Why I Stopped Watching Porn by Ran Gavrieli (Transcript)

December 1, 2014 9:26 am | By More

Ran Gavrieli writes and lectures about emotional and physical safe sex; porn and porn-influenced cultural damages; gender and power relations; and sex and intimacy.

 

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Ran Gavrieli

I stopped watching porn for two reasons basically. The first one was that porn brought so much anger and violence into my private fantasies. And these were anger and violence that were not there originally to begin with. And I did not want it for me anymore. This was not me and, I decided to just put an end to it. Easier said than done — I got it later on.

The second reason was that I came to realize I think that only by watching porn I take part in creating a demand for filmed prostitution because that’s what porn really is: filmed prostitution.

Pornē stands for prostitute; graphia stands for documentation. And prostitution was nobody’s childhood dream, it is always a result of trouble and distress.

Now, I became aware of that gradually, when I was volunteering with men and women in prostitution, some of them victims of human traffic, serving aid in brothels, under the bridge and street corners. But you don’t really need to do all that in order to understand how this mechanism of porn and prostitution works.

Because porn is a genre – it’s not about erotica or healthy sexual communication. It is all about male domination of women, subordinance of women. Not only the sexual practice, but as a way of being, as a genderial hierarchy in this world.

If we would ask porn – if we were to ask porn, how does it define something as sexual? What qualifies, what defines something as sexual? Porn would laugh in our face. What defines sexual? Whatever men find arousing – men find it arousing to choke a woman – to have a brutal sex without one touch, hug, kiss, tender caress?

Well then it is sexual. It arouses men to see a woman or child cry? It is sexual. It arouses men to rape a woman; well, then it is sexual.

In every mainstream porn gallery on the web, we can find the rape category side by side with the humiliation category, abuse category, crime category and so on. And this is all as if this regular porn is not already filled with these motives. Even in its mildest version, the mildest version of porn, what porn is showing us like, I know, 80%, maybe 90% of the time is actually sex with no hands involved. This is not how we authentically desire.

Sorry, I’ll repeat that, I see your look. Sex with no hands involved. Okay.

If you and I are not going to give up watching porn, the next thing you do watch just you just notice that porn cameras have no interest in capturing any normal sensual activities such as petting, caressing, making out, touching, hugging, kissing. No.

What porn cameras are into is the penetration. So normally the composition will be a man and a woman, hopefully just one, okay. So, one man and one woman. His penis is inside her. Don’t be picky. It doesn’t matter where inside. Somewhere inside. His penis is somewhere inside her, okay? And in order not to block the camera for doing this extreme close up on the penetration, he’s standing with his hands behind his back most of the time.

And the woman is in this – uncomfortable position and she needs to handle the penis inside her without damaging the hair or make up or look down on her because that’s money invested and time invested in her. Without disturbing his aggressive movement and mainly without blocking the cameras. So the result is that we got two people having sex different shapes and acrobatics or something. But they’re having sex when the only body parts that actually touch each other are the penis and the part being penetrated. No hands involved.

Now I talked, I don’t know, 250-300 times a year, soldiers, students, pupils. No one has ever come up to me and say, “Ran, you know that part with sex with no hands thing that was my authentic desire, like when I was 11 or 12, I never wanted to kiss or touch anybody. I was not curious about that. It was all the penetration to begin with.”

No one has ever said that — before porn.

After porn. In my private fantasies before watching porn, there was always a very strong narrative and the narrative was of sensuality and mutuality which means that I had always imagined what I would say to her? What would she possibly answer? What options do I have to respond?

In real life it never works like I planned, but it was super important in my mind in term of arousal, the build-up, the location, the setting, where will it be? What are the circumstances of me and her being all alone all of a sudden. How will this bodily inflaming between us will emerge step by step? It was super important. Before porn.

After making a habit out of porn, it conquers your mind and it invades your brain. And I lost my ability to imagine. Which means I found myself — and I won’t be too explicit, but trying to masturbate, just closing my eyes trying to fantasize desperately about something human and not making it because my head was bombarded with all of those images of women being violated and subordinated and forced into pretending they enjoyed diabolic sperm rituals.

So, this is pretty much the result. And we are all vulnerable to pornography. It’s not just young people and we should be very careful, I think, with not only what we put into our bodies in terms of food and nutrition, but with the nutrition of our mind. Because everything we watch invades us.

I’ll give you a short example from non-sexual areas.

I came the other night, I came back home and my beloved one was watching some cultural junk. She was watching a karaoke show audition, the one with chairs spinning. We don’t have a TV set back home, but only because it allows us to falsely present ourselves as deep and profound people. I’ve never heard of that.

Mastectomy who? Angelina? No, we don’t have a TV. We watch every cultural junk possible, okay? Not me, not her, we don’t contemplate about existence. We download stuff. And we download all cultural junk. So I am watching this 20 minutes karaoke show. And it was so boring and tedious. Two minutes talking, four minutes blabbering. I lost patience after 20 minutes and I went off to take a shower and the most interesting part was in the shower. Because what I found out there was myself in my most pathetic state ever. I’m going to share it with you.

I want to feel that you accept and love me, so I have to share my most pathetic moment and you have to accept it now.

I don’t know until I got over myself if it took me five, seven, ten minutes to realize that I am standing under the water in the shower pondering severely what would’ve been my song for the auditions? Deep and profound, mind you. I won’t be doing this Rihanna or Lady Gaga’s. I will be doing Mercedes Sosa’s Como Un Pájaro Libre. I’ll be doing a cover for Bob Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell. Ain’t that deep and profound?

I had to realize that I’m an idiot because I have no talent for music. More than that, I never wanted to be neither a musician nor a singer or songwriter. This was never a part of my inner world of wishes, okay? But I’m a human being. What can I do? I was watching that for 20 minutes. It entered my brain for a while.

So if we take this example and we just try to measure or estimate the impact of 20 minutes of watching no matter what, how it invades our mind and conquers our wantings and desires.

Let’s just try to imagine or I can share it with you orally – what is the impact of 20 minutes of watching porn once or twice a week, nothing unmoderated? It’s overtaking. And porn is in our household, whether we want it or not and I believe that it does not agree with our well-being. Because we have internet in the western world all over the place almost in every cellular phone now, we’ve got 90% of 12 year-olds watching porn on a regular basis. And it has both an addictive effect and a paralyzing effect.

It’s addictive, because it develops somewhat of a dependency on porn. And paralyzing part is because, mainly for young boys and men, porn is teaching us that as a man you are solely valued in sex by having a large penis and an eternal erection. According to porn, being a valuable sexual partner does not relate with being sensual, passionate, attentive, generous, well-coordinated. None of the above. It is all about large penis and eternal sunshine, which we don’t possess.

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  1. Martha says:

    Thank you. You’ve put onto words something I never quite could.