“You can not blame masturbation on porn. When I was younger I used to masturbate to Gilligand Island.”
— Ron Jeremy
Known as the Tom Cruise of porn, Mr. Jeremy is all too keen in the fine of art of spinning provocative, sensational rhetoric in order to score public relations points, or merely to advance his personal image and that of the almighty porn industry, which at this historical juncture generates more dollars than all professional sports combined. Granted, masturbation is as old as time and people have been exploring their genitalia long before Columbus set sail into the New World. The sex industry did not invent masturbation anymore than Coca Cola invented thirst. Jeremy’s witty apologetic, however, doesn’t not address the complex interplay of sex as entertainment and the range of psychological phenomenon that inflicts on consumers. I suspect that porn in its current manifestation does have something to do with masturbation. I would venture to say that porn as entertainment is designed to condition us to do something about it. Its ever growing quest and ambition is the selling of lustful thrill and fantasy. And if it gets you to masturbate, then all the better because in all likelihood you’ll be coming back for more.
Sex sits at the core of our identity. The very question of who am I entails something of our sexuality: either I am a homo sapiens with a penis, or one with a vagina. Genital self-discovery and exploration is an integral part of psycho-sexual development (think Freud). Good and dandy. It is called human nature. Before we have sex we fantasize about it, we masturbate, we talk and poke fun and manage to be embarrassed about this odd, reproductive thing. Most of us are here because of sex and that likely is not going to change for a while. People turn to porn out curiosity or because of the need to satisfy biological urges. Single guys and gals understand this impulse all too well and only the most courageous will admit that dipping into porn had a way of relieving sexual tension, loneliness, and boredom. Nothing wrong with sexual desire. We were created to desire sex. Human existence has persisted because of it, get over it.
But porn is another picnic table. It comes as intrusion into our consciousness. Sex is a biological function, but porn is a human construct, a form of art, a way of expressing who we are, even when it leaves nothing to the imagination. Porn is also a drug. It works on the same principle. You have to use it to get you to a high, so to speak. The purveyors of porn are well aware of this, which explains why porn has exploded exponentially as a business enterprise. The risk inherent in this type of recreation, like drugs, is that sooner or later the brain (the most influential sex organ) demands new thresholds of visual stimulation to reach a high. The dynamics of addictions are such that you can’t never really settle to a comfortable level. You are not likely to say, “enough porn for today.” The more the use and abuse, the greater the tolerance and hence the demand. You are hooked. Your very existence has been altered and fragmented on a sexual grid.
Because it is designed to provoke and advance the cause of lust, porn facilitates masturbation. People find it exciting coming to orgasm by voyeuring into strangers having sex on the screen. Viewers find porn alluring because it strokes an inner need: the need to merge with and belong to another human being. Yet I can’t help but see porn as reductionistic of what sex is meant to be. In porn, the sex is highly mechanical, impersonal, and detached. Performers are paid to have sex and they may in fact be complete strangers to each other. Porn radically shifts our perception of manhood and womanhood, making it easier to regard them as sex objects and trophies.
Another problem I see with porn is it rattles your sexual appetite to a rude awakening, overriding the natural libido fluctuations that occur day in and out. Unless you are suffering from some form of sexual dysfunction, you normally won’t have the constant longing for sex. You are not always thinking about it. You have a job, you have bills to pay, family to attend to, friends with whom to bond, an exercise routine, and the like. But using porn challenges all of that. It forces your body into sexual action whether your hormonal state is ready or not. Because your libido is intertwined with testosterone, masturbating to orgasm tends to deplete it, unless of course you are having sex, in which case testosterone logs a boost. If you half-paid attention to your biology and health and wellness courses in college, you will understand that testosterone is linked to having energy and vitality and a functional libido. Lacking testosterone makes you fatigued, demotivated, and sleepy. If your hand is constantly reaching down the belt, you mostly likely at a point where self-pleasuring become a matter of routine, perhaps evolving to an anatomical ritual. But wait. Because you are used to masturbating to porn, you can’t just get physical anywhere and everywhere. You got to find a safe, private place in order to carry out the deed. It all seems pretty innocent. But what if you have a spouse and kids? What if she walked into you doing it? What if your boss, best friends, and even mom catches you red handed? Is the embarrassment worth it and what is going to be the likeliest of explanations?
You are doing yourself a disfavor. Masturbating to porn is most detrimental in that you will begin to sense an insidious force inside out of your control, compelling you to play with yourself compulsively and obsessively while disrupting and distorting important aspects of your personal and social life. There is no lack of people complaining of their spouses or significant others blatant and persistent use of porn. There is something malevolent in missing work, skipping a date, lying to your mom, your friends, and wasting money because there is a string inside pulling you into isolation so that you can continue consuming and masturbating to porn without inconvenience. The anecdotal data is abundant out there that some people who masturbate to porn will often spiral out into deviancy, engage in self-deception and retreat into isolation all while sacrificing and substituting marital intimacy for self-seeking lust. If you have kept your habit as a secret to your spouse, and you both begin to experience sexual dysfunction (because you can’t hump into action unless you are viewing porn), ask yourself if your behavior enhances the quality of life for all parties concerned. People do experience sexual dysfunction, and it is not in your best interest that your particular dysfunction is self-induced due to repeated masturbation to porn. I am not invoking the fires of hell should you fail to repent or whatever. This is no Puritan anti-sex manifesto. But good sexual ethics in your person and relationships is a matter of personal and social justice. It is part and parcel of a strong, mature, and healthy mind and solid relationships that sex be kept clean and honorable. You owe it to yourself, and if married, to your spouse to have integrity in matters pertaining to sex. Substituting marital intimacy for the ever alluring prize of self-pleasuring will put you and others at risk, earning you contempt, shame, guilt, jail, divorce court, or all of the above.
Masturbation to porn is a sign of insecurity, of the inability and unwillingness to be transparent, to let your partner know about your sexual needs. While viewing porn, do you feel that your spouse is no match for the sexual exploits and acrobatics of the Ron Jeremys and his peers of sexual athletes? Porn actors are paid to perform. Their particular talents are noticed and awarded, but for some of them, it is at the expense of self-abasement prompted by a greedy porn industry more than willing to push porn actors to the limits in order to maximize fat wallets. Injuries, psychological and emotional pain, and damaged reputations keep good company with sexual performers.
If you are having to compel your partner into doing sex in ways he or she feels debased and ashamed it is high time for some serious soul searching. At the risk of sounding alarmist, let me underscore that you being an avid consumer of porn will tend to devalue yourself, your partner, and how you see the opposite sex. Sex is more than eating peanuts. It is not true, as Jeremy underscores sarcastically, that “sex is simple and love is painful.” Mister Jeremy better understand that he is oversimplifying a complex issue. But as things roll in the entertainment sphere, the name of the game is promoting whatever earns money, even when the savvy pick-up lines and slogans are proven to be shallow at the core of the reality they are attempting to describe. I would caution anymore venturing to the alluring land of porn that self-pleasuring to porn WILL make your love painful. Masturbating to porn is bad sex plain and simple because it is self-focused. You are thinking of you and catering to your own pleasure. Many things damage love. Don’t let your solitary sexual activity be one of them.