I’m working on my fourth novel and I’ve been researching pornography on the Internet, because in my book – believe it or not – there might be a scene where a character participates in a jolly romp with several other willing people. I have no idea how to write sex with some sense of authenticity. I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, or as they call it my neck of the woods, Fifty Shades of Sheep and I haven’t ever felt the need to type the word ‘porn’ into google, although I’m sure others have. I’ve lived a peaceful life, so far. My research started by sipping a glass of wine and explaining to my man I was to be left undisturbed for an hour as I was working on the plot of the new book. Busy watching the rugby on TV, he nodded and reached for the extra-large bag of cheese and onion crisps. He’s okay, I thought. I didn’t consider I might not be.
It took about half a second to track the stuff down. After ten minutes of staring at the screen with my mouth open, I felt as if I was in a war zone. I have never seen so much bare flesh and blushing orifices since I was encouraged to look in a mirror in the delivery room so I could see one of my kids emerging into the world. Seriously, I couldn’t make out what bit was attached to which, or if they were they actually human beings? I decided to plough on. The second site was geared to women. Described as ‘arty’ porn, it was marginally better, as the couples did seem to be looking at each other…
After awhile, I became seriously bored. One tumescent appendage is much like another. They may vary in size, speed of action and colour, but seen one, seen ’em all. And as for the lady’s under carriages, now I know how my gynecologist feels when he’s waiting to see woman patient number 100 for an examination on her front bottom. My nether-land looks nothing like those working out in the movie, with either a pretend willy that wiggles like a demented snake or a chap who needs to see a surgeon pronto, as there is something definitely amiss with his wedding tackle – have you ever seen a set of testicles that look like over-ripe aubergines? Moussaka will never taste the same again.
Porn on the net is not very gripping – sorry about the pun – although millions tune in every day. It has a mechanical edge to it, like watching old tractors ploughing weedy fields. And the facial expression, the grunts and groans; all a bit over-done, if you ask me. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to perform in one of those movies.
My third attempt was much more disturbing. Easily accessible with one click of the mouse, I was faced with a bevy of girls who looked young, and I mean very young. I was so shocked. If you have teen-age daughters, seeing that stuff would make you furious. It certainly had that reaction on me. Society is full of hypocrisy, and never more so when it comes to sex and porn. But now, it’s out there. Anything you want, 24/7. It’s truly scary.
So who are these people who are happy to strip off in front of a camera and have sex with strangers? I guess they are ordinary people, like you and me? I suspect the women show up in the morning, wearing jeans and t-shirt, and after a nice hot cuppa, strip down to their M&S underwear. The male or female co-stars saunter in, looking like over-developed navvies with tattoos all over their arms and hair on their bums or more perfect size 8 models. They probably shake hands or say hi while the director places the flesh in the right alignment and adjusts the lighting in case any spots or pustules, floppy bits or greenish sheens show up. Can she look him in the eye? Can he perform the wicked deed as nonchalantly if he were planting cabbages or drilling for oil? I guess so, if a big fat cheque is the outcome.
Another issue that gets to me is the way the women have no hair anywhere and not a single stretch mark AND they have perfect nails and feet! How do they do it? We’ve all have a few corns on our toes, a couple of warts and a tide mark here and there. I certainly was never shaven from top to – bottom. I always thought pubic hair made men happy and got women singing : “You Make Me Feel Like A Nat-u-ral WOOMAAN” after an eye-full. Not so, these days.
I live in the country and today, walking my dog, I stopped by three very pink lady pigs that live happily in the mud of a farm pigsty. I don’t know how they do it, but they always look quite clean and they look vaguely familiar. Something about the way the only visible hair you could see was up their snouts, the fact they were so smooth and pink, with their little bottoms and their curly tails available to any old bore…
The people who work in porn get paid, and it must be lucrative, for I’m sure that cash is the driving force in all this. Are they totally detached from what they are doing? Unless you looked for specifics, the participants are usually young and resemble models and so do the blokes. Your man in the street has a hard time matching an ordinary women to the picture he will hold in his mind after watching this type of porn. Nothing less that perfection will do, I guess?
The playwright Bertolt Brecht couldn’t have known when he named a particular technique for actors – ‘alienation’ – that it might be applied to porn acting. I can hear him spinning in his box. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains ‘alienation’ like this:
“It involves the use of techniques designed to distance the audience from emotional involvement in the play through jolting reminders of the artificiality of the theatrical performance.
Examples of such techniques include explanatory captions or illustrations projected on a screen; actors stepping out of character to lecture, summarize, or sing songs; and stage designs that do not represent any locality…”
Well, the first bit is right. There is certainly no emotional involvement when you watch porn. Artificiality is the name of the game, Bertolt. A couple of verses of Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington might brighten up your experience of watching Tatoo Man and Funny Fanny Lady going at it like a nodding donkey in an oil field. If one of them stopped for a moment to address the viewer, perhaps with a little recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake, or gave you a couple of tips on cleaning out your flue (pun? sorry) it might add a bit of sparkle to whole debacle.
As for me, in the spirit of truthful research, I spent a whole precious afternoon trawling through the world of Internet porn and it felt like a chunk of my life had been stolen. I’m no prude, so why was I bored witless? Did I wonder why people part with their money to watch such appalling films, where the artistic merit and creative input is as innovative as watching jelly and bananas slide off a plate and hit the
linoleum in a slipperly, soggy mess? Yes, I did. Would I do it again? No. Am I a compassionate and caring commentator when it comes to those poor suckers doing it to make a living? Well, I have to say, I am. It must be an awful job. After all, if you are a woman you are competing with a male fantasy you can never live up to and if you are a chap, God help you…
Ho Hum. I will have to draw on my imagination for the scene in my novel, which I can tell you, is a darn sight more exciting than watching Hot Bazookers, Tatoo Ted and Funny Fanny humping their way through a days’ hard graft.