Attention, Whore

Conversations with myself.

Hokusai “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” (1814)

“Pornography.”

“Well, that’s certainly an attention-getter.”

“Got your attention.”

“It usually does.”

“You’re a consumer of pornography?”

“That sounds like I eat it.”

“With your eyes.”

“Gross.”

“You’re embarrassed about enjoying pornography.”

“It’s still something that’s not generally discussed in your everyday conversation, is it? Nobody at work is probably going to sit down next to you during a coffee break to discuss the type of porn you enjoy, and when you last looked at porn, or a piece of pornography you particularly enjoy.”

“You said ‘piece.’”

“But everyone looks at pornography now and then.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Sure they do.”

“No, I think some people really, really like, some people use it occasionally as a kind of sexual Hamburger Helper when there’s no one else around and they’re feeling horny…”

“But not horny enough not to need a little naked pick-me-up.”

“And some people don’t look at pornography at all.”

“Use.”

“Pardon?”

“If you’re doing it right, you’re not simply looking at pornography, you’re using it for its intended purpose.”

“Getting off.”

“To put it indelicately.”

“But that’s what it’s for.”

“That’s what it’s usually for, sure. For some other people, pornography is also art.”

“Is it, though?”

“Sure it is. You can’t compartmentalize what is or isn’t art from someone else’s perspective. That’s why it’s art.”

“Or pornography.”

“What’s that mean?”

“You can’t compartmentalize what is or isn’t pornography, either. Some people get off on looking at feet. Some people get off on long hair or short hair.”

“Or no hair.”

“Some people get off on rubber or vinyl or suits or being tied up. So my pornography might not be your pornography.”

“Though probably….”

“It is.”

“Pornography as art.”

“Sometimes. Why not?”

“I just sort of picture people treating some pornographic image or video or book as art and trying to separate themselves from the motivation of the thing.”

“Getting off.”

“As I said.”

“As you said. So why can’t it be both?”

“Pornographic art?”

“Sure, why can’t it be both?”

“I kind of feel like if you’re calling it art, you’re trying to either deny that you enjoy pornography and its intent, or that you want to elevate what’s usually just a physical need, more or less, into something more than that.”

“You don’t have very good sex, do you?”

“I’m pretty vanilla, if that’s what you mean.”

“What I mean is that your statement leads me to believe that you’re encountering sex like it’s just a temporary and annoying by-product that your body needs occasionally…”

“Or rarely, in my case.”

“Rather than something you enjoy and look forward to.”

“I think I enjoy it while it’s happening, but it’s never been something I’ve actively sought out.”

“Why’s that?”

“I don’t think I’m very good at it.”

“It’s not supposed to be a competition.”

“No, but one assumes that both parties…”

“Or all three parties.”

“Or four or whatever — that everyone is having a good time and enjoying themselves, but….”

“But not you.”

“I’m usually worried about how everyone else — or let’s be honest, the other person — is doing than how I am doing. Consequently I feel constrained and I don’t explore what I like to do. I tend to get into this head space where I’m worried about my performance and how my naked body looks and where I just put my hand and is that noise a happy noise or an annoyed noise and….”

“Okay, you can stop there. I get the gist of it.”

“So, no, I don’t think I’m good at it.”

“You could just relax and not worry about it. Maybe keep in mind that it’s a natural thing, and everybody does it, and…”

“But then I’m thinking about it again. When I think about it is when I get into trouble.”

“Or the lack thereof.”

“So it’s just…easier to use pornography instead of, you know…”

“A real person.”

“With real feelings.”

“That you start to think about.”

“And then the sex is over.”

“You should do drugs.”

“In addition to the pornography, you mean.”

“I’m just saying that if you think your problem is…”

“I think too much.”

“…then using something to sort of…distract your head so your body can get its groove on might not be a bad thing.”

“So you’re saying that before I have sex with someone, I should drug myself into enjoying it so I can ignore the other person’s feelings and make it all about my own selfish needs.”

“Just like everyone else!”

“Cool.”