' but the social landscape is what sex is all about.

Dammit - when did autoerotocism become evil again? Must have missed another memo.

/tucks self in.
posted by Sparx at 9:35 PM on September 23, 2006


Nice, nice post.
Excellent.
posted by squidfartz at 10:17 PM on September 23, 2006


I don't get porn at all. But I don't get kinks, either.

I've been in a fantastic relationship for nearly half my life. We've explored most of the kinks. We rate quite well on the Sex Test 400 (it was all the rage back in teletype days). We've made a sincere effort to find thrills. None of them grooved us nearly as much as having just plain ol' excellent oral and coital sex.

And here's a great big hint to everyone:

After twenty years of sex with a single, exclusive partner, you learn a whole lot about pleasing them. We read each other like books and know exactly how to utterly, magnificently fuck one another.

Frankly, I've no idea why everyone doesn't do it this way. It is great. I guess I can only hope most everyone else has figured it out in their own unique way. As long as everyone's getting well-fucked, everything is cool. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on September 23, 2006


Know the world around you and accept it for what it is. -- quite unimportant

Well, porn is about as representative of sexual reality as a TV sitcom is of family/work/social reality--which is to say, not very. And it may indeed create unrealistic sexual expecations of what life should be, in the same way TV sitcoms do. Just a thought.

PS: I like porn.
posted by apis mellifera at 10:31 PM on September 23, 2006


[L]iberation doesn't have to utterly flatten the spiritual landscape like pornography does. I'm not saying it should be banned. I'm only saying it renders people as intellectually stunted as Ms. Hartley here, who ignores whole chunks of the real issues involved (such as, for example, its real, direct impact on her audience.) Pornography is anonymous people having anonymous sex so that an anonymous audience doesn't have to confront real human beings to have sexual gratification. Sure, it takes away the 'social stigma,' and allows you to 'do what you want in private,' but the social landscape is what sex is all about. Pornography, that is, lacks courage. It's cowardly.

Kickass.

There tends to be, often, this argument about porn which is utterly simplistic, and ignores the complexities of its production, its reception, and what it all might mean. (Me, I totally get written erotica. Pornorgraphy as photographs and films, I don't understand so well, or find particularly.... interesting.)
posted by jokeefe at 11:32 PM on September 23, 2006


jokeefe writes "Pornography, that is, lacks courage. It's cowardly."

It seems to me that most porn production don't pay much or any attention to the ways people get to know each other and eventually (well almost certainly) have intercourse ; what porn does well is depicting what happens at the end of a process , even if often current directors introduce a lot of spectacularization, so it is not necessarily a close representation of what most frequently happens (on a tangent, 70s porn was imho so much better, so less spectacular for the shake of).

Most of the recent porn I have seen seems targeted at people obsessed with intercourse and sterotyped and pumped masculine/feminine traits, it increasingly looks like a cheap mass produced gymnastics video in which performance is king , but the actors look like they are pumping a sink. They are bored and overacting and it shows.

Anyway regardless of the quality, porn doesn't cause obsession or addiction or social retardation, while an irrational fear of others, underdeveloped self-confidence, excess of confidence (arrogance), misinterpretation of behaviors can cause social disfunctions that, eventually, can push a person toward finding some relief in consumption of porn.

An argument could be made that porn profiteers definitely want this kind of fear going on and my sensation is that they belong to the religious right.
posted by elpapacito at 4:44 AM on September 24, 2006


After twenty years of sex with a single, exclusive partner, you learn a whole lot about pleasing them. We read each other like books and know exactly how to utterly, magnificently fuck one another.

Frankly, I've no idea why everyone doesn't do it this way. It is great.


Well, variety IS worthwhile, and while I know the kind of thing you're talking about -- not 20 years but several -- imagine stumbling across someone who instantly seems to have that kind of ability with you. It does happen. (what happens when you're then with that person for 20 years, alas, I do not know)

It sounds trite, but it's the same reason I don't have the same breakfast cereal every day. That would leach the pleasure out of the best -- perfect blend of oats and honey and whatever else you might desire. (the response to this, somewhat weakly, always seems to be about the depth of relationship over time, but great sex is not always, nor does it have to be, about that).

Anyway, if you have no idea why everyone doesn't do it that way, there's a possibility for you.
posted by dreamsign at 5:03 AM on September 24, 2006


Porn is to sex as cookbooks are to gastronomy.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:32 AM on September 24, 2006


Pornographers have a unique position: they get to dictate to others what ought to be sexually stimulating. . . At some point, we're all going to have to decide whether they're right about it or not, and that'll mean talking about priorities.

Pornographers dictate my sexuality? If so, they seem to have done a terrible job with me. I have no sexual interest whatsoever in scat, midgets, pegging, gay sex, humiliation, electicity play, golden showers, rubber, leather, smoking or any one of a million heavily marketed sexual variations out there today. Maybe I'm just lame. ;)

And, while I'm on the topic, someone who declares that "we're all going to have to have to do x, y and z" is probably not in the best position to accuse others of dictating something. The word "projection" comes to mind.

Koeseliz, when I read your posts, I can't help but think that you are more comfortable with some intellectualized Eros out there in the aether with the rest of the Platonic Forms than you are with flesh-and-blood people actually getting naked and doing it.

Yes, she must have had a reason for [being married for twenty years], but it might well just have been to prove something to herself.

Geez. What can I say about such an accusation thrown out there with no supporting evidence? "My aunt might have had balls, which might have made her my uncle. "
posted by jason's_planet at 8:45 AM on September 24, 2006


(elpapacito, I was quoting koselitz, just to keep things clear.)

People always talk about something called sexual "variety" by using food metaphors. There's something there that I don't have the time or inclination to excavate, but I notice it here again.

I've no idea why everyone doesn't do it this way. It is great.

FFF, you are in the enviable position of having chosen your partner well. Some of us haven't been so level-headed (if that's the word I'm looking for). Bless.
posted by jokeefe at 11:03 AM on September 24, 2006


I wish everyone could find a lifetime soulmate.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2006


"Soulmate"? Are you serious?
posted by bardic at 2:38 PM on September 24, 2006


Sure. It's a good enough description of it. Someone perfectly sympatico with oneself. Someone who's a part of you. That sort of thing.

Offer up a better word.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:50 PM on September 24, 2006


Whoah! This one went all over the place.

Anyhow, many thanks to dozo, Sticherbeast, squidfartz and everyone else who enjoyed this post and participated in it!
posted by jason's_planet at 9:28 PM on September 24, 2006


"pornstar sex"

Is that the kind of sex you have where you need to take drugs to keep yourself from crying after everytime you do it on camera?
posted by psmealey at 3:26 AM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Whenever we blame what's happening in our heads on something happening in the world, we are smoking crack.

Who you are is up to you. What you like is up to you. What you do is up to you.

Capitalism didn't ruin the world, it revealed it.
posted by ewkpates at 8:27 AM on September 25, 2006


ditto on the internets.
posted by ewkpates at 8:27 AM on September 25, 2006


ewkpates writes "Who you are is up to you. What you like is up to you. What you do is up to you. "

And, yet, huge amounts of people spontaneously, without any influence from the outside world, decide to like modern music more than the music sung to the oxen when plowing the fields 1000 years ago, choose to dress in jeans and t-shirts rather than Elizabethan garb, choose to think about etiquette the same way the people around them do, not in Victorian terms...Why, cultures change absolutely and recognizably, and it's all just coincidence, with no outside influence! Amazing!
posted by Bugbread at 8:57 AM on September 25, 2006


...and thus influence becomes responsibility, accountability becomes collectivist agenda, and socialism becomes the rational choice of civilized society.

How can I possibly disagree bugbread? Oh, because I'm influenced by Eminem...

They say music can alter moods and talk to you
Well can it load a gun up for you, and cock it too?
If it can, then the next time you assault a dude
Just tell the judge it was my fault and i'll get sued…

(I just said it,
I didn't know if you'd do it or not...)
posted by ewkpates at 10:07 AM on September 25, 2006


Barely comprehensible. Still, the subtext is clear: "I was molested by my parents."
posted by betteryeti at 12:44 PM on September 25, 2006


Capitalism didn't ruin the world, it revealed it.

this is off-topic, but i can't help it. ewkpates: you might read up on the subject of capitalism. i'm not sure it means what you think it means.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:19 PM on September 25, 2006


Kinda off-topic, but fun:

Nina Hartley once TOTALLY made fun of me. Yet I still think she's smoking hot.

(Background: she was making an appearance on a gay tv network's talk show that just so happened to share studio space with the knitting show I was appearing on. I'm sitting about 10-15 feet away from her, furiously knitting away on something a producer changed at the last minute, and she shoots a look over at us, then asks "So, what's with all the knitters?" -- or something to that effect).

Who cares if she's in her 40s? She's better looking than any younger porn stars I can think of, and she was working this tight sweater/swingy skirt/cool glasses hottie library thing... mrrrow.

But I digress. Carry on.

(Oh, and read her website sometime, she is really intelligent...love it).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:47 PM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Late to the game as always, but I would like to add this for the record:

We don't talk about sexuality enough in America, so it's actually nice to see this discussion on the Blue AND to discover the articulate Ms. Hartley. Great post!
posted by malaprohibita at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Kinda off-topic, but fun:

No. Completely on-topic and fun. That's a cool little story. Thank you for sharing it!

Late to the game as always . . . Great post!


Better late than never! Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
posted by jason's_planet at 8:18 PM on October 1, 2006


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