Doctor’s Note: A little programming note before we get started. I’m hosting a cross-over of sorts with fantasy author Jonathan L. Howard – his character Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer will be taking over Ask Dr. NerdLove for a column to handle your questions about life, love, the afterlife and the dark arts. This is going to be a whole lot of fun, and I’m thrilled to be taking part in it. If you have questions for someone who’s managed to beat the devil, twice, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask The Necromancer” in the subject header.
And now, your letters.
Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I’m concerned about pornography, specifically with regards to enhancing my sex life.
Let me start by saying I know there are ethical issues to porn. I know it’s an unhealthy and unrealistic portrayal of what real sex is like, and that it could possibly desensitize you to real sexual experiences. I know all that stuff. I’m not uninformed about it, but I’ve never actually seen porn and I need help weighing the risks and benefits of seeing it.
Considering my life circumstances, I’m looking to see whether porn would do good as one of two things:
A) A way to get greater arousal and satisfaction than masturbation. Let’s get real here: while I am legally an adult (I turned 18 this year), I still live at home with my parents and two little sisters. “My” car is really dad’s that he lets me use sometimes, and I have no job, living the life of a full-time college student who is also single. In other words, this means I can’t really hook-up with others, I can’t buy sex toys or subscribe to a porno magazine (both for monetary considerations and because my sisters are 10 and 16 and could find that stuff at home), and I don’t have a go-to sexual partner. While I have fun with the daily threesomes between me, myself, and I (the latter of which are known as Left and Right Hand), the bottom line is that my sex life is basically unchanged from the moment I discovered masturbation in junior high, which now that I type it is more than a little sad.
I don’t mean to imply that watching porn is some sign of sexual maturity or some inevitable milestone in growing up (it’s not), I just mean to say that I’ve reached a sexual plateau and porn could be a way to go beyond that. Masturbation is great, but it’s certainly lost it’s magic over the years. When I first discovered and did it, it felt like discovering a cheat code in a video game: “Instant happiness just touch genitals”. Now it’s just become part of my daily routine and part of my regular rotation of recreational activities, no more amazing than watching TV or reading comedy articles.
B) Porn could be a stopgap measure to fill to bridge the gap between just masturbation and having a girlfriend, and a replacement to having a girlfriend if absolutely necessary.
I know that it’s okay to be a virgin, but at the start of the night I want to be next to a naked woman raring to go with me. In other words, let me cut to the point: I’m an 18-year-old male who wants to have sex. In fact, I even have the secret college motto of “Get good grades. Get laid.”, the idea being that while personal responsibility is the #1 priority, my very next priority is taking my V-card and shredding it to pieces.
Everything being said, I’m not looking for just any sex, but sex with a person I love and care about. The thing is, I’ve gotten used to masturbatory orgasms, and when I talked to my parents about how orgasms were supposedly this mind-shattering explosion of pleasure unmatched by anything (there’s a reason why people say “X is better than sex.” as a compliment, I hope) in the known universe when they were just merely great to me, they told me that there was a huge difference between just stimulating your penis until ejaculation and actually having sex with somebody you love.
Thus in college a girlfriend I seek, and the idea that I should get good grades and get laid is not some joke: I’m not going to consider myself a loser if I don’t get laid by college graduation (I have read your articles on age and virginity, and they REALLY spoke to me), but if we are to sit down and think objectively about the consensual convergence of human genitalia, we can only conclude that college is my best chance to get laid, considering that one could unironically call it a place where everyone is A. at or over the age of consent B. away from parental supervision C. living together in close quarters D. young (while being in the 18-26 age range doesn’t mean you’re attractive, you certainly don’t get more attractive as you get older.) E. In a world with condoms, birth control, and rigorous STD testing and treatment, creating the potential for (if only theoretically) consequence-free sex, and F. Is basically jacked up on sex hormones.
In short, college is a place where people live in close quarters while they are literally as sexy and horny as they will ever be in their entire lives, and any possible sex is thrice consequence-free (if you take all the precautions, of course), completely legal and away from any disapproving authority. If there is a time and place where one should expect a golden age of sexuality in one’s life, it’s college.
Yes, I know that I’m not doomed if I don’t get laid by the time I graduate college, but I want to have sex with a sexy young adult as a sexy young adult, and college is the best place to do that. I know I could meet someone I like in my future career, but I don’t want to go after thirty year olds as a thirty year old, and certainly not after twenty year olds as a thirty year old. And let’s not forget I’m in my sexual prime; my sexual fitness and attractiveness can only decline with age. While I know 80 year olds can have active sex lives, all things being equal now is the chance.
I’m in the right age at the right place, so college should be the golden age of sexuality for me, but it’s passing me by the day. Believe me in that I have tried to exploit this golden opportunity, but I basically have no friends in college (no one seems interested in socializing, let alone sexualizing) and the much-fearmongered “hookup culture” basically does not exist. In short, I have seriously considered that I may not be guaranteed to get someone to date me, let alone let me have sex with them. This is more than a little disheartening, considering that I’ve never even been in a date or kissed someone. I never got people to dance with me in high school and I didn’t have a date to prom, or even homecoming.
Although, let me surprise you by saying I’m actually looking sex in the context of a relationship, and I don’t mean that in the “I have to buy her chocolates and make a girl think I love her so she’ll put out” douchebag way, but in the sense that I literally want to have a genuine and real romantic relationship that also includes sexual activity. While this does fulfill the requirement of “do it with a person you love” that will apparently make my orgasms better, let me say that I do wonder what simply being in love is like as well.
However, with slim girlfriend prospects, I look to the possibility of pornography offering me an upgrade to my sex life in the case that I don’t find a girlfriend, as well as a stopgap solution to tie me over until I get one, if I do.
Yet, what holds me back from porn is safety issues, both in terms of legality and computer security. There’s this shadiness regarding porn that just really turns me off to it (pun not intended). What this means in practice is that if I see a Google result that reads “big titty MILFs XXX cum sshot” (intentional misspelling on my part), I’m not exactly thinking that it’s a totally trustworthy and safe site for me to use. I’m actually afraid of going to porn sites to be honest, because with porn there seems to be unnecessary risks you don’t get with any other so-called vices.
In other words, I’ve never drank alcohol except for Holy Communion, but I know that you don’t walk into a bar and wonder if what the bartender gave you was brewed up in a bathtub, nor do you wonder if the cigarettes you buy at 7-11 (not that I’m a smoker) have been laced with narcotics. Nobody goes into a casino only to find out that it was all an illegal mob operation just as SWAT teams pour through the front doors to arrest all the patrons.
But I do worry about something being safe and legal with regards to porn. How do I know that the actor is actually 18? How do I know if the porn site will infect my computer with viruses?
Things like cigarettes, gambling, and alcohol are regulated by the government, so while these vices may have their inherent destructive nature (getting liver disease or cancer, loss of money, etc.), you can be rest assured that what you’re doing isn’t illegal or more dangerous than it has to be. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent of that for pornography, no sense of consumer trust and guarantee that the product is legal and safe. The USDA grades eggs, but it’s not like you go to some government agency and see ratings and certifications for all the porn sites and see something like “bigtittyMILFs has been certified A++ by the Federal Association of Pornography, with a 99.9999% No Virus Guarantee and a perfect track record of adhering to US laws and statues with regards to content and production”
I have wrestled with the question of porn for a long time, in turn using a stopgap solution that TV Tropes might call “Poor Man’s Porn”. In other words, I don’t masturbate to “real porn”, but to stuff like online catalogues of lingerie and sexy Halloween costumes (think Yandy and Victoria’s Secret), sexy fictional characters, or sexualized advertisements and online Cosmo articles (yes, really). I have a Hooters calendar and my dad gets the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated each year. On a side note, having fetishes has really been a boon to me throughout my life. since this means essentially innocuous (and therefore safe and legal) stuff is de-facto porn to me (for example, I have a cosmetics fetish and masturbate to YouTube makeup tutorials), but there’s always been the idea that there’s greater untapped potential in the viewing of actual porn.
So all in all, is Internet pornography really going to be the upgrade I’m looking for? What should I do if it’s not what I need, and how could I get safe and legal porn if it was the best option? Are my ideas and concerns about college wrong or misguided?
Pretty Indecisive Porn Ponderer