“Pornography is the quadraphonics of sex. It adds a third and fourth track to the sexual act. It is the hallucination of detail that rules. Science has already habituated us to this microscopics, this excess of the real in its microscopic detail, this voyeurism of exactitude.” –Jean Baudrillard
The following is my story of how I got introduced to porn through working in a porn cinema and I will share the realizations and insights that I gained from this work. I am writing this to show that porn is not all the fun it is cracked up to be and to show what really goes on behind the scenes of a world where porn and masturbation is the center and primary focus. This story is not a judgment of those who watch porn, because I have been one myself and I understand how easy it is to get trapped in the addiction to porn and masturbation. It is also not a moral plea of prudence, because the point here is not to de-sexualize ourselves, to solve the problem but to understand that porn is NOT an expression of ‘liberated’ sexuality — and that there’s a whole world of sexual expression that we have yet to discover and explore. Sexuality has been hijacked by corporate capitalism exactly as the rest of the world — and this is done through with our permission through our abdication of ourselves to the instant gratification in the mind, with consequences reaching far beyond what most of us can imagine.
It is time to get back to physical reality – to our physical bodies – and to stop existing in mental bubbles of delusion where we believe that we have the right to abuse and exploit others simply because it is happening within the confinements of our own minds – instead of realizing that when we have no direction over what is happening in our minds, we are the ones that are ‘owned’ – the question is: by who and what?
Part 1. The Sex Cinema of the Human Mind
In the late 90’s my boyfriend worked at a pornshop where they had a sex cinema upstairs. The sex cinema was established already in the 60’s and later the porn shop was added, once videotapes and DVD’s started pouring out of the production companies. The pornshop and cinema was located in the middle of the city on the corner of a busy intersection and I remember feeling like a pariah as we entered the shop; as though everyone’s eyes were on me, filled of judgment. I felt like I was about to enter into another world – a world I might not get out of alive.
The first time I visited the porn shop and cinema with my boyfriend, it was I, myself that had asked to go and I remember envisioning a place with lots of sex and money. Looking back, I can see how the idea of porn and the porn industry had been infused within me, through music videos and movies as glamorous. The reality of the porn-world could not be farther from that.
It was a bright, hot summer day and as we walked in, the first thing I saw was rows and rows of porn and dildos and other sex toys. For my boyfriend this was simply a place he worked, but for me it was like walking into a forbidden land; I felt like child sneaking into a candy store at night. I was fascinated and appalled at the same time, but what it was, more than anything, was resonating against the back drop of my upbringing where porn had become a symbol of self-liberation and of “doing something bad that feels good”. And here I was, in broad daylight on a Wednesday afternoon with mothers kissing toddlers in strollers outside the shop and before my eyes, one porn movie after the other displayed itself as though it was just another Blockbuster family flick.
It was an odd and contradicting experience and it made me feel dirty and at the same time as though I was a part of a secret society; a society of liberated people that dared breaking the boundaries of the mundane world outside of it. And even though it was broad daylight, it was still secret and dirty. This contradiction I have come to understand is what fuels the world of porn and the sex that goes with it.
The shop was small and every space of it packed with porn. A guy was sitting behind a small registry and jokingly talked with my boyfriend. I knew that we were going to the cinema, because he wanted to introduce me to his friend that worked there. I remember looking up the stairs to where the cinema was and the feeling of a dull heat emanating towards me.
When we came up to the cinema, the first thing I noticed was how dark it was. The walls were painted black and there was not a single window. The air was humid and the smell was stale and old. To the right of me was a long dark corridor and I could hear the moans of a woman coming from the room next to it. This was the cinema and it was so dark that I could not see if anyone was sitting there. I remember finding it strange to think about that someone would sit there and masturbate in the open, but obviously that was one of the allures of the place.
To my left was another corridor and I could see doors on each side that, when they were open, showed a small booth in each room. In front of me was a wall of sixteen TV-sets each displaying a different porn movie and next to it to the right, was a bar where my boyfriend’s friend and co-worker were standing.
In spite of it all, the woman behind the bar was properly what shocked me the most. I had heard that the girls working at the cinema was topless, but to see a grown woman standing there with bare breasts, was oddly contradicting to the extensive nudity displayed in the porn coming from the small TV-sets. It was almost as if it was too up close with an actual real naked woman. She was furthermore fat, had a big belly and huge big breasts. This was one the first disillusioning signs I noticed in seeing that the world of porn was not all I had cracked it up to be in my mind, even though the cinema did have a signed poster of the 80’s pre-porn legend Samantha Fox hanging on the wall.
I got a Fanta and my boyfriend offered to show me around the cinema. Besides the porn running in the main cinema on a big screen, the sixteen screens were muted and no sound came from any of the booths. At first I saw no mean there at all either. In each tiny booth there was room for a chair, a table with a TV and a remote, an ashtray, a box of tissues and a waste bin. My boyfriend worked there as a handy man and night cleaner, so he told me about his routine and how he would clean cum up from the carpets and how un-sanitized the booths were. My boyfriend also shared with me how he constantly had to change the door-nobs because they got stolen. I found that to be an odd detail and started thinking about the characteristics of the men that frequented the place and whether they were more the “door-nob stealing type” than other men. Disillusioned and slightly disgusted, I asked myself: “Is this what sex has become, confined to this tiny dark room with no windows and people that steal door-nobs? The more I saw of the cinema, the more pathetic it looked and the more I lost my initial excitement over visiting a place of “glamor” and “raw sex”.
After that first time, we visited the cinema several times. My main goal was still to get exalting sexual experiences, to break my own boundaries and being seen and desired by men and women alike. I was several times invited to come and work in cinema and every time I said no because I did not want to be topless. I saw the women that were working there as “less-than” as I could see how them being topless somehow stripped them of their humanity or power over themselves. Simply by having bare breasts exposed, where the men who came to see them were fully dressed, perpetuated a relationship where the woman was “nothing”.
The men even seemed to think that these women, because they were willing to expose themselves, were worthless as human beings, seeing them as “whores” and “dirty sluts” exactly like the women in the porn they came to watch week after week. It is an interesting projection displayed here, where the men on one hand watched porn to the point where they got extensively addicted to it and at the same time were despising the objects of their desires – the women. Obviously this despise is self-despise, yet where such points are not faced and directed within self in self-honesty, we tend to turn our spite, blame and shame of others, as so to find a source we can pinpoint our misery onto and in this case it was the women that became the objects of the men’s addiction and self-loathing.
In my own mind I displayed the same type of split personality that is indicative for porn-users, where I would tell myself that I was talking this job on as an “anthropological experiment” to get under the skin of the porn-world – but really I wanted to make quick money and I wanted more porn. I wanted to be alone with the porn and be able to browse it carefully, dwell and indulge in it; and I could do that in the porn cinema as a place where my desires were validated as normal. I also wanted the attention of men. One day my boyfriend told me that the requirement for being topless had been removed and that I could thus start working in the cinema.
So I started working behind the bar and was immediately thrown into the deep end of encountering massive amounts of porn, alongside the men that came to watch. When I have later spoken with people about how much porn I have watched, I have jokingly described how I would watch sixteen porn movies all at the same time and so as a conclusion have watched vast amounts of porn; It was literally so as I was standing day in and day out watching those screens. I started becoming an expert on the different genres and creating preferences for specific types of porn and bodily features. One day I noticed that there was a pattern in which movies were displayed where. The TV-sets were placed so that four TV’s where on top and next to each other, literally as a wall of porn and I started noticing that one the farthest left corner was the most “soft-core” porn working its way down through the screens with shemales and old ladies and pregnant woman and anal and big boobs until the very last bottom row that was reserved for the rape, torture, teen and urine porn. The farthest TV-set which I could not see from the bar, showed animal porn. All day long porn would run on these screens and men would come into the shop, buy a ticket and go into a booth to masturbate. Most would watch one of the sixteen flicks of the day, but some would pay extra to rent a special DVD in the shop, if they had a specific fetish or inclination towards a certain porn-star. Some, but very few would sit in the public cinema and watch porn on the big screen.
I remember another disillusioning moment where a famous underground drummer from a jazz-band that I had heard play some months back, came in and handed me a DVD with hardcore torture porn to place into a DVD player for him to watch. It shocked me because I had “thought more of him” and because it challenged my idea about whom it actually was that came to the cinema to masturbate to porn. Initially my idea had been that it would be creepy single guys who were addicted to porn. While there were a few men who, for some would fit in to that category, I started noticing that many of the men were what one would consider “normal, respectable family-fathers.” I realized that the single creepy guys would be more likely to purchase a DVD and sit at home to watch it, while the men that came to the cinema often were married and couldn’t risk being exposed by watching porn at home.
A surprisingly big percentage of the men for example enjoyed watching porn that focused on she-males, men that look like women with surgically implanted breasts and penises. One customer I particularly remember was an elderly gentleman in his sixties, who with tweet coat and a briefcase full of papers would come in weekly. As we started talking, it turned out that he was a professor in philosophy and we had many conversations where he seemed to forget why he had come, only to recall it yet again and slip in for a “quickie” at the end of our conversation, where-after he with shame on his face would bid me farewell.
Part 2. Life in a Sex Cinema
“I think we often make the mistake of thinking that pornography is just an image of people having sex – What pornography is: it is the worldview, it is an ideology, it is s way of understanding relationships” – Gail Dines
Many of the customers seemed disappointed when they saw that I was there. I hardly flirted with them, because I found most of them unattractive and pathetic (another projection) and since they did not give good tips anyway, I saw no reason to. Rather I started conversations to make the day go faster, asked them about their inclinations and their sexual preferences. Most of the men that came in were average normal family fathers in all ages and skin colors.
A couple of friends came in almost every day, both in their thirties, one working on a cruise-liner and the other in sales, the first was a sadist that enjoyed inflicting pain while the other was a masochist that enjoyed being tortured and beaten by women. Interestingly enough their demeanor was opposite when they spoke and expressed themselves, so that the sadist would be timid and display a passive aggressive nature of that of a coward, while the masochist would be loud and demanding.
They shared with me how they traveled to Eastern Europe frequently to buy sex from prostitutes and how difficult it was to find women that could serve their needs properly in Denmark. Both of them spent all their money on sex, in one way or another. Many customers came like this, some every day; some would even stay all day to get their money’s worth. In all the year that I worked at the cinema, I saw maybe three women there and all were coming with their husbands and boyfriends and none seemed particularly excited to be there.
At the end of the work day I would walk around into all the booths, empty the ashtrays and the trashcans with tissues covered in seamen and turn off each screen for the night, only to turn them on again in the morning with a fresh box of tissues ready on the table.
Suddenly the world of porn that had seemed so exhilarating to begin with became so sad, so empty, so trapped. I understood these men and why they came there, after all I had a similar relationship to porn. Yet at the same time, there was something so abusive and self-loathing around the entire world of porn; a world that makes huge promises of satisfaction that at the end of the day is evident only in the amount of tissues used to wipe off the sperm.
Why do people go to sex cinemas? The easy answer is that these men are not satisfied at home by their wives and that the male need for sex physiologically is simply so big that they need to masturbate frequently to “get it out of their system”. The not so easy answer is that we live in a hyper-sexualized world (at least in the west) where sex has been reduced to and is seen as peaking with the male ejaculation. Men come to sex cinemas to watch other men have sex and ejaculate in and on women that are trained to look like they are having the time of their life.
For many men it is the anticipation of the female satisfaction and orgasm that they desperately long to see, feel, touch and be a part of. But no where do we learn how to actually touch each other, how to be intimate, how to express ourselves sexually in a way that we enjoy and that our partners enjoy.
Sex has been reduced to body parts thumbing against body parts with the ultimate climax of the male ejaculation and more often than enough it is done through cruelty, degradation and brutality towards the women acting in the porn movies.
Men go to sex cinemas because it is expected of them to not be able to control their urges and because they have no alternative but to watch porn. Porn has become the symbol of an entire generation’s “sexual liberation” and although producers make sure to satisfy absolutely every fantasy (along creating new ones) in every variety possible, the sex in porn is predictable and generic.
The fact that men come to sex cinemas and watch porn in dark rooms with no windows, exists because of the fear and disconnection that people experience from themselves and each other that is so extensive that one only feels comfortable in the presence of non-human companions. We have had nowhere to learn to create intimate, enjoyable relationships in which we can share an express ourselves.
An actual sexual liberation would not rely on images that serves as instruction manuals to tell us who to be, what to like, when to move, and how to feel; we cannot even fathom what an actual sexual liberation would consist of and exist as, because we have, as an entire society become trapped within this one-dimensional world of porn and masturbation.
The visualization of sex becomes the actualization of abuse, isolation and shame. The demand and supply for commercial sex is infinite, that as a closed cycle re-produce itself; perpetrated by a De-Manned Humanity existing within a total disconnection from what is Here, as Self, as Life.
The men (and women, such as myself) that watch porn and that frequent porn cinemas are doing so because they are looking for a connection, yet they are doing so from a starting-point of separation and self-interest, where they use the images of sex to exert an experience within and as themselves. This experience becomes an addiction and the addiction becomes an obsession and the person is trapped within and as a secret mind-reality, where they can’t get enough and at the same time feels deep shame for what they are accepting and allowing themselves to participate within and as.
It is therefore not surprising that most porn-rehabilitation involves a self-exposure where the secret life of porn is pushed out into the daylight and seen for what it is.
It is the same rehabilitation that requires happening at a global level, where we push ourselves to see that porn has permeated our entire lives, from movie screens to reality shows and advertisement. We require stopping this demarcation of life that is neatly being kept in place by how porn is dancing in the shadows between the darkness of the secret mind and the bright lights of mainstream media.
To change the paradigms of sex revolving around porn, we require exposing to ourselves the extent to which we have disconnected ourselves form reality, our sexualities and ourselves – and dare to question how we have reduced our sexuality to nothing more than spare parts to which we attach ourselves as mouths, vaginas and dildos.
The display of and objectification of body parts is not the symbol of an advanced race of benevolent beings. It is a symbol of the separation that we exist within and as – that is our own creation. It is therefore only by each of us taking self-responsibility and within self-honesty investigate how we too have contributed to and are participating in this system, that we can change what is here. If we are not even willing to change ourselves, how can we expect the world to?
Support is available for you to stop, it’s FREE and given by those that walked out of this addiction before you at Desteni Forums. Join now, switch off the porn for Life, for Good, to build a world we can truly be proud of.