Guilty Pleasures

Living with porn in the modern age

Intro by Christopher Orozco Distribution and Advertising

I think about the website. Am I feeling Brazzers, Xvideos, Xhamster, Redtube or Pornhub? I narrow the decision to the content of each website. Do I desire amateur or professional? After that, I enter the website domain, skip the front page and click on categories. In the transition, my brain has already figured out what I want to see. (Usually, it is “big boobs,” “milfs” or “randoms” which I like to call the porn version of Google’s “I’m feeling lucky”.) After glancing around, I find the “perfect” girl. I click. I watch. I skip around the video’s timeline for the good scenes.

This week, we are talking about porn and its pervasive effects on our generation and the older generations of internet users. As for the non-porn viewers and future employers, some of you have already judged us with the following words: pig, disgusting, pervert, scumbag, slime, monster, soulless, repulsive, vulgar, selfish, pitiful, a sad lonely man, and undeserving. You’ll probably exile us from any form of contact. Our families have possibly already labelled us as the “black sheep” and the “creepy” family members that you shouldn’t be near. But let me say this, hold up a mirror when you start to criticize. We are all criminals,we all have misdeeds were not proud of. So read ahead with thoughtfulness and fairness…

By Bailey Mount Managing Editor

I like to read. 13-year-old me liked to read too. Only difference is, she had more time on her hands and a less stressful schedule, so she could do it more often. And during this time of leisure and budding adolescence, I discovered written porn. No, not “erotica” or “mommy porn,” as people are want to call it. Just plain ol’ prose written of people engaging in particular pleasures. “Erotica” always seems to invoke images of saccharine love affairs, of thinly veiled plots wrapped around sex scenes like the heroine on the hero’s leg. Fanfiction had no such misgivings; it knew what it was.

So my first exposure to any porn was through, one of the older fan-posting sites. There was this secret section that didn’t show up in initial story searches — the “M-rated” stories. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the “M” stood for. I just assumed that these were more stories I could read about my favorite characters. So I unchecked the filter and entered a whole new world. One in which my favorite characters were over, sideways, and under each other and there were different kinds of magic carpet rides.

Nothing was sacred back then, or so I thought. Disney was dishonored, anime was a sexual cesspool, but as I grew up, I realized that none of it was sacred to begin with. Sex was always there. Everything would always be reverted back to our basest instinct. It made me realize that people, regardless of what you knew of them and regardless of how they looked, all did the same thing and if other people wrote about it so often, then it was completely normal.

Thank God for that. Thank God I read porn before I watched it. There’s so many differences between the two that I could have turned out very different myself. Instead, I became someone that I like to think is pragmatic and thoughtful when considering anything intimate. I could have become selfish in taking my pleasures, which is something I firmly believe that watching porn can propagate.

Pornhub, xvideos, whatever your pornographic poison is, there’s no reciprocity in it. The girl just lies there, sometimes in really weird positions, and is the only one really acting in anything at all. I like looking at beautiful bodies as much as the next person, but if there’s no mutual gratification displayed there, I can really do without.

Reading porn is a more, let’s say, “active” experience — in more meanings than the obvious. The sex carries the same amount of debauchery, but it feels more like it’s between two people, as opposed to one screaming woman and her silent partner.

You have creative dominion. Reading smut then gives you the ability to be more creative in your primal imaginings, and that can help you figure out some things about yourself. It certainly helped me. It strengthened my resolve to be a less selfish person in the event of any physical intimacy.

It’s made me realize that I need my partner to be responsive should these moments arise. I need sounds and words more than I need visuals. I need confirmation that they are enjoying themselves, and more so if they’re not.

Mostly, it’s made me realize what revs my lady engine without making me wish I was skinny and blonde, as most pornstars often are. Thanks for being precocious, 13-year-old me. We’ve done well.

By Peter R. Clark Entertainment Editor

As children, you may have been subject to watch Disney films. In said films, there is always a handsome perfect man, who eventually gets with some beautiful woman. Some see these as just films, a mere fantasy for younger audiences to indulge in to keep them occupied. However, some may have been brainwashed in thinking that all people you intend to marry are perfect. Thus making them see the world differently, and expect things to happen to them in the same way the films events do.

You see, this doctrine is not limited just to Disney films. Porn plays some role in this “Disney Princess Effect” as well, where a person imbibing porn might assume that all women or men are some sort of insatiable sex monger. This mindset is hurtful, and leads to a stunted upbringing.

I know people who I can easily put into both categories, those who grew up on Disney movies and those who think all people are porn stars. These people are too easily captivated by fantasy to realize that those people do not exist. Perhaps, maybe, one in a thousand people might have some characteristics of those people, but the chances of you meeting one in your lifetime is slim to none.

This “Disney Princess Effect” is hurtful to our generation. It muddies the waters of what people expect, and disappoints those who realize what they get. I should stop here, and try not to say this as a blanket statement. Not all people have this thought. However, it should be worth noting that both porn and Disney movies are to blame for some population of people who expect life to be certain way.

If these people wish to live in a fantasy world full of perfect men, beautiful women and insatiable sex mongers, then they will live a sad and lonely life alone. It is near impossible to be perfect.

By Matthew Gozzip Athletics Editor

I was raised in an environment that encouraged romantic relationships within the Asian cultures from my heritage. Pornography only strengthened this cultural exclusivity. Asian women have been prominently featured in popular pornos for the past couple years, albeit primarily with non-Asian men. Watching non-Asian men perform sexual acts with Asian women sounds like a positive result of globalization and multicultural immersion. It wasn’t. The absence of Asian men in pornography became a source of shame for me.

Out of the thousands of male actors in the pornography industry, literally a handful of them are Asian. Keni Styles and Jeremy Long are the only prominent Asian male pornstars to have emerged in the general porn industry. There are many male Asian porn actors in foreign markets, but they are not seen as professionals and are not promoted as highly as men of other races. A large, or technically small in this case, part of this is the myth that Asian men have smaller penises than other races. Consequently, Asian men are assumed to be less satisfying sexual partners.

Promoting multicultural representation in porn seems like a trivial prospect, but it only preserves the perversion of harmful ethnic stereotypes. Up until a couple years ago, I didn’t feel sexually adequate because I thought I had limited options. Women of a certain race may not be attracted to me. I remember being attracted to women of other races in my teenage years and having to force myself to alter my feelings. I believed they would never reciprocate interest based off the negative notions surrounding the sex appeal of Asian men.

All people of color (POC), not just Asian men, continue to be mislabeled and mistreated through pornography’s presentation of their cultures. I previously mentioned how non-Asian men covet Asian women and that it could technically be recognized as cultural integration. That belief couldn’t be farther from the truth. Preferring certain ethnicities based on their innately observable traits is a concept called “sexual exoticism”. Sexual exoticism is the process in which one’s curiosity evolves into fetishizing a body type, culture, ethnicity, etc. A system of values is founded and the objectification of these specific groups spreads into something besides just having a natural fetish. For example, Black people in pornography are often depicted as possessing heightened physical characteristics as well as a more aggressive nature during sexual experiences. Watching many pornographic videos displaying Black people as such leads to an assumption that Black people outside of porn poses the same qualities. Actively seeking Black sexual partners based on the skewed perceptions from porn becomes a problem. Other stereotypes such as submissiveness in Asian women, sex craving Latina house workers (maids, gardeners, etc.) and ideal complexion assignment to certain ethnicities are harmful as well. Many people have other traits that lie outside of these exoticized stereotypes.

Excluding the apparent observations on the matter, sex is a spiritual connection. Once we start conceptualizing what sexual practices ideally should feel like, we stop enjoying the sensation of the actual practice and we end up limiting our prospects. Porn is more accessible than ever before but so is establishing genuine connections with others. Embracing the individual and not the reinforced misconceptions generated from porn is a conscious matter we must continue to think about, even if it doesn’t reinforce our desired “types.”

By Sheila Sadr Copy Editor

My relationship with watching pornography is complicated — as I feel like everyone’s is. And why wouldn’t it be? Thanks to the internet, we are the first generation who has had easy and free access to pornography since we were children.

And as embarrassing as it is to say, I was one of those kids. I fell into cycle where I found myself addicted to porn. I know it’s a strange thing to admit, especially as a woman. But my addiction to porn affected everything. It took time away from doing my school work and sleeping on a schedule. There would be days where I would just come home and watch the hours slip by as I scrolled video after video until the sun came up.

I realized I had a problem when the content I preferred to watch grew more intense and more violent. It started to become something I wasn’t proud of. By the time I realized this, I was a junior in high school and I knew my relationship with porn needed to change.

See, I don’t think porn is toxic or as some may say “the Devil’s work” at all. I’ve seen enough porn to know that there is content out there that isn’t just a half-assed script, sweaty bodies mindlessly pounding against each other, and some sort of money shot for the finale. There is porn out there that has substance. That engages not only with your body but includes your heart in the conversation too. What totally sucks is that this type of content is usually geared “for women”. As if pornography that has remotely any emotional substance or deviation from the classic timeline is too effeminate for men to consume.

And therein lies the problem with porn for me. Not only does it impose specific gender expectations but it’s also too fucking linear. Traditional pornography perpetuates this idea that there’s some kind of formula to sex. That you must kiss neck. Then, touch boob. And suddenly, voilà! You have the sex.

No! Sex does not have a plotline. It doesn’t start with a dick entering a vagina and have to end with a money shot. That’s not how the real world works. Like many other aspects of life, having sex is nuanced and complex. There’s an obvious human element to it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a one night stand or you’ve been with someone for years — there’s at least one other human being involved and downgrading your mutual sexual experience into a step-by-step process is doing all involved a total disservice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people lament over this social flaw. How we feel compelled to fit into the narrative while concurrently expecting our partner(s) to challenge it.

My other issue with porn is, like any addictive thing, you crave more and more to achieve the same experience. Your taste in the content transforms or maybe even perverts more. Shamefully, my searches began to turn problematic and began to contain material that was hyper-aggressive towards women. The more the female lead was being brutalized, the better. I began to objectify my own sex.

So I stopped. It’s been five years now and I honestly haven’t watched porn since high school. But that’s my personal choice. Because we have a whole generation of adult men and women who’ve grown up on this open ability to view whatever type of porn they want and nobody’s really talking about it. We aren’t questioning the effect that this has on us as a society. I feel almost compelled to say that the average person doesn’t really reflect on their own relationship to porn and their sexuality. I’m well aware that this small piece won’t stop people from watching porn. I totally get it. I just hope we can at least start a dialogue. Break social taboos and examine what it all means for us all — like it has right here among the Union staffers.

Cover for “_guilty_pleasures_”, Volume 79.8. Published on October 10, 2016.