Oprah / porn / secrets / women

An Eight Year Perspective on: American Porn

Last night I discussed porn with a couple of friends by the fireplace on a rainy LA eve. The convo brought up some varied viewpoints—is porn inherently degrading, sad, the dregs of society; or is it positive, revealing, cultural? What does it say about us? Why is there so much of it? Why is it so repetitive? Why so much anal? My girlfriend and I ended up disputing our guy friend who argued that women couldn’t possibly enjoy making porn and definitely felt that starlets arrive in the porn world disenfranchised. He happens to be gay. I argued that his viewpoint strips a starlet’s autonomy. My dear friend reminded me that I was a married gal, sitting by the fire, intellectualizing porn. Touché. He had been to a porn shoot several years back and left disturbed and depressed. We went round in circles of this sort for some time until we ran out of wine.

Anyway, the day before I’d just re-watched the 2002 PBS Frontline episode: American Porn and spent some time perusing the website. There’s some interesting writing, including The Eloquence of Pornography, an essay by Laura Kipnis on what porn teaches us about ourselves, or in her more eloquent words: “Pornography should interest us, because it’s intensely and relentlessly about us.” The whole essay is really worth a read. I also stumbled upon another bit of research under the “why people use porn” section. I found the following quote about who the consumers of porn are and I wonder if it still holds true, or rather, as true.

Porn as we know it is used predominantly by men. That is not to say that women do not use it, but simply that men are the main consumers of this “pleasure technology.” Why men? It may not come as a surprise, but research suggests that most men are more interested in sex than most women are. More men than women masturbate, and they do so more frequently. More men experience orgasms, and do so more consistently. .… only 12 percent of women reported being erotically aroused by seeing photographs, drawings, or paintings of nude people… This does not mean, however, that porn does not elicit sexual arousal in women. Laboratory studies have shown that women almost invariantly show physical signs of sexual excitement to porn movies, as indicated by increased vaginal blood flow. Interestingly, this can happen even when women don’t like the movies or when they experience negative emotions such as disgust or anger. And studies have also shown that women show stronger physical sexual responses to porn than to more romantic erotic stimuli.

First of all, how funny is “pleasure technology?” Anyway, I’m sure the consumers of porn are still predominately men but I bet it’s changed some since 2002. Because porn is readily available. And because this research suggests that women were not all that candid about their relationships with porn, something that the Oprah Mag article: Why Millions of Women Are Using Porn and Erotica revealed– one in three women watches porn but doesn’t necessarily tell her friends and neighbors about it. Sneaky ladies.

Anyway, long winded post. Hope you’re still with me. Now to decide what kind of pies to bake for Canadian Thanksgiving in LA. It’s going to be ninety degrees, maybe Key Lime?

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