Nov 262012
 

Porn’s funny.

Conventional wisdom holds that we use porn when we’re horny. But this isn’t quite right, I think. I mean, I know it’s not quite right for me, and I suspect it’s not right for many.

I use porn in a couple of different ways. One way – with a partner – is the closest to this ideal usage. Porn can be a sort of erotic soundtrack to a sexual encounter, enhancing the ambiance, heightening my (her) arousal, giving us ideas, amping it up. But most of the other ways in which I use porn are a bit different.

There’s the medicinal sense – the numbing, disappearing sense. Sometimes, if I’m feeling down, or disappointed, or pained, or otherwise desirous of escape, I’ll use porn. I’ll allow myself to sink into a vortex of disconnectedness. In this mode, porn is no different than TV, or a trashy book – it’s a way of losing myself.

But then there’s the most interesting (to me) sense: ironically, sometimes, when I’m not feeling desire, when I’m not feeling particularly sexual, I’ll use porn. I’ve been thinking about what this is, why I do this, and I think I get it: I think that I associate sexual desire with vitality, with living. And when my desire recedes, whether because of depression, or busyness, or what have you, I start to feel somehow dead. Porn is a way of jump-starting that, of reminding me of the life force of sex, of helping me get in touch with it, even if I’m not feeling it directly.

There’s another analysis of porn, of course: I’m pretty sure it was Slavoj Zizek who said that porn really is a sort of outsourcing – that with porn, we can actually pay others to have sex for us, to experience the messy, time-consuming elements of sex, and leave us with the orgasmic rewards far more efficiently. (Unfortunately, though I could swear I read Zizek write this, I can’t, for the life of me, find the citation now. If you know where I got it, please – point me in the right direction!)

Whatever – I like porn!

  3 Responses to “Porn and desire”

  1. My hunch on the Žižek is his article “Looking Awry,” in October, vol 50, 1989. It also may have been in, Looking Awry: An Introduction To Jacques Lacan. Wait… it may have been from “No sex please, we’re posthuman.” Hmmm… I’m a little rusty on my Žižek 🙂

    Anyway, it was probably Žižek on Lacan.

  2. Of course Zizek would say that! I laughed outloud–he’s so right!

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