WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS (A) DEFINITELY NOT SAFE FOR WORK; (B) DEFINITELY NOT SUITABLE FOR ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 AND; (C) AT TIMES, GRAPHICALLY RAUNCHY AND POSSIBLY DISGUSTING, DEPENDING ON YOUR POINT OF VIEW. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Ladies, next time you meet a guy for the first time, allow me to suggest a different sort of ice breaker than the usual chit chat. Instead of asking him, "So, what do you do for a living" or "Do you live nearby?" - try this:
"Hey buddy, what your particular Internet porn fetish?"
He'll probably look at you nervously, like he doesn't know what you're talking about. But chances are he'll be timidly thinking "How did she know?"
However, one hardly needs the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes to construe correctly that their new acquaintance belongs to one of the countless porn sites out there. Because these days, millions of people everywhere are "answering the Bone-a-Phone" and "doing the Two Finger Taco Tango" (don't deny it, ladies) in front of their computers to stuff that makes the folks of Sodom and Gomorrah look like nuns and monks.
If you've read this far - and with a disclaimer like the one above, how could you not - you may be thinking "How unsavory! Is this really necessary? We know people watch porn on the net. We know people masturbate. I'd rather not picture it, thank you very much. Some subjects are better left unsaid." I would normally agree with you, except Internet porn is monstrous, gigantic and tremendous; a juggernaut with the momentum of a hurtling meteor; and it bears notice. And you'll never read an article like this in Time or Newsweek, so strap on your 11-inch dildo and hold on for dear life. We're going in, balls deep.
One quick note: Should any future employer or current family member read this article (you dirty little tramps, you know who you are), please note that I had to do lots of research here. This stuff didn't just come out of my head like a catharsis of pent up gutter culture, exploding like Mt. St. Helens onto the Internet.
Onto the business at hand.
At first glance, the obsession with pornography - and make no mistake, obsession is the correct word - seems a bit nonsensical. After all, what, in essence, is pornography? Every human being is born with a variety of organs, all with different yet interconnected purposes and functions. And the sex organs are no different. We have them, and they have a use - to reproduce, mainly. There are other hormonal functions regulated by the sex organ, but in the end, they too exist to force us living things into instinctual mating, thus insuring the prolongation of our race. It's a natural occurrence, no different, really, than eating or breathing. Yet eating and breathing websites do not dominate the internet. Fear Factor aside, no one is going to pay to watch other people eating and breathe, even if they do it in really creative and unusual ways.
But clearly, people are willing to pay billions and billions of their hard earned dollars to watch artificial images of other people having sex. We are, for some reason, fascinated with videos of people manipulating each other's thingies and sticking a variety of phallic. It turns us on, and we want to be turned on. But this much? How much is enough, or is there even such a thing?
Accurate statistics are difficult to come by for this, as would seem logical. People who watch a lot of porn on their computers aren't champing at the bit to tell the whole world about it, and in the ever-changing world of cyberspace, things change often and quickly. But there are a few agreed –upon numbers that can be presented here.
The worldwide business solely on the Internet that falls roughly under the category of "adult" is over $60 billion. In the United States alone, people spend $12 billion on pornography annually, about twice as much money as the combined revenues for all NFL, NBA and MLB sports franchises. Internet pornography accounts for about a quarter of that number, or about $3 billion dollars. Every year. On Internet porn.
One statistic I found estimates that, as of 2003, seven out of every ten dollars earned on the web was related to pornography.
Twenty-five percent of all search-engine requests are porn related. A search for "porn" on Google revealed over 86 million hits. On the right column of the page are sponsored links to help you find just what you're looking for. (On a side note, to serve as an indication of how far we've come: videos of women with natural breasts and hair above their vaginas are now in the "fetish" section.)
Now, everything is categorized. There was a time when porn was much simpler. In fact, porn dates back to ancient civilizations. Artifacts and artwork found from Chinese and roman times - thousands of years ago - depict scenes that would surely get an XXX rating today. I guess you had to paint a picture for some people; sex-ed hadn't been invented yet.
In more recent times, photography proved to be a boon for porn, and then ever more so, moving pictures. Early black and white films from all over the world depicted couples occupied in fairly normal sex acts. I actually saw a French film (leave it to the French) when I worked, years ago, at a hipster indie-movie house, that included a sex scene where a woman was engaged in various two-on-one positions with a couple of French dudes. It was, in fact, a silent movie, so atypical sex on film been around for a while.
But what we have today is totally different.
I got my first inkling of what was on the Internet before I had actually seen anything for myself. The Internet came late to me – it had been fairly common for a few years before I had my own PC with an Internet connection. The phenomenon of free porn online was well known by the mid-1990's, and as a red-blooded American male I was surely interested. After all, everything I learned about sex as a young lad came from Hustler and Penthouse (Playboy was boring, but they did have good articles) - but for whatever reason I just didn't go down that road for a while. I think I was afraid that as soon as I started looking for dirty pictures on the web, the Cyber Gestapo would come bashing down my door, so for a while I had no idea what kind of insanity was out there. No really, I swear!
The one day several years ago, I was hanging out with my cyber-savvy buddy playing some video games on one of his many PC's, when I get a summons.
"Hey dude, come here and check this shit out."
"Look at the fucking SPAM I get. I mean, this shit is outrageous"
And there I saw it. In full color, pasted directly into his email, was an advertisement for a, ahem, shall we say, decidedly specialized Internet porn site. In it was a full frontal, graphic photograph of what they were selling. The headline read: "Pregnant Anal Fisting??? You Betcha!!! "
It was like a train wreck. I knew I shouldn't be staring at this homely and very pregnant woman with a fist shoved so far up her ass that one had to wonder if the highly objectionable process was having some detrimental effect on the unborn child. It couldn't have been good for the little guy at any rate. But it was captivating. Thoughts kept circulating through my head. Who the hell thought of that? Who's seeking it out and paying money to watch it? Where's the enjoyment? How did that poor woman get to a point in life where she figured, "Pregnant anal fisting movies? Sign me up".
What if her unborn child grows up and sees this picture? "Yup, there's my dear old mom." Yikes!
The truth is the Internet is bursting at the seams with this kind of thing. Any sexual deviant thought, feeling or action has its own website. Want to see movies of 80-year old women getting gangbanged? How about videos of women having sex with various kitchen appliances? Rim jobs - and only rim jobs - suit your fancy? Golden showers perhaps? Take your pick from hundreds of different choices! Who hasn't always wanted to see enemas up close and personal? The fine folks at the "all enema movies" website were attuned to your needs and have a five-girl enema scene waiting for you – get your credit card ready!
And then are literally thousands of websites that don't actually contain any porn in and of themselves; they just categorize all the porn that's out there for your shopping ease. And they have really good descriptions of the free preview movies that you can watch to see if it's what your bizarre brain is searching for. Links entitled "College Girl Double Toying & Gives Head" and "Classy Teen Hardcore Fucked In Every Hole (all the classiest teens I know do that) let you know exactly what you're getting.
Again, I can't help but think how some girl went from "Daddy's Little Princess" to being the girl in the "Fucked In Every Hole" scene. Gotta be drugs. Nothing else makes sense. When you are a helpless addict and you don't know how you're going to put the next hit of crystal meth on your plate, you'll do just about anything. And what so they do when they get old and discover the world has no place for them? Little wonder dozens of female porn stars have committed suicide.
So, if you're anything like me, you feel a bit sick right now. We tend to joke about Internet porn, but it's a serious problem. It's not healthy. Guys get hooked on these sites; they start to want what they see online from their wives in girlfriends, and as such, their minds get warped. Marriages get wrecked, women get exploited and a few porn kings get rich off of it all. And I didn't even address the illegal stuff, of which there is plenty.
Our society is incalculably obsessed with sex; if we are among the not-so-perfect looking majority, we tend to fantasize about having sex with people that are out of our league. Or, we want to see people doing things that we either don't have the guts to do, or we can't find anyone willing to participate in our secret fixations, so watching them anonymously on our computer screens is the next best thing. And as long as that's the case, the online porn industry will continue to out earn every other business on the web, as they have done for the past 15 years.
It's a sick world out there. I expect the brimstone any minute.
Evan Redmon is a manager of a public golf course in Washington, D.C. and writes a few things about stuff sometimes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you really want.