Sunday, January 18, 2015

Don Jon: Thoughts on a Movie

I watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon Sunday night on Netflix. It's streaming now if you're interested. He starred in and directed this movie about a man who sucked at interpersonal relationships, ostensibly because he had a porn addiction. He watched a lot, a LOT of online porn.

I used to watch a lot of porn, a LOT of porn. It was part of my job honestly. I was an area supervisor type for a nationwide chain of adult book stores. Knowing what I was selling really was part of the job. The thing with porn is it's, and this might come as a surprise to a lot of people, it's having a hard time right now. The big studios of yesteryear, Wicked, Vivid, Evil Angel... they're facing competition from the thing that porn has been accused of being for a long time. Porn is accused of not being real. Real people don't act like that. Real people don't have sex like that. Real people don't do those things. So, when a person sees sex in a porn they try it with their partner, or want to, or think about it... and it doesn't always go as portrayed in the movies.

Competition from online porn, amateur stuff and small studio stuff using real people who do a shot for a pittance and it's only somewhat lit well and the camera work's not all that great and the lighting's barely good enough to see their faces but who cares? A lot of porn is about imagining someone else in there anyway right? The reason Ron Jeremy got work for so long is that men were the primary consumers of porn and they were imagining they were him... and it wasn't that tough. He was a short hairy fat guy... all they really had to switch out was his face. The rest looked about right... except maybe for the giant schlong, but hey... if they're imagining, why not imagine a third leg down there right?

So the upstart porn online now... the amateur stuff, the stuff that's readily available out there, selfies, phone cam stuff on sites I'm NOT linking to but they're not hard to find... that stuff has real people doing things real people do and has people doing things they've seen in movies that maybe they do and maybe they don't do. The lines are blurring though between what's real and what's not real in the world of porn.

I don't know that sexual expectations are the primary thing that online porn is giving people unreasonable expectations about any more. I think it's probably body image. The amateur stuff has all sorts of body types but if you sort by most viewed or by highest rated... what floats to the top is typically not the best sex or most interesting sex but is, in fact, the prettiest people. So now you're not seeing crazy weird sex with unattainable stars from big studios. You're seeing all sorts of sex, regular, leaded, unleaded, high octane and racing grade sex from what appears to be regular people because that's what the sites purport to be, that's what they feel like. That's what they are really... but it's the hottest of the regular people so the average guy or gal is watching it and comparing themselves to the regular people and forgetting the algorithm that sorts their viewing options is skewing it toward the hottest ones.

Is porn healthy? Sure. I think it can be. I've seen lots of couples shop for it together. I've seen guys come in who want it occasionally and check out the toys or lube or movies... not like it used to be... mostly porn is coming online now and not from video rentals if you're 50 or under. I've also known people who got movies all the time, hundreds, thousands of dollars worth of porn over decades. Those people aren't necessarily in healthy relationships, but I don't think the porn is the cause or even a symptom as much as it is an indicator that something is amiss in how they relate to themselves or others. I think porn is a lot like dessert. It can be fine in moderation or to accent a relationship but I don't think a steady diet of just that would be a great idea. Do people *need* porn? Mostly no. Mostly nobody *needs* dessert either but both are pretty commonly consumed by people out there and it's not just people who have problems.

The movie got me thinking about porn and the people who consume porn.
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