The other day, I found myself sitting at a well known all day breakfast place. I was one of seven womenin the group. The food was excellent and we agreed we liked the place. Then one of us said what all of us were probably thinking "Suggestive name though... 'One up all day'....Wishful thinking perhaps?" We all giggled. "Speaking of which" said another in the group "Have you checked out Bellesa"? Three ladies nodded appreciatively. Yes they had. The rest of us looked blank "What is that? Lingerie?" I asked. "Oh there's lingerie but generally not for long" replied one of those in the know "It's a porn site targeted at women. You know, feminist porn".
First, let me say that as much as I know the people in that group rather well, I was not expecting porn over breakfast. We discuss our intimate lives with a fair amount of candour, but porn or rather how often we as women watch porn, has never been part of the conversation. Many members of this group were the same ones I spent a giggle and goggle filled sleep over with when we were 16 watching 'stolen' copies of 9 ½ weeks and Wild Orchid; so we have come a long way together, but still, Eggs Benedict and rocket salad with maybe some light bondage and girl on girl action on the side? NOT what I was expecting.
And don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful that women discuss these things. We should. We must.
Female sexuality has been repressed for far too long. We should totally be out there watching, talking about and doing whatever we like but....I was definitely taken aback. I had clearly been out of the loop too long. Apparently while I had been hiding under some rock, women had started discussing porn sites like they were shoe stores "Oh did you see that? What a cute pair, right?! Just gorgeous! I was dying to try some of them on!"
I left breakfast feeling weird, how had I missed this rite of passage? I called my younger sister Macaron for answers.
Me: Morning! Do you watch porn?
Macaron: Your conversational ice breakers could use some work Bouche
Me: It's a serious question
Macaron: Yes I have watched porn
Me: But you don't now?
Macaron: I spend my time playing music that I think will be good for the baby and reading out loud from classic novels, I scarcely think interspersing that with the sound of fake multiple orgasms is acceptable
Me: Right. Sorry.
Feeling much chastened I called The Man.
Me: Hey! So, hitherto unexplored territory...porn
The Man: Pawn what?
The Man: Did you pawn something? Why?
Me: No no not pawn – P.O.R.N - that porn
The Man: Ah....now that you quite literally spelled it out...
The Man: This is one of those conversations that's going to start off all free and fair and rapidly descend
into me getting my butt kicked right?
The Man: Fine. Yes. Yes I do.
Now, I am well aware that men watch porn. Foie Gras (ex husband) had quite the classic collection on video and then DVD, and though I don't know for sure, now probably has a whole library of the stuff stored on a smutty cloud somewhere. I admit that I watched some of it with him, but I can't really say I ever learned to appreciate it.
Erotica in the form of literature is more my sort of thing, but even then I have some issues with most of it. Bad writing is a buzz kill for me, as are clichés and stupid metaphors and similes. Recently I was reading a reasonably energetic tale and was just starting to enjoy it when she referred to the man as having 'tugged' her 'by the mane'. What was she? A horse? And speaking of which, am I the only onewho finds the men who are hung like horses in these videos to be borderline scary?
The fact is that to me porn just looks fake – I find the extra large appendages alarming, I despise 'the money shot', the girls look emaciated and eventually simply exhausted, and I keep thinking 'wow – they must need some serious industrial grade lube for that'. At one point during an orgy (which I watched I might add, purely for research purposes) the men gave each other a high five – I mean, are they serious?
There are countless articles out there suggesting that as with most things in life, you can have too much porn. An early and easy access to porn is giving young people a very skewed idea of what they can expect, and what they should deliver in the bedroom. Porn can mess up sexual function, warp minds, foster unrealistic expectation, guarantee disappointment, be downright dangerous and bring about the end of relationships.
And yet there are other articles that suggest that in sensible amounts, porn can have a definite positive effect. A recent article divided porn watchers into three groups - Recreational, Compulsive and Distressed. http://www.medicaldaily.com/there-are- 3-types- pornogrpahy-watchers- and-only- 1-healthy-which-group- do-you- 413067 Only the Recreational category are considered healthy. If I were compelled to find myself within these categories I am startled to note that I am most likely 'Distressed'.
Well I am. But for different reasons. The whole topic made me worry anew about what my son and nieces may be watching on the multiple devices that they have at their disposal. Let's not after all fool ourselves that teenagers can't get past parental locks and net nannies. I call Foie Gras.
Me: Hi. Have you talked to Trou about porn? Do you know if he watches it?
Foie Gras: Bouche! You surprise me! It's 7am and already you have porn on the brain! Why weren't you like this when we were married?
Me: Answer the question
FG: Yes, I have. No, I don't know his viewing preferences
FG: Do me a favour and don't ask him, ok?
Deciding that I needed a distraction, I turned my attention to researching what women most often watch. Here's a sample of the kind of information that came up http://www.maxim.com/maxim-man/what-porn- women-watch- 2016-3
I didn't even know what Hentai was. I had to Google it. I wish I hadn't. Women want to watch THAT?
I consider myself rather open minded in the bed room. A quality that has increased with age. I enjoy watching sex in the movies and on TV shows. Outlander is a particularly good example of sex that was beautifully written in the books and then very well executed on screen. I even admit to a small Outlander obsession but, can you blame me? I mean, have you SEEN Jamie?
The Man and I watch some of the content available on the 'feminist porn' site. Well I watch it. He mostly watches me.
"We should play a drinking game" he says "Every time you look incredulous or disgusted you drink. We should have you smashed in...oh about half an hour"?
"Am I boring"? I ask tentatively
"Because you don't like porn? Goodness Bouche, of course not" is his reply.
But it's difficult to be appeased. Watching porn and admitting to it had suddenly become something everyone was doing. It was like school, and I was the uncool kid who didn't know what was going on and therefore had no lunch table to sit at. So I called the person I thought would be most likely to empathise with my plight – my older sister Coq Au Vin. She listened patiently.
Coq Au: Frankly it's probably just that you haven't found something you like. Suddenly something will just grab you - push your buttons. No one is just goggling PORN, they Google whatever they like specifically. It's very subjective.
Me: (Inserting as much sarcasm as I could) Yeah? What's your favourite?
Coq Au: (without hesitation) The home videos. The real couples. Usually one camera angle but tonnes of passion.
Me: (completely taken aback) Really? Er.....It can't be easy making those videos
Coq Au: Oh believe me - it isn't!
So here I am. A woman with several missions:
a) find porn that I can actually appreciate
b) discover what porn The Man appreciates
c) And last, but not least, find a way to have a normal conversation with my brother in law while actually making eye contact.