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The Unerotic Internet
July 30, 2007 2:41 PM   Subscribe

The Internet is for porn. Never before in the history of humanity have men (let's be honest - it's mainly men) had such open access to depictions of attractive body parts in intimate physical interactions. Every taste, every fetish and every perversion is catered to. Some people think there's too much.. Some people think there's still not enough. Others wonder why all this pornography can't be a bit... sexier? And in a few small corners of the Internet, there are communities of people who still remember what the word "erotic" used to mean, before it became a synonym for tasteless trashy rutting and spyware infested digital prostitution. [Almost all links are NSFW. None are pornographic. And I like good porn.]
posted by thparkth (222 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm reminded of Jon Waters likening watching modern porn to watching open heart surgery.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:46 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Probably could have made exactly the same post by inserting (ha) vhs in place of the internet back in the day.

said in a not snarky manner
posted by edgeways at 2:48 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


He certainly got my point across more efficiently than I did!
posted by thparkth at 2:49 PM on July 30, 2007


edgeways: your point about VHS is 100% true. But still, the Internet is something else. Any idiot with a homepage and a digital camera can be a pornographer now, and frankly, from what I've seen, most of them are. I think we may soon find ourselves longing for the days when porn was produced by *professional* amoral expoiters of women.
posted by thparkth at 2:51 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


"RULE 34 to DDR? THAT'SH IMPOSSHIBLE (fingerless gloves wave) "

It's like a time capsule into my irrelevant late teens! GET OUT NOW, YOUNG BOO! DO SOME GODDAMN SITUPS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
posted by boo_radley at 2:54 PM on July 30, 2007




I can't even buy porn off the internet without feeling a bit embarrassed. Can someone favorite this for me?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:57 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Calvin and Hobbes???"
posted by LordSludge at 2:58 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Perhaps this should go on AskMe, but this seems like the right time/place:Can someone clue me in on how/when full pubic shaving became the de facto standard (am i wrong in seeing its pervasiveness linked to the interporns)? Surely such an eerily infantilising trait won't have gone unnoticed in these times of shield-our-kids paranoia...
posted by progosk at 2:58 PM on July 30, 2007


I've never once paid for porn, and I never intend to. God bless the Internet.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:58 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait, you can BUY porn on the internet?
posted by dammitjim at 2:59 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think we may soon find ourselves longing for the days when porn was produced by *professional* amoral expoiters of women.

I disagree. The crap that Vivid and other large companies peddle is inauthentic and utterly boring. At least the amateur stuff you find on YouPorn and RedTube features real people with real bodies having real sex.

Sure, most of the images resemble clinical gynecology, but finding good porn is a lot like mining for...gold and other precious jewels (metaphor implodes).
posted by KokuRyu at 2:59 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your favorite fetish sucks.
posted by scrump at 3:02 PM on July 30, 2007




Porn is for pussies! And dickheads! And assholes! And, um... handymen...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2007


The crap that Vivid and other large companies peddle is inauthentic and utterly boring

Tastes differ. See rule 34 :) Personally I don't want authentic porn - I want porn that's better than sex with normal women, because I can actually achieve that (at least occasionally).
posted by thparkth at 3:05 PM on July 30, 2007


It's only porn if you feel differently about it after you've climaxed.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:06 PM on July 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


AbbyWinters and ishotmyself are two very sexy sites. I say that not for political reasons (although both sites are blessedly misogyny free) but because to this het male's eye the images are sexier. the women on both sites are beautiful but in a beliveable way, not like the assembly line porn starlets on the 'pro' sites.

Stuff like voyeurweb is fun, too, since there's an undeniable charge in seeing some waitress or housewife discover the fun of being sexy.
posted by jonmc at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Allow me to roll my eyes here, especially at the "be a bit... sexier" link. While there's plenty of shitty porn out there, there are even more frighteningly unerotic sex scenes in movies, and the dictat about what "you" find sexy, again and again, comes off as internet "validate me" bullshit. People find different things sexy, and yeah, it's mostly catering (pandering) to the interests of men. But this broad thesis that mainstream movies are sexier strikes me the same way that Joss Whedon essays on feminism do— a sloppy attempt to profess sensitivity and "totally getting it" that still end up prescriptive and tone-deaf.

Hey, here's a thought— more amateur porn turns me on than professional stuff, and that's because it reacts against the dominant aesthetic of both mainstream movies and porn. And Liv Tyler, while nice to look at, undermines her sexiness with terrible, wooden acting.

Disclaimer— I now work at a well-known pornographic publication.
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kate Nickleby: "I am to be the scorn of my own sex, and the toy of the other; justly condemned by all women of right feeling, and despised by all honest and honourable men; sunken in my own esteem, and degraded in every eye that looks upon me."
Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby (1839), chapter 28.
posted by stbalbach at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2007


"I am to be the scorn of my own sex, and the toy of the other; justly condemned by all women of right feeling, and despised by all honest and honourable men; sunken in my own esteem, and degraded in every eye that looks upon me. God willing."

Fixed that for you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:11 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Tastes differ. See rule 34 :) Personally I don't want authentic porn - I want porn that's better than sex with normal women, because I can actually achieve that (at least occasionally).

Is there no moral absolute when determining the eros of porn? It's like saying a handcrafted ale (amateur porn) is the same as Miller High Life (Vivid or whatever they have behind the curtains at the video store).

Or is all porn not considered to be erotic?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:11 PM on July 30, 2007


Perhaps this should go on AskMe, but this seems like the right time/place:Can someone clue me in on how/when full pubic shaving became the de facto standard (am i wrong in seeing its pervasiveness linked to the interporns)? Surely such an eerily infantilising trait won't have gone unnoticed in these times of shield-our-kids paranoia...

Early to mid 90s. Before then it was considered a sign of extreme uncleanliness, at least among women, possibly because it meant the girl had crabs. Although you did see it in 'daddy' or 'little girl' fantasies - which may be another reason why many of us over 40 are still a bit uncomfortable with the idea.
posted by watsondog at 3:12 PM on July 30, 2007


Fancy that! I take a break from MetaFilter to masturbate to some pornography, and come back to find this. Plate of shrimp, freaky baby.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:14 PM on July 30, 2007


re: shaving

ScienceBlogs covered the whole topic recently:

http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/06/post_41.php
posted by o2b at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or is all porn not considered to be erotic?

I doubt anyone who's even remotely emotionally healthy found that pterodactyl porn the least bit erotic, even though there is closeup of penetration (not linking here out of self-righteous decency).
posted by Burhanistan at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2007


At least the amateur stuff you find on YouPorn and RedTube features real people with real bodies having real sex.

Real ugly people.

And if it was "real" sex they were having, as in what the average American has, they wouldn't be acrobatically swapping around imitating the pros for an hour from reverse cowboy, to inverted monkey, to doggy, and ending on the big money facial.

It would be 4 minutes long. Maybe two positions—the ones that let you watch Sports Center at the same time —and it's over when somebody yells "I WIN SUCKAH!! YOU GO GET THE PIZZA!"

Not only that Amateurs are more likely to be exploited sex slaves.

Give me the sculpted abs and fake boobs of the highly paid pros any day.
posted by tkchrist at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Though I must say the "spiting" trend and this obsession with the anus in modern Professional porn is highly unsanitary and gut churning. And would it KILL them to say something nice to each other every once in a while. What's with the anger!?
posted by tkchrist at 3:25 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Never before in the history of humanity have men (let's be honest - it's mainly men) had such open access to depictions of attractive body parts in intimate physical interactions.

And unattractive body parts!
posted by shmegegge at 3:28 PM on July 30, 2007


Yeah, that Max Hardcore's up on obscenity charges didn't really bring a tear to my eye. The spitting thing, the choking, there's a lot of stuff I see in "gonzo" porn that just kills any stiffie I might have had.
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on July 30, 2007


What I think is most interesting to consider is the sheer volume of content -- and yes, by "content" I mean mostly pornography -- that's being produced today.

Doing any sort of film used to be a major undertaking. Video lowered the barrier to actually recording a lot, but distribution was still a problem. Now both are dirt cheap.

So I think what's happening is that the amount of porn is catching up with the demand/interest in it. The mainstream media has always been significantly "cleaner" (less sexual / pornographic) than most people's thoughts are, because a small number of moralists could keep it that way, because of the high barriers to entry ... but now, we're going to see media approach the content of our own imaginations. And I suspect that's about 90% pornography.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dude. Pterodactly porn.

See, that's why I tossed my TV five years ago. It can't hold a candle.
posted by telstar at 3:32 PM on July 30, 2007


Can I just say I do not have a lisp and that THIS IS NOT MY SOCK PUPPET GODDAMMIT.

Thank you. that is all
posted by Sparx at 3:33 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where Max Hardcore is concerned:

To my knowledge, nothing has been concretely proven, but there are plenty of stories you'll read or hear from this or that porn actress where they describe the horrors of casting couches or the industry in general. In almost every one that I've encountered you'll see something like this:

Now, I don't want to name names, but let's just say the story I'm about to relate was my worst experience by far, and let's just call the person involved Pax Yardbore.

So go ahead and chalk me up as another person who's not that bothered by hearing that he's in a shitload of trouble.
posted by shmegegge at 3:33 PM on July 30, 2007


tkchrist - What's with the anger!?

Not all professional porn is that way. For example, Naughty America prides/advertises itself on having very attractive (but not too fake) female participants and male participants who are "nice" to them.
posted by porpoise at 3:37 PM on July 30, 2007


stbalbach:Charles Dickens, Nicholas Knickerless Nickelby (1839), chapter 28.

Fixed that for you.
posted by The Bellman at 3:39 PM on July 30, 2007


Charles Dickens Dick Ends
Fixed that for you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:45 PM on July 30, 2007


It's Raining Golden Showering Florence Henderson

Fixed that for you. Yuck. Someone please revoke Rule # 34 Now.
posted by The Bellman at 3:49 PM on July 30, 2007


Heard something about palapable eroticism in the bedroom vs. the place where you sleep and watch t.v. I think there’s something to that.
My wife and I still hold hands, we’re constantly touching, kissing, etc. so it’s not just penetration itself that is sex. Which I think is the connection to eros - that intimacy. Not that I’m asserting intimacy is found only in a long term relationship, but there is, in any erotic experiance I’ve had, a connection, even if it’s just animal magnetism.
There’s rarely any kind of intimacy in porn.
And it’s probably counter-intutitive, but I think soft-core porn is the worst, I think it actually cheapens the erotic atmosphere it aims at.

I have seen some erotically charged films but those tend to be with well established characters. Which, again, intimacy - which is the difference between that kind of storytelling and mere voyeurism (in the true sense of the word). One is about sharing that intimacy and that relationship - through a variety of methods, one of which is body language, how they look at each other, etc. etc. and the other is about power and the insertion of oneself into a sexual act.
I don’t know how possible it is to achieve that on the internet in terms of passive media. But I think the net has opened itself up to a new kind of eros in that one can be intimate (albeit without touching) with someone regardless of distance. Obviously the above dichotomy (true intimacy vs. voyeurism) applies. But if you’ve built a relationship with someone, had a meeting of the minds, and are attracted there’s a number of ways to sexually - and erotically - connect to them that didn’t exist before. If they share your fetish, so much the better. And indeed - so much more likely to be consensual.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:50 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't define porn, but I know it when I masturbate to it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


progosk writes "Perhaps this should go on AskMe, but this seems like the right time/place:Can someone clue me in on how/when full pubic shaving became the de facto standard (am i wrong in seeing its pervasiveness linked to the interporns)? Surely such an eerily infantilising trait won't have gone unnoticed in these times of shield-our-kids paranoia..."

Fur has been out of fashion for the last decade, recently, and the general preference for the clean-shaven look goes back thousands of years. There's more to it than simple 'infantilisation': hair collects sebum, which is eaten by bacteria and thus produces a noxious odor. It also provides a habitat for parasites, and removing it gets rid of them. In Islam it's considered a virtue to keep your pubes trimmed short, too.
posted by mullingitover at 3:57 PM on July 30, 2007


"And what's on your iPod, Justice Thomas?"
posted by rob511 at 4:03 PM on July 30, 2007


Taking the YouTube business model to new depths heights

*NSFW*
RedTube
YouPorn
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 4:04 PM on July 30, 2007


tasteless trashy rutting and spyware infested digital prostitution

please spare me your middlebrow editorializing and tastes.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:08 PM on July 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


Leak House
The Dickthick Peepers
The Adventures of Oliver Pissed
Our Mutual Bend
The Mystery of Bedouin Nude
posted by rob511 at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2007


Smedleyman: You make the obvious point, but seem to neglect the equally obvious point that not everyone is in a long term loving relationship, nor is everyone able to find a one night stand at the drop of a hat, or every month, or every year.

Sometimes people are picky, or too pretty and not masculine enough to score, (male perspective) or have spent too much time cultivating friends who are friends, but also g/l/t, and thus also not interested, but whose worth as friends is undeniable. In those situations, why the hell not porn to take the edge off in quiet moments alone? We must subsist on mental fuel alone?

Just asking.
posted by Sparx at 4:18 PM on July 30, 2007


My ex used to be a shaver. She did because

A] She was rather, erm, furry, which lent itself to some hygiene issues, and,

B] she felt it made the sensation during the act better.

Me, I can go either way (and have gone bald, by way of raunchy bets with previous lady friends). I do find the bare ones a bit more pleasant when, ummm, being a cunning linguist...

And that's TMI, I suspect...
posted by Samizdata at 4:18 PM on July 30, 2007


Of all the things Matt should be adding to this site, there should be a place were people can post porn links. Matt should maybe start up a paysite called Metasex. Then he could add personals, and webcam girls (and boys), and perhaps offer DVDs, maybe an amateur section where people could post photos of themselves or ex-girlfriends. And furries. Lots of furries.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:21 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


An Isthmus Sterile
In Jail in Sioux City
Martin Guzzletit

and ...

The Old Furry-osity Shop!
posted by rob511 at 4:23 PM on July 30, 2007


(I'm out!)
posted by rob511 at 4:24 PM on July 30, 2007


"B] she felt it made the sensation during the act better."

Having a facial beard myself, and noting the sudden surge of sensation when I shave it, I can understand that.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on July 30, 2007


No offense, but this is a pretty horrible post. What were we talking about again?

Oh yeah ...

There is lots of pornography available on the Internet. Some of it is good for some people, but not good for other people. Some people honestly find 100 dudes spunking all over an air-brushed model's face extremely erotic, and who am I to say it's not just because I don't agree?

It is still much better than the pre-internet days, when I couldn't find nearly any porn that I liked. Newsgroups started it, but they cannot honestly compare to today's Web.

Now, it's pretty simple (and free) to find lots of photos/videos/stories that I find erotic.

How on Earth could I possibly complain about that? Then again, I still don't even know what we're talking about, so maybe I'm just lost ...

please spare me your middlebrow editorializing and tastes.

right fucking on.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:26 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


The funnest part of online porn is the background: (1) seeing how filthy and disorganized someone's house is; it's surprising how similarly scattered everyone's computer area is; (2) looking for pictures of mom and/or dad and/or baby in the background; (3) the self-photographer's hand reaching out for the mouse to click it to take the picture; (4) the tacky furniture/wall color/stuffed animals people have; (5) reminders and CSS cheat sheets hanging on the wall.
posted by troybob at 4:30 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Though I favor a hands-off policy for our govt--I am a libertarian--I think that the debasement and immorality of the porn inudating the Net ought to be censored and stiff (pard the word) penalties im[posed on those who would pervert our Christian-Judaic American standards. Enough is enough!
posted by Postroad at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2007


Postroad writes "Enough is enough!"

Me? I think we should start eating babies and children. Orphans, mind you, not the wanted children. We could solve the homeless problem and have an extra food source.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:41 PM on July 30, 2007


*prints off CSS cheat sheet*
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:45 PM on July 30, 2007


No offense meant to anyone, but is Postroad a sockpuppet for leftists making fun of fundamentalists?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:47 PM on July 30, 2007


Porn is porn is porn is porn!
posted by liquorice at 4:52 PM on July 30, 2007


would pervert our Christian-Judaic American standards

So if you start with something perverted, where does that lead you?
posted by maxwelton at 4:54 PM on July 30, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.

Seriously, that's a spectacular asshole.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:55 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I realize it's very old fashioned of me, but I still prefer real to virtual.

Of course, pictures don't point and laugh.
posted by Twang at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2007


Leak House
The Dickthick Peepers
The Adventures of Oliver Pissed
Our Mutual Bend
The Mystery of Bedouin Nude


Don't forget A Sale of Two Titties.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:00 PM on July 30, 2007


Twang:

I realize it's very old fashioned of me, but I still prefer real to virtual.

Of course, pictures don't point and laugh.


I can handle the pointing and laughing. Hell, I do it myself when I look in the mirror.

Just find me some actual, and I'll give up the virtual.
posted by Samizdata at 5:07 PM on July 30, 2007


1. "I am a libertarian"

2. "ought to be censored"


These two phrases are antithetical. I suggest you find a more accurate word for your beliefs. Also, you sound like a troll.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:08 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's all so ugly. I can't see the difference between Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Hiliary Duff, and a porn 'star'. I really can't. They look the same, they are all real duffers.
posted by niccolo at 5:14 PM on July 30, 2007


By "hands-off policy" of government, he means, of course, "government with a policy for lopping off the hands of offenders." And by "libertarian," he means, of course, a combination of "liberty" and "Arian."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:16 PM on July 30, 2007


One of the most satisfying sexual experiences ever was a result only indirectly of porn... it was due to careful household accounting.

As in reviewing the cable bill and finding an Adult pay-per-view charge.

It was a mystery. First off I don't watch that pay per view soft core... the internet is FREE damn it. And. I was out of town during the charge date.

So charging up the Mystery Machine I unmasked the culprit: It was my wife. She could not deny it. Nor did she try.

One cannot fully outline the multiple layers of satisfaction of finding out such a thing. Oh. So Satisfying. And for reasons only those of you who have been married a while will understand.

First and foremost is the "BUSTED!" factor. Especially when YOUR the one usually getting busted for stuff.

And the rest... well you can figure that our for your self.
posted by tkchrist at 5:22 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's all so ugly. I can't see the difference between Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Hiliary Duff, and a porn 'star'. I really can't. They look the same, they are all real duffers.

They really, really don't all look the same, actually -- there are a lot of things wrong and bad about the modern porn industry, but you can't say there isn't a diversity of body types and ethnicities. Well, you could. But, you know, you would be wrong.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:22 PM on July 30, 2007


http://www.leochiang.com/porn-and-its-relation-to-your-social-life/
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:27 PM on July 30, 2007


It's funny - I looked at this post and saw 69 comments. At first, I thought it was a joke. Now I realize the joke's on me, because this makes it 70.
posted by chinston at 5:34 PM on July 30, 2007


So Sturgeon was right.

There have always been cheap, nasty, cynical, exploitative, unimaginative and just plain bad versions of... well, everything. The forgettable 90% is soon forgot, the standouts are remembered, and after a generation or so people start misremembering the "good old days."

Before there was MetaFilter, there was TimeFilter.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:36 PM on July 30, 2007


I just want to say, for the record, that whatever other people find attractive or erotic is disgusting and filthy.
posted by shmegegge at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


let's be honest - it's mainly men

Well, with filmed porn maybe. Factor in smutty fanfic and drawings of anime boys taking it up the butt and I imagine the percentage of women involved skyrockets.
posted by LeeJay at 5:51 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is that a skyrocket in your pocket, or are you just Mary Sue?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:57 PM on July 30, 2007


Is that a skyrocket in your pocket, or are you just Mary Sue?

That depends. What are your thoughts on yaoi?
posted by LeeJay at 6:00 PM on July 30, 2007


No climax, no punch line, no meaning.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:11 PM on July 30, 2007


I imagine the percentage of women involved skyrockets.

Ah. Missile fetish.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on July 30, 2007


thparkth: tasteless trashy rutting and spyware infested digital prostitution

Hat Maui:

How about some 'highbrow' editorialising & tastes?

I really don't give a flying fuck what turns other people on, but I just can't be assed with any of the porn I've ever come across, not that I've ever looked very hard.

If anything, I'd probably put myself in the camp of people who still remember what the word "erotic" used to mean - perhaps because I grew up more on Anais Nin than Playboy, so I find infinitely more sexiness in European arthouse cinema, or in Wong Kar Wai's movies, for example, than in any of the mechanical in-out-in-out junk that seems to fall under the 'porn' category, as opposed to 'erotica'.

Porn, to me, just seems to be a collection of combinations & permutations of partners, positions, accessories etc, whereas erotica actually involves characters, motivations & stories - a real human element - beyond what you find in porn: token cliched scenarios & roles leading straight into the mechanics & details of the act itself ("charging straight for the clitoris").

posted by UbuRoivas at 6:27 PM on July 30, 2007


hm, messed up the html there. Hat Maui: please spare me your middlebrow editorializing and tastes

the rest of the wanky treatise was me, and not meant to be in italic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:33 PM on July 30, 2007


Well, with filmed porn maybe. Factor in smutty fanfic and drawings of anime boys taking it up the butt and I imagine the percentage of women involved skyrockets.

Yeah. I've been idly pursuing the idea for ages now that women make textual porn and men make visual porn. At least in this particular 21st century culture.

Personally I find my imagination perfectly adequate for my own purposes, and I don't really get watching porn-- it's so dull and mechanical. Also, I can't get past wondering what's going through the heads of the women onscreen, because it certainly seems to me that there's not much genuinely pleasurable going on there. Of course, my experience with porn as a genre is pretty limited, so whatever, but I still have too many misgivings and questions about it to really obtain any simple enjoyment out of watching people fucking. (Is she from some poverty stricken town in Eastern Europe, and saw no other way out? Did she hope for something better? Who is she when she isn't on screen? Was she lied to? Is this movie something she struggled to do, because the money is good? What did she think as she went under the knife for those fake boobs and the lipo? What does she feel when she looks at her body in the mirror? All questions that kind of kill the eroticism, if there is any, involved.)

On the other hand, I've been known to peruse fanfic sites, and I've found some real treasures of erotic writing there; but it depends on the characters involved, and it's also interesting that sharing and networking with other (women) writers of fanfic is integral to the genre. I tend to think of porn in general as quite a solitary and private thing, but online communities of written erotica are anything but.
posted by jokeefe at 6:33 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


At first I was disgusted, but I kept watching. Then I became a little interested. Then I was more interested. Very Interested. Very, very interested...

Then I suddenly lost interest. Then I became confused, ashamed, disgusted...

(with apologies to syzygy)
posted by anthill at 6:42 PM on July 30, 2007


On the other hand, I've been known to peruse fanfic sites, and I've found some real treasures of erotic writing there; but it depends on the characters involved, and it's also interesting that sharing and networking with other (women) writers of fanfic is integral to the genre. I tend to think of porn in general as quite a solitary and private thing, but online communities of written erotica are anything but.

That's one of the really interesting things about smutfic in fandom. It is overwhelmingly produced by and for women and there is a great deal openness and pride about it. Many times the fics contain elements that would be considered taboo or shocking in your average "real" porn: underaged characters, non-consentual stuff, incest. And readers go through it without batting an eyelid.

The surprising thing is how many of these authors and readers express dislike for live-action filmed vanilla het and gay porn.
posted by LeeJay at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2007




why all this pornography can't be a bit... sexier?

Oh god. Why do people write articles like the one linked to here? I mean, if you don't like porn, hey that's fine. I'm not gonna tell you that you have to like porn. But when you break it down by reasons like "Mainstream movies have more beautiful women" and "When you’re watching a porn movie, there’s no moment when you forget that you’re watching a porn movie," you just make it clear that you haven't really watched alot of porn, and the porn that you have watched is like 20 years old.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:36 PM on July 30, 2007


With my question, I was serious: is Postroad real? I mean, I just searched his name and found this. Is he a performance artist or something?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:37 PM on July 30, 2007


Yeah, all those "Porn Video Sharing" sites are multiplying like mad at the moment, filling a gap in the market. Xtube. RedTube. YouPorn. PornoTube. None of them have really reached critical mass yet; as they grow they either crawl to a snail's pace as their servers get overloaded with people after OMFG FREE PR0N FINALLY, or those hawt streaming MILF clips become harder and harder to find between the layers and layers of ads and paid content.
posted by Jimbob at 8:11 PM on July 30, 2007


Oh and I don't know about postroad, but someone one told me he is about 107 years old, so a claimed grumpy aversion to porn is probably believable, especially given the drought in herbal viagra recently.
posted by Jimbob at 8:13 PM on July 30, 2007


Besides, truthfully?

No porn I've seen lately does a damned thing for me, extended dry spell or not.

The best pictures are inside my head...
posted by Samizdata at 8:18 PM on July 30, 2007


I can't see the difference between Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Hiliary Duff, and a porn 'star'.

What is this, a Zen koan?
posted by spiderwire at 8:21 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm happily married---most porn, no matter how genuine or "hot" looks to me like nature videos of herd animals mating. Or aliens. Either way, I just feel embarrassed for the idiots.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on July 30, 2007


On a vaguely related note -- Scarlett Johansson is playing Jenna Jameson in the latter's autobiographical movie. How... interesting.
Jenna is one of the film’s producers and explains:

I tapped up Scarlett for the part and I’m very excited about the film."
... excuse me.
posted by spiderwire at 8:40 PM on July 30, 2007


Hey, the all-porn-all-the-time world is fine and all, but speaking economically, why is so much porn made?

If I started right now watching porn every second of my life I would never be able to watch all of it. So the argument about needing new product doesn't hold much water. You could say that, well, guys like making porn. True, but one of the few things that guys like even more is making money; and reselling stuff that exists seems way more profitable than paying for new stuff.

Not that I'm complaining. Although, for all practical purposes, adding to an already de facto infinite amount of porn has no real effect on me as a consumer. Heh. Consumer sounds dirtier when it's about porn....
posted by umberto at 9:25 PM on July 30, 2007


A thread about pornography and the internet and nothing more to add really. Best of the web?

Too fucking right.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:45 PM on July 30, 2007


tkchrist writes "It would be 4 minutes long. Maybe two positions—the ones that let you watch Sports Center at the same time —and it's over when somebody yells 'I WIN SUCKAH!! YOU GO GET THE PIZZA!'"

This might have been a bit TMI tkchrist.

umberto writes "why is so much porn made?"

One thing that keeps the tape rolling is how nichey modern porn is. People seem to get geometrically greater enjoyment out of stuff that scratches their particular bent. A particular actor might just do it for them so they want as much of that actor as they can get. Or it's a particular position. Or both. Plus there is what I call the larval stage collector. People tend to go way over board collecting everything they can get their sweaty little hands on when the data hose first gets turned on. You see the same behaviour with say MP3. When Napster first became popular I knew several people who had litterally decades of unlistened to MP3s and were still collecting more.

And of course there are the people who pay money into the system in order to be exhibitionists.
posted by Mitheral at 10:09 PM on July 30, 2007


why is so much porn made?

It's the ultimate consumable product. Porn is pretty repetitive, and therefore pretty boring, and the typical DVD or 20 minute downloadable scene has less lifespan than a pack of chewing gum. So there is a market need for new product, and that is why so much porn is made.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:10 PM on July 30, 2007


why is so much porn made?

Ok, I'll toss out (ahem) an answer. Actual sex, even the routine lights out before bedtime married kind, is always a bit different. The orgasm connects you to the Cosmic Now. It's always a different orgasm but it's really always connected to the Real Orgasm, in whatever degree of intensity. Porn, on the other hand (ahem), is obviously a recording. No matter how clear the video gets, it will always be a relic of the past. Even combined with masturbation, porn doesn't connect to Now or the Real Orgasm, except in a counterfeit way. Our nervous system knows better, but can be lulled to sleep usually only one time, then it needs a new foil. So, the reason so much porn is made is that the market is simply responding to the intelligent nervous system that requires ever new stimulation to be fooled into approximating a Real Orgasm.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on July 30, 2007


If I started right now watching porn every second of my life I would never be able to watch all of it. So the argument about needing new product doesn't hold much water.

Well, I think you're looking at porn as if it were art, music, or some other form of "regular" entertainment. Think of it more as food for starving people. You certainly can't eat all of the bread made at your local bakery, and you don't even know about all the bakeries in other cities. Yet, like the bread, the porn is consumed. Some people like wheat, others pumpernickel, etc. Much gets thrown out or sold in second-hand bake shops. But don't think of porn as a kind of entertainment that has anything but a 100% diminished return, much like any other nondurable good.

And with that I'll stop thinking about porn and go upstairs...to my wife, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 PM on July 30, 2007


I have plenty to say on the internet porn glut, but first I just have to check:

AM I THE FIRST GIRL HERE?

Fuck.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:03 PM on July 30, 2007


AM I THE FIRST GIRL HERE?

*checks parts*

Nope.
posted by LeeJay at 11:19 PM on July 30, 2007


Uh, no.

Please continue, AV.
posted by jokeefe at 11:21 PM on July 30, 2007


Hey, three porn-curious girls here!

*stage whispers* - AM I THE ONLY GUY LEFT HERE?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:25 PM on July 30, 2007


Oh, liquorice, ladies. Great. I was pretty scared there.

I think the idea that unfettered access to increasingly hardcore porn produces some addiction-like behaviors and can desensitize people to real life sex, or at least real life arousal, rings too true to me to be dismissed as insecurity or puritanism. I've known too many guys who drool over porny looking/dressing/acting girls to believe it coincidence. I think porn can act as a sexual socialization tool and that it reeeeally shouldn't, the way most of it goes.

It sounds like a lot of you in this thread prefer softercore stuff, or realism in women's representations, but why? Is it a statement about my own sexuality that I "get" harder=hotter? Porn is all about furthering the sublime spectacle for the Id, isn't it?

I apologize if this seems totally wrong or naive, but it's a puzzle for me, as a "sex positive" (or less euphemistic term) woman, that people continue to return to sex that leaves them feeling bad. I want that bad feeling part to stop.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


And sorry for assuming I was the solo female, I did some profile-checking, honest. A lot of users in this thread/community? actually have masculine usernames, I noticed.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:29 PM on July 30, 2007


I want that bad feeling part to stop.

I can sympathise with this. Even though porn doesn't generally do a whole lot for me, I do find that immersion in artistic works (literature, movies, visual arts, music etc) often tends to make ordinary life just that much less sparkly, to the extent that at times I've found myself thinking, for example, "meh, why bother interacting with banal actual people, when I have instant access to all the sublime, debased, crazy, colourful, (whatever) characters I could ever hope for, just by opening a book?" - saves a lot of time, effort & cost, and you can pretty much guarantee a good return, far beyond the hit & miss (but most often miss) you find in the real (non-art) world. I imagine that a lot of serious porn consumers might feel similarly, except their thing happens to be revolving mostly around sex acts, and downplaying most or all of the other factors that combine to make us human.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:55 PM on July 30, 2007


We're all discussing 'pr0n' as if it were one thing. There is surely a huge distinction to be made between stuff captured on film for profit, where the camera dictates the action, and stuff made for fun, where the camera is a toy among the participants. The latter starts out non-commercial, and can be very sweet. The former is morphing into a baroque caricature of sex.

Before the webs, people could calibrate their desires about most things (handbags, boats,...) against a lot of other people. But not their sexuality. Now, the guy in the rural village who happens to be the sort of guy who likes donning yellow wellies before doing it need not feel so alone.

The world of max hardcore has pretty much nothing to do with the world of redclouds/alt.com/realcore.
posted by fcummins at 12:25 AM on July 31, 2007


Someone linked to that Abby Winters site upthread and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the "vibe" off it. Amazing how much more comfortable a girl can feel on a porn site when it's stripped of wording like "these whores can't get enough of it", "watch the sluts take it hard up their ass!" etc, etc.

Yay, Ambrosia Voyeur knew I was a lady!
posted by liquorice at 12:48 AM on July 31, 2007


(oho? and when did you stop being one? and more importantly, how, exactly? feel free to use as much vivid detail as you like...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:26 AM on July 31, 2007


I don't usually buy the distinction between "erotic" and "porn" but Beautiful Agony is a hot and totally inexplicit (tho not really work safe,) site.
posted by Snyder at 2:27 AM on July 31, 2007


I'm kind of amused at the extent to which most posters seem to think of 'porn' as video content, then explain what it lacks. Duh.

I discovered years ago, still-images are far more fun than videos. Still images do whatever I wish. They say only what I want to hear. Their motivations are of my own invention.

Video can be hot, but only a few times, usually. Still photos can be highly diverse without ever changing. The action is in my head, nearly perfect, like a wet dream. It's not about the model in the photo, and the action isn't some stylized bullshit done not because it's fun or feels good, but because it looks good on camera.
posted by Goofyy at 4:43 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ambrosia Voyeur does a great job of saying just enough not to get censured in a "pr0n-positive" thread.

In a thread like this, it has always seemed to me, there are basically two extreme positions with everyone being expected to place themselves on a continuum between them:
  1. Porn is hot and there's nothing wrong with it
  2. Porn is boring and I like the real thing
Anyone expressing a view that doesn't fit on that continuum usually has to do some dancing to avoid censure. For example, if you think that the (really pretty indisputable) mainstreaming of porn is a bad thing for society, you get accused of crying "get the fuck off my lawn."

Note that Ambrosia Voyeur qualifies herself as "sex-positive". I wonder how her post would have been perceived if she hadn't used that loaded term to describe herself.
posted by lodurr at 4:55 AM on July 31, 2007


First off, let me say that I'm with Samizdata -- though it's not just a 'lately' thing. Visual porn has never really done anything for me -- I'm just not wired that way. So I don't look at it because I find it pretty boring, mostly. But I do find the subject fascinating. However, I'm struck by these comments:

Now, I don't want to name names, but let's just say the story I'm about to relate was my worst experience by far, and let's just call the person involved Pax Yardbore.

Yeah, I've heard the stories, watched the documentary, and I've never really been able to make sense of them. If I, a non-porn watching person knows what Max Hardcore's movies are all about, how is it that somebody who actually *works* in this industry shows up at one of his shoots and claims to not know what to expect? Do they not have managers? Agents? Friends in the industry?

The Wikipedia article on the whole Channel 4 Felicity episode offers a different take to the one portrayed in the documentary -- which tends to be the source of most of these Max stories.

Also, Dr. Sharon Mitchell and Nina Hartley of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation seems to not have a problem with Hardcore. Sharon has been at war for years with Jim South over her tendency to warn new girls off getting involved in the industry. So if Max is OK with her, I'm guessing that these rumours probably are gross exaggerations.

Anyway, while it's obviously fine for mature, educated people like us to be watching Max Hardcore, would you really want your wife or your servants watching his movies?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:55 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


The thing that always puzzled me about commercial porn is the (to me) bizarre image of what an "attractive" woman looks like.
- Unnaturally immense boobs (usually really poorly done, rigid basketballs complete with visible scars)
- 4-inch-long fake nails
- really bad, garish vegas-show-girl makeup, apparently applied by the trowel-full.
- shaved eyebrows penciled back on as a single line
- 6-inch heels apparently permanently attached to the feet.

Personally, I find these apparitions scary as hell and wholly un-erotic. And yet, this is the standard, factory-issue female image in commercial porn. And, at least among my friends, I have yet to find a guy who thinks any of it is remotely attractive.

Maybe we're too old?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:56 AM on July 31, 2007


Hey, it's the same with gay porn: a bunch of guys with exactly the same chest, body shaved face to toes, slathered in baby oil, with dyed hair...disgusting. All-natural big-hairy-guy porn is the only way to go.
posted by troybob at 6:22 AM on July 31, 2007


And yet, this is the standard, factory-issue female image in commercial porn.

This is what lots of people think porn stars look like, but it's not really accurate to say this is currently how most women making porn look.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:40 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have some great thoughts about topics expressed in this thread, but since my son, the bearded pornographer, also posts here, I will refrain so that he will not have nightmares (any more than he already has).
posted by beelzbubba at 7:27 AM on July 31, 2007


Thorzdad - The thing that always puzzled me about commercial porn is the (to me) bizarre image of what an "attractive" woman looks like. ...

I must not have access to the same pr0n as you do...
posted by porpoise at 7:31 AM on July 31, 2007


Am I the only guy who thinks today's porn is awesome? It's hardcore and nasty, the way porn should be. The girls are 18-20 and beautiful, they do everything, and it's all no strings attached. If you want erotic fortheloveofmike get a girlfriend.
posted by zorro astor at 7:36 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you want erotic fortheloveofmike get a girlfriend.

When you delete Eros from the equation, you're left with sexual activity that is basically aggression, and is on a level lower than most vertebrates.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:41 AM on July 31, 2007


"If I started right now watching porn every second of my life I would never be able to watch all of it. So the argument about needing new product doesn't hold much water."

In 2002, the last year I know the numbers for, major labels put out over 30,000 releases. At a low-ball estimate, and remember that this doesn't include the independent releases, that's about three-and-a-half years worth of music every year. Some people like novelty, and there's plenty of stuff that just fails to connect for whatever reason.

"Personally, I find these apparitions scary as hell and wholly un-erotic. And yet, this is the standard, factory-issue female image in commercial porn. And, at least among my friends, I have yet to find a guy who thinks any of it is remotely attractive.

Maybe we're too old?"

Maybe you should stop watching porn made in 1994.
posted by klangklangston at 7:42 AM on July 31, 2007


When you delete Eros from the equation, you're left with sexual activity that is basically aggression, and is on a level lower than most vertebrates.

What ever happened to Eros's counterpart Agape?

It's hardcore and nasty, the way porn should be. The girls are 18-20 and beautiful, they do everything, and it's all no strings attached.

Do you write spam? I swear I got this exact message (except all the S's were dollar signs and the A's were angstrom symbols) like 75 time in the last couple days.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:51 AM on July 31, 2007


pornography did breach the dike that separated a marginal, adult, private pursuit from the mainstream public arena. The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized...The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.”


Naomi Wolf "The Porn Myth" New York Magazine
posted by KokuRyu at 7:57 AM on July 31, 2007


That's the worst essay I've seen from Wolf, as I believe I commented back when it was an FPP.
posted by klangklangston at 8:00 AM on July 31, 2007


I was actually looking for an essay that Wolf (or maybe someone else) wrote in the New Yorker back in the summer of 1996 or 1997 about the porn industry in LA. I believe she profiled a porn starlet and T.T. Boy. It was an interesting article.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:08 AM on July 31, 2007


What ever happened to Eros's counterpart Agape?


I like gaping videos too.
posted by zorro astor at 8:26 AM on July 31, 2007


When you delete Eros from the equation, you're left with sexual activity that is basically aggression, and is on a level lower than most vertebrates.

Only if you're doing it right.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:37 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


DFW had an interesting piece, 'Big Red Son', in Consider the Lobster about going to the 'Adult' academy awards in Las Vegas several years ago. (Originally "Neither Adult Nor Entertainment" in Premiere Magazine)

One point he made, IIRC (and my paraphrasing), is that the porno industry has had to deal with a desensitising of the public expectations of porn. What used to be way out there 40 years ago is now so meh. They need to be out on the edge and it leads to very weird places.
posted by MtDewd at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2007


“In those situations, why the hell not porn to take the edge off in quiet moments alone? We must subsist on mental fuel alone?”

No reason at all. To clarify - I was illustrating the difference between the erotic and pornographic. Not arguing against masterbation or any material conducive to it. I’d allow for the potential of masterbation to be erotic. But the material one uses is a different story.

And I think the point I made must be more subtle than gross - that it is possible to find a partner online. Whether for mutual masterbation or just talking. Or indeed, swapping pictures while learning more about a variety of things. Sending each other pictures of others, fantasies, etc. etc. etc.
That, to me, is the difference between the internet and more passive media. The potential for eroticism exists on the net in interactivity on a number of levels (beyond just cam to cam) whereas in nearly every other form of media it is not as self-initiatory an erotic experiance.
That is to say - one can determine whether to have something with a bit more fire on it online vs. just rubbing one out watching two people go at it on VHS tape or DVD or other passive media.
And that passive media exists on the net too, which to my mind shows the limit of many folks’ imaginations.
Common conception of “porn on the internet” shows that.
There are after all many kinds of communities, why limit oneself?
And as I said, intimacy isn’t limited by long term relationships. There are millions of people online, surely at some point, 2 am your local time, someone else is on at 10 pm their local time, and horny, and also into snakes wearing vests rolling big doughnuts and willing to send you a photo or video (of themselves with above snake or something they’ve found that you might like) or talk to you or show you their bits if you are into that, or leave something for you (a pic, a movie, story, their fantasies) - whatever.
That’s my point about the form the media takes vs. “porn on the net” because otherwise the net is just another big VCR and there’s no difference between this debate and earlier ones - excepting the facet of greater accessibility. Which, really, so?

I’d posit that net eliminates the need for “porn stars.” It’s sort of a democratization of self-pleasure. Hell, I think that’s a good thing. I think most people here - given the “WTF? You pay for porn online?” take a similar perspective. It’s something to be freely exchanged.
And indeed, I strongly suspect workers in the porn industry get a kick out of making films of themselves (psychological motivations aside). So why shouldn’t other people view themselves as inherently sexy?
Without of course the whole body image and arbitrary standards of sexy/beautiful, etc. - trip getting pushed on them?

So yeah, I’m not saying your porn or masterbation sux, I’m arguing that the net gives greater options than the traditional media. And the potential for eros that isn’t there from going down to Joe’s 24 hour video and picking up “Sluts in Bondage” (Or “Sailors on Leave” if that’s your thing). Other folks out there horny too who are interested in getting off and might help you if you help them. And, y’know, for free.

(I feel like one of the first horse trainers trying to explain how easy it is to transport goods to town to folks who’s mental picture is dragging the stuff themselves. Might be a lot of start up work to train a horse, but once you have the system(s) up and running, it’s a lot easier and more fun, but YMMV)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:48 AM on July 31, 2007


dude, masturbation was like the second word I learned how to spell
posted by troybob at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2007


Personally, I find these apparitions scary as hell and wholly un-erotic. And yet, this is the standard, factory-issue female image in commercial porn. And, at least among my friends, I have yet to find a guy who thinks any of it is remotely attractive.

Is this the same as saying it's not best catalyst to rubbing one out fast? Because I think that's the idea behind of younger, tighter, cummier, gapier, whateverier porn. Like fast food you eat alone in your car and then drive quickly away from, it's greasily scrumptious, you wolf it down, and though ceases to be appealing until the next jones, if it's handy then, you'll do it again.

If you want erotic fortheloveofmike get a girlfriend.

I hear these girlfriends you can get can do the whole beautiful, willing-to-do-anything thing too. Or are the "strings" attached (knowing where she lives and that she cares about you) such a buzzkill that you have to seek the solace of some comforting DP barely legal AZN gal? I think I take for granted that guys who like mainstream porn enough to get off to it once a day or more are not going to figure on trading a solitary mouse click in for a tap on their honey's shoulder and and a breathy request. Because I think the mainstream, torrent-available fake screaming stuff, used without moderation, makes your libido hyperactive yet lazy. There, I said it.

Smedleyman, the relationship with porn you and some others here are describing aspires to a sort of self-lovemaking that I think is great. Especially for people who are single long term, learning how to gain a true sense of self-exploration out of masturbation is a very good thing. But your ideas about the democratization of porn thanks to the internet are almost bourgeois in light of the behemoth of mainstream online porn which has emerged. I find it hard to imagine that new masturbators seek out meaningful connections online, whether to others, realcore, or specialty kink. What they do get access to shapes them and shapes their libido, their need for women, and their views of them.

Women, in response, often basically give in to it. It's permitted to set the boundaries of normalcy in the relationship, performance in he bedroom, and even in the way they comport themselves. Once at a work party, talking about my boyfriend, someone made an innuendo that he was probably home jerking off. I said "No, he's not" confidently and to _total incredulity_. As far as I'm concerned, that's our sex life they were talking about. I know what's going on in it.

And please, I realize speaking against any use of porn at all leaves me vulnerable to sounding like a harpy or a prude, so let me defensively clarify my position: I can do better than those plastic fakers. But I can't do it for everybody, so let's roll up our sleeves as a society and actually produce hardcore (or not) sex instead of watching the fake stuff.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:27 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


“What they do get access to shapes them and shapes their libido, their need for women, and their views of them.”

Sure. But I think that’s a failure of the imagination. Reminds me of the lego sets you see at say Toys-R-Us. No basic blocks. Nothing to provide you with the tools to make something of your own design.
But of course, there’s e-bay and a myriad number of ways to get legos other than the traditional stores.
The difference being what is being sold vs. what you can procure with a little intiative.
The environment is the environment.
Reminds me of smoking as a form of rebellion (and sexiness). That’s truly an amazing bit of social engineering/marketing. I mean, being addicted to a product mass produced by giant corporations is being a rebel?
Same could be said about porn.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman: I'm glad you agree, and I'm starting to think I'm stating the obvious, which is a welcome feeling.

Re: failure of the imagination - I guess you have to think it's okay to jack it to porn before you allow yourself to be imaginative about it, and if you're feeling lonely and inadequate, or repressed, or grossed out by the porn you just finished coming from, you're not as likely to go out on a limb and examine your desire to find the porn you really want. You'll settle for garbage because you don't realize you deserve better.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:52 AM on July 31, 2007


How is procuring a girlfriend to satisfy one's libido somehow less objectifying than watching porn?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:56 AM on July 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


Anyone expressing a view that doesn't fit on that continuum usually has to do some dancing to avoid censure. For example, if you think that the (really pretty indisputable) mainstreaming of porn is a bad thing for society, you get accused of crying "get the fuck off my lawn."

Note that Ambrosia Voyeur qualifies herself as "sex-positive". I wonder how her post would have been perceived if she hadn't used that loaded term to describe herself.


I was going to post this earlier, in response to lodurr, above: I would no sooner express my genuine feelings about porn or what I've experienced of its secondary effects (basically, that men who grow up with porn as their sexual education become sexually incompetent when faced with real life sex, and have to learn their way through that) in a Metafilter thread than I would if I were sitting in a bar at a table where the male/female ratio is five to one.

As Ambrosia notes: And please, I realize speaking against any use of porn at all leaves me vulnerable to sounding like a harpy or a prude, so let me defensively clarify my position: I can do better than those plastic fakers.

I'm not interested in being called a harpy or a prude, either. I have a lot of complicated reservations about porn, but I don't feel like having to preface those reservations with similar pre-emptive statements. This is NOTE by any means a criticism of Ambrosia, just an opinion about the type of climate that tends to gather in these threads.
posted by jokeefe at 11:33 AM on July 31, 2007


^^^ NOT, instead of NOTE. Argh.
posted by jokeefe at 11:35 AM on July 31, 2007


"I have a lot of complicated reservations about porn, but I don't feel like having to preface those reservations with similar pre-emptive statements."

That's because porn, or anything that deals with social construction and pleasurable reinforcement, IS complicated. And it annoys me that because it's such a brainstem activity, that complication gets dismissed, and MeFi is no different than most other andro-normative spaces on that. It should be discussed openly.

"I guess you have to think it's okay to jack it to porn before you allow yourself to be imaginative about it, and if you're feeling lonely and inadequate, or repressed, or grossed out by the porn you just finished coming from, you're not as likely to go out on a limb and examine your desire to find the porn you really want. You'll settle for garbage because you don't realize you deserve better."

I do have some quibbles with this— first off, if I spent my time looking for the exact porn that I wanted all the time, I wouldn't have any time to jerk off. And since there's an economic distortion, all sorts of stuff gets tacked onto porn that doesn't really attract me, yet producers figure (rightly) that it will turn off to the point of abandonment far fewer than it will attract folks who can't get off without it (like the facial, which does nothing for me, and seems kinda weird when I think about it, but I can overlook because it's not my taste). It's similar to when having sex, and something weird happens (someone farts, etc.)— you keep having sex and laugh about it later, because you'd rather be having sex, even with a farter, than not. With creepy porn, usually there's the (at least for me, since we're all in TMI land) move to get off, then delete it and avoid things that look like it in the future, rather than trying to minutely calibrate the media to my desires at every point. It IS fast food.

Second, I enjoy a fair handful of things in porn that I don't really like in real life at all. And sure, I'm cognizant of the detachment and gaze issues, but I like things in movies that I don't like in real life (the Will Ferrel comedies, to pick a recent example). Since taking this new job, I've had a fair amount of time to think about the experience of porn versus my sex life with my girlfriend, and I think that what scares me more would be an unconscious shaping of my desires based on pornography, but I haven't really seen any evidence of that from my years of having real sex with real women. I know that things are performances, and sometimes pornography, like advertising, makes me feel creeped out by how shamelessly it panders, but other times I'm willing to roll with it.

I dunno, I was talking with my co-workers this morning about it, but then we got onto schizophrenics, repression and religion, so I might start wandering too far afield.
posted by klangklangston at 11:52 AM on July 31, 2007


Is there some persecution of non-porn-lovers that I'm not seeing? Seems to me that those who actively condemn porn have more judgments of those who enjoy it (not particularly cleverly disguised as informed social commentary, considering that a good deal of the assumptions about it fail in the context of gay porn--a format that doesn't beat around the bush and gets straight to what men want in the first place, without the supposedly requisite victimization of women, except perhaps by their absence). But I've never known anyone who enjoys porn to consider someone who doesn't some kind of misfit.

There are people who take it to a pathologic level, of course. But there's no form of entertainment we can devise that is immune to those who would take it to a ridiculous extreme, from American Idol to Harry Potter to Zinna Does Zanzibar.
posted by troybob at 11:54 AM on July 31, 2007


Once at a work party, talking about my boyfriend, someone made an innuendo that he was probably home jerking off. I said "No, he's not" confidently and to _total incredulity_. As far as I'm concerned, that's our sex life they were talking about. I know what's going on in it.

I'm incredulous as well, because the implication is that your partner need tell you, or ask permission, every time he masturbates. In my experience no healthy relationship entitles you to own someone else, or to share in the entirety of their sexual or imaginative life without borders.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


In case it wasn't clear, Ambrosia, my intention was to discuss the implications of what you said, and to explain why that reaction to it might not be unusual. It's not to be construed as a personal remark.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:23 PM on July 31, 2007


kid ichorus: the implication may be there, but all I'm really claiming is that I know what my partner does sexually - not that I regulate it. That knowledge may be general or specific, but it's central to the trust I require in a relationship. No. Secrets. The girls from work at the bar seemed to think my denial of the "he's getting his porn time in" assertion naive. Not necessarily so.

And, I didn't take offense, but tia for understanding that I can't engage in rigorous debate about the messy details of my actual relationship arrangements here, either ...As exemplary as they may be!! ;)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2007


Is there some persecution of non-porn-lovers that I'm not seeing?

I think the attitude in a lot of places is that if you don't personally get into it, then you should probably stay out of conversations about it, and certainly not attempt to form any of your own ideas about it, because you couldn't possibly be interested for benevolent reasons.

You're probably just there to rain on the parade of fun and goodness that everything about porn represents. In all likelihood, you're exhibiting severe personal neuroses. And in case you didn't know, you will be made aware of them. And berated, and labelled.

There seems to be a lot of insecurity on both sides of this topic. Women bring fear to the table and it gets viewed as thread-shitting; men get defensive and attack their character. It doesn't take long for women to end up feeling like they're simply not welcome to speak up.
posted by zebra3 at 12:44 PM on July 31, 2007


Zebra, I think this sort of hostility is common whenever you challenge someone's sovereignty over their own thoughts - the books they read, the music they listen to, and so on. We do live in a society where, ideally, the contents of your imagination and I daresay your library are not the business of your neighbor. Porn (like hate speech) may be a more sensitive topic simply because the topic of state censorship also comes into play - after all, men were being arrested only a few decades ago for owning homosexual erotica.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:18 PM on July 31, 2007


troybob: ... not particularly cleverly disguised as informed social commentary...

That's an interesting thing to say. Kind of smacks of bias, wouldn't you think?

IRFH: How is procuring a girlfriend to satisfy one's libido somehow less objectifying than watching porn?

"Procuring"? As one might procure a car, or procure a ham sandwich? No less, at all. Certainly not. Though if you use a less loaded term, like "finding", "courting", "starting a relationship with", you might get an argument.
posted by lodurr at 1:39 PM on July 31, 2007


kid ichorous: ... I think this sort of hostility is common whenever you challenge someone's sovereignty over their own thoughts - the books they read, the music they listen to, and so on.

Even if that's true -- and from my perspective, it's not -- would that make it acceptable behavior?
posted by lodurr at 1:41 PM on July 31, 2007


There seems to be a lot of insecurity on both sides of this topic. Women bring fear to the table and it gets viewed as thread-shitting; men get defensive and attack their character. It doesn't take long for women to end up feeling like they're simply not welcome to speak up.

For example, Dan Savage's airy dismissal of any women's objections over porn as "just female insecurity". As if female insecurities were trivial, inconsequential, and don't deserve a second's consideration. And as if all women have the same insecurities, and that these can then be discarded wholesale as "female" behaviour.
posted by jokeefe at 1:47 PM on July 31, 2007


Even if that's true -- and from my perspective, it's not -- would that make it acceptable behavior?

Not necessarily, but if your argument ends in censorship or thoughtcrime, I'm afraid many reasonable people just aren't going to take it seriously. It's not the way our society is supposed to operate, and there are plenty of other places you can go with more stringent speech laws. You'll probably find that that they enjoy fewer civil liberties across the board, but that's the price one pays for myopically pursuing one insecurity without counting the cost to legal precedent. Just look at what fear (of another kind) has wrought in the last seven years.

Now, the arguments in this thread don't seem to step over that line, but neither do the responses seem hostile, so I don't think we're talking about Metafilter.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:05 PM on July 31, 2007


but if your argument ends in censorship or thoughtcrime, I'm afraid many reasonable people just aren't going to take it seriously.

Why would you assume that an argument would end in censorship or thorughtcrime? They rarely do, and yet, more often than not, in my experience, any dissenting view that doesn't carefully qualify itself by saying in effect "it's ok if you're into it", is rained shit upon from a great height.

Now, the arguments in this thread don't seem to step over that line, but neither do the responses seem hostile, so I don't think we're talking about Metafilter.

We're not talking about this thread. But I, at least, am indeed talking about Metafilter.
posted by lodurr at 2:13 PM on July 31, 2007


smedlyman: No reason at all. To clarify...

Fair enough. I was kind of defensive there.

Fact is, I am really bored by most video porn. Sure at the age of 14, police academy boobs were enough. Then what? typical video porn? Good lord, but I can live without genital closeups ad nauseum. Internet porn on the other hand, has other points of view (natch), without necessarily getting into the particularly kinky. I have never even contemplated cyber connections, but this whole brave new internet thing doesn't actually have to be taken in all at once - it's user driven.

Fnarr fnarr.
posted by Sparx at 2:13 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"For example, Dan Savage's airy dismissal of any women's objections over porn as "just female insecurity". As if female insecurities were trivial, inconsequential, and don't deserve a second's consideration. And as if all women have the same insecurities, and that these can then be discarded wholesale as "female" behaviour."

Well, jokeefe, you must realize that since women are given to the vapors, their hearts get all a-flutter over motes of dust. That's why they need the hysteria masturbated out of them.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on July 31, 2007


That's why they need the hysteria masturbated out of them.

Perhaps they could benefit from some womb massage?
posted by lodurr at 2:31 PM on July 31, 2007


Well, jokeefe, you must realize that since women are given to the vapors, their hearts get all a-flutter over motes of dust. That's why they need the hysteria masturbated out of them.

Yes, and men are predisposed to savagery, domination, and violence, and allowing them to fantasize freely is just playing with fire. That's why we need Andrea Dworkin looking over their shoulder.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:37 PM on July 31, 2007


That is, there are Victorians alive and well on both sides.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:39 PM on July 31, 2007


Fact is, I am really bored by most video porn.

How long do you watch it that you become bored? Are you neglecting to play with yourself the while? I've rarely seen more than 20 minutes at a stretch, myself.

I guess this gets to the heart of one of my questions: do we mostly just use whatever works because their lizard brains demand it, or do we really want every sexual outing and masturbation to be more meaningful or more reflective of our tastes, feelings and reason?

Likewise, do men in relationships choose porn because they simply prefer once in a while or only because they determine their access to real sex restricted?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:43 PM on July 31, 2007


kid ichorus, I believe that response was satirical; also, you seem to have demonstrated my point, which is that attempting to engage with the reservations I have about porn (at the point where it intersects with our genuine relationships) is something that I'd rather not get into here, because I don't feel like arguing with statements like this above, to wit: "That's why we need Andrea Dworkin looking over their shoulder". Surely there is a middle ground where we can discuss the many complicated things about porn, both good and bad, without having somebody resort to pulling a Dworkin?
posted by jokeefe at 2:47 PM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Why do we have to bandy about pejorative labels like "Victorian"? When instead, we could describe the behaviors and their outcomes?

No one's used "puritan" that way yet (I have to say, I laughed out loud the first time I heard of that magazine), but that's another one that does often get tossed around.

So far, this thread has been relatively light on terms like that. They're really not all that useful. Certainly no more so than "conservative" and "liberal", and probably a lot less so.
posted by lodurr at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2007


"Procuring"? As one might procure a car, or procure a ham sandwich? No less, at all. Certainly not. Though if you use a less loaded term, like "finding", "courting", "starting a relationship with", you might get an argument.

Yes, "procuring." I meant it the way I said it. When I hear "get a girlfriend" as an argument against porn, I immediately wonder where exactly one goes to simply "get" all these wonderful fuck-hungry girlfriends who will fulfill all of our smuttiest desires. 'Cause, yeah, "finding", "courting", and "starting a relationship with" actual women, assuming one has the goods necessary to do so, is complicated, is time consuming, is not ultimately about sexual satisfaction, and guarantees exactly nothing at all. So if Ugly Joe is hankering for a threesome Friday night, "Get a girlfriend" is as meaningless to his aching johnson as yelling "get a job" is to the homeless.

Note that this isn't an argument for porn, either. And I'm not saying Ugly Joe deserves his threesome or his porn just because he wants it. Just pointing out that the "if you had someone that would make porn redundant you wouldn't need porn" crowd don't seem to be thinking their "positions" through. They are essentially saying, "Go get some real satisfaction so you won't need this other thing." Well, duh, thanks. If we'd known getting laid was an option, we'd never want to look at another woman again." Uh-huh. And then monkeys fly out Ugly Joe's butt.

And what if Ugly Joe does go get a girlfriend - and she likes porn?!

*Note: The above screed should be read in a gently sarcastic tone, the sort one reserves for dear friends with daffy ideas, not in the angry or confrontational tone of someone who is particularly invested in the subject. These kinds of issues are ancient history for this commenter (though intellectually interesting), and his comments on one small aspect of the issue (the aspect pool was very cold) in no way reflect the entirety of his opinion on the subject. Also, he is not ugly.*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"finding", "courting", and "starting a relationship with" actual women, assuming one has the goods necessary to do so, is complicated, is time consuming, is not ultimately about sexual satisfaction

Disafuckingree. Sad, man. What's the point then, babies? Eff babies.

If we'd known getting laid was an option, we'd never want to look at another woman again." Uh-huh. And then monkeys fly out Ugly Joe's butt.

So do you think hooked up dudes typically want to use porn for the variety of women it allows them to "look at," or virtually cum on?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2007


"finding", "courting", and "starting a relationship with" actual women, assuming one has the goods necessary to do so, is complicated, is time consuming, is not ultimately about sexual satisfaction

Disafuckingree. Sad, man.


Let's be clear - disagreeing with that statement would mean you believe that finding, courting, and starting a relationship with actual women is not complicated, is not time consuming, and is ultimately about sexual satisfaction? Interesting. Do you have reason to believe that this approach is successful for a large number of people?

So do you think hooked up dudes typically want to use porn for the variety of women it allows them to "look at," or virtually cum on?

Women, acts, fantasies, variety... absolutely.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:09 PM on July 31, 2007


Some women seem confused about what men derive from jerking off.

Fucking and Jerking off are not the same thing. Having the worlds horniest wife, or girl friend or husband or boy friend does not preclude the need to jerk. Fucking and jerking off are about as related as reading Dickens at a coffee shop and reading Newsweek on the can. You don't say to yourself "Man I read the SHIT out of Dickens earlier today so I don't feel the need to peruse Newsweek while I poo."

So porn supplies jerk off fuel. Occasionally it might kick start real fucking. But there is hardly a quota of either that gets diminished by using the other.

And. Our view of women is no more altered by Porn than it is by Shakespeare. They provide very separate things.
posted by tkchrist at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


But Shakespeare porn would be hawt!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:13 PM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


"finding", "courting", and "starting a relationship with" actual women, assuming one has the goods necessary to do so, is complicated, is time consuming, is not ultimately about sexual satisfaction, and guarantees exactly nothing at all.

"The goods necessary to do so"? What, pray tell, are those?

Most of the single woman I know have a pretty basic list of necessary goods, and they often stop at "can support self", "no major communicable diseases", and "is not psychotic".

And it sucks that women take up so much time and are so complicated, especially in ways that might interfere with the primacy of your sexual satisfaction which, god knows, is the most important thing under discussion, and something which you are entitled to feel pretty pissed about when the universe places such unpredictable and annoying obstacles in its way.
posted by jokeefe at 3:14 PM on July 31, 2007


Do you have reason to believe that this approach is successful for a large number of people?

I'm not a sociologist, I just find that sexual satisfaction is "the point," or at least the leading indicator, resulting consequence and first purpose of a good relationship.

My question above was either/or. You're saying both. So how would you answer this question:

Likewise, do men in relationships choose porn because they simply prefer it once in a while or only because they determine their access to real sex restricted?

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:15 PM on July 31, 2007


Why do we have to bandy about pejorative labels like "Victorian"?

Well, you and Klang did, in a way, liken Dan Savage's position to quaint Victorian-era medical superstitions. It's not that it wasn't funny, but you did play that card yourself.

And, to Jokeefe, no offense - I mentioned Dworkin because it provided an example of canonical 20th-century anti-pornography writings (still taught today) whose positions strike me as being close kin to those Victorian sentiments. I'm not trying to strawman you, and I'd be happy for you to further elucidate your own positions. I've already explained my own pet peeves to Zebra, and made it clear that I didn't really see any of that happening in this thread.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:16 PM on July 31, 2007


Our view of women is no more altered by Porn than it is by Shakespeare.

Right. Just as our view of men is no more altered by Romance Comics than it is by Bronte and Byron.
posted by jokeefe at 3:17 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Read it again, jokeefe. You're arguing the same point that I'm arguing. I'm the one saying that real relationships are about more than sex. In fact, I'm the one objecting to the suggestion that the solution to being horny is "go get a girlfriend."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:23 PM on July 31, 2007


I'm the one objecting to the suggestion that the solution to being horny is "go get a girlfriend.

Yes. Because the solution to that suggestion is "go get a pumpkin."
posted by tkchrist at 3:27 PM on July 31, 2007


jokeefe: "The goods necessary to do so"? What, pray tell, are those? Most of the single woman I know have a pretty basic list of necessary goods, and they often stop at "can support self", "no major communicable diseases", and "is not psychotic".

Just to offer the male experience, one of the most common prerequisites I've encountered when online dating is that a man be taller than 5'10" or 6.' This preference seems to be expressed independently of the woman's own height, and as you might imagine, it's physically impossible for most men to comply, and moreso for certain races (e.g. Hispanic). Most dating sites also allow you to set a lower bound on height, whereas I've never encountered one that lets you filter by weight (or even specify it) or income.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


But there is hardly a quota of either that gets diminished by using the other.

No quota, no limit?

tkchrist, the indefatigable fuck (or jerk, mind the difference) machine, ladies and gentlemen.

Nah, if I get home and my mate just jerked it to video of double dildoin' Doris and Delilah and can't ravage me to my complete satisfaction, the way see it, I have cause for complaint.

Also, given than Shakespeare didn't even have women in his plays, that comparison is outright odd.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2007


And it sucks that women take up so much time and are so complicated, especially in ways that might interfere with the primacy of your sexual satisfaction which, god knows, is the most important thing under discussion

That is the point under discussion. My question was "How is procuring a girlfriend to satisfy one's libido somehow less objectifying than watching porn?"

"The goods necessary to do so"? What, pray tell, are those?

Looks. A steady job. Self confidence. Take your pick.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:29 PM on July 31, 2007


I hate you people so much, but not nearly as much as I hate the fact that I commented in this thread and now have to have my recent activity page polluted with this horse shit.
posted by shmegegge at 3:30 PM on July 31, 2007


this horse thread shit.

fixed that for you.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2007


"Yes, and men are predisposed to savagery, domination, and violence, and allowing them to fantasize freely is just playing with fire. That's why we need Andrea Dworkin looking over their shoulder."

The difference is that, you know, men explicitly dictating female desire is a historical reality. Andrea Dworkin truly influencing the majority of men? Not so much.

"Likewise, do men in relationships choose porn because they simply prefer once in a while or only because they determine their access to real sex restricted?"

Do men who have access to home-cooked meals choose Taco Bell because they simply prefer it once in a while or only when their access to real food is restricted? Little bit of both.

"And it sucks that women take up so much time and are so complicated, especially in ways that might interfere with the primacy of your sexual satisfaction which, god knows, is the most important thing under discussion, and something which you are entitled to feel pretty pissed about when the universe places such unpredictable and annoying obstacles in its way."

To be more charitable, that list often includes things like "Has no disabilities" or "Isn't socially inept," or "Is able to satisfy a woman." In all of those cases, yeah, what's wrong with resorting to porn if you don't feel like putting forth the effort to have sex with a woman? Because acting offended about the primacy of sexual urge in a discussion on pornography is disingenuous. Or do you think that people should have to live lives without getting off ever?
Again, I agree that the discussion is complicated, but I think that you're erring on the side of over-simplification of other people's arguments.
posted by klangklangston at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2007


less objectifying

Hmm, I think I'm less of an object than the people in videos. They're being used as visual fucktools, a girlfriend is being used as real fuckpartner. Huge difference. wtf. QED!

klang, You'd just better know not to spoil your surprise birthday dinner with that rubbish.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2007


And, to Jokeefe, no offense - I mentioned Dworkin because it provided an example of canonical 20th-century anti-pornography writings (still taught today) whose positions strike me as being close kin to those Victorian sentiments. I'm not trying to strawman you, and I'd be happy for you to further elucidate your own positions.

No offense taken. I can't really write as much as I would prefer right now seeing as I'm *cough* at work and all, but I will just note that I don't think there's anywhere at the moment where Andrea Dworkin is still taken seriously outside of a few die-hard Women's Studies Departments. I'd go so far as to say that her writings are far from canonical, (as the canon has shaken out over time), and are instead only hauled out as mementoes or relics of a certain era in feminism, used as artifacts instead of as genuine scholarship. Though she had her points, and her arguments were far more nuanced than she is given credit for.... but anyway.

I'm not going to go near the "why don't you get a girlfriend" argument, really, because I think it's kind of beside the point-- I understand both the refuge provided by and the necessity of a fantasy life. The part I stumble over is that the difference between (and forgive the stereotypes for sake or argument) a woman reading a Harlequin Romance or writing some hawt slash involving, erm, Chakotay and Tuvok or something, and thereby having some internal erotic experience far separate from the actual sex life she has with her husband (and perhaps even something that contributes to it), and porn as her husband uses it is that the women in the video her husband watches are real. It's this idea of endless consumption, of "variety", of a parade of nameless women and body parts that are used for momentary satisfaction and forgotten, all of whom are actual breathing human beings, and not creatures of fantasy-- that's where it breaks down for me. If I could be more or less assured that the women in porn are enthusiastic participants who enjoy their work-- and I know many of them are, especially at the higher end-- that might help my uneasiness. But that's never going to be the state of play, is it?

At any rate. The porn question engages with things that are part of our most intimate sexual selves, and that's not a trivial matter, at least not for me.... It's not that I think that straight men are "wrong" in any way in their desires to look at images of naked women or masturbate to those images. Of course I don't. It's that the desires of straight men are given such huge cultural and economic weight. There's an industry generating billions of dollars a year in sales devoted to the arousal and satisfaction of those desires, and that's just porn, not even prostitution... women never receive such massive social reinforcement of the primacy or centrality of our desires.

Okay, rambling, and these bills won't pay themselves.
posted by jokeefe at 3:55 PM on July 31, 2007


Just to offer the male experience, one of the most common prerequisites I've encountered when online dating is that a man be taller than 5'10" or 6.'

Weellll, we could go back and forth all afternoon, but you may notice the requirement for women to be "slim" in a thousand and one personal ads, too. I've never personally understood the tall thing-- at 5'7" or so two of my major relationships with men (out of a total of five) was with men my height or a little less.

Dammit, if I get fired I'm blaming this thread.
posted by jokeefe at 4:01 PM on July 31, 2007


don't think there's anywhere at the moment where Andrea Dworkin is still taken seriously outside of a few die-hard Women's Studies Departments.

Constance Penley, on the other hand... I met her at a party, screamed "You're.. Fuck! You're Constance Penley!" Dropped. My. Drink.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:05 PM on July 31, 2007


"Well, you and Klang did, in a way, liken Dan Savage's position to quaint Victorian-era medical superstitions. It's not that it wasn't funny, but you did play that card yourself.

And, to Jokeefe, no offense - I mentioned Dworkin because it provided an example of canonical 20th-century anti-pornography writings (still taught today) whose positions strike me as being close kin to those Victorian sentiments. I'm not trying to strawman you, and I'd be happy for you to further elucidate your own positions. I've already explained my own pet peeves to Zebra, and made it clear that I didn't really see any of that happening in this thread."

I was making a historical parallel to Victorianism (or, rather, sexist pseudo-scientific cultural mores), but to label Dworkin a Victorian is to gravely misread her (and seems to imply that you missed my point as well). Dworkin comes out of a Marxist prudishness (leaving aside Marx's historical millieu), rather than a quasi-Christian morality based on atrophied feudalism.
posted by klangklangston at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2007


Our view of women shrews is no more altered by Porn than it is by Shakespeare - fixed that for you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 PM on July 31, 2007


The part I stumble over is that the difference between (and forgive the stereotypes for sake or argument) a woman reading a Harlequin Romance or writing some hawt slash involving, erm, Chakotay and Tuvok or something, and thereby having some internal erotic experience far separate from the actual sex life she has with her husband (and perhaps even something that contributes to it), and porn as her husband uses it is that the women in the video her husband watches are real

This *is* brutally stereotypical. Some men find the written word arousing (anais nin is my homegirl) and some women find the typical guy on girl stuff arousing (like, eww, closeups of other men). More important is the fact that many people find some non-real sex arousing - and the internet affords a number of different ways to experience that. Without conformist enforcement.

I find your gender roles discriminatory. Even if I am merely the lesser percentage, in liking the written word and non man-buttocks between the thighs imagary, by making a special factor out of what women may(?) like generally you are missing the point.

think of it like this - if a man of that type could see a movie that was computer generated and real enough, he wouldn't care.

If a woman of that type could read a story that was computer generated and real enough, she wouldn't care.
posted by Sparx at 4:38 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there an xkcd strip on this topic? Something like "fifth rule of the internet: there's porn of it"
posted by arcticwoman at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2007


It's this idea of endless consumption, of "variety", of a parade of nameless women and body parts that are used for momentary satisfaction and forgotten, all of whom are actual breathing human beings, and not creatures of fantasy-- that's where it breaks down for me.

Aren't they creatures of fantasy, though? At least for the purposes of porn, which is -- however lacking in art; however charged with association -- just another genre of film. I mean, when I kill an evening watching some utterly forgettable TV show, I'm also using a parade of nameless (well, nameless to me) men and women for my momentarily satisfaction, and am unlikely to give any particular thought to their well-being afterward -- indeed, to give any thought to their lives outside the context of the TV show at all. In fact, I'd be considered unhealthy (or at least kind of a loser) were I to emotionally invest myself in the lives of the these perfect strangers in any serious way. Why should I care? Why should you? As pleasant as it might be to imagine that some pierced, toned, tattooed sex addict we've never met is spending his/her nights sleepless and tossing and turning so consumed are they with thoughts of us and what we might be doing right now, no such person is doing any such thing. How could they be expected to? We're strangers to them, too!

The misogyny of some porn is pretty damn unpleasant, and not something I personally am interested in seeing; and I don't doubt that some porn involves women who really don't want to be there. I'm not sure what to do with that information, however, other than to say I hope such cases are brought to light. And that if you see the same woman in like five hundred porn movies, she's probably pretty okay with what she's doing. Again, without benefit of mind-reading, it's impossible for the viewer of anything to really know what motivated anyone to be in any film. I've gotten skeevy feelings from some porn (which I quickly stopped watching, as "skeevy" is not a sensation I like my porno to generate in me), but my instinct is hardly proof positive of exploitation -- it's not proof of anything other than I'd really like to watch something else. So I do.

There's an industry generating billions of dollars a year in sales devoted to the arousal and satisfaction of those desires, and that's just porn, not even prostitution... women never receive such massive social reinforcement of the primacy or centrality of our desires.

I'm not sure what you're arguing for here -- I get what you're arguing against, but not what you'd like to see, beyond the abstract of women's desires being socially reinforced. If this is strictly sexual desire we're talking about here, and not something larger, wouldn't all the same misgivings about the exploitation factor equally apply to an industry that made billions manufacturing porn made with a specifically female audience in mind? (Not that such porn doesn't already exist, I should point out.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rule 34. And yeah - xkcd riffed on it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:50 PM on July 31, 2007


Aren't they creatures of fantasy, though?

I don't think so, based on the idea IRFH and others here have mentioned: that porn (I'm thinking basically of mainstream video style stuff here) is useful as an outlet for men who want variety. I think of those women as no-strings strangers, not figments of fantasy. If it is fantasy, why are they doing such mundane stuff most of the time?

I'd be considered unhealthy (or at least kind of a loser) were I to emotionally invest myself in the lives of the these perfect strangers in any serious way.

Sure, but you let them make you orgasm? It's weird, no?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2007


jokeefe: women never receive such massive social reinforcement of the primacy or centrality of our desires.

Well, I don't want to make sweeping generalizations, but what about:

- Oprah Winfrey
- Diamonds and the jewelry industry
- Chick Lit, and large swaths of publishing

There are at least a few billion-dollar empires out there that exist solely by the consumption habits of American women.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2007


But Shakespeare porn would be hawt!

Et tu, Brute? (cue music)
posted by kid ichorous at 5:06 PM on July 31, 2007


I think of those women as no-strings strangers, not figments of fantasy. If it is fantasy, why are they doing such mundane stuff most of the time?

Mundane to you, perhaps, but Average Joe Blow probably doesn't have sex with women who look like or act like porn stars, or have threesomes, foursomes, or twenty-foursomes, or get blow jobs just for walking through the door. In other words, I think they serve as both no-strings strangers and fantasies.

At any rate - I'm way out of my area of expertise here, since my personal lifetime porn consumption would barely rate a mention here, and I have to go. But like someone else mentioned way, way upthread, I can't personally watch sex-industry workers without bean-plating their every thought and deed. Which doesn't go so well with the sexy sexy thoughts. So my observations are based more on what I've observed and discussed happening with friends, than with my own tastes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:22 PM on July 31, 2007


I think of those women as no-strings strangers, not figments of fantasy. If it is fantasy, why are they doing such mundane stuff most of the time?

Well, they're not doing data entry or taking out the trash; they're having sex. I mean, I guess that's mundane when they could be having anti-gravity Matrix sex. It may not be elaborate fantasy, but it certainly isn't documentary filmmaking (well...maybe sometimes, but that's kinda supposed to be illegal, I think). It's people putting on a show.

Sure, but you let them make you orgasm? It's weird, no?

I never orgasm. I lay down, close my eyes, and pray until the bad feelings go away. Don't judge me!

I dunno. I don't know anyone who was in any movie or TV show I've ever watched, and I let them get me invested enough in their characters to care whether they lived or died, at least for the duration of the performance. That's sort of how these things work.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:23 PM on July 31, 2007


"I have never even contemplated cyber connections, but this whole brave new internet thing doesn't actually have to be taken in all at once - it's user driven."

Yep, exactly.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:55 PM on July 31, 2007


As pleasant as it might be to imagine that some pierced, toned, tattooed sex addict we've never met is spending his/her nights sleepless and tossing and turning so consumed are they with thoughts of us and what we might be doing right now, no such person is doing any such thing.

You lie, kittens for breakfast. That's *exactly* what I've been doing these past few nights. I'm ok now, though, as I can see that you're writing stuff on the internet. But the nights are so long, so long and lonely...
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:04 PM on July 31, 2007


Well, all right, fine -- they are fantasizing about me. But that's different.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 PM on July 31, 2007


ell, I don't want to make sweeping generalizations, but what about:

- Oprah Winfrey
- Diamonds and the jewelry industry
- Chick Lit, and large swaths of publishing

There are at least a few billion-dollar empires out there that exist solely by the consumption habits of American women.


I should have specified "sexual desires", not just "desires" (and not going into which of those things you listed is at driven by sublimated, or not so sublimated, sexual appetites).

I'm not sure what you're arguing for here -- I get what you're arguing against, but not what you'd like to see, beyond the abstract of women's desires being socially reinforced.

Well, what I'm arguing for is, if I'm being honest, utopian, I suppose. Ideally, we should all be able to live a sexual life where we're free to follow our inclinations and explore the range of our desires in a way that respects our partners and ourselves. That we should have available to us sexual and emotional fulfillment-- that's the ideal, no? But short of such an Arcadian landscape, I'd settle for some genuine social freedom for women to be sexual, and to feel that they can inhabit their bodies without having to conform to a narrow range of standards based on appearance, and other punishing social strictures. This is tangential to the porn debate, but it's still importantly related to it, it terms of how women adjust to being the subjects of heterosexual porn as well as sometime consumers of it (or at least bystanders to that consumption).

If this is strictly sexual desire we're talking about here, and not something larger, wouldn't all the same misgivings about the exploitation factor equally apply to an industry that made billions manufacturing porn made with a specifically female audience in mind? (Not that such porn doesn't already exist, I should point out.)

Yes, I suppose it would, though it's hard to imagine such a world. Such porn does exist, but it's a pretty minor part of the industry, isn't it? (Unless you mean softcore stuff like the little half hour narratives that run on Showcase on Friday night, all of which are pretty godawful.) It does seem to me that if women were getting the porn they wanted, they wouldn't be making so much of it themselves, and making it for each other (and outside of the cash economy, to boot).
posted by jokeefe at 10:15 PM on July 31, 2007


Way late to the party on this little snippet...

KlangKlangston says But this broad thesis that mainstream movies are sexier strikes me the same way that Joss Whedon essays on feminism do— a sloppy attempt to profess sensitivity and "totally getting it" that still end up prescriptive and tone-deaf.

Um, whuh? Whedon isn't attempting to profess sensitivity, let alone that he totally gets it. His discussions (not to mention his works relating and pertaining to) on feminism reflect his opinon and his attitude towards the state of society today and he freely admits to still be learning. It can't be much by way of sloppy if he manages to inspire many around the world to join the cause for the fight of equality. But by gosh, aspiring to that is just down right silly!
posted by liquorice at 2:23 AM on August 1, 2007


kid ichorous: Well, you and Klang did, in a way, liken Dan Savage's position to quaint Victorian-era medical superstitions. It's not that it wasn't funny, but you did play that card yourself.

Um...where? And what does "in a way" mean -- that you chose to interpret it that way? Dude, I can't be responsible for how you choose to interpret every little thing, but I must say that if you choose to take anything I've said in this thread and use it to paint me as a person of "victorian" sensibilities -- or even to argue that I was talking, at all, about "victorian" sensibilities -- then you're kind of making my point for me, regarding the way these threads usually shake out: There is a range of acceptable positions, and that porn is in any way just generally not good for society is not one of those.

That you see it as "victorian" doesn't mean I (or klangston, for whom I will not try to speak) was espousing victorian mores or comparing anything to them. The term "victorian" was first used by you. You and I, as far as I can tell, are the only people who've used it so far.

So, you're making assumptions, again, kid i.
posted by lodurr at 5:39 AM on August 1, 2007


Here's the questions:

1. What do we want?
2. Why do we want it?
3. What happens if we don't get it?
4. Why do others give it to us?
5. What is a fair exchange for what we want?
posted by ewkpates at 5:39 AM on August 1, 2007


Excellent questions. But they don't simplify the debate -- they simply open up different areas. And they're ones that, in my experience, will tend to make the discussion get even nastier. Because then you have to start brining Marx and Weber and Foucault into the mix, which just pisses some people off to no end.
posted by lodurr at 5:51 AM on August 1, 2007


Lodurr, you missed my point, which I understated. I think that often, both here and in general, the discussion is unbounded - and the questions I posed are answered with answers to other questions, adding to the confusion without really advancing the discussion. Example: Why we want it is often answered by instead discussing What do we want?

I'm listening to Ella at the moment -

Times have changed,
And we've often rewound the clock,
Since the Puritans got a shock,
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
If today, any shock they should try to stem,
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them.

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, heaven knows,
Anything Goes.

...and this will always be true... we are shocked by a generation of young women celebrating their objectification... anything goes...
posted by ewkpates at 7:28 AM on August 1, 2007


Klangklangston: Well, jokeefe, you must realize that since women are given to the vapors, their hearts get all a-flutter over motes of dust. That's why they need the hysteria masturbated out of them.

Lodurr: Perhaps they could benefit from some womb massage?
[...]
Why do we have to bandy about pejorative labels like "Victorian"?
[...]
I can't be responsible if you choose [...] to argue that I was talking, at all, about "victorian" sensibilities


If you read my comment to Klang, I'm not at all accusing you (or him) of harboring Victorian attitudes. I'm saying that Klang jokingly likened Dan Savage's position to Victorian pseudo-medical superstitions about vapors and hysteria, and that your followup seemed to echo that. When you later recoiled at the use of the term "Victorian," I wondered what you were on about.

Perhaps I am confused, but what else were you referring to by linking to a satire about nineteenth-century pseudo-medicine, and one of its most comic practitioners and notorious anti-masturbation campaigners, John Harvey Kellogg? I'm sure you're aware that he and other doctors of his era did phobicize sex, and believed that its destructive humors could be purged out of women through bizarre machines, chastity belts and bondage gear, and - yes - womb massage? Sorry if I misread you, but I think calling me out for merely using the word "Victorian" immediately following that exchange was a little much.

My point was that if Dan Savage, by dismissing some anti-porn arguments as "insecure," is acting like a Victorian, I can point you to some Women's Studies luminaries who also live up to the word. Does that make sense?

posted by kid ichorous at 7:29 AM on August 1, 2007


"My point was that if Dan Savage, by dismissing some anti-porn arguments as "insecure," is acting like a Victorian, I can point you to some Women's Studies luminaries who also live up to the word. Does that make sense?"

And my point, again, was that you really can't, in that the language Savage uses is specifically an echo of Olde Time misogyny, whereas folks like Dworkin are objecting to the same things for different reasons.

"It can't be much by way of sloppy if he manages to inspire many around the world to join the cause for the fight of equality. "

Non sequitor— He's got a big microphone, but that doesn't mean that people follow him because he's a particularly complex or intelligent thinker. He made sci-fi and fantasy that a lot of people liked, but his essays on feminism are facile and generally D-U-M. I don't argue that he's probably doing a good thing with respect to his effect on teenage girls, but even then his "sexy, sexy, kickass" aesthetic is just as limited and simplistic as archetypes found in porn, and trying to dress it in the language of empowerment is like putting a cravat on a cat— cute, and likely to appeal to the same demographic.

What? This isn't the thread where we're allowed to bag on other people's entertainment?
posted by klangklangston at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2007


I'll rephrase my point: 'Victorian' is such a pejoratively loaded term, and has such specific and idiosyncratic meaning in the minds of people who use it, that it's utterly counter-productive to use it in discussions like this.

You clearly have a moral aesthetic in mind that you can evoke with the term "Victorian"; stuff like "womb massage", "vapors", and allusions to the idea that women needs protectin' are sufficient in your mind to merit the term "Victorian." "Victorian" in fact, in this kind of discussion, is shorthand for "hidebound and stupid" (among other things). It's basically anything that the person uses the term thinks is repressive and opposed to the cause of sexual liberty. Thus, it's no more useful as a term to describe someone's ethos, really, than "Conservative" or "Liberal". And I would argue, a lot less useful.
posted by lodurr at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2007


I don't recall ever reading any of Whedon's essays on feminism, but I do think the whole "kick ass + ssexxy = empowerment" trope (I've always mapped it to Lara Croft in my mind) is really pretty counter-productive, if the goal is actual personal empowerment for girls. It makes me think of the part in The Matrix where Neo says "I'll need guns, lots of guns", and that's his big fantastic insight into how to beat the Matrix.

Well, shit. So fucking creative. We'll just blow the shit out of this imaginary construct with imaginary guns and that oughta do it, wot?

The "Lara Croft" ethos is basically analogous to that, in my mind. Somebody -- I want to say it was Rebecca Blood, but I'm probably wrong -- once remarked to the effect that 'if Lara Croft were a blue-bottomed baboon, her bottom would be the biggest and bluest of them all.' In other words, while pretending to introduce new and empowering conepts like physical mastery over the male-marked domain, she's really just an agglomeration of nth degree female markers like big tits, narrow waist/apple-butt, etc., all paired up with male markers like use of violence to solve problems. She's tailor made to validate a male-oriented ethos. And I think that would be true of any "kicks ass + sexy" heroine.

Mind, I love kicks ass + sexy. I wish Trinity had gotten tons more screen time, especially time spent doing wild stuff. But as a feminist role-model? Not so hot. Especially not since she spends most of what screen time she does get making doe-eyes at Neo.

All of this is not pertinent to the Whedonverse, I'm sure; I was never into the Whedonverse, so it's just possible that he's found a way past all this to something really useful. From what I've seen of Buffy and Serenity, though, I'm skeptical.
posted by lodurr at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2007


"Victorian" in fact, in this kind of discussion, is shorthand for "hidebound and stupid" (among other things). It's basically anything that the person uses the term thinks is repressive and opposed to the cause of sexual liberty. Thus, it's no more useful as a term to describe someone's ethos, really, than "Conservative" or "Liberal". And I would argue, a lot less useful.

Agreed, because the cultural history of the 19th century is waaaay more complicated than that. When I think of the Victorians, I think of huge amounts of porn production and casual sex in the city parks, both queer and not (have you ever read The Pearl? There's nothing new under the sun, as they say. Prostitution was thriving on a huge scale in Victorian London, and so on.

And I heart Joss Whedon, partly because I think he's one of the good guys, and because the whole arc of the last few seasons of Buffy was leading up to the one, triumphant, still-gives-me-goosebumps moment in the series finale when Willow activates all the potential slayers around the world, and we see a montage of ordinary girls, worldwide, waking up to their power. If by that Joss is wrong, then I don't wanna be right, as the saying goes.
posted by jokeefe at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2007


The Pearl? Not only do I own it, I posted it to MetaFilter!

But I feel like Whedon's into girl power, and not woman power, and there's a big difference. He still plays to a male audience, just a different one.
posted by klangklangston at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2007


... activates all the potential slayers around the world, and we see a montage of ordinary girls, worldwide, waking up to their power.

Hm. Well, that could be interesting.

I've been reading a lot of SF lately, and I regret to say that most of it is crap. This one idea is more interesting than some recent whole issues of Analog. But I've always been put off by the slavering devotion of some Whedon fans. Like a prof at a local college with whom I'm acquainted, who's edited a book of papers on the ethos of the Buffyverse. Can't say anything critical without being lectured on Whedon's vision and how far it goes beyond the rest of mainstream entertainment. (Which is a bit like praising Dennis Leary for not being Tim Allen.) Not Whedon's fault, of course, but it's still off-putting.
posted by lodurr at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2007


klang's got Whedon dead to rights. He's so painfully half assed as a political actor/author that it's better for the scifi canon and the discussion of politicized representations if we just read his work as mainstream and not some panacea or glimmer thereof.

Firefly: a "SinoAmerican" universe with no Asians in it. Neo-orientalist crap. (shiny though it be)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2007


I wonder if the Bonobo were to maintain their social customs, would they ever develop pornography (in fact, can anyone point me to another animal that has pornography)? I find it odd that even though humans have liberated sex from simple procreation, the economics of it pretty much follow the hierarchy of other animal's mating patterns (which pornography can be viewed as an abstraction thereof).

I'm still waiting for an industry to cater to my need for self-actualized porn, or at least Real Dolls with an ipod attachment.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2007


(in fact, can anyone point me to another animal that has pornography)

... at risk of stating the obvious... ... can anyone think of another animal with regard to which that question makes sense?
posted by lodurr at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Weren't there some zoo animals that they had to show porn to to get them to breed?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:02 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're right!

Ah well, back to the drawing board.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 12:14 PM on August 1, 2007


Firefly: a "SinoAmerican" universe with no Asians in it. Neo-orientalist crap. (shiny though it be)

You can't expect every minor theme in a greater work to be given equal attention. The Oriental influence in Firefly was as much a minor footnote as it was in the Western film tropes that birthed the show. Firefly was about re-expressing Americana motifs of frontier and authority in space, and I'd say it did as good a job as anything else to make the attempt. "Serenity," the name, wasn't a stab at "Nirvana" or any Eastern concept. It was an allusion to the famous prayer "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," a note on the captain's dogged "the South will rise again" mantra, and ironically a caveat to tireless fanboys who can't accept when a show's been canned for good.

If you think Whedon's brand of grrl-pwr feminism is way cracked, I can't imagine what sort of fetishist disaster he'd make if he turned this thoughts to lecturing us on race. I imagine it might look something like Rush Hour 5, and I'm kindof thankful he didn't go there.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:19 PM on August 1, 2007


kid ichorus: do you want to read my research paper on Firefly/Serenity? It's not that great, but it's well researched and pretty unique. Thinking of Firefly as a western doesn't excuse it, especially since Chinese Americans in westerns are a tradition of their own. You also shouldn't deny the SF parentage of the show and its attendant orientalist baggage... or the casting/costuming used to create phony hapas. Given that the political backdrop is specifically a futuristic projection of contemporary Chinese/American cultures, the co-opted culture of the East and its corresponding disembodiedness is hardly a detail. I assure you, to people interested in Asian American representation in media, it's not an altogether minor theme.

As woefully unattended and ignored as Asian American issues of represenation have been up to this time, I can hardly blame you for insisting on the invisibility of the issue.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:36 PM on August 1, 2007


I'm pretty sure this is a derail (though 200+ posts in, I'm not sure it matters at this point), but I'm with Klang and AV on this one. Whedon means well, but I've yet to see anything he's written on feminism and related matters that didn't make me do a facepalm within a few paragraphs. But he kinda lost a lot of points with me when he got all self-righteous and semi-censor over Captivity (a film that would have sunk without a ripple had Whedon and others not brought it to wide attention, I should add; instead, it sank with a ripple), so I'm a little predisposed to think not so highly of him. I like "Buffy" and "Angel" and all (less sold on "Firefly"/Serenity, though I found both...eh...pretty good), but Whedon as social commentator is just kind of lame and embarrassing.

The lack of Asians in "Firefly" is an issue, but I really think the Civil War drag -- with our heroes as Confederates (!) -- is a much bigger one. I'm sure Whedon didn't mean to be offensive, and in way that kind of makes it...worse? In that I really don't think he sees why recasting the South as heroic could be offensive. In typical fanboy fashion, he doesn't seem to link this notion up to anything in the real world that could make it seem at all troubling. Still, all of the above comes down to race, which I think is a pretty glaring trouble-spot in Whedon's body of work...again, even (and perhaps especially) when his intentions are good. I could go on!

Um...but I won't. Because, derail. But if there's a link to said paper, I'd be interested to see it, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:06 PM on August 1, 2007


He's so painfully half assed as a political actor/author that it's better for the scifi canon and the discussion of politicized representations if we just read his work as mainstream and not some panacea or glimmer thereof.

Meh. It's substantially more mainstream post Whedon - Buffy hit the air over a decade ago, and was never about Buffy alone - the importance of secondary characters of various genders and roles shouldn't be ignored. It wasn't 2007's view of perfect TV, but what is? Complaining about inapropriate shades of purple when you've only just learned colour theory exists seems somewhat arch - he was informed by feminism, but not necessarily led by it. The hagiafication wasn't his work, and he shouldn't be judged by it.

The lack of Asians in "Firefly" is an issue, but I really think the Civil War drag -- with our heroes as Confederates (!) -- is a much bigger one. I'm sure Whedon didn't mean to be offensive, and in way that kind of makes it...worse? In that I really don't think he sees why recasting the South as heroic could be offensive.


And snarking on firefly (which lasted half a season) for lack of development of a plot point seems somewhat disingenuous, as does equating the backstory to the US civil war on a one-to-one relationship. It's a metaphor for a particular situation - government control vs self-determination, not a vindication of slavery.

Honestly, sometimes I think people watch TV looking to be offended. It's great you have a carefully considered world view, less great that it straitjackets your appreciation of other's work.

p.s I also thought _children of men_ showed that a life violence leads to a death of violence and having the mother of future humanity being african was a nod to the cradle of civilisation and a literal rebirth. Those who thought it was about a black woman having to be protected by a strong white man - what is with you folk?

pps The glass is half frigging full!
posted by Sparx at 1:54 PM on August 1, 2007


How long do you watch it that you become bored? Are you neglecting to play with yourself the while?

Not very long, I'll grant you. I get too bored to watch it for very long. And yes, I didn't realize that you had to play with yourself for the porn to work. I though the idea was that the porn was so exciting that it made you *want* to play with yourself -- and it doesn't.

Perhaps I'm just peculiar but ever since I was an adolescent, the only thing that's ever got me sufficiently excited to rub one out is the idea of real women that I actually know, with whom there is some conceivable possibility that one day, if I get them drunk enough or trick them into it somehow, they might actually let me do the deed with them.

That and my fantasies about my mother.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:41 PM on August 1, 2007


Yes. Because the solution to that suggestion is "go get a pumpkin."

You know what the Turks say:

A woman for duty,
A boy for pleasure,
But a melon for ecstasy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:46 PM on August 1, 2007


I don't want to derail anymore over Firefly (though Ambroisia, feel free to link your paper - just be aware that Hispanics vastly outnumber the Asian-American 3% of the population, play a *huge* part in the mythos of the Western, and went utterly ignored in Firefly), but on the subject of pornography and sexual fantasy I just wanted to mention my favorite book on the subject: "1982, Janine" by Alisdair Gray, whom some of you might recognize as they author of "Lanark."
posted by kid ichorous at 2:57 PM on August 1, 2007


semi-interesting discussion, but the post still blows.

I think of those women as no-strings strangers, not figments of fantasy. If it is fantasy, why are they doing such mundane stuff most of the time?

You obviously lost me long ago, but this statement really made no sense. Mundane? Surely not in public. How many pussies did you see licked on the subway today? If there is any mundane stuff in porn (taking out the garbage, driving the kids to school) it's only because there is a messy or pedal-pumping freak who gets off on it. (I'm "freak positive," btw.)

I'd be considered unhealthy (or at least kind of a loser) were I to emotionally invest myself in the lives of the these perfect strangers in any serious way.

Sure, but you let them make you orgasm? It's weird, no?


What's so weird about getting an orgasm from a stranger? (Not considering the relationship/monogamy factor.)

For most (attached) men and women who watch a lot of porn, I honestly think it's about the fantasy/fetish value. He or she wants buttfucking or bondage, but his or her partner doesn't. So he or she watches it on DVD/Web and fantasizes about it the next time he or she fucks his or her girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, or paramour.

I'm obviously to the far end of the pro-pornography spectrum, but I don't really distinguish between "erotica," "pornography," and "art." (Or "music videos" lol)

Video is video. Pictures are pictures. Call me a formalist.

Complaints against porn always sound like Plato railing against the poets. Sure, I can see the negative aspects, but what's the alternative? As Sparx astutely mentions, it's all user driven. Make your own change.

It's a little like me railing against the dangers of private land ownership. That ship has sailed.

Personally, I recommend the book Art and Pornography by Morse Peckham.

Again, shitty post, but interesting conversation (as usual).

on preview: I can watch pornography for hours on end. I've even watched pornography that doesn't turn me on (man on man) for hours on end. True story.

Also on preview: new study: Why people have sex (duh)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:01 PM on August 1, 2007


mrgrimm, most of your critique of that comment of mine overlooks the rest of my contributions in this thread, and it seems that context might have been helpful to you in understanding my pov, or at least that I was talking about mainstream porn, not bondage stuff (and buttfucking is being classified by contrast as mundane by me).

Or not, if you're such a "formalist" that you're uninterested in discussing the ways media saturation informs us and our culture, In which case, fine. I happen to be very interested in that. Or maybe you're a fatalist... What's the alternative?

Speaking of media interests, here's that paper, kid ichorus. I'm no heavy hitting academic (yet) so please, be gentle if you take interest and read it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:29 PM on August 1, 2007


Ah, strictly the Caucasian Persuasion (admittedly, it's not a haven for the brothers) here in Whedon's work. Can't say I disagree in relation to Firefly, anyway, although Sparx makes the correct point that you're basing this on half a season of a failed series. It was barely out of the wings by then. He's working on it, though, he's working on it. You should check out the canon Buffy comics for that. Anyway, so much to say, so very the wrong thread for it.

I was reading an article about that "Why We Have Sex" paper and saw that they came to the stunning conclusions that:
1. Because they're attracted to the other person and;
2.There was no real gender disparity in the answers.

No wai!
posted by liquorice at 4:23 PM on August 1, 2007


Wai!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2007


o rly? zomg!!1!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:57 PM on August 1, 2007


FYI Ambrosia, I was glad to read your essay, and while I respect your writing and formidable research of other scholars, I do not agree with most of your conclusions. I won't go into a long-winded counterargument here, but I did want you to know that I appreciate you stating your case. I like reading nearly anything about Firefly.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2007


kid ichorus: that's right decent of you, and I never really expect people outside this field to put stock in or agree with the conclusions of these microscopic analyses which impractically focus on on the politics of set dressing. It's cripplingly erudite and I'm a happy cripple.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:00 PM on August 1, 2007


I've even watched pornography that doesn't turn me on (man on man) for hours on end.

This doesn't seem at all surprising to me. Stuff that you've never actually done yourself, esp. stuff at the extreme margins is inherently interesting to me because I've never actually had a stab at it myself. So I tend to be curious about what it is that's going on, how to do it, how the doer and done to feel about it, etc
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2007


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