Why I Choose Not to Get Off On Porn

Love and Sex

Why I Choose Not to Get Off On Porn

Illustration: Akshita Monga

M

y introduction to porn was not a choice. It was thrust upon me by a school friend in the fifth standard. I was yet to hit puberty, when a boy in my class sent me a site for hardcore “punk music”. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

At the time, it was confusing, funny, strange – and above all, forbidden. This was only the beginning, as porn would continue to be levelled at me by my male peers as shock-value entertainment. That this weird stuff was supposed to turn me on and take me to orgasm would strike me only later.

By the time I understood the role of porn in my life, I’d seen everything from hentai to housewife, furries to fisting, camgirls to creampies, but despite the orgy of options available for any mood and kink, it did nothing for me. Nothing felt real, nothing was sensual and where in this exploding universe of pornographic content and constantly cumming men, was the great – but realistic – female orgasm?

Trying to find a realistic female orgasm on a mainstream porn site is like hunting for Voldemort’s seventh Horcrux. Women all over the porn world are faking it, and faking it so badly that it deserves its own parody genre. If the women in the thick of the action were not getting turned on, why would I?

Even the so-called “women-friendly” category involves romantic storylines and boyband-inspired male leads like James Deen (who, incidentally, pioneered the porn industry’s version of the Weinstein scandal in 2015). No wonder women around the world, including India, overwhelmingly choose PornHub’s lesbian category, where there’s no chance of seeing a series of unappealing manoeuvres performed by a tharki Tarantino extra with a frankly alarming dick. It is another thing that even the girl-on-girl action, with it’s ridiculous contortions and four-inch acrylic nails that likely cause more pain than pleasure, is targeted toward men.

But it is telling that even straight women all over the world show preference for a sexual fantasy that is free of men.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that it took me so long to associate porn with sexual gratification. Obviously, it’s not that women aren’t interested in porn (with a quarter of PornHub’s viewership being female) – it’s just that porn, by and large, isn’t for us. We’re excluded out of an overwhelming amount of material featuring us, because we are simply not meant to watch it.

While boys see that sex is all about them, girls learn that their wants and needs are irrelevant.

In a world where female sexuality isn’t supposed to exist, watching porn is still seen as sexual liberation. But an acknowledgement of the same desires are invalidated by the medium’s treatment of women, both on screen and behind-the-scenes. How can we celebrate our sexuality through porn while condoning a sexist, exploitative industry that functions on men’s terms?

Trying to find a realistic female orgasm on a mainstream porn site is like hunting for Voldemort’s seventh Horcrux. Women all over the porn world are faking it, and faking it so badly that it deserves its own parody genre.

In recent weeks, we’ve plumbed the depths of this dichotomy, when a top trend on the extremely popular website XVideos, was the name of the child who was raped, tortured, and murdered in Kathua. Sure, it might be bone-chilling, but it is only another in an entire genre of rape videos, which are themselves a small slice of the brutal exploitation of women – consenting or otherwise – are subjected to in order to service the world’s boners. As with most sex industries, porn is built on sacrificing women’s disposable bodies to the greater good of male satisfaction.

Maybe that’s why traditionally feminine aids to getting off tend to eschew people altogether. Whether it’s ancient dildoes carved from phallic produce or modern-day erotic fan fiction, connoisseurs of Anaïs Nin in the original French, or 50 Shades of Grey fantasists, women have developed a plethora of our own smutty predilections over the millennia. Women directors are reclaiming the game with their own erotic films. Since 2006, there’s even been a Feminist Porn Awards hosted annually in Toronto, designed to empower women and  marginalised workers. Meanwhile, ordinary women are getting into the act, recommending and requesting more enjoyable porn on forums like Reddit’s r/chickflixxx. Others are going a step further and participating in their own amateur porn productions, featuring a realism that is rarely found in the annals of RedTube. The future of the female-led porn industry looks as bright as the expertly bleached anus of a 30-year-old college student feigning interest in the pizza delivery guy.

With all these women coming together to help us get off, I might finally have a reason to watch porn. After all, there’s only one – and it starts with a big O.

 

With inputs from Cauvery Rajagopal

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