April 4, 2011

There’s Nothing Wrong With You

Pleasures

In a piece for New York Magazine, Davy Rothbart spends a lot of time agonizing over how the availability of porn online is affecting his sex life. He’s faking orgasms.

The article brings some good points about the difficulty some men may be experiencing in regard to how they understand the role of masturbation in their lives. The article is rife with the suggestion that masturbation and fantasy via porn is destroying men’s libidos. It’s a good conversation to initiate, however misguided, but it takes a turn for the intolerable when it suggests that women are changing their behavior to compete against pornography.

“Women are turning up the dial,” says Evan, also 31. “I’m a pleaser. I get off on a woman’s arousal. But I’ve noticed that women are getting a lot more vocal now. Either I’m doing something I’m not aware of, or women are beginning to mimic what happens in porn. Honestly, it’s kind of weird. I’m not sure if I like it.”

Tony, 48, a web designer in St. Paul, who separated from his wife a few years ago after twenty years of marriage, echoes the thought. “I’ve always thought it’s really hot when women in porn movies say dirty stuff,” he says. “Usually, they’re just literally narrating the shit that’s happening, giving the play-by-play: ‘You’re fucking me! Your dick’s in my ass! I’m sucking your cock right now!’ For whatever reason, that’s what does it for me. But recently a woman I was with started saying all that stuff, and it just kind of spooked me. She seemed slightly nuts.”

And so a conundrum emerges. Men, oversaturated by porn, secretly hunger for the variety that porn offers. Women, noticing a decline in their partners’ libidos, try to reenact the kinds of scenes that men watch on their computer screens. Men, as a result, get really freaked out. They don’t want their real women and their fantasy women to inhabit the same body.

While the question of whether one’s partner is expressing genuine enthusiasm and pleasure is legitimate, it’s not abnormal for a woman to talk dirty, to desire anal sex, to want to try out different positions, or to prefer their vulvae groomed a certain way.

The main problem of the article is that it blames online pornography, when it should be more self-reflective. It’s not about porn so much as it is about the safe space provided by masturbation. When you masturbate, there is only you. You do not have to worry about whether the other person is enjoying themselves or how you appear. You don’t have to worry about how your innermost desires may affect your partner. You can watch those spanking videos or the double- and triple-penetration scenes without worrying about how your partner may react.

Pornography isn’t the problem, it’s a conduit. Through pornography, you are faced with desires with which one may not be comfortable, hence the responses of the men in the article when they encounter women who freely express what they enjoy.

The men in the article would do well to learn from these women’s openness in sharing their turn-ons with them. Maybe then they’ll be able to have an honest discussion about their desires and how these play out in their masturbatory sessions.

Here’s the main thing: if you are a guy who masturbates to porn, there is nothing wrong with you. But it might serve you well to take some time off to reflect on what you want from the sex you have. You may find the fantasy world needn’t intersect your life. There is nothing wrong with that either. Sex is about enjoyment. This journey into what you want needn’t be riddled with worry and self-doubt. You can enjoy your journey into what you want.

Just do us a favor: don’t go around making girls feel like they’re “slightly nuts” for expressing what they desire. Learn from their freedom to express what they want. They’re trusting them with their desires. Try trusting them with yours.

Staff

We're your creatures, putting to words things to inform you, amuse you, educate you and move you. Be nice to us, we already have a cruel mistress in our editrix. We say that with love, of course, we do love her whip.

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  • http://twitter.com/jgold85 Jason Goldman

    “‘You’re fucking me! Your dick’s in my ass! I’m sucking your cock right now!’ For whatever reason, that’s what does it for me. But recently a woman I was with started saying all that stuff, and it just kind of spooked me.”

    and then

    “don’t go around making girls feel like they’re “slightly nuts” for expressing what they desire. Learn from their freedom to express what they want. ”

    i don’t see the relationship between the admonishment in the last paragraph of this post and the quoted writer’s discomfort at his partner’s narration of their sexual encounter. narration isn’t equal to the expression of desire, as far as i can tell.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise reading this tripe in New York Magazine, home port of the odious Ariel Levy (author of Female Chauvinist Pigs). That miserable mag never passes up a chance to bash porn, but always from a “hip” perspective of course.

    This lame meme about porn fucking up people’s real sex lives has become the latest reason to dump on a thing that just happens to squick out a certain class of pseudo-intellectual prude who doesn’t want the stick up his or her ass to show.

  • Anonymous

    You’re going to have to read the entire piece for context, J.

  • Anonymous

    The stance that porn is not turning men into violent rapists but may be destroying their libidos, one must admit, is refreshing, thought as with the former, no real scientific data is presented. Will we ever be able to discuss porn without the tedious anecdotal “evidence”? I’m all for self-reflection on one’s pleasures and habits, whatever these are, but it’s one thing to question and another to state, claiming to have gathered all evidence, that this is happening.

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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...