Porn is spreading fast, simply because we are patronizing it. Horrendous as the thought is, our adored parents saw it; we are doubtless seeing it more; in turn, our children are seeing it in ever-increasing numbers. Every hotel or motel room, from New York to New Delhi, Dhaka to Dakar, Kathmandu to Kiev, has, if nothing else, a television set, and it has, along with multiple channels, access to porn shows and and porn channels. Those are the channels, hotel statistics tell us, most heavily used. Middle-aged executives, aging politicians, respectable businessmen, revered gurus, itinerant scholars, roving journalists, young cyberwiz, all seek a respite from their chores by watching hulking men bring eager women to moaning orgasm. Far from their docile wives and complaisant secretaries, they savor the safe excitement of seeing lively women and ever-ready men in enthusiastic congress, writhing and sweating as they explore new ways of coupling.
So it is that porn has become our most important instructor of young people about physical relationship. Given the ubiquity of mobile phones and easy access to internet, young people are getting their first idea of their bodies from porn. They are learning what they most want to learn: how one can have fun with their bodies and enjoy themselves. Porn has, in effect, become the principal educator of young people about sex.
Shocking as it may sound to many, experts say it is a good thing that people learn a few rudiments about their bodies. Most men, even educated ones, have a scant notion of how women’s private parts look like; women have, unless they have grown up with immodest brothers, have no idea how men are equipped. Their mutual physical encounters, as they occur more and earlier, are based on appalling ignorance. They have only the faintest idea about how to offer some pleasure to the other person. An act of sex is more likely to be an inept affair, a guaranteed disaster, than a source of lasting joy. It can play serious havoc with relationships instead of adding to the joy and strength of a relationship. When porn makes a dent in that universe of ignorance, it makes possible a sliver of understanding.
The net result is that young people who get their erotic exposure increasingly from easily accessible porn tend to develop a lopsided view of the affair. Men expect oral sex from female partners, irrespective of their preference; women expect Olympic performance with multiple climaxes from their male partners. The key ingredient of mutual play and growing partnership goes out of the window.
I was talking to Dwight, a professor in a local university, who is working on the idea of a course that would use porn materials to explore erotic assumptions of young students and help them sort out the wheat from the chaff: recognize what is real and worthwhile, namely a caring relationship and the mutuality it demands, and separate it from what is not, namely the athletic prowess of the participants. It would help the students come to grips with the love, in some form or other, that has to be at the very core of love making. Some universities apparently already have coursework that includes porn awareness.
There is utter hypocrisy in declaiming porn to be garbage and surreptitiously viewing it, enraptured, at every suitable opportunity. If we think about why it draws so much attention, it may one day get better and serve some good purpose.