Posted from The Citrus Report
There is something odd happening culturally around the concept and practice of Internet porn. Its not working for men. It is becoming a completely insular concept that doesn’t, as Wolf puts it, “whet men’s appetites to the real thing.” Men are so hooked on the Internet thing, the real thing is becoming less and less of a need. So, who is damaged goods now?
The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized. Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.
But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: 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.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.
What most saw as a looming “male as raving beast” with the Golden Era of Porn, with Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat leading the way,was because those were more “real” than Internet porn. Sure the concepts and plots were a tad outlandish, but the women looked real. Wolf writes, “When Behind the Green Door first opened, clumsy, earnest, missionary-position intercourse was still considered to be a huge turn-on.” Not the fake world and expectations that Internet porn can edit for you. Internet pornography—has lowered women’s sense of their own sexual value and their actual sexual value.
Wolf again makes one of her best points: “Well, I am 40, and mine is the last female generation to experience that sense of sexual confidence and security in what we had to offer. Our younger sisters had to compete with video porn in the eighties and nineties, when intercourse was not hot enough. Now you have to offer—or flirtatiously suggest—the lesbian scene, the ejaculate-in-the-face scene. Being naked is not enough; you have to be buff, be tan with no tan lines, have the surgically hoisted breasts and the Brazilian bikini wax—just like porn stars. (In my gym, the 40-year-old women have adult pubic hair; the twentysomethings have all been trimmed and styled.) Pornography is addictive; the baseline gets ratcheted up. By the new millennium, a vagina—which, by the way, used to have a pretty high “exchange value,” as Marxist economists would say—wasn’t enough; it barely registered on the thrill scale. All mainstream porn—and certainly the Internet—made routine use of all available female orifices.”
Look, do we agree with all of this? Not fully. We understand that the Internet porn and sex phenomenon has created a whole new generation of habits and expectations, but so has everything else in culture. We are now in a world where everything that once was is hyperactive but not full of reality. But oddly and unfortunately for those of us who remember a time before, that is the new reality.