There’s Porn, and Then There’s Porn

During a discussion at Donal’s recently, it occurred to me that many people who haven’t experienced today’s porn for themselves don’t seem to have any idea what it’s like, and that skews their idea of how serious a problem it is, or in what ways it is and isn’t a problem.  (Unfortunately, I do have enough past experience with it to try to educate.  Also, note that I’m not talking here about the spiritual consequences, which I believe are always grave; I’m just talking about the practical effects.)  One commenter implied that porn has always been with us, as if there’s any equivalence between today’s porn and prehistoric cave paintings.  Later she said that when she thinks of porn, she (being Japanese) thinks of hentai and other fetish stuff, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Go to any “mainstream” porn site, the kind that millions of frustrated husbands and lonely single men are going to, and you’re not going to find hentai in their lineup of most-watched videos. That kind of stuff is a niche interest, and is probably only secondarily pornographic; the main point of it is the tentacles or whatever the fetish is about.

No, if you go to an ordinary porn site, you’ll find that the most-watched and highest-rated videos tend to be pretty tame stuff: one woman performing alone, or a woman and a man, often shot from the man’s point of view. Certainly you can find other stuff, and pretty much anything you can imagine if you look for it, but what I just described is the most popular. The clear implication here is that the men watching these are imagining themselves with the woman, either in place of the man in the video or joining the woman performing alone in the video.  It’s not about watching the sickest acts they can find and going down a slippery slope to full depravity.  Most of them wish they were having sex with a Real Girl, but since they’re not for whatever reason, they’re watching a Video Girl have sex and imagining that she’s having it with them.

Therefore, high-definition video takes it to a completely different level than pictures ever could. With a skin magazine, at least you had to use your imagination a little. But with video, she looks and sounds like she’s right there having sex with you. That’s two of the five senses, and they’re working on the other three. The intensity of that is far beyond anything that came before, and to compare it to pictures and stuff like drawings on cave walls is laughable — no one ever got addicted to staring at naked stick figures.

But even beyond videos, now there are live webcams. I can go to a web site right now and do a search for whatever kind of girl I feel like today — maybe one with dark hair, small breasts, librarian glasses, and a southern drawl. Just like on a dating site, it’ll give me a list of women to browse through. I pick one, and there she is on my screen — a real girl, pretty and smiling, sitting in front of a webcam in her home or dorm room, maybe wearing some lingerie or a t-shirt, maybe not.  I can chat and flirt with her in real time.  Her main purpose, of course, is to get me to pay for a private session where she will do whatever I ask her to.  But even if I never pay a dime, she’ll show off the goods, so I get to see a girl naked and talk to her — a girl who will be on her best behavior, because she wants me to stick around and want more.

So now I not only have two of the five senses filled with a woman I picked out to fit my desires, but she’s responding to me in real time, just like a real girl, plus she’s being totally pleasant and fun.  And if I decide to pay for “sex” with her, she’ll respond to me just like if it were the real thing, turning over or moaning louder or whatever on command.  Now we’re getting awfully close to the real thing, and it’s starting to include some of the other comfort factors that you don’t get from pictures or a recorded video.  This girl you can sort of cuddle with and talk to afterwards.

So to tie that into Donal’s discussion of the sexual marketplace, even if the value of “sex” with a Webcam Wife isn’t as high as the value of sex with a Real Wife, it’s getting close enough that the Webcam Wife might win out if she’s far enough ahead on the cost side of the ledger.  A man’s not going to think, “I’d rather jerk off while watching a woman who’s pretending to like me than have sex with a real woman who loves me.”  But he might think, “I’d really like to have sex tonight, but I know if I go and start nibbling on Real Wife, she’s going to push me away.  She’s got that ‘don’t even think about it’ look going tonight, the way she’s curled up at other end of the couch in that heavy robe, and then I’ll just feel like a jackass.  Maybe Webcam Wife is online.”  And after he goes through that enough times, maybe he gets to, “Bitch doesn’t appreciate me anyway; Webcam Wife always laughs at my jokes.”  Then Real Wife shows up on a forum for porn-widows, crying about how her husband never wants sex anymore and she found Webcam Wife’s charges on his credit card bill.

I guess my point here is that today’s porn isn’t your ancestors’ porn, or even your big brother’s porn.  It’s far more intense, and intense in ways that yesterday’s porn couldn’t even approach.  I’m convinced that any woman who doesn’t want her husband watching porn can keep his attention on herself (unless he has a bona fide mental problem), but she’s going to have to work at it, because she’s not up against a few dog-eared copies of Playboy hidden in his dresser.  She’s up against an endless string of Virtual Girlfriends who are all pleasant, trying to look their best, and enthusiastic about sex.  If she’s unpleasant (we all have our days, but in general), letting herself go, and withholding about sex, he may very well decide that Virtual Girl is a better deal, or at least less hassle.  And when virtual reality reaches the point where his other senses can be hooked into it, or when robots can be made to look and feel and move like women…then we’re really in trouble.

26 thoughts on “There’s Porn, and Then There’s Porn

  1. I had heard of Web Cam Girls before, but I had never really given thought to the… interactivity that they could provide. Porn’s value as a substitute good seems to be climbing higher and higher.

  2. Cail:

    Good informative post. Let me add to this a little.

    The kind of porn available now is indeed much, much greater and of better quality than was available even 25 years ago. It is a much, much better substitute for a real woman than the skin magazines and rental videos of the 1980s and early 1990s. It’s better, faster, more available, more diverse, virtually investment free (except for the time spent), and more private and clandestine.

    Without getting into too much graphic detail, porn now caters to every taste you can think of. The women are of every size, shape, adult age and race. The, um, activity is as widely varied as you can imagine. You name it, there is a photo or video of a person doing it or having it done to him/her. There is “niche porn”, catering to every, well, sexual interest and taste your mind can conceive. The most popular videos are one man-one woman.

    The main allure of porn is that the participants, especially the women, are sexually available and are really, really into the sex. Now it’s pretty much clear that the women’s, well, enthusiasm is almost always acting (sometimes quite poor acting). These people are, after all, actors and actresses. And there’s no doubt an enormous market for it.

    I sometimes get into chicken and egg thinking: did the porn market create its own demand by making it so cheap, fast and easy to get, thus leading to so many low value men getting out of trying to get Real Girls and settling for video girls (and getting addicted to porn in the process)?

    Or did a market rise up to fill a demand for it from men who are low value and can’t buy an SMP ticket; and then invite higher value men to use porn as the path of least resistance/lowest cost alternative? Remember: porn is virtually free and effortless. All that’s required is a computer, an internet connection for minimal monetary outlay, and time. Getting a real girl requires investment of time, resources and self-improvement.

  3. Deti, they probably grew up together, the twin impulses feeding off of one another. After all, the rise of the porn market coincided at the same time as the market failure we are seeing now in the MMP (and later stage feminism and all of its lovely side-effects).

  4. It is very much part of a married woman’s job to help her husband remove himself from temptation. Which as this article shows, is not limited to real life adulterers or a few old magazines under the bed, it could be Webcam Wife. So this part of the wife’s job is even more important today. For him to do this on his own, that is very hard for most men when they are looking at that no man’s land between themselves and their wives every night in bed. St Paul said better to marry than burn, and don’t deny each other except for times of prayer. So how does she help him? She keeps him drained… it’s that simple. I’ve never heard of a guy initiating divorce if he got blown at least once a week though I’m sure it’s happened. But that’s the point, it’s rare and the smart wife knows how to stack the odds in her favor.

  5. The demand was always there pre-internet, but there wasn’t any way to supply it. Prior to the rise of the internet (let’s use 1990 as a baseline) if you wanted anything more graphic than Playboy you had to either enter a red-light district to buy it or mail-order it. Both of which were risky and cost money.

    I believe marriage in America broke a long time before 1990. Had there been lower barriers to accessing it (as there are today) there would have been just as much interest.

    Porn usage is a SYMPTOM of a problem. I can’t think I’ve ever met a man that bragged about how happy he was that he watch a lot of porn. For most it seems to be a coping mechanism for dealing with the fact that they don’t have another sexual outlet (which makes it doubly sad for married guys).

    Unfortunately, the powers that be focused on porn as the problem, because it’s easy. Focusing on the root problem that drives men to view porn–the why–would be too difficult, because it might require people to look in the mirror.

  6. I believe marriage in America broke a long time before 1990.

    Agreed. I think the problem probably predates no-fault divorce laws, which were probably one of the first symptoms of the problem we could readily observe.

  7. 8to12, thanks for the great comment. Yes, the demand was always there. When I first got on the Internet in the early 90s, the Web was just getting started and was still mostly text-based. But the young geeks who were building the Internet put a lot of effort into finding whatever porn was online, even though it consisted of low-resolution scans from magazines and the like. (There wasn’t the bandwidth for video, and few people had the ability to digitize video anyway.) However, I think that kind of porn only whetted their appetite for real women. Guys in 1993 weren’t saying, “Nah, I don’t think I’ll call that cute girl back; I’m gonna spend the evening scouring Usenet for grainy pics that’ll take 5 minutes each to download.”

    So the demand was there, and as the technology improved, the supply rose to meet it.

    I think the focus is on porn because A) men are doing it, and everyone’s more comfortable chastising men; B) as you say, almost no one is proud of using porn, so you’re not going to get any backlash; and C) it really is a bad thing, so people will assume your cause is righteous, even if your real motive in attacking porn usage is to make men more subservient to their wives.

  8. The main allure of porn is that the participants, especially the women, are sexually available and are really, really into the sex. Now it’s pretty much clear that the women’s, well, enthusiasm is almost always acting (sometimes quite poor acting). — deti

    This is true, and yet… Especially when you get to the webcam girls, the line between “webcam girl acting enthusiastic because she’s getting paid” and “girl you’ve been chatting with for a couple weeks since connecting with her on a dating site who decides to give you a little show” gets pretty blurry. Yes, the girl who’s getting paid is “acting,” and wouldn’t be doing it if money weren’t involved. But is she really “acting” that much more than a girl who is hoping to rope you into some dinner dates or a relationship? They’re both acting in the sense of being on their best behavior, trying to hide the crazy, and so on. And since many women have a bit (or a lot) of an exhibitionist streak, and having a stream of guys tell them how hot they are is an ego boost, there may not be a lot of acting required. I think the feedback that a webcam girl gets changes the equation on her end too, as compared to the porn star who works in a studio and really does have to pretend to be enjoying it. We’ve talked about how Internet porn lowers the costs and risks for men, but it lowers them for the pornstress too.

    Let me put it this way: when I was doing a lot of online dating, it wasn’t unusual for a girl I’d been chatting up for a few days or hours to say, unprompted, “Hey, take a look at these!” I suspect a lot of these girls would have been enthusiastically showing off like that anyway, so they figured why not make a few bucks on it?

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  10. “No, if you go to an ordinary porn site, you’ll find that the most-watched and highest-rated videos tend to be pretty tame stuff: one woman performing alone, or a woman and a man, often shot from the man’s point of view.”

    The explanation, of course, is simple: the large majority of porn consumers are average, single betas who live alone. But you won’t see anyone mention this fact in the mainstream media. The porn industry likes to pretend that a large segment of their customers are women and married couples (which is palpable nonsense), and when tradcons talk about the harmful effects of porn, they normally point to all the marriages that were (supposedly) destroyed due to husband’s porn addiction. And women, of course, prefer to think that the average porn consumer is the sleazy omega with aberrant fantasies about Japanese teenage girls having sex with octopuses and whatnot..

    It’s all BS. One piece of evidence for that is that many companies have recently appeared on the porn market that basically offer products directed specifically at the average beta: porn with high production value showing tame, sensual, non-violent and pretty much dispassionate sex, almost vanilla sex, bordering on softcore, not containing humiliation or forceful intercourse. X-Art, PureMature, Passion HD (or whatever they’re called) and Nubile Films are good examples. Their videos are the highest rated and most watched on any site that offers free online porn. It’s completely obvious that its fans are normal, run-of-the-mill, single betas that are not sexually deviant in any way. But, of course, the mainstream media likes to pretend that the average porn user gets off on footage showing the degradation and humiliation of innocent women.

  11. Another misconception is that “any normal, healthy man’d prefer a real woman to porn”. Well, yes – conditionally. If the average man can choose between a 8/9/10 in a porn vid and a real-life 5/6/7, he will choose the latter – as long as it doesn’t take much effort to have sex with her. If his choice is between a 8/9/10 in a porn vid and a real life 3 or 4, he will choose the former regardless of the behavior and personality of the real-life woman.

  12. I can understand the freakout aspect Sunshine. I “knew” about them, but I didn’t really know what it entailed. The thing that really makes them different is the responsiveness of it. I wonder if it might act as a salve for The Void…

  13. I agree that porn is a large problem in our society, our churches and our marriages. But unlike many in those same instituitions I believe the fault falls on both men and women. So unlike Sheila Gregoire and her millions of cronies and churchian woman much of the blame also does fall on women. The last thing I want to do is excuse porn use by Christian men, it’s something that needs to be stopped and repented from. But I also believe much of the problem comes from women in the church who don’t 1) don’t know their role/importance of sex within marriage 2) don’t live up to their role in marriage if they do know it with their own sin and hard heart 3)continue to put the blame & sin on men alone and not take a hard, long, biblical look at themselves. That said I don’t want to put all/most of the blame on women either. As a man whose wife is available and usually very willing it’s still tough to withstand the constant barriage of sexual sin within easy reach. It’s a constant battle, one I’m sure I’ll fight until I’m either dead or to old to have too much testorone flowing through my veins. It does not matter that I would not trade her for a younger, more attractive woman or kinkier, or….. There is much sin on both sides/sexes on this one…it’s just men getting the blame.

  14. 2 things:
    – The Last Psychiatrist has written quite insightfully about pornography, getting beyond the boys vs. girls game that most people are mired in
    – does it strike anyone else as wierd that porn is now basically free? If you want to you can get Hollywood movies for free, but they’re usually low quality and a pain to download. How do sites that do nothing bit host free porn support themselves?

  15. Even curiouser, how do the studios that pump it out support themselves?
    I generally expect the USG to be at the root of all practical and worldly evil enterprises. I can even cook up a rationalization: porn as an outlet for would-be rapists (i believe Mangan suggested this a little while back).

  16. Gabe, I think generally free porn sites work much like other sites that give away free stuff: they give away partial or lower-quality clips and then try to up-sell the customer to the high-quality stuff, or they sell ads on the site. If you’re not picky, then yeah, there’s more free porn out there than you could ever possibly view in one lifetime. But if you’re a “connoisseur,” they’ll have something to sell you.

  17. I think my view of women has been twisted somewhat by porn. It’s kind of a strange thing when I think back on it. Among the religious I think there’s a rationalization that yeah porn and jerking off are bad, but not as bad as premarital sex. And that was a subtle rationalization I used to ease myself into it during college. But now, hanging around the manosphere, you hear of so many problems with women, and of a lack of sex in marriage. It’s probably the same rationalization some married men use: yeah it’s bad, but not as bad as adultery.

    Then there’s also the crossover between porn and prostitution. Girls who run their own business online with photos and stuff, but who will also meet you in person for a fee. This was shocking news in ND where the oil boom is happening, a state with a traditionally wholesome reputation and atmosphere. Oil workers aren’t the most wholesome folks all the time. Guys I worked with would hire girls who would drive out from Minot to the mancamps.

  18. Literotica.

    As a follow up to this piece you may want to discuss literotica. Go to Amazon and do a search on the term “literotica” and you’ll come up with a huge list of books that are split into two categories:

    1) Erotic fiction written by women for women
    2) Erotic fiction aimed at gay males

    There are zero books aimed at straight males. There is simply a huge difference in the media form that men and women use to consume porn. And make no mistake, these books are hard core porn.

    “50 Shades of Grey” was the tip of the iceberg. It’s clear there has been a huge market in this genre for years that most men probably never knew exists, thinking that romance novels was the female version of porn–they aren’t. A romance novel is to literotica as Playboy is to hard core porn.

    You never head literotica condemned (much less addressed) from the pulpit. Even during the “50 Shades of Grey” mania, I can’t remember a single pastor condemning it.

    Women rationalize that because this is fiction (and thus all the people are imaginary) that it is different from men’s visual porn (which involved a picture of a real person), and that somehow it is OK. But, make no mistake, this is hard core porn. The bottom line is that hard core porn use is widespread among both men and women, but the format of that porn is different.

  19. Stephen, I had a similar thought about the webcam girls: when the girl on the screen is talking to you (and possibly even viewing you through your own webcam) and performing acts for you personally for a specific charge, that seems to cross the line from porn to prostitution, even if she’s in a foreign country and you’ll never meet.

    I’m not too surprised about prostitution around the oil fields. I read somewhere that there were an astounding number of prostitutes in early Old West towns when they were mostly filled with single cowhands and prospectors. I don’t remember the numbers, but mathematically, it was like every guy must have been making the rounds every weekend to keep them all employed. Take away the churches and the marriageable women, and it seems that’s the result.

  20. Its more than just wife denying sex. (if this has been stated, my mistake for not reading all comments). Men who have faced systemic rejection have actually faced systemic humiliation. Its far more profound to be refused sex frequently than it is to be refused ANYTHING else. Even a wife who more often than not refuses then later that day of the next….IF he asks again, agrees, has set that man up for porn because for a man to approach the one person he is permitted to approach to meet this compelling need, and her shrug him off as if she is saying “we’ll play backgammon tomorrow dear, don’t worry, mommy is busy just now” wounds him. If you have done this to your husband, you have far more ground to make up than that which will be made up just by suddenly not refusing as much. He feels unneeded and unwanted. Saying yes to his approach does not help heal that. And these men are at high risk of using porn, or supplementing with it maybe as bad or worse than the single guys.

  21. Pingback: Filling the Void | Donal Graeme

  22. I think the feedback that a webcam girl gets changes the equation on her end too, as compared to the porn star who works in a studio and really does have to pretend to be enjoying it. We’ve talked about how Internet porn lowers the costs and risks for men, but it lowers them for the pornstress too.

    Late to the game but this is very true.

    Remember, there are (or at least were) amateur cam girls, as in they didn’t charge. I even knew a few back in the day as well as some pay girls (at one point, most of the women in my social circle had been naked on the internet on the cam site just one of them ran with her husband). The amateur were very interested in feedback from their audience (although they didn’t do live chat during shows that I remember).

    So, yes, there is a lot of the same validation that other women get from ONS going on in the cam world.

  23. All women are acting to one degree or another, in a way.

    Unless you are an alpha, her sexing you up is a means to an end.

  24. this is a great post. what also makes porn radically different today from cave paintings is portability. You don’t even need to be alone. With a mobile device, you can view porn during class, in the same room as your parents/wife/children, and no one knows. I also agree porn is a symptom of the problem but it’s accessibility and guarantee of satisfaction create additional disincentives to seek face to face relationship.

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