Monday, October 19, 2015

Porn: It Just Ain't What It Used to Be

In light of people unnecessarily orgasmically celebrating and bemoaning Playboy's decision to stop featuring fully nude photos, I love this perspective on the whole thing.

The fact of the matter is...who the fuck cares?

For the activists claiming this as a feminist victory, you're kidding right? When was the last time Playboy really felt relevant in the current porn culture? Honestly, most people who still have a subscription to this magazine really do read it for the articles (which are often quite good, mind you). And they still do sexy spreads (check out this one on "The 10 Hottest Women on Youtube") so, really, does this count as a win?

And, for all the people whinging about how this is just one more way people are taking their porn away, really? Really?! Like the article points out, for better or for worse, anyone can get any kind of porn at any time for free. It's ridiculously easy to find much more graphic, much more intense porn today online than anything that has ever been featured in a Playboy magazine.

Hell, you can find racier, more well-shot porn with a basic Tumblr search.

And, really, we need to start accepting that as an unchangeable truth. 

We need to stop irrationally panicking about this. 

Because having a variety of porn isn't the terrible downfall of modern society so many people make it out to be.

If you're that worried about porn's impact on our culture, talk to your kids about it. Give them context to the porn they will inevitably find. Teach them what good sexual health looks like. Teach them about consent. Teach them that the sexual landscape is complicated and will often be hard to navigate. Teach them that communication and partnership and intimacy are tools to help them navigate that landscape better.

And, yes, teach them that porn exists. That all kinds of porn exists. And that there is a time and a place for porn. That it can be a healthy part of one's sexual health or a harmful one, depending on how one uses it. 

And don't demonize people for their desires.

Instead, help them find healthy ways to explore them. There are so very few kinks--I honestly can't think of a single one--that can't be realized with a little creativity and a lot of consent-centered communication. 

And, if the LGBT right struggles have taught us anything, demonizing people for their desires doesn't cure people of their desires; it isolates them and pushes them underground. It makes those desires dangerous, especially for the people with those non-normative desires who don't always know what to do with them. Which can make them manifest in not so healthy ways. " 'One size fits all wasn't fair,' [Dan Savage] said, because it didn't help those interested in non-normative body types, desires or kinks. 'Non-normative desires make people feel like freaks or alone.' 

People want what they want and they will never stop wanting it. Giving them the tools to explore those aspects of their sexuality safely, sanely, and consensually, rather than shaming them or trying to shut them down, should be the goal.

"With the shift away from the plain old nude photo, those who lose out are the young people who are just starting to understand sexual desire -- and the adults whose tastes were satisfied by a centerfold, the experts said. 'It makes people with normative desires feel panicked the way it used to those with other desires,' Savage said." Because now they have face that the world is much bigger than they thought it was. Than perhaps they want it to be. And, for better or for worse, they have to learn to live in it.

But calm down, normative vanilla people, plain old nudes will still exist. Vanilla porn isn't going anywhere. The existence of more variety, by its very nature, doesn't eliminate options. Quite the opposite.

And, even if, for some reason, one day, vanilla porn disappeared, anyone with a smartphone can make more. They're probably doing it right now. I promise.