“I’m Not Addicted To Porn”

I don’t think the problem we’re actually up against is porn, but rather our relationship to consumption.

Cole Schafer
Jan 2, 2020 · 8 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

here are a handful of topics you should try desperately to avoid at family dinner…

Politics. Religion. Money. Sex. The recently divorced. Death. Drugs.

However, my unfiltered family is perhaps different than most and on any given holiday gathering one (if not all) of these topics have a way of spilling into the conversation. Generally, we navigate them extremely well. But, during this past year’s Christmas, an unexplored topic surfaced and I was a bit blown away at the awkwardness of it all. That topic, as you probably gathered from the title of this article was…

Porn.

It stumbled drunkenly into the conversation after it was mentioned that my younger eighteen-year-old cousin was in the midst of a break-up. Naturally, my unfiltered family asked why. We wanted to know the juicy tumultuous details and we got them…

His girlfriend broke up with him after he mentioned in casual conversation to her that he, from time to time, watched porn. Upon first hearing this, I held back the urge to applaud my cousin’s honesty. There’s a quote. I’m sure you’ve probably heard it… There are two types of men in this world: “men who watch porn and men who lie.”

I suppose I was just extremely grateful my little cousin didn’t fall into the latter. Yet, despite this, I noticed there was somewhat of an uneasy air that settled around the table like a bad fart in an airtight mini-van going 70 down an Alaskan freeway in the dead of winter. It was obvious that folks felt very, very uncomfortable. Just a minute or so prior to the conversation, my family was making sex jokes, but when watching other people having sex in the privacy of one’s own home got thrown into the conversation, things got awkward.

Tomatoes, tomatos.

We live in a world where it’s easier to talk about sex than it is to talk about porn… despite the fact that a massive portion of the population indulges on a regular (or semi-regular basis). Psychology Today found that 98% of men and 78% of women watch porn to varying degrees and the porn giant, PornHub, announced that in 2018 there were 33.5 billion visits to their site with a daily average of 92 million

(I’m not linking to the site, we all know where to find it).

However, much to my surprise, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of conversations happening around porn and those that are happening seem to fall into one of two (rather extreme) schools of thought…

The more conservative of folks argue you should not watch porn, ever, under any circumstance, even if some psycho serial killer has a gun to your grandmother’s head and says that if you don’t start watching porn regularly, he’ll pull the trigger.

Then, of course, there are those who fall into the other school of thought… porn is the best fucking thing since sliced bread, watch away!

Image for post
Image for post

But where’s the grey space?

As a twenty-five-year-old man who has certainly watched porn before and will very likely watch porn again, I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic that seems to go almost entirely un-talked about, despite its prominence in our screen-obsessed society.

I don’t think the problem we’re actually up against is porn. But, rather, our relationship to consumption. Unlike junk food and alcohol and cigarettes, there is little if any information out there that can actually — objectively — define what a normal level of porn consumption is.

Take cigarettes for example. If you claimed you smoked a cigarette every couple weeks when you and your buddies went out for a beer, the vast majority of people would probably tell you that while smoking is harmful, you could be doing worse than smoking 26 cigarettes a year. But, if you claimed you were smoking a pack of cigarettes daily, I’d imagine they’d tell you to cut back considerably before you perish at the deathly hands of lung cancer.

However, unlike cigarettes and alcohol and junk food, there aren’t any concrete numbers you can look to to know what’s too much when it comes to porn. I think, in many ways, this is because excessive porn consumption has less egregious physical side-effects. (Unless you consider erectile dysfunction egregious…in which case.) After smoking a shit ton of cigarettes one evening, the next morning your lungs hurt and your mouth tastes like a cat took a shit in it.

After drinking too much vodka, the sun rises feels like a locomotive running through your head. After eating whatever you want for weeks on end, you may look in the mirror to see a creeping flabbiness, sallow rings around the eyes, and a chronic lethargy. And, while these things don’t cause everyone to smoke less or drink less or eat less, they certainly serve as benchmarks for what’s too much.

But, porn?

Since porn is something you can do in the privacy of your own room without a soul in the world to answer to and no proof in the morning that you spent an evening on a full-blown porn bender… well, it makes things wildly difficult.

So, maybe it’s time we start establishing some benchmarks.

Image for post
Image for post

How much porn is too much porn?

Firstly, I think we must differentiate between porn and masturbation because they’re not one and the same. Masturbation can help you release sexual tension, sleep better, improve your self-esteem (and body image), reduce stress, treat sexual problems and increase libido.

While I have mixed emotions on porn (which we will get to here in a moment), I would very much so argue that masturbation is a natural aspect of not only being human but being an animal. Across the animal kingdom, countless species masturbate…

Horses masturbate by bouncing their cocks against their stomachs. Female chimps will use mangos to get themselves off. Male African ground squirrels self-stimulate constantly (apparently it helps prevent squirrel STIs). And spider monkeys — of course — will jerk off with their ridiculously long tails. Both male and female dolphins get off by rubbing themselves along the seafloor. And, marine iguanas will actually masturbate before mating so they can cum faster before being pushed away by larger males.

And while we’re not horses, chimps, squirrels, dolphins and iguanas… I feel confident saying this world is a better place when people are reading more books and pleasuring themselves regularly.

However, porn is a different story.

I have no moral nor ethical dilemma with porn. For me, the harm in porn is not necessarily the act itself, but the false sense of reality. I’d liken it to a day at Disney World where you’re the fucking hero, the entire park is shut down just for you and a plethora of naked humans are catering to your every need and desire and want.

You sit in a room by yourself, watching two or more other people have sex on a screen and you get to focus fully and totally on pleasuring yourself. If the blonde with the monstrous ass isn’t doing it for you, you can scroll down with your off-hand — careful not to grease up your phone screen with your lotion of choice — to the petite redhead with the perky breasts and so on. And so forth. This, in my opinion, is where the trouble lies.

Sex — or at least the good kind of sex in my humble opinion — consists of two qualities you will never find in porn: 1. Imperfection. 2. Selflessness. The perfect world of porn doesn’t depict the awkward moments of sex: Your partner taking longer than usual to get aroused. Your cock losing blood flow as you pause to slip on the condom. Your head smacking against the headboard. Or, her bouncing on top of you and your dick sliding out of her vagina… her sitting down and your penis bowing in a way it shouldn’t bow.

But these awkward moments are what makes sex good, the imperfection is why sex is perfect.

Image for post
Image for post

It’s two imperfect humans coming together, dancing in the sheets doing what Charles Bukowski once so poetically called… “Sex is kicking death in the ass while singing.”

And, sometimes when you sing, you miss a note or forget a lyric. But, it’s okay because your partner can make up for your misstep because while sex is imperfect it’s also selfless. No. Good sex doesn’t require love. But, it does require a level of selflessness in both parties. Good sex happens when both parties are more concerned about their partner’s pleasure than their own.

Porn, in my opinion, is the antithesis of this.

It usually depicts a busty woman bent over some piece of furniture or contorted in some angle that makes her ass look quadruple the size and a man with a dick the size of a shotgun fucking the daylights out of her as she let’s loose sexual orgasmic victory cries — which isn’t sex, it’s just two people performing. And, while good sex should be many things, it should never be two people performing.

Most men learn to differentiate performance from sex when they help — or watch — a woman gain orgasm for the first time. It never happens like it does in porn. She goes quiet. She tenses up, squeezing her thighs tight to your hips. You’ll feel the faintest trembling in her back and vagina and legs and chest and soul and then she’ll let go and her body will relax like she’s crashed against her bed after a long day of something exhausting. And sometimes all this will happen while she doesn’t make a peep.

The vast majority of porn won’t depict this. And, I think because of this, it removes the most beautiful human elements of having sex or making love — and that’s selflessly helping whomever you’re dancing with towards ecstasy.

But, rant aside, I don’t think you should stop watching porn.

With all that said, I would never tell anyone to stop watching porn. But, what I would tell both you and me to do, is to be thoughtful about the porn we’re watching and how much porn we’re watching… and be aware of the fact that what we’re watching is nothing like the real thing.

For those looking for something more specific, a writer named Callie Little at Vice wrote a lovely article where she said the following…

“If you can get off without a laptop in front of you, you’re probably fine.”

I think this is a good benchmark. That said, my thoughts can be summed up as follow: Masturbate often, mostly without porn.

But, I digress.

Image for post
Image for post

PULPMAG

For and of the body.

Sign up for PULP MAGAZINE !!!

By PULPMAG

Each week we'll send you a round-up of stories so you can read, rage, radicalize, and get randy. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Cole Schafer

Written by

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

PULPMAG

PULPMAG

PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

Cole Schafer

Written by

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

PULPMAG

PULPMAG

PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store