Last Friday the student body received the usual don’t-rape-someone-this-weekend e-mail from Dr. Carole Goldberg, which accompanies such rape-likely occasions as Halloween and the Freshman Screw. Stay safe, it urged, don’t hurt people and, in the third bullet point, it got a little frisky: “It is our wish to […] strengthen the resolve of those who are dedicated to finding just the right words that would lead to glorious, consensual sex (if that’s in the cards).”
“Glorious, consensual sex,” that sounds great! “If that’s in the cards,” that’s an awkward equivocation! We receive directives about sex throughout our lives, whether it’s bags of Durex “Love” condoms in freshman entryways or disembodied peen-in-vajeen cartoons in high school sex-ed.
We’re taught to put condoms onto bananas and we teach ourselves how to blow them into the silkiest and most delicate balloons. We’re told not to get the STDs that begin with an H and we learn that plan B is bursar-able at Yale Health Services. But rarely in our lives are we instructed how to have sex that is both consensual and glorious.
If, in a charitable moment, you type “how to give” into Google, the search suggestions are: “how to give a boy head,” “how to give a guy head,” “how to give a cat a bath,” “how to give good head,” “how to give a blow job,” “how to give a lap dance,” “how to give yourself a tattoo,” “how to give someone a hickey,” and “how to give a cat a pill.”
The themes of oral sex and feline maintenance that Google spits out reflect an absence of both sex and pet education in our culture. As a result, the two are sometimes tragically confused. But more importantly, the lack of healthy sexual exposure means our hook-up tips are primarily streamed online.
The negative effects of pornstruction — sexual instruction via the well-endowed delivery boy and the hungry housewife with no cash — are well-known, oft debated and inscribed on the face and bod of one unfortunate British woman named Cany.
Cany is the wife of a plastic surgeon, who married her because he saw physical “potential.” Over five years he has conducted eight surgeries on her eyes, thighs, face and chest, transforming her A cups into back-breaking Fs.
The irony of killing a woman’s nerve cells to titillate a man’s is lived on a smaller scale everyday: Girls sexing with sucked-in stomachs, timing their hook-ups by wax cycles and avoiding eye-contact with their naked reflection. The female quest to be sexually appealing too often leads to cock-blocking — or at least orgasm-blocking — insecurities.
But self-loathing is only one of porn’s many pernicious effects. Introducing: jackhammer sex, from a pornhub near you.
Too many girls I know have been subjected to the nonstop ram session of a porn-schooled lover, internally debating whether to fake an expression of mild ecstasy or tell the guy to stop (cringe). While the terms “bone,” “bang,” “nail,” “pound,” “hammer,” “hit that” and “slay” are sexy in that ironically thuggish way, they should never be literal descriptions of a sexual experience.
This is more than just innocent ignorance of female anatomy — for girls, getting from A to B is not a straight, repetitive and relentless line. It transforms girls into inanimate receptacles, and as porn stars increasingly look like blow-up dolls and blow-up dolls feel increasingly like flesh, the line between a real and a plastic girl in online fantasy land becomes frighteningly blurry.
And that would be fine if porn weren’t teaching kids, and mainly boys, how to have sex. A preteen has little sexual exposure, beyond the porn clips viewed on the family desktop while the parents are out, internalizing cervix-slamming intercourse before deleting the Internet history.
And the cookies. Never forget the cookies.
A high school friend of mine was befuddled by a particular hook-up in which every time she attempted fellatio the boy immediately rose to his feet. The kid couldn’t conceive of a blow job in which the girl wasn’t on her knees.
So do we change porn or change people or people porn with changed persons? We could inject a female perspective into online sex, but so many girls have shame-complexes about masturbation and its enablers.
“I love porn,” said a friend of mine, “but after I climax I feel guilty and repulsed and slam my laptop shut thinking ‘But I’m a feminist!!!’”
A tricky bind to be sure. But perhaps it would help if Carole Goldberg just defined the terms in her don’t-rape reminders.
Consensual sex: Sex that is not rape.
Glorious sex: Sex that does not look like rape (unless that’s what you want).
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Awkward equivocation.