New York Magazine considers the impact of I-porn in “Not Tonight, Honey. I’m Logging On”.
[T]he mass consumption of cyberporn has slyly moved from the pathetic stereotypes (fugitive perverts, frustrated husbands) into the potent mainstream (young professionals, perhaps your boyfriend). Thanks to the advent of cable modems and DSL connections, it’s now easier than ever to scan lewd material in the privacy of your own home. One minute you’re reading the New York Times, and then two clicks on Google and–oops!–you’re downloading highlights from Jenna Jameson’s oeuvre.
And why not? After all, we live in a society that not only has embraced porn but giddily lavishes it with high-brow attention. Frank Rich “analyzes” adult entertainment in the Times. Writer Irvine Welsh revisits the Trainspotting crew as it makes a skin flick in his latest novel, Porno. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders offers a coffee-table book of photographs of porn stars–with essays by literary types–and it’s snatched up by an A-list publisher. Porn is not merely acceptable; it’s hip.
Of course, for those not just talking about it but consuming it, cyberspace offers the luxury of total anonymity…
Emily Kramer, the 25-year-old co-founder of Cake, a “female sexual-entertainment company,” explains that the subject is utterly commonplace among her nouveau-bohemian pals. “It’s like a joke among my close male friends,” she says. “I’ll ask, ‘What did you do last night?’ and they say, ‘I was up till five in the morning jerking off to the Internet.’ It’s just like, ‘Oh, whatever…’”
It may be a viable laugh line, but when does it stop being funny? Over beers recently, a 26-year-old businessman friend shocked me by casually remarking, “Dude, all of my friends are so obsessed with Internet porn that they can’t sleep with their girlfriends unless they act like porn stars.” A 20-year-old college student who bartends at a popular Soho lounge describes how an I-porn-filled adolescence shaped his perceptions of sex. “Looking at Internet porn was pretty much my sex education,” he says. “I mean, in school, it was just, ‘Here’s a gigantic wooden dildo, and now we’re putting a condom on it,’ whereas on the Internet, you had it all. I remember the first time I had sex, my first thought as it was happening was, Oh, this is pornography. It was a kind of out-of-body experience. I was really uncomfortable with sex for a while…”
Rick admits his isn’t exactly the healthiest outlook on dating. “I think it’s a substitute for reality,” he says. “What you can’t get through real life, you can get through porn…”
Though Rick, who has never had a serious girlfriend, doesn’t consider looking at cyberporn a problematic pastime, he will admit that it has affected his interactions with women… “I think it’s made me more picky,” he says. “These girls on the computer are just so hot. Obviously, you want to get with a girl like that. So you may be at a bar with a girl, and she’s really cool, but she’s not a ‘10,’ you know? She’s cool, she’s cute, but you quickly start to notice flaws…”
“At first, it was kind of a natural thing, and then it got compulsive,” [says 23-year-old Dan]. “I’d feel unnatural when I went to bed if I didn’t look at it. Then I said to myself, Okay, I’m gonna go a week without it. But I could only make it three or four days…”
“[E]specially in urban environments, our professional lives are very much go-go-go!, and we put our emotions to the sides,” [explains psychologist David Marcus]. “Porn can provide an instant soothing to emotional stress.” Ursula Ofman, the Manhattan-based sex therapist, agrees: “The Internet provides such an easy out that you can manage without any real-life contact for a long time,” she says. “And since Internet porn is so accessible, it’s often very difficult to wean men from it.” Marcus prefers to classify I-porn consumption as a compulsion rather than as an addiction. The difference? “There’s an anxiety component to it,” he says. “In medical terms, we call it ego dystonic, which basically means that it’s a behavior that goes against your sense of self.”
Jill was in love. It was the late nineties, she was a sophomore at a competitive state university, and she found herself smitten with Kyle, a junior with a confident strut who also happened to be the editor of the school newspaper, which won him instant parental approval. By the end of that year, they were a serious couple. Jill knew that she had discovered not only true love but, to put it bluntly, great sex as well.
So when, after a year, she learned that Kyle spent quite a bit of time looking at pornography—first online, then, eventually, on videos too—she wasn’t immediately put off, despite being a psychology major who seriously questioned the morality of porn. “I was the kind of girlfriend who was up for anything sexually,” says Jill, who is 25, has hazel eyes, and works in PR. “When we were having sex, he’d call me his porn star, and I thought that was hot.”
In time, this changed. Kyle would sometimes e-mail her links to sites “he thought were really hot,” which made Jill more than a little uncomfortable. Sometimes, she’d drop by his house for a surprise visit and he’d have already “exhausted himself” with the computer…
They have since broken up, and have stopped talking. “He was a lot more innocent when he was younger,” she says. “He was looking for love and companionship. Now he just wants a good lay. I’m sure he’s looking for some huge-breasted, tight-assed bitch…”
These days, she feels “very jaded about love and sex,” but every so often, she finds her cynicism dissolving… “I think it will be really rare, and hopefully it will happen, that I can meet a guy who will be happy with only me.”
5 thoughts on “Young New Yorkers Talk about Porn’s Effect on their Relationships (explicit language)”
The story of Jill and Kyle really hit home for me. My husband and I have constantly argued about this issue in our relationship. He has always been into porn and when he met me he knew that was not something that I was interested in. I am a very open person sexually but for some reason porn turns me off.
My husband has been found by me on numerous occasions watching it online or downloading clips. I have told him so many times that it makes me feel horrible and not enough for him, and that it hurts my self esteem. I basically have begged and pleaded with him to stop and just when I think that he has stopped, he hasn’t. He will even watch it on his laptop while I am in another room watching TV. The worst part of it all is that sex with us has gone down the tubes. It seems that he is more interested in porn than me. He tells me that it’s my issue and there must have been something that happened to me for me to hate it so much. He says that it’s just entertainment for him and that he should be able to do what he wants. What bothers me the most is that he sees me asking him to stop and sees me crying and sees what this does to me emotionally and he just doesn’t stop. At this point I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I want him to get help and if he can’t then I don’t know if this marriage can work. We’ve been together for 6 years and married not even a year. We have a 2 1/2 year old and one on the way. My fear is that he will choose this over me for good. But now with your website I can finally show him proof that I am not alone in these feelings that I have and that maybe it is time for him to receive help.
I’m glad we could be of use. There’s reason for hope. I know of people who have thrown off their porn addictions and were happy with the result. You might want to seek counseling for yourself to decide how best to proceed.
I agree, for an example of a person who was able to battle out porn addiction you can take me.
I would not have been able to do this if I didn’t have the support of my wife. It just takes a strong will and positive support from you near and dear ones. I would also like to mention the mental support I got by speaking to people who were affected and were fighting their own battle against porn. I could interact with them at http://www.throughtheflame.org a forum designed for all those who are directly or indirectly affected by porn.
But then again the first thing that one should work on is getting the porn addict to realize that he is wrong when he watches porn and this act of his has an agonizing effect on his partner. If he can be made to realize this then trust me, thats the halfway mark. Once he has developed that will to free himself from porn then you can think of several ways to get that done.
I agree, for an example of a person who was able to battle out porn addiction you can take me.
I would not have been able to do this if I didn’t have the support of my wife. It just takes a strong will and positive support from you near and dear ones. I would also like to mention the
mental support I got by speaking to people who were affected and were fighting their own battle against porn. I could interact with them at http://www.throughtheflame.org a forum
designed for all those who are affected by porn, directly or indirectly.
But then again the first thing that one should work on is getting the porn addict to realize that he is wrong when he watches porn and this act of his has an agonizing effect on his partner. If he can be made to realize this then trust me, thats the halfway mark. Once he has developed that will to free himself from porn then you can think of several ways to get that
Hi all- I love gay sex and tasting a manly man…….all men do, no matter what they say. Bring it on big boy!