Watching Pornography from a Personal as well as a Woman’s Point of View
“Wow, you seem really cranky,” my friend Kristina told me.
We were in the middle of the workday, working as full-time tellers at a bank that has now been taken over by a larger bank.
Kristina handed me a slip of paper. www.redtube.com was written on it.
“When you get home, go to this website. Make sure you’re alone.”
The other tellers burst into laughter and chimed in with their agreement that after visiting this website, I wouldn’t feel so cranky.
They wouldn’t tell me what was so funny.
I didn’t get the chance to check the site for a few days. It was summer then, and I was crashing on my mom’s couch while I was home from college, so I didn’t exactly have regular moments alone.
Meanwhile Kristina asked me about the site every day—while always cautioning me to make sure to check it while I was alone.
Finally, my mom and her boyfriend were out, and my brother, his girlfriend, and their son were out. It was just me, so I booted up my laptop and typed in the site.
I laughed. “This will put you in a better mood,” she had told me.
Of course it was porn.
This was about five years ago.
I saved that site, clicking through it periodically when I needed a visual to accompany my vibrator. I know they say men are the visual creatures, but I always came much harder and faster when watching porn.
Although red tube wasn’t necessarily to my specific taste—I tend to prefer the soft-core, HBO and Cinemax late-night style of soft-lighting, moaning, and mild nudity — it got the job done, and it gave me an outlet to explore other aspects of my sexuality.
Now I live in Korea, where porn is generally blocked, and a lesbian friend of mine here told me that I am one of the straightest women she knows. I have had my experiences of kissing women, but she’s right in that I’ve never had sex with a woman or taken any of the kissing past the make-out stage.
I do, however, think the female body is attractive as hell and when I watch porn, I get to explore that attraction in a way that I feel is safe and comfortable for me.
I’ve been watching porn on-and-off since my brother and I first found a pornographic video that our parents accidentally left in the VCR. We popped it in, turned it on, and surprise surprise: it was a woman getting f**ked from behind while sucking her own nipple.
For years after this tape had been re-hidden, then taken away altogether, I measured my breast growth not by cup-size—but by whether they were big enough to reach my own mouth. I rejoiced when they finally were.
After that video disappeared, I began to watch late night soft-core porn like Real Sex. As an adolescent with no experience, I found these shows to be intensely erotic, stimulating a sexual desire in me that was almost painful.
Although I was young when watching these videos, I was not so impressionable that they made me want to actually go through with having sex. Instead, they answered questions for me that I couldn’t ask my parents—or articulate at all. They helped me to understand the roots of where my more strange feelings were coming from and they taught me how to masturbate better.
I’m not going to say that if I had a young adolescent daughter I’d be pleased with her watching porn, but I definitely think moderate porn-watching is a healthy, normal thing.
That is, until I see a close-up of an actress’s vagina and she doesn’t look wet — and then I feel like I’m actively participating in the subjugation of some poor woman who is maybe unwillingly acting as a sex worker.
My feelings toward porn are somewhat conflicted.
When I used to go to church, the pastor would regularly name “watching pornography” in his list of modern-day sins a man (nearly always a man) could find himself caught up in.
I never understood this. I’ve never thought there was any harm in watching a little porn—rather, I’ve always viewed it as a healthy and private way to explore one’s sexuality, fantasies, and boundaries—knowledge of which is necessary in order to have truly satisfying sex.
Oh the other hand, though, when watching some of the cheaper, pirated porn sites, I begin to wonder how many of the women in these flicks are victims of sex trafficking, especially when they look too young or don’t seem to be enjoying the sex.
Then I turn it off and am turned off as I ponder whether I have a moral responsibility beyond simply not consuming these questionable products.
That’s why I’m happy now to hear about more instances of independent porn made by women for women. I am excited to support pornography that focuses on showing the actresses experiencing intense pleasure and climaxing, and takes sexuality outside of the realm of male-dominated fantasy. For a woman like me, this is probably the healthiest and most satisfying pornography of all.
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