I'm not even mainstream when it comes to porn.

I'm constantly reading that an appreciation of pornography is acceptable (even normal) in contemporary American society, but the truth is I've never been a fan of hardcore pornography. The deal-breaker for me isn't the objectification of women or the incredibly bad acting, it's the essential unreality of the genre's defining scenes. In plain English: I just don't understand "the money shot". (That's the scene where the male actor invariably ejaculates on a woman, instead of in her like a normal man does.) It's one of those concepts so illogical that it makes my head hurt. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but there's never been a time when I was having sex and thought to myself "You know, I'm having so much fun, I think I'll stop and jerk off."

(I'm going to give everyone who knows what I look like a minute to clear that unsettling image from their minds. Everyone done? OK, let's move on.)

I mean, half the point of having the woman there is so that I don't have to do everything myself. It's a two-person job. Getting rid of the second person half-way through makes so little sense, I'm still unsure why it's in porn, let alone why it's the essential act. The money shot (along with the objectication of women, bad acting, and some other stuff) makes hardcore porn such an unrealistic representation of sex, that I don't even find it stimulating. That apparently makes me more of a freak (to other men) than collecting pornography would.

I'm dwelling on the unreality of porn this week because Sunday's New York Times sugggested that being stimulated by too much porn can cause sexual disfunction. No, really. The factoid was buried in a story about the popularity of anti-impotence drugs:

Sex therapists say a number of things could be contributing to the use of the drugs by otherwise healthy young men. Exposure to pornography, some speculated, has desensitized some men to less extreme sexual stimuli.

"[L]ess extreme sexual stimuli", in most cases, can be defined as "a normal, naked woman who wants to have sex". In the Good Old Days, a naked woman who wantsed to have sex was a certifiable Big Deal, and all red-blooded American men would gladly rise to the challenge. But not anymore, because overdosing on porn apparently makes it more difficult for porn fans to interact with typical women. (Or, as my Inner Teenager puts it, "Those dudes can't get it up for normal chicks!" My Inner Teenager needs to stop mocking strangers, or he's going to get beat up in Study Hall again.)

So, while my dislike of hardcore is an impediment to male-bonding, it's apparently keeping me from needing Viagra. While I think this is potentially a selling point for me (and trust me, I need all the selling points I can get), it's awkward to advertise. What am I going to do, put out a personals ad that says "Porn hasn't ruined my penis"?

Posted at 11:18:59 PM EST on 16 December 2003 from Trenton, MI