Monday, September 14, 2009

What Do You Call The Flap of Skin Around a Vagina?

I like porn.

I still remember the afternoon I discovered YouPorn. All this porn (some of it, admittedly, terrible), free and at my fingertips. I somehow lost track of three hours that day, much the same way I lost track of two hours the day I bought my vibrator.

That's right. Hours.

I just finished reading a blog post at about threesomes. It wasn't anything particularly earth-shattering. What stood out to me was the same thing that always stands out to me in anything I read in Bitch: It's all cultures fault we're oppressed. This statement makes two assumptions. One, we're still "oppressed," and, two, it's all porn's fault.

The essential argument in the Bitch blog is that porn presents what are supposedly men's sexual ideals, and this does three. One, it causes men to see women as sex objects. Two, it makes it seem okay for men to ask for stuff that is not okay. And three, it makes women feel pressured to be a certain way in order to gain the acceptance they so desperately seek. I'm totally inferring all of that, but read the argument. That's the only way one could assume porn makes things go down in the blog author's opinion. Feminists have been arguing forever about how porn contributes to the sexual oppression of women, but I think the argument hinges on some ideas that are rather anti-feminist.

First of all, men see women as sex objects! I've done a lot of reading on the subject and polled my male friends, and it's true--every time a man looks at a woman, he thinks about sex. He may not think about it for more than a second or two, he may not act on it but .9% of the time, and he may quickly move on to other thoughts after realizing the woman they were just looking at is, um, not that cute, but he's wired this way. I don't bring this up to say that it's therefore okay for a man to dehumanize a woman, but the fact remains that no matter how much he enjoys the deep, intellectual conversations he has with a woman, he's probably sneaking peeks at her tits every chance he gets. I hate to creep anyone out, but if you're a woman, odds are good many men who only saw you for a few passing moments at the post office have probably later jacked off while thinking about you.

Secondly, men can ask for whatever they damn well please. Who cares? If my man asked me right now for a threesome, I'd say, "Um...nope. What else might you like to do tonight?" Don't get me wrong--I enjoy watching threesomes in porn. But I know myself enough to know I'm just not interested in getting involved in one myself. It once almost happened in college when my best friend and I found ourselves playing strip poker with a guy I had previously dated, and we all stopped when it just started feeling...weird. If a man asks a woman to do something he saw in a porn and she's not comfortable with doing whatever it is (dressing up like his mother, for instance), she is a grown-ass adult who can say no.

Which brings me to the thirdly--and the real seat of the problem. Several people commented on the blog in question saying that it wasn't alright that porn made men think they should be able to expect threesomes out of their partners. Threesomes in porn apparently make women "feel bad" about being straight, and they also make them feel like they won't be able to please their partners if they can't get kinky. WOW. Porn doesn't ever make me feel bad unless I stumble across one of those porns that seems to involve a less-than-willing woman with a vacant, drugged-out expression. If I think the actress is not okay with what is going on (which is different than a willing actress involved consensually in a BDSM scenario), I will feel icky. But I will not feel bad about my sexual practices because of anything some stupid porn presents or something some stupid guy said. If I don't want to do something, I'm not going to do it. If my man wants to call me a prude, whine or leave, let him. If we don't see relatively eye-to-eye on these kinds of things, I think we're just a bad match. Happens all the time. But I'm not going to feel like it's some kind of relationship handicap that I can't fulfill every man's fantasy.

As previously stated, I can have a pretty good relationship with myself if push comes to shove.

Since when is it porn's fault that women need men to approve of their choices? If you take that need out of the equation--if women actually say, "I don't care what you think, buddy--you're not sticking that thing in my ass!"--then porn can't affect a woman's self-esteem on any level. Hell, porn kind of helps my self-esteem. Have you seen all the different shapes/sizes men are into? Whatever it is I've got, odds are good there's someone out there who'd be more than willing to get into it. I find it liberating. And just because it's out there doesn't mean everybody's into it, either. If you just listen to the referenced blog's argument, you'd assume that all men are hot to have a threesome. But I'm fairly certain based on a number of conversations about sex practices that my boyfriend isn't just not into them; he's against them. At least in the context of our relationship. This argument that porn puts pressure on women to perform a certain way in order to get the love they seek assumes that men are all a bunch of idiots who are that easily influenced by media and women are a bunch of insecure, dependent, needy girls who are...well, that easily influenced by media.

I think media works the other way around. As stated before, there's a porn out there for everybody. I believe that there are many different people out there with many different tastes (giving facials to girls who wear glasses has a whole series) making those porns. The porn comes from the people. It wasn't created by some porn god and dropped onto earth as some sort of moral test or manna from heaven. We made it. Therefore, if it is bad, then we are bad. Stop blaming poor porn; it didn't do anything.

But beyond that, when are feminists going to stop sitting down and crying about what it is the big bad man is doing to us and realize just how much power we actually have? As my friend Kyle used to say, "Women rule the world! They have half the money and all the pussy!" Sure, we don't want to be seen as just pussies--but, then, why are we acting like a bunch of them? Porn--and men--can only oppress me as much as I let them. Some men I've met clearly have what I would call "anti-woman tendencies." Guess what? They've had essentially zero effect on the path my life has taken. So how oppressed am I, really?

I can tell you this: I'd be really oppressed if I gave a shit what they thought. But in that instance, I'd be my own oppressor.

So, in short, if you want to have a threesome, have one. Don't? Don't. Don't watch porn if it offends thee. The other day I ran across a porn that was upsetting. Soon after it began I realized I couldn't tell if the girl was acting as if she wasn't into it or really wasn't into it, but from the look on her face I'd say it was the latter. She looked miserable. And that kind of porn is horrible because it really does dehumanize somebody. But a porn portraying any number of consenting adults doing something they enjoy isn't dehumanizing anybody.

And it's not going to make me feel bad for not having threesomes, either.

Oh, and the punch-line to the title? A woman!


  1. Excellent commentary on porn! I have often felt the same way and once got into a huge argument with three of the college's biggest feminists because I was in a room with people who were making fun of porn, and I, as a woman, was not outraged enough by the fact a porn was being played.

    Of course, I wasn't. I was too busy laughing along with them. The guy in the porn really did look like one of our friends.

    Then, I always wondered how the "female positive" porn is portrayed by these same feminists. These are porns made by and for women. What I found ironic in some that I've seen is the amount of woman on woman action. A threesome it was not - but wouldn't the same concerns hold true? Or is it different because women were standing behind the camera and the money for the porn?

    And, I've always wondered if that makes me less of a feminist - because I like porn. All kinds. I have encountered some that has made me wonder about the participants, but I move on. It's just not my thing.

    Like you, I believe, last time I checked, I am an adult. I will consent to things I truly want to do in the bedroom and not because I feel "pressured". And isn't the 'pressured" thing really a juvenile argument? If you are pressured into anything, you probably shouldn't be having sex, in my opinion.

    But, I digress. But before I do, I applaud your post.

  2. I love this post! And I, too, was thrilled when I discovered YouPorn.

    I think everything you have said here is spot on. I have never understood the blanket feminist accusation that porn is dehumanizing to women. It's as if, because we have a vagina, we can't enjoy sex like men do. In actuality, men can be sex objects too, :)


  3. This post is fabulous, and so very true! It IS anti-feminist to blame porn for women's troubles, because it assumes that women are weak. Um, what the hell?