THE BLOG

Porn and Unrecognised Desires

05/12/2014 22:03 GMT | Updated 04/02/2015 10:59 GMT

The new legislation and subsequent discussion, with expressions of horror at 'absurd' censorship over pornography is all rather a depressing topic. Where to begin? Should we really be surprised that much of this legislation targets women's pleasure? Apparently female ejaculation is dangerous, whereas men's ejaculate, wherever it lands (frequently on the face), is of course 'natural' and fine. Similarly face-sitting could lead to suffocation. How could we not have noticed this before?

I don't think it should surprise anyone that women's pleasure is not top the list when it comes to pornography in the first place- the fact that it is being banned, just further reinforces what we already know: Porn is made for men.

There has been talk too of Victorian attitudes. But it has always seemed to me that pornography is some manifestation of exactly those 'sex is dirty' type attitudes anyway. Some of you should give Victorian porn a go. It's a bit more human. Women smile, laugh, giggle and there is none of this humorless, mechanical and endless (dull) pumping that is so liberated and 'now'.

How did we become so boring, so serious about sex anyway? I'm not quite sure. I thought it was meant to be fun. I don't think it would be new, or inaccurate to suggest that most porn is not about sex but about power. The sex acts depicted frequently see women humiliated, degraded as passive receptacles. Lacan would say that women are alienated from their desire: they enjoy themselves through the eyes of another. Being viewed as an object void of subjectivity is deeply dehumanizing. May be people want to be dehumanized sometimes. That's all fine; but when it's routine, and gendered, and fits so neatly with the way women are treated in daily life, at work, on the street, the pattern becomes distressing.

If we need further evidence of the power dynamic being played out in pornography and what it might mean, we need only look at the ideal porn vagina.This vagina, the very place where sex happens with women, resembles that of a child's. Furthermore, just so we are clear about what we are looking at, the vagina is de-nude of hair- you know, the hair that grows on human beings as they pass through puberty.

This is not about choice, which is good: people should choose what they want to do with their bodies. And all these bodies are different. This is about the market: these actresses are cast, chosen, selected by directors. The question is: why do we want women's genitals to look like little girls?

All this is very confusing. I'm sure it is very confusing to men as well. Certainly it was to the Victorian art critic John Ruskin, who was apparently so appalled by his wife's pubic hair, their marriage remained unconsummated. They divorced and not surprisingly the next female he fell in love with was a nine year old, albeit that he held off proposing until she was 18. I think we can be in no doubt about what was going on with him. His biographer blamed Greek Sculpture.

I'm not sure where our desires come from, to what degree they are innate, to what degree shaped. I don't think it's as simple as saying we can't legislate for it, I don't think we're free in the first place. Just a glimpse across the continents will demonstrate just how cultured our desires are. What we want and expect in relationships, the kind of treatment we might want to receive and dole out matters, and should be discussed.

We need to demand proper relationship education for our children, with an emphasis on explaining female desire as a key component of sex. My general feeling is that if sexual partners are not interested in vaginas they possibly shouldn't be having sex with those people who have them. I'm not talking about in-the-closet gay men here; I'm talking about misogynists, of both and all genders.

Women's pleasure was recognised by the Victorians: they invented the first vibrators. Naomi Wolf wrote a book that probably most hetro men should read - you can remember the title: its easy "Vagina". Her message is that women's sexual pleasure is key to their feeling of self worth. The flip side being that women have been kept in their place as second-class citizens by control of those pleasures. These range from the extremes of FGM to moral policing. Just think of the reactions women get for having more than one partner, as compared to men.

There are also some simple biological facts we should know and teach others, if we are to make the world a better, more fun place to be for women. The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings (yes that's twice as many as the penis-not that this is a competition or anything), and extends from outside to within the vaginal wall. The closer the nub of the clitoris is to the mouth of the vagina the easier orgasm is to achieve with penetration - if that's what you're going for. I only mention this because Freud's myth of the vaginal orgasm persists and according to Wikipedia

Knowledge of the clitoris' existence and anatomy is scant in comparison with that of other sexual organs, and more education about it could help alleviate social stigmas associated with the female body and female sexual pleasure.

I think I am getting off point here, this was never meant to be a biology or sex education class. The fact is that boys and men are being shaped by the practices seen in pornography. Erectile dysfunction is common amongst young men, as well as de-sensitization (inability to climax). Apparently these are the results of excessive porn use and leads to more and more extreme tastes. While older men who weren't nurtured on the stuff quickly recover with a period of abstention, this takes much longer with young men. It doesn't have to matter what men choose to do. Porn need not be normative or sexist. Real life sex is not compulsory. My only suspicion is that all this does not do much for the sex lives of those who consider themselves to be women. That nebulous category of human being.

But no, I forgot, women are not supposed to have libidos anyway. They are allowed orgasms - so long as they are noisy in the right way - but really women's desire is not supposed to exists. Where as men's is endless and part of their natural playing out of an evolutionary drive.

So, really I couldn't careless about what legislators do or do not allow within a realm that never catered for my desires anyway. I renounce any remaining glimmers of heterosexuality. From now on I am going for polyamorous, celibate, political lesbianism. And I will do this in a cave, by myself, far from a humanity which does not recognize my own, with its monogamy, role-play and serious sexual conduct.