Saturday, 17 October 2015

And... Relapse

I'm here! I'm back! Long time no see, I hear no-one say. Where have I been? Why the long absence? Why the long face? All questions to which I will, in due and proper time, give an answer. Tbh, though, the title of this post should give you, Dear Reader, some indication as to why I have been away from Blogville for just such a bloody long time.

That's right: I had a full-on porno relapse. I collapsed, I crumbled, I ate proverbial shit. It all seemed to be going so well; I'd done six months plus of absolute porn abstention. I was learning about myself, about my relationship with porn; I was becoming a whole and grown-up man. So what happened!? I hear none of you cry!

In all honesty, it's hard to say with any certitude. Firstly, it was a little while ago now and, secondly, it was a confluence of circumstances rather than one event which sent me to my room with my laptop (and Johnson [sorry]) in my hand. I got a bit lonely. I was deep in a sex drought and I was unusually anxious. I was alone in the house when one day, as with any kind of addiction relapse, I just thought, 'fuck it.'

So I did it. And it was great. I suppose I should tell you that I was overcome (no pun intended) with guilt and self-loathing after the event, and while this might be somewhat true after the event, while it was happening, it was pure awesomeness. I had so much pent up sexual energy and frustration that it simply felt amazing to let it all out. And after the first time, there was nothing for it but to go on an all-out binge: curtains closed, laptop open, again and again over several hours, repeated over several days. Like two lovers re-united after a long absence (a sad and telling analogy) me and porn went at it like the clappers.

And then what happened? Well, I felt bad, but not that bad. Certainly not as bad as I had expected to feel. In a way, what I was doing felt less of a personal betrayal and more of a natural human thing to be doing. I'm going against much of what I said in the beginning here, but honestly I saw my porn-use at this time in a different (and less guilty) light.

Perhaps I was just self-protectively justifying my actions, but I started to think that porn is a natural part of human life, like bodily functions or Bruce Forsyth. It's been happening for thousands of years, pretty much since we became able to represent images of ourselves. My problem for most of this blog seems to have been the 'industrial' nature of porn's production. Is it this that bothers me rather than simply its existence?

Anyway, I'm sure all of you are dying to know what the effects of my porno renaissance were on the rest of my life in general. Well, and here's the big one, y'all: I started getting laid again. In fact, within a week of going back on the porn, I had had sex three times with three different people. After two months of arid sex drought, suddenly the flood gates were open. I was like Hugh Hefner! Laying broads left, right and centre; suddenly I had the sexual Midas Touch.

Clearly this could all have been coincidence, but maybe could it be that my sexuality was suddenly reawakened? That, having become a sex-starved pseudo-eunuch during the drought, I had suddenly both rediscovered my desire and simultaneously become desirable again? Could it be that porn had turned my light back on?

Like I say, it could all be coincidence, but I can't help feeling that the timing is all a little strange. On the NoFap threads on Reddit etc. everyone reports renewed sex drive and success with opposite sex once porn has been cut out of their lives. Fair enough, these guys aren't jerking off at all, so they don't have a choice but to get sexytime or go mental, but there seem to be the same reports from the PMO Free (guys that whack it but not over porno) threads as well.

For me, though, it felt like the opposite. I felt less attractive and less able to turn my interactions with women into anything resembling sexy. And then the porn barrier was broken and suddenly I can do it again. Could it be the case that I need porn in order to feel sexy in myself, in order to be sexually 'alive'? I dunno, I'm just riffing here, but I can't say it doesn't all seem a little plausible.

So what – if anything – has changed in the world of porn? Well it turns out, that in the fast-moving world of 21st Century porn, six months is a long time. I noticed that there were a lot more pornstars. Back in my porn heyday, a huge amount of browsing porn had been about finding specific pornstars, remembering their names and being able to look for them again.

An inordinate amount of time (and [wasted] brain power) was spent learning, cataloguing and mentally indexing the names of our favourite girls. This is no longer necessary. The sheer number of women going into porn seems to make this whole process irrelevant: you no longer need to remember your favourite because, tomorrow, there will be another whole line-up of brand new hot babes to fill your eyes. The turn over must be massive, but porn is growing so fast that supply appears to be going into overdrive to meet ever-increasing demand.

Also, everything is now offered in HD. In 2016, with ultra-modern digital technology, to offer porn not shot in super-crisp high-def is a basic death sentence. No-one will click on your vids because, even if they were shot last week, next to something in 1080p, they look they were shot in 1990.

So (as in other art, technology and life in general) the turnover is hugely much faster and investment seems to be less. In a world of vines and short attention spans, it seems that the average porn career is also a hell of a lot shorter. I've heard comedians saying that there is less investment in talent these days and it would seem this is true across the board.

New 'acts' are brought in, shown off, used for what they're good for and then sent on their way. In a world where novelty is everything, now you have to be particularly talented and/or savvy in order to make a lasting impression.

Happily, another thing I have seen is the re-introduction of 'bush' on some of the (female) performers and, for the most part, natural, un-augmented boobs. They are still thin and model-pretty, but there seems to be a move towards a more 'natural' look and even some of the most popular female stars have a little pubic triangle unselfconsciously on show. These are things I take as tentatively positive: perhaps the tide is turning and these women are leading the way in renewed female body confidence.

Still and all, though, and even from my liar's chair, I can't help wondering what this is doing for/to the youth? Should I stop worrying, accept it and give them the credit that they'll work it out for themselves? Probably. But it's all moving so fast, I can't help but be a little worried. Maybe it's just fear of the future I am feeling and I'm just seeing it through the lens of porn. Maybe porn is one of the most telling places to look to see how we are 'progressing' if, indeed, this is even the right word.

For now, I'm still 'on' porn and presently have no intent on giving up again in the near future. Have I ruined/removed the point of this blog? Perhaps. In fact, the reason it took me so long to write this post is that I was ashamed that I had broken my vow. But maybe it's a step along the way, and there are still things I can add the debate in general (read: the debate I am having ostensibly with my own self). Right now I feel like I am 'consuming' porn in the same way that I consume meat: I know people/animals suffer in its production but I feel like I need it, and so am wilfully blinding myself to the realities of its production.