Last month I was visiting a friend in California and found his coffee table littered with real estate magazines and property brochures. I thought this was odd as he’d just bought his house a year ago and seemed pretty happy with it. “Oh, I’m not actually looking to buy anything right now,” he said. “But I developed a passion for this stuff when I was house hunting. I’m still curious, and I find it entertaining. I also wish I could own some of these houses someday, and when I look at them, part of me feels that I do.”
Curiosity. Entertainment. Wish fulfilment. My mind went straight to why myself and millions of men watch porn. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that porn is much more than a man and a woman going skin-on-skin. No pun intended, it goes much deeper.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that property and porn are the same thing. They’re not —but when money’s not involved, the motivations behind following real estate, cars, or porn are the same. And they’re human, healthy, and masculine.
The element of curiosity takes me back to the age of 12 when I was about to watch my first porn film, and inserting a tape into the VCR while hoping not to get caught. I remember the sense of mystery as I was about to see people having sex, for the first time in my life. I also remember the first scene, involving two bob haircut Japanese lesbians— twins, if I recall correctly—launching immediately into a 69. This was certainly an interesting first lesson!
If it sounds entertaining, that’s because it is, especially as the “dialogue” commenced with, “How about some pussy, bitch?” But porn is of course much more than comedy, otherwise we’d simply watch The Naked Gun or The Hangover. On top of the fact that I barely knew what a lesbian was at that time and getting both an education and a hard-on, I was being entertained; and in a way other types of movies couldn’t do. For, pornography speaks to the condition of being a man in ways that other genres of film simply cannot. It captures a fundamental aspect of manhood and of thinking like a man. And it reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with thinking about sex, or with wanting to have it. The desires involved are fully and completely human, as with my friend from Cali and his property mags.
As I watched more porn over the years, I also came to see that these movies supplied me with the fulfilment of fantasies and also of human drives. Whether we are single or attached, monogamous or promiscuous, men need to feel, even only virtually, the spice of different sexual partners in their lives. Call it anthropological, biological, or what you will: men are programmed to crave sexual variety, and porn offers us a safe, consequence-free way of doing so. The wish fulfilment merges with entertainment and curiosity. Will the girl have big tits or just perky ones? Will her pussy be totally shaved, in a landing strip, or au naturel? (I prefer the first). Will she have a sexy accent? Will her hair be long or in a bob, like the Japanese lesbians who popped my porn cherry? We can explore these varieties as much as we want, and be entertained and fulfilled, while satisfying our curiosity over and over.
So the next time someone gives you grief for watching porn, remind them that their interest in property, cars, or sports isn’t really any different. Porn is just another way of celebrating being human—and of simply being a man.
Andrew Slade is a thirty-something expat who divides his time between China and SouthEast Asia and the West. He’s a man’s man who generally knows what he wants, though he doesn’t mind being surprised. When not working, he enjoys a good glass of whisky and the company of a lady of interest.