Porn is More Boring than Offensive


"Food Porn"by Heather Dinas
My Kind of Money Shot (photo by Heather Dinas)

I have a confession: most porn bores the hell out of me.

When I was a teenager, porn was exciting and titillating because it was forbidden. The shaky camera and dubious acting did nothing to damper my adolescent enthusiasm for flesh-on-flesh visuals. Now I get more of a rise out of a Jeffry McDaniel poem or an Oglaf comic strip (NSFW) than a Vivid production.

What happened? Nothing, which is exactly why it bores me.

Most porn I see is the same linear progression appendage-in-orifice mêlée as in my high school years. The only apparent novelty is how many people can shove how many dicks/toys/vegetables into how many holes. Some people get creative with cinematography and context, but that’s still the same anal sex scene behind the glitz.

I realize I may be desensitized. Years ago, I organized a group called “Girls Watch Porn” where ladies got together to watch and review smut. We found some great films by Shine Louise Houston and Eon McKai along with the 1970s classics. But mostly, we found tired and uninspired videos of sex along with some disturbing and unhygienic scenes. (The raw chicken porn is forever burned into my retinas.)

But overexposure isn’t the best explanation. Porn itself is partially to blame.

Tony Comstock wrote a great little piece about the limitations of porn (found via Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex). He writes that even internet porn:

“doesn’t encompass the range of human experiences and desires anymore than a handicam and a handful of people having sex encompasses the range of human sexual experiences and desires.”

Porn (to me) should be about fantasy and possibility. How much fantasy and possibility can you express through low-budget formulaic porno flicks that spend less time in post-production than in filming? Not a whole lot.

Some people find porn horribly offensive. As with any offensive media in the world, the best bet is simple avoidance.

But I’m not offended. I’m unsatisfied.

I know I’m not alone in this either. This Best of Craiglist from Boston summarizes my feelings perfectly:

You suck, dude.

And I’m not trying to make some sort of cute pun here – you really do suck. You’re awful, horrible, poorly made, and I can think of a whole list of huge problems that you have. (more…)

I wish pro-good porn crusaders had half the psychotic dedication and passion of anti-porn crusaders. What a world that would be.

17 thoughts on “Porn is More Boring than Offensive”

  1. Agree on all counts. I’ve never successfully watched through an entire porn movie, because if you aren’t already turned on, there’s nothing to see.

  2. Stories are fun, how everyone rushes to the action with some stupid comments such as “I come to unclog your pipe ma’am” But everything else is indeed boring, makes you wanna fast forward through the whole tape till you get to the credits, if there are any. Nice post !

  3. Hmm, when I got this post the image was hidden and labeled “food porn” — I have to say that most food porn is more exciting than real porn, for exactly the reasons you list. That said, what about non-porn porn, like Velvet Goldmine?

  4. as a teen..
    i really find porn like you do. i find it boring.
    sure some of my guy friends love to get their hands on some … but when i watch it
    i catch myself either thinking to myself… “o those sure are some cute shoes” or “really…no one has an orgasam for 20 minutes!’
    haha. great post.

  5. Females saying porn bores them is not a surprise. All my female friends find sex boring too.
    Porn is never boring to me, i find regular tv,movies and music i get bored with easily. I rarely watch ttv or movie more than once.

  6. “(The raw chicken porn is forever burned into my retinas.)”

    Have you ever seen John Waters’ “Pink Flamingos”? .. There’s a sex scene in that film with a couple of live chickens that is burned into my retinas as well.. :)

  7. I think it’s boredom that prompts people to watch increasingly extreme types of porn, in the search for something new – now that’s a slippery slope. There is porn, porn everywhere, but true sexiness is much harder to find.

  8. I can’t think of much new to add, except that I thought by being bored of porn as I was that it was because I was approaching some dull stage in my life where everything seems “already done”. But I also wonder why there are scenes of nearly continuous intercourse that bores me after the first 5 minutes, while there are “porn” flicks that have much less sex, more sexy banter and the occasional fling, that I keep going back to. Interesting.

  9. The misnomer here is that there is such a thing as “mainstream porn” – the hydraulic porn everyone complains about as “mainstream is just porn aimed at the 18 to 24 male demographic, which just happens to be the largest single demographic of porn consumers, and not typically very demanding in terms of emotional resonance.

    It’s roughly the same question as asking why there were no fat chicks on “Friends”, no poor people or hippies on “90210″.

    You want alternatives you have to expand the market into areas of non-traditional porn consumers, i.e, feminist porn, porn for women, etc., which is good, i.e., if there is a demand, there is a market – but it isn’t going to change the fundamental underlying dynamic, it’s still going to be all about market demographics, it’s the world we live in.

    But you never know, some attention to emotional appeal might be more broadly popular, no way of knowing if nobody tries it.

  10. Hello Ms. Academic,

    While the post in question was really more about the limit of information technology in general and the internet in particular, the point still stands — porn is more boring than offensive.

    The question that no one has answered, at least not to my satisfaction is why? Why after forties years of a constiutionally protected right to make films depicting actual genitals and sexual intercourse have the results been so unbelievable disappointing?

    Answers like “It’s the demographic” don’t suffice. Lots of other media aimed at young men is quite excellent. Sex media aim at “alternative demographics” while perhaps lacking the fratboy misogyny is mostly it’s own kind of under-reaslized amateur hour awful, while non-sexual media aimed at these same demographics flourishes.

    1. For one, I think the industry is lazy and is more focused on profits than original content. Churning out the same shirt in a different shade is more likely to make money than taking a chance on expanding the media form. This reticence is compounded by threats of social backlashes and cumbersome legal battles to uphold constitutionally protected rights. In the wrong social climate, your life could be ruined and your finances drained by obscenity charges.

      Aside from that, I think we expect porn to be low-quality so that’s what the industry produces. Our collective cultural consciousness defines and limits what we think porn can and should be. Maybe we need to start campaigning for better porn.

  11. Have you seen Tony Comstock’s Real Porn series? http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Desiree-Love-Timeless-People/dp/B001BQJL3O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1280268922&sr=8-1

    I’m super eager to check it out! Sounds like an incredible concept. Real people, real life, real sex. Couples truly in love, talking about it, then sharing their intimacy with viewers. So brave, so bold! My friend ordered a few, we’re going to check them out.

    There’s plenty of boring porn out there but lots of crazy hot creative stuff too!

  12. I never watched a good porn movie. It’s the same thing, same positions, same body type, fake boobs etc. Most women in these movies look like bitch, it can’t convince it’s real.

  13. I noticed that mainstream porn is actually very homoerotic. As in camera shots fixated entirely on the penis. Or the male ass. Or the guy himself.

    On extreme close-ups of the penis penetrating the vagina, all you see are:

    The guy’s pale white ass, the back of his legs and his penis, which all take up 80% of the screen. The remaining 20% shows the woman’s vagina and maybe a buttcrack. This is done in 5~10 minute intervals, ad nauseam.

    Here’s another example: the double/triple penetration shots are mostly images of the guys’ penises, which again fill up about 80% of the screen. Gay much?

    Also, all the male actors are most often muscular and chiseled. That’s great and all, but in the end who ends up watching these guys? That’s right, the very guys who watch this “straight” porn. Ha.

    When you point any of these things out to a “straight” guy who watches this stuff all day, he defensively says “you’re a fag, you don’t like real porn.”

    Go figure.

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