Sex is one of those human emotions, which is also being rapidly redefined. "Making sense of modern pornography" is what this New Yorker essay is about. The following sentence there makes me think about how much even our "regular" vocabulary and approach to life has changed:
It has permeated everyday life, to the point where we talk easily of food porn, disaster porn, war porn, real-estate porn—not because culture has been sexualized, or sex pornified, but because porn’s patterns of excess, fantasy, desire, and shame are so familiar.I know what the author is referring to; even in this blog, I have used phrases like 'poverty porn' when, for instance, critiquing Slumdog Millionaire. The word "porn" has pretty much become a part of our daily vocabulary.
Porn is everywhere. And at zero cost. One small typo when entering a URL can easily send one to a porn site. Years ago, back when the web was young, I wrote an op-ed about this, during my California years, in which I noted that life as a teenager has become immensely more complicated and how amazed I was that the kids were managing this quite successfully. In the years since, the life of a young person has become even more challenging with porn so easy to access right from the smartphone, and with sexting becoming a part of the daily vocabulary. I am so glad that I am not a stressed out teenager with hormones rushing through every possible vein. Phew!
Despite porn’s ubiquity, the Internet has also made it more private, and its effects less knowable. The consequences of seeing sex before having it are as unclear as those of Facebook’s colonization of our leisure time. Pornography isn’t hermetically sealed from the rest of culture, and today it sits on a continuum with other problems of technology that we don’t yet know how to address.I love how the author has summed it up: "it sits on a continuum with other problems of technology that we don’t yet know how to address." We have no freaking idea.
Meanwhile, technology is apparently flooding the market with sex toys that are so beyond my wildest imaginations, like these:
Then there are smart toys and machines such as the Bluetooth WorldVibe vibrator, with shareable vibration patterns and an app that controls the device, and the Limon, which uses ‘squeeze technology’ that allows one partner to squeeze the toy, programming it to a personalised rhythm and pressure the other can enjoy. There’s also Vibease, the ‘world’s first wearable smart vibrator’, which is controlled by an app on either iPhone or Android. One partner can wear the vibrator inside her underwear and the other, regardless of where she or he is, can control it.Am I the only one who finds it creepy with such intersections of technology and sex? More than the creepiness factor, what worries me more is the one with which the author ends the essay: "we risk alienating ourselves from each other all over again."
There are toys for men too, although unlike toys for women, which straddle solo and partner play, heterosexual men’s toys are largely masturbatory devices.
The scenarios presented by Hollywood in Her and Ex Machina do not seem that far away. All the more to look forward to turning 75.