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Scarlett Nation » Body Politics » Mistress Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Internet Porn

Mistress Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Internet Porn

I like porn.

Sometimes it feels as though commentators have issues saying this, continuously hiding behind “I do not like what you say but I support your right to say it” defence. Nobody seems to want to admit to objecting to sex policy on a strictly personal basis. Not me.

I like porn.

I’ve enjoyed it for many years, and I have found my relationship with internet pornography a positive influence in my life and I am much the better for it. To read the mainstream press and listen to politicians however, pornography is a pernicious influence in our lives. It’s dangerous and we must be protected from it. We must protect our children (won’t somebody please think of the children?!) from this menace. Maybe my experience isn’t that common. But given how reluctant others seem to be to admit to liking pornography, perhaps more people have similar experiences but just won’t say. This is why I’m telling my story. Perhaps others will come forward  to speak out against the accepted wisdom of “porn is bad” and show that porn can be positive.

There’s no definitive start to my story, I don’t really remember when I began looking at pornography on the internet, but I was at least twelve. At this point I was mostly only looking at porn of course. These were the days of 28k dial-up, it was all pictures. To watch a video meant waiting for hours. Of course there were times when I would do that waiting, because I was especially curious to see how certain things worked, but before age fifteen, it mostly all photos and erotic fiction. Eventually of course, technology improved, streaming videos became easier (and AOL stopped charging by use and introduced a flat fee!) so by the time I finished school, I was a regular on several internet porn websites and forums. We’d share pictures and videos, information on new porn stars and starlets, and discuss what we liked and disliked in the industry. My enjoyment of porn was not just about the images, but also the community of which I was a part. Basically, I am certainly a long-term consumer of adult entertainment.

It’s difficult being a woman in the real world. Popular culture shows us the ideal female image, marketing terrorises us into trying to attain that image, which with the advances in digital retouching technology is quite literally unattainable. The physical expectations of women grows higher every day and causes great emotional damage to many in our society. But I never had that experience, because I had porn. I was part of a world where there was a place for everyone, where everyone had sex appeal to someone. Every day I would read posts extolling the attributes of different women, very different women. I saw internet porn sites existed for every type of woman, with loyal followers and fans too. Porn featuring thin women, big beautiful women (BBW), women with small breasts, women with big breasts, women of every race, young women, middle-aged women, elderly women – you name it, it exists. I never felt the same level of self-consciousness about my sexual attractiveness as my peers – internet porn (and particularly internet porn) gave me self-confidence because I knew that there were people out there who would find me sexually attractive.

Internet pornography damages the mainstream media’s ability to control society’s perception of what is sexually attractive and what isn’t. Beauty corporations will never be able to intimidate me into buying their product so I can look like a supermodel, because I already know that I don’t have to look like a supermodel in order for someone to find me attractive – the internet showed me this, and in doing so took away their marketing power over me. I knew that some guys out there did like fat black girls, so it didn’t matter if my body type never featured on page 3 or in the lads magazines. I felt less ugly and unwanted because the internet allowed me a window into sexuality beyond the mainstream, a place where even I could be considered attractive.

This is the best thing about the internet to me, as someone who has always felt isolated and unusual. It grants the ability to find like-minded people in a way that has never happened before, and allows those who feel sidelined by the majority to realise that they aren’t as unusual as they may feel. I became comfortable in my own sexuality much earlier than I probably would have done without internet pornography, and I now have what I believe to be an open and healthy relationship with sex as a result. My own personal experience of pornography is a positive one, one that has given me a sense of self-esteem and self-determination. The thing I take away with me is that pornography like most things has the potential to be positive or negative, and it is the relationship that one has with it that determines which it is.

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Co-founder and contributor to Scarlett Nation

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