06 January 2011

On Pornography

It must be admitted that watching pornography is time-consuming business for men. One can easily locate a liar within a flock of men when he confidently remarks that pornography has failed to inspire glimpses and enlarge his sexual imagination during his teenage. In the age of liberalism, a restriction on pornography not only offends our sexual interests, but it also hints at a refusal to enrich our sexual lives by doing away our erotic fantasies. But whatever pornographic interests we may have, does liberalism necessarily suggest our erotic imaginations should flow freely within the fabric of our consciousness and intentionally leave the unconscious ones unguarded? What might be the limits and consequences when we liberate them to their maximum potential?

If pornography not only suffices as a visual medium to unleash our suppressed sexual desires, it is perhaps because pornography is as well a contemporary incarnation of Kama Sutra, where it infinitely extends the pages of the age-old "science" of love and fills up the empty pages of positions and foreplays that might have been neglected or undiscovered centuries ago. Many romantically deluded teens look to pornography not just for masturbation, but also for sexual guidance, for it makes up for the lack of dynamics and drama in the uncreative moves that are only allowed to perform in their beds. How easy we might enrich our sexual lives by streaming a few pornographic films online.

Perhaps this is it. For many teens, physical intimacy might be the very reason why they embark on a romantic journey in the first place. How complicated and time-consuming when we realise that there is much money and sense of humour involved just to woo someone into bed; how life would be much easier if we could monitor the dating process on a screen where we can push the fast forward button and skip the foreplay whenever we please and push the play button at the precise sequence to render our latent desires visible. Yet if there is something interrupting this Eden, it is because pornography has risked harbouring an illusion so strong that we might be fooled into thinking that we are actually in love, because we are already having sex. The act of sexual intercourse forcefully and immediately suggests psychological intimacy that binds us with another person.

Hence, if we follow strictly the teenage logic, we only need sex instead of appeasing our romantic yearnings. Love is something that needs to be chipped off its edges, polished, and distilled to reveal its essence. It is only a by-product of sex. It clouds us with a romantic illusion that lure us into believing that there is someone we should actually caress for and die for. There comes the time when sex should become a sport, merely for pleasure and health, just like one is working out in a gym to assure one has a robust buildup and a better immune system.

However, sex is not merely done merely for the sake of pleasure. If there is something neglected during the act of intercourse, it is because we are still at heart obsessed with the age-old distinction of the body and mind which we unfairly consign love to the mind and sex to the body. Behind the act of intercourse lies a psychological aspect longing to be satisfied. While love doesn't necessarily go with sex, sex, however, always goes with love, for love grants us permanent access to certain emotional textures which may seem forbidden during intercourse. With love, we have sex not for pleasure, but for intimacy. Our partners are not merely at our service, but to be loved.

Sex is founded on our longing for intimacy. Love, unlike sex, is not merely a desire, instead of being a means to possession, it allows us to escape from loneliness to which our greatest unhappiness is anchored. Hence physical intimacy suggests a material articulation of what is affectionate. However, if sex is stripped of its association with the desire of bonding, while it may offer physiological delight, it hardly deepens our sense of intimacy, for psychological intimacy requires communication and understanding whilst physical intimacy is rooted in the art of seduction which is founded on the display of our finest qualities. Therefore, psychological intimacy aspires to the witness of one blowing his nose aggressively without a handkerchief whilst its physical counterpart stems from a rather superficial appreciation of the perfect contour of female body and her skin texture. Only through the language of love, sex can harbour a psychological fulfilment to the instinct.

Thought might be antithetical to pornography, for sexually arousing mediums are meant to be intuitive, spontaneous and unreflective. To meditate on the role of pornography is to mitigate the depth of our sexual satisfaction may aspire to. But this is precisely where the danger of pornography lies. It pays too much attention to positions and styles and is entirely lacking the psychological flavour of sex. Greek philosophers had contemplated much on the topic which Plato, in "The Symposium" remarked that desires should be directed to the right end at the right place, at the right time, and at a right degree. Rather than liberating our sexual desire to its maximum potential, we should instead cultivate it. Not only we need to keep an open-mind on sex itself, but also we need to learn the art of watching pornography to ensure we are actually having sex properly. Because pornography is risky.

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