Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Me, My Porn and I (1)

Warning: The following post is likely to be embarrassing. For all of us.

The history of my porn-use is long and (actually not incredibly) varied. I suppose I could go back as far as the age of six, when I remember being mesmerized by a drawing of a woman in bra and pants in a children's book at school. It was called something like, What My Family Wear, and there was a bit about 'Mummy wears a bra and knickers' (+ illustration) which got me all hot under the collar even then. Sure, it's not porn, but could this be have been the beginning? I remember sneaking off to the library at primary school to look at this page and, even at such a young age, deriving pleasure from what I knew to be the illicit nature of what I was doing.

Then followed the inevitable looking at the underwear section of mail order magazines. This was somewhat of a rite of passage for boys (and girls?) of my generation. We didn't have the internet, and there was no other way for us to access the images that fascinated us than printed material we found around the home, like the Freemans Catalogue. We would go round to friends' houses at the age of 8 or 9 and stare at the pictures of models in bras and g-strings. Again, we didn't really know what we were doing, but we knew we liked it.

My first taste of actual porn was at around age 11. I was cycling near my house in the countryside when I saw something bright pink in a drainage ditch.* I fished it out – it was sodden but intact – and found it was a copy of Men Only, a classic 'dirty' mag of yesteryear.

* For some reason, and I know as my contemporaries have confirmed this, this is how many kids first came into contact with porn. Somehow, porn mags always ended up in drainage ditches by the sides of isolated roads. What did this mean? Were they being left there by some older benefactor? Or were men buying porn mags on the way home from work, whacking off in a carpark and then (literally) ditching the evidence before they got home? If this was the case, why didn't they just throw them away?

I had the briefest of looks at it, but was pretty sure from the bright pink cover of what I had found: 24-carat-f***ing-gold. I shoved it under my t-shirt and cycled home. When I got there, I ran straight up to my room and stashed it. I didn't have the minerals to look at it straight away; I knew I would have to wait until the house was quiet. The anticipation was intense.

Later when I took the mag out and had a proper look, I couldn't believe it. I peeled the pages apart (it was wet from the water in the ditch, remember, O filthy-minded Reader) and stared, open-mouthed. In front of me was page after page of highly made-up, garishly-lit and naked women bending over and spreading their legs. Part of me found it disgusting – I had never seen anything so graphic before, neither had I dared to imagine what resided at the meeting of a woman's thighs – but the far greater part of me was aroused beyond belief.

I had an erection almost immediately, but had no idea what to do with/to it. I was still pretty young, and had not started (or even really heard talk about) masturbating yet. Somehow, though, I knew what I had to do. I started gingerly 'self abusing' as I turned the pages over.

After a while of this and nothing seeming to 'happen', I gave up and put the magazine away. I looked at it again a few times after that, but it didn't keep well and eventually I took it back to its rightful place in the drainage ditch. Who knows, perhaps some other young scamp would come across (no pun intended) it and have his/her sexual awakening in the same way.

It was not long after this that a major development occurred: we got a PC. Up until this time, there had been a computer in the house but is was really nothing more than a glorified typewriter. I think it was called a Multimate (holla if you remember!) and was one of those with a black screen, green writing and a flashing cursor like you see in 80s movies about maverick investigative journalists.

It had a couple of games on like Bounce (where you use the arrow keys to move the platform and bounce the ball to break the bricks), Frog (with a little frog crossing various obstacles) and, of course the classic, Space Invaders. I used to play these from time-to-time but was far more interested in doing things outside or watching television. The computer was a thing my parents used for work, and certainly not something central to my life.

This all changed when the PC came along. This was 96/97 and the height of the Windows 'revolution.' Microsoft had suddenly taken home computing to the next level (and the internet was now a thing) and normal families all over the developed world were jumping aboard.

I remember my dad carefully unwrapping the various components and connecting them up. It was a Gateway 2000 and had a black-and-white cow motif on the mouse mat. I had only used computers with mice (mouses?) at school and could not believe that this modernism was now entering my own home. It felt like the future.

Soon, it was ready to connect to the internet. This was 'dial-up' internet and, if you were born after about 1995, you're going to have trouble conceiving of such a thing. It was 'dial-up' because it was supplied down your phone line. When you booted it up, it made all these crazy 'futuristic' dialing sounds (like when Neo gets connected to the Matrix in The Matrix). In the early days, if a household had only one phone line, it would not work when the internet was on and you could lose a download of a song (or porn clip) or whatever just by someone trying ring you (or even someone in your own house picking up the phone) partway through.

The maximum capacity of internet of this kind was about 3.5 k/s. Did you hear what I said?! K/s. Not Mb, Kb. Again, if you were born after a certain time, it will be hard to understand just how slow this was. It's basically on its way to being a thousand times slower than the internet is now.

Even normal web pages would take up to a minute to download. Early users of the internet were used to sitting, tantalised, as the web page they wished to view slowly downloaded in sections before their eyes. Think of when a phone (a phone for Christ's sake!) is buffering these days and how frustrated you get, then double it and you're still not even close. If broadband internet is all you have ever known, spare a thought for its first users, who wasted substantial chunks of life watching blank screens download at snail's pace.

Not long after we got the internet, I had my first taste of what I would be predominantly using it for for the next 15 years or so. I was looking at a page of popular websites at yell.com. At the top of the list was something called FHM. I had never heard of this, so I clicked on it and was transported to the pages of For Him Magazine, one of the first popular 'lad's' mags.

Now, you can dress these publications up as whatever you like; cultural almanacs with a bit of sexiness on the side, but really we all know what they are: soft porn. The moment I got to the website, I knew I was onto something as pics of babes with next to nothing on* slowly materialised on the screen. Suddenly I realised, I didn't have to go to a shop to get porn; I didn't need to look at my friend's dad's old copies of the Sun in his garage; I could beam these pictures straight into my own house without anybody knowing at absolutely no cost (to me)!

* Again, you boys (and girls) today have no idea how lucky (or not) you are, with all the full boobage on show in FHM and Nuts. In my day, lad, you'd see a single nipple maybe once every three issues, now they're on the f***ing cover!

And so it happened that, at almost the exact time I hit puberty, I found I had access to a giant (and ever-growing) resource for nudie pics of women.

Over the next little while, I did a lot of 'research.' I found that you could easily find naked pics of girls just by typing 'naked pics of girls' into Alta Vista (what we used before Google owned the world.) Slowly, I built up a catalogue of websites on which I could find what I wanted. It started just with pictures, and even these were painfully slow to download. Imagine rolling up an A4 picture of a naked woman and then unravelling it slowly in front of your face. It took ages to get to the 'good stuff'!

A teen of this era would simply not believe what we had to go through just to look at a static picture of boobs. It was excruciating! But it was all we knew, and we were too bowled over that we could do it at all to feel sorry for ourselves.

So there I was, on the edge of diving into a relationship which would last for the next half of my life. Driven by I didn't know what, searching through this new medium for images of things I had never seen before. Little did I realise that it was the beginning of an obsession that in some ways would come to define my private self for years to come and, one day, would become a burden of which to rid myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment