i have always thought of sex as a language, one of the many ways you can express how you feel about somebody you love or have just met in a parking lot, interchangeably. and as i feel about all forms of communication, i cannot stand the idea of it being suppressed in any way. not safe for work is but a metaphor for matters supposedly pornographic and all around salacious, a subject dear to my heart for it always brings along its constant and unwelcome companion, censorship. and even though the following term itself refers, in the original greek, to “writing about prostitutes,” i have always felt that pornography was a designation best applied to all things abhorrent, not the exclusive province of triple anal zoophilic necrophilia.
what bothers me, and implied in this chapter’s title, is the fact that there are still places, within or out, that find the display of any or all such acts inappropriate, my very least favorite word in any language. i understand that some material, if viewed in a shared cubicle, would crassly impose on another’s freedom and i can accept such limitations of liberty. however, insinuated in the expression as it is widely understood and underlined by those digital content distributors who want a world safe from pornography, is the suggestion that it is not safe, period.
promulgated by forces supposedly wiser than we can ever be, censorship quells the unacceptable as they see it, a tactic that not only works but is often passed into law because we have been brainwashed into thinking that there is such a thing as right and wrong. pornography is only pornography because of this notion, born from the allegedly pre-defined boundaries of private and public between which some believe that certain acts, performed or viewed, should not be just a matter of opinion, but regulation. and as usual, we conveniently scapegoat a segment of the population in the name of whom such cries are always shouted louder than is necessary, the children. that is how the acronym for not safe for work came to be, whereas it should be not safe for home, where the aforementioned victims live. work was chosen because we consenting adults, apparently much like the unrestrained underage, cannot be trusted to reasonably consent in our places of business. why can we not do whatever it is we want to do? do whatever it is we feel the need to do without the reprobate stares of legality? now, of course, some of those regulations are necessary to protect the truly innocent, as chris hansen’s award-winning work protecting fictitious thirteen year-olds proves; but let us not forget that, in the name of said innocents, sexual acts themselves were also subject to policing in a time not so long ago in these united states.
of course, i understand the need for subway operation, corn harvesting and presidential press conferences, among many others within the boundaries of human systems, to function properly without the impromptu sexual elucubrations of a confident pair of creatures. what i am troubled by is the presumed effect on the collective of the liberties taken by individuals.
for example, when it comes to the depiction of copulation, it is assumed that such imagery has a negative, if not downright damaging influence on the human psyche. however, “there are no scientific studies that show that exposure to nonviolent sexual material causes a person to commit a sexual crime or become more sexually aggressive” tells us dr. judith becker, associate professor of clinical psychology at columbia university. and we trust doctors with studies, don’t we? the reason the assumption even exists is, to my mind and per the findings of lyndon johnson’s nineteen sixty-seven national commission on obscenity and pornography, “the inability or reluctance of people in our society to be open and direct in dealing with sexual matters.” yes, three times yes! why do we even need a commission to tell us that we, and not it, are the problem?
when it comes to what we call pornography, why can we not consider it a reflection of our own possibilities in the realm of sexuality? what we are seeing on what used to be the big screen in times square and is now the littlest in my pocket, is but a drastic example of what our bodies are capable of, in some cases very drastic. now, whether it brings pleasure to the participants is not at issue here, they are actors with a job to do, i simply want to speak to the voyeuristic aspect and its potential usefulness. if regular movies are one mirror of the imagination, pornography certainly is another. in the end, is it not just a movie? is it just that the actions performed by the actors, since deemed socially unacceptable by the governing class of earth’s dominating species, have to be repudiated by all as nefarious? yes, except in holland and sweden, among other european countries who have a lot less to say about decadence at the regulatory level than we do in america. for some reason, we seem to have very different moral agendas based on geography… who calls those shots? who decides the age of consent, anywhere between twelve and twenty-one, when the human body develops the same wherever you are born? who says that intercourse with an eighteen year old is fine and sex the day before is not? who says that german donkey sex is to be frowned upon? do we not, as a condition of our enjoyed liberties, have to protect those whom we disagree with or find distasteful? it is difficult, i understand, not to mention the infinite interpretations of taste but the question remains, who sets the standard? it has to be whatever is right for the community, right? or most popular, i forget which. the problem is that the community always tends toward the middle who will, by definition, forbid what it considers to be extreme in order to protect the most. which is a shame because radical behavior, by all accounts, is so much more fun. to deny freedom to the few for the benefit of the most may not be freedom but we have yet to find a system which accommodates both the puritans and the freaks equally and, sadly, i do not think it is on any kind of horizon. why? because we, as an inherently religious society, reject gratuitous acts and even i can admit that there is little constructive about a blow job, about being peed on, about being bound and gagged. nonetheless, the intent, even if it is not the production of an heir, is valuable in and of itself for the participants, a search for a feeling with no other purpose than pleasure which god hates for it is a waste of opportunity. in that case, why don’t we throw away food and start intravenous feeding? why don’t we throw away art, what does it do? actually, we do throw away art, when it is considered lewd. all because pornography and what it depicts creates guilt in some…
that, my ashamed friend, should be your problem to deal with, not mine.
what does pornography accomplish? at the very least, when watching that which would be considered nsfw, you see other people that look like you, that could be you, except with more mustaches and hitch-hiking. the comparisons that ensue, consciously or not, are inevitable, first of the physical kind then of technique, imagination, vocabulary, context and finally fantasy. it is fascinating to watch a stranger’s take on what turns them on because it gets very specific very quickly whether it is “i like him to leave his black socks on” or “it’s just the way that her butt pops up when she takes off her panties” or “i love cum shots on school supplies!” all of it demonstrates a healthy curiosity in behavior even though we interpret it, at the individual and collective levels, to be merely carnal. we realize, through what is no more but no less than a rude version of show and tell, that we need to try before we buy.
now, the issues raised by theaptSUPERfriend cindy gallop’s make love, not porn are quite valid. which are that pornography, through its ubiquity, has become de-facto sexual education for children just come of age and that not every sexually active person in the world today likes to experiment in real life what seems to have become standard in fuck films. i am talking about facials, gagging, anal, double anal, baseball bats, creampies, monster cocks, mouthfuls, triple anal, ninjas, brown bunnies, feet, public disgrace, milfs, latinas, tugjobs, asian gagging, asphyxiation, enemas, animals, hair, infantilism, chicks with dicks, amputees, gang-bangs, dirty talking and role-play among too many to think about. variety in the sexual realm is no more a threat than variety in political opinion. actually, probably less so. it is just that it must be shown and not run away from, used as teaching material not the effigy of evil, understood and not ignored.
whatever the rules may be, we should be grateful for pornography as a compendium of human sexual history, easily browsed, shamelessly, from the comforts of the home, the office or while waiting for your buddy to finish fencing class. either way, have a week intently n.s.f.w!