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'07 Authors Insider Tips

FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From


Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine


2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
Blog
An Apology to Salespeople


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
M.Y.O.B.
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men


Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

All Worked Up About The Perfect Fuck
by J.T. Benjamin



Last month, the New York Times ran a story about how the advancement of technology is placing an unexpected burden on pornstars. High Definition DVDs, it turns out, are accentuating such things as scars from breast implants, stretch marks, skin blemishes, crow’s feet around the eyes, and other unflattering imperfections. Some porn stars talk about having to film at different angles, using high-tech digital editing to remove wrinkles, tan-in-a-can, and even plastic surgery.

I’m not so hot on the idea of some of those lovely bodies going under the knife. What are a couple of sagging breasts among friends? But I can understand the motivation to cover up those blemishes and scars and wrinkles.

In private, sex is just like any other element of life—flawed. Individuals’ sex practices and habits are laden with mistakes, blunders, neuroses, psychoses, phobias, warts, (genital and otherwise) and even pimples in embarrassing places.

However, outside the bedroom, either through pornography or in society itself, the concept of sex is deeply intertwined with the concept of perfection.

In porn, the sex is always fantastic—not only in the sense of a molding of body and soul for mind-blowing simultaneous and mutual orgasms, but also in the sense that the sex is "fantasy" sex. There are no clumsy fumblings of clothes or body parts. Nobody is seriously concerned with birth control or STDs or that time of the month or premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunctions. Most fantastic of all, intercourse is never ever ever(!) interrupted by phone calls or curious children on the other side of the bedroom door.

Pornographic videos are even more fantastic. All the women have flawless figures, perfect skin, and perfectly insatiable appetites for sex. They’re all uninhibited, adventurous, and ready for action at a moment’s notice. All the men are indefatigable, muscular, and hung like stallions…well-hung stallions, at that. In the universe of porn, everyone’s in it strictly for the fucking. Professional pursuits, relationships, even casual encounters are all engaged solely for the purpose of sex. The pizza guy at the door isn’t trying to earn extra money, he’s angling to crash the sorority sex party on campus, and all the hot, nubile co-eds are just waiting for an (of course) well-hung stranger to drop by and join their orgy.

Anti-porn advocates are fond of complaining about the porn industry’s apparent obsession with the "perfect fuck;" that because of this obsession, porn is somehow an inferior or illegitimate media genre. My Mass Communications 101 professor would have said, Hogwash" to that. "Demand alone makes porn a legitimate media genre." Considering how much money is spent on porn every year, it appears people enjoy the pursuit of the perfect fuck."

However, popularity isn’t enough to satisfy anti-porn snobs. Porn apparently lacks artistic merit, as well.

In his 1966 essay, "Pornutopia," Steven Marcus laments that "(P)ornography is not literature…Most works of literature have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Most works of pornography do not. A typical piece of pornographic fiction will usually have some kind of crude excuse for a beginning, but, having once begin, it goes on and on and ends nowhere…If form in art consists in the arousal in the reader of certain expectations and the fulfillment of those expectations, then in this context too pornography is resistant to form and opposed to art. For fulfillment implies completion, gratification, and end; and it is an end, a conclusion of any kind, that pornography most resists."

The focus in Mr. Marcus’ essay was on written pornography, but it’s highly unlikely he’d see anything much different in contemporary porn videos. It’s impossible to deny Mr. Marcus’ assessment of modern day pornography as an endless string of perfect, flawless fuckfests. That doesn’t necessarily mean that porn is therefore an inferior art form.

In the first place, any artistic depiction of sex involves completion and gratification. Not to sound snide, but if the porn I’m either reading or watching DOESN’T end with at least one orgasm, it’s pretty dull porn.

In the second place, in my experience, when people talk about real-life sexual encounters, the conversation is invariably a string of sexual episodes, very rarely with the sort of advancement or completion of expectations that Mr. Marcus apparently seeks. Eavesdrop on any conversation in any bar, gym locker room, bridge party, or other environment in which people talk and/or brag, and you’ll hear about a series of episodes in peoples’ sexual histories. These allegedly true tales may be linked by a common thread involving relationships or a desire for some cultural or spiritual advancement, or they may not be. Most likely, if there is such a theme, people are reluctant to share it.

If Mr. Marcus is disappointed that pornography doesn’t offer the sort of literary or social advancement of purpose offered by other art forms, it seems to me the fault lies with his expectations of sex itself, and not in the artistic depiction of sex.

Other anti-porn critics say the world of "pornutopia" conveys unrealistic expectations about sex and that by portraying women as perfectly shaped fucking machines, porn objectifies them. (I’ve noticed that female porn stars are by far more well-known than their male counterparts, and that male performers might as well just be props with lines. It seems to me that male porn actors are objectified more so than are the women, but I digress).

I’ll have plenty more to say about sex and utopia later, but for now I just want to point out that the porn-is-objectification" advocates rarely say a word about objectification in a more socially acceptable media genre, namely violence.

Last month I watched "Snakes On A Plane," starring Samuel L. Jackson. The premise of the movie is simple: a bunch of poisonous snakes get loose on a jet plane while it’s in the air. That’s it. Talk about high concept. About a third of the way into the movie, there’s a jump-out-of-your-seat moment where the snakes all hop out of their hiding places and start doing what snakes do to everyone in (pardon the pun) striking distance. When it’s all done, we’re told that fifty people have been killed in a matter of minutes. Think about that. Fifty sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and grandparents snuffed out in vivid, graphic, grisly high definition digital imagery. We don’t learn anybody’s names, we don’t see the emotional scarring of the survivors, and just before the credits roll we even get to see a happy ending, of sorts. No tears of grieving loved ones, please. Just a close-up of Sam Jackson and Julianna Marguilis staring longingly into each others eyes.

Pick any other action, horror or monster movie or TV show and you’ll get the same thing. Close-up shots of shocked, pained, contorted faces as the life fades, lots of blood, brains and intestines, stack the bodies like cordwood and cut to the next scene. Nobody ever seems to suffer screaming nightmares or psychological damage, no post-traumatic stress disorder, no shattered eardrums from all the gunfire, no inquests or civil lawsuits. The maverick cop who plays by his own rules is always exonerated by Internal Affairs, the bad guy is always sent to jail (or killed) and the owner of the damaged property is always insured to the hilt. The dead are known only as, "Innocent bystanders #1, #2 and #3."

Now where are the unrealistic expectations? Now who’s being objectified?

Wait a minute, J.T.," you might say. "You’re taking this all too seriously. Sometimes people have had it up to here with real life. Sometimes they want to pick up a book or a movie that’s got nothing to do with the ugly, harsh world of reality. They’re looking for escapism, for fantasy."

Exactly my point.

Finally, when we consider the idea of a fantasy pornutopia," an ideal society where the men are studs, the women are horny, and nobody’s got anything on their agendas besides pursuing that perfect fuck, we must also in fairness consider the alternative.

The most vocal opponents of pornography these days are the fundamentalist Christian right and the Republican Party. As has been well-documented by myself and others, the "Holy Terrors" have their own concept of a perfect society. This society is overwhelmingly Bible-based," at least insofar as how they interpret the Bible. I’m not sure yet whether this Bible-based utopia will include the stoning of fallen women, acceptance of slavery, polygamy, kings who are subservient to religious leaders, or the treatment of sick people, pigs, and menstruating women as being unclean and impure.

It is certain that in the Holy Terrors’ utopia, there is no birth control. No sex toys, no sexually explicit or even slightly erotic art, no homosexuality, no sexually deviant behavior, no sex outside marriage, and no sex for any purpose other than for reproduction. Women aren’t objectified as perfect sex objects; rather, they’re objectified as perfect baby-making machines.

When we think of a perfect society, compare "Seymore Butts’ Pool Party" or "Upper Class Tramps" with "1984" or "The Handmaid’s Tale." In which society does there appear to be more freedom? More liberty? More fun?

In which society would you rather live?

J.T. Benjamin
jtbenjamin.blogspot
February 2007

______
"All Worked Up" © 2007 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,...doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:  J.T. Benjamin



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'07 Book Reviews

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