Sex and the Campus: The XXX Files

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Do you recognize the name RedTube? How about YouJizz? Even if not, if you’ve ever mistyped something into Google you can probably guess what they are.  That’s right - they’re porn sites.  I feel like porn is often a bit of a hippo in the room.  Clearly, everyone knows it exists.  Between the E! True Hollywood Story of Anna Nicole Smith that I’ve seen a million commercials for to the ads that run in the back of Cosmo, porn is something that I encounter tangentially in my life pretty regularly.  That being said, my direct encounters with porn are usually pretty minimal.  Sure, I’ve seen it, but I’ve never sought it out nor watched it without the company of others.  I’m very much not interested and even feel pretty negatively towards it. Yet my experiences and discussions with friends and acquaintances leads me to conclude that many people really like (love) and often watch porn.

Which makes me wonder: what is it about porn that is so polarizing and what makes it so popular?

Quickly, a disclosure.  As always, this column is simply my feelings / experiences/ random thoughts that come in to my head.  I’m not a porn expert; I have no knowledge beyond that True Life episode. I don’t know about the repercussions of being a porn star or about porn addiction.  I’m just a fairly average Bowdoin girl who thinks things and then writes about them. If you’re looking for a more objective stance, check out this article (and its comments).

The first time I ever saw porn, I was on a language emersion trip to Costa Rica.  We were staying in a hotel in the rainforest, which was an unforgettable experience in itself.  A bunch of us were hanging out, flipping channels, and we came to a channel playing a porno (clearly, they have slightly different rating systems than the US).  It featured a threesome of one woman and two guys.  They were all relatively good-looking and were certainly committed actors, if not the most talented ones.  The men made grunts and heavy breathing sounds, while the woman moaned with all her might.  Further research has revealed that this porno was pretty “soft” as porn goes, featuring graphic shots but nothing too intense (after all, it was on TV).  We were all laughing and feeling very cool about watching porn, which we were sure our program director wouldn’t approve of (he was the kind of guy who threatened to Breathalyze us all. Every morning).

I watched it along with everyone else, but I was so happy when we found a Korean soccer game played by people in animal costumes instead (Costa Rican TV is bizarre).  The movie made me really uncomfortable.  Now, clearly, I am pro-intimacy and all for sex.  I write a sex column, so it would be strange if I didn’t.  I just was not into porn.  It made me feel like a peeping Tom, climbing a tree to see into someone’s window.  I was reminded of this time I was in the library.  A guy was sitting near me and, while I was doing my Gov reading, his girlfriend came and sat on the couch next to him.  This was totally fine, although I was selfishly annoyed because we were the only people in the area and it had been all mine before his appearance.  Next thing I knew, she had moved from ‘next to’ to ‘on top of’ and they were making out, visual tongues and all.  I just stared at them, shocked.  One, this was SO clearly not the place but two, I felt so gross watching them.  It seemed like I was trying to get in on their moment, which I absolutely was not.

A friend of mine from home, though, tells me constantly that I just haven’t seen the right porn.  She and her boyfriend watch it together all the time, she says, and she loves it.  She also seeks it out on her alone time, if you catch my drift.  She likes the sounds, she says.  They heighten your own experience, apparently.  Her boyfriend, though, enjoys it because of the visual appeal.  Everyone knows that boys are very visually stimulated and it seems that porn is just right for getting a man’s juices flowing.  I think there’s also some aspect of fantasy, which I can understand more.  Looking at other people’s private parts does not get me going, but I have fantasies as much as the next person.  As I’m a complete cliché, though, my fantasies are more of the Pride and Prejudice, Dirty Dancing variety.

Porn is there.  People watch it.  This isn’t a fact that’s ever going to change.  And I don’t really like it.  I don’t think that’s going to change either.  At some point, though, I will likely find myself in a relationship where my partner would like to incorporate in into our routine.  I try to be open-minded, so I’d likely give it a shot, although I can’t promise anything.  And who knows - maybe I just haven’t found the right kind? I hear there’s something called fireman porn… Oh baby!

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