I am not much of a porn fan. I guess I haven’t really given myself the chance. Playboy seems to be about all that I can handle, and anything beyond that, for me, is like watching a surgery, except a lot less sterile and with a lot more naughty nurses. I can’t really place a finger on why I get squirmy in my seat at the close-up shots. I’m not a prude, by any means. These people are doing the exact same things billions of people do all over the world all the time. They just do it on camera with better makeup in “The Valley.”

In California, it seems porn is more of a pseudo-institution than anything else. No longer is it a sad cliche to hear of a Midwestern girl moving to California to be an actress and ends up in “Vivacious Vixens 32.” Paris Hilton got famous and became an icon for ten-year-old girls everywhere from her sex tape, and everyone knows at least one girl who strives to be in Penthouse. Sure, “the industry” is ridden with promiscuity, disease, drug use and sleazy guys, but what college campus isn’t? In spite of the recent family values backlash in politics, are we moving away from porn, or immersing ourselves in it?

I have to wonder about porn’s place in relationships as well. Over the summer, a friend of mine discovered a fair amount on her boyfriend’s computer, got furious, and naturally told me about it.

“I just feel like he’s cheating on me with those girls kind of,” she said. “I mean, he’s getting plenty, trust me. So why does he need to do it?”

Another girl piped up, “Yeah, if the guy is single it’s okay. But if he has a girlfriend? Big no-no.”

Why do we get so squeamish about porn, and furthermore, why do we get so squeamish about it when it comes to it entering our relationships? I personally would rather my boyfriend watch porn than take a girl out for a drink behind my back, whether the date ended in anything physical or not. Nothing makes me want to puke more than being cheated on. What he does when I am not around on his computer, I feel, should be his business. Would it have been so bad if you two sat down and enjoyed it together? To this response I got “Well yeah,” and “That’s totally worse.”

I have to wonder just how much our country actually wants to move away from sex, porn and everything in-between. Do I really have to mention the politicos who have come under attack for various sexual escapades? I am not condoning their actions by any means, but it would seem to me that repression tends to lead to unhealthy expressions of hidden desires, such as sending sexually charged instant messages to underage congressional pages. To be a representative of a party that sends the message that any form of sex on film is unacceptable is the unhealthiest contradiction of all. Mine and others’ squirming should have nothing to do with how, when or why a consenting adult sees two, three or 100 people grinding to the incredibly sensual sounds of “bow chika wow wow.”

Maybe I’m not giving porn enough credit. It is probably the only guaranteed aphrodisiac after alcohol. Without porn, would I know about a variety of other sexual behaviors, good, bad or ugly? Maybe porn is just the tip of the iceberg; allowing us to decide for ourselves what works and what doesn’t. Maybe I need to give porn another shot. Without a doubt, it will be uncomfortable, awkward, and oddly humorous; the same as everyone’s first time.

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