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Someone is masturbating to this as we speak

Being the savvy internet denizen that you are, you’re no doubt aware of the bizarre meme of Japanese game shows. The one below is representative, in that it involves teams of diaper-wearing men competing to see some blurred-out female nudity.

It’s relatively safe to say that some impressionable pubescent male is getting turned on by this stuff, and that, later in life, he’s going to have trouble getting off unless he hears the sound of a team of Japanese men screaming at him to try harder. Imagine how crippling that’s going to be for him in his relationships.

This problem, writ large, is really about the extent to which the ubiquity and strangeness of internet pornography is producing a generation of deviants. It really is too early to tell — the medium only really flowered with broadband, so we’re talking this decade. The first batch of young men to be shaped by it only recently reached the age of majority. The sexual dysfunctions and anxieties they’re going to have as a result of exposure to the above kind of stuff from an early age (as well as dozens of flavors of much nastier, abusive porn) really is hard to predict, but I’m going to go on the record right now and say that in another five or ten years it’s something we’re going to have to confront as a society, probably at the institutional level. Sex therapy for men, to re-wire their brains to be turned on by something as humdrum as a naked lady, is going to be common. We’ve got advance warning of this problem coming from the ultimate spiritual source of bizarre porn, Japan. In 2005, Durex conducted a global poll of sexual satisfaction which found that Japan is the least sexually satisfied country in the world, with just 25% of those polled saying they enjoy sex.

This isn't even that bad by internet standards

To be clear, I’m a fierce opponent of censorship of any kind on the internet — it always, always starts with someone asking you to think of the children, and ends with your news being filtered. Literally every country with internet censorship has followed this pattern. But I do think that parents today need to consider being much more open with their kids about the topic of sex and porn, especially little boys. It’s no longer enough to keep them away from those dirty magazines; limiting exposure with today’s technology is like trying to beat back the ocean. Rather, today’s parents probably need to actively talk about “good porn” versus “bad porn.”

That American parents are in no way ready to have that talk with their kids tells me that we’re going to be in for some really interesting and depressing cases of sexual dissatisfaction that affects an entire generation of men.

Posted in Musings.


6 Responses

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  1. Bryan says

    >> Sex therapy for men, to re-wire their brains to be turned on by something as humdrum as a naked lady, is going to be common

    Can millennia of biology really be thwarted so easily?

    Another thought — I’m not convinced that reported sexual dissatisfaction is caused by the weirdness of internet porn. There are lots of reasons why the people in that study might not be satisfied. It’s definitely not clear what the cultural consequences of this are, you’re right about that. But how clear is it that those consequences will be negative?

  2. Pete Michaud says

    Bryan, I don’t think this is something that’s thwarting biology. It’s just high fructose corn syrup high jacking the evolved tendency to love the shit out of sugar. It’s hyperstimulation… I don’t know how the mechanism for the development of sexual arousal triggers works, but I suspect it’s something that’s being exploited by the limitless torrent of really weird shit out there on the intertubes.

    Just to belabor the point: I suspect the mechanism is something like whatever stimulus is present while a young adolescent (maybe earlier) is horny becomes the trigger after repeated exposure. Historically that’s been all the hot ladies in the tribe. Now it’s tentacle porn.

    • Zach Musgrave says

      My guide in all matters of this nature is Dan Savage, and he seems to think that fetishes develop relatively easily:

      http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=1192438

    • Bryan says

      Hey Pete — Look, there could easily develop a culture in which male-female copulation is not the favored form of erotic interaction — in fact, such a culture already developed, in ancient Greece. And yet, society flourished. Males and females managed get it on together. And (it seems) no sex therapy was required.

      The corn-syrup/sugar example is interesting, but I think the analogy doesn’t work. Bottom line: Male-female copulation is a biological necessity. Sugar in white-granule form is not. Biological instinct cannot be easily high-jacked. Sugar can. So, although Zach’s probably right there are real cultural changes afoot, I don’t think tentacles or what have you pose any real threat to the desire of young adolescents for the hot ladies in the tribe.

  3. Bryan says

    More on the potentially positive cultural consequences of porn — although the weirdness of the porn apparently wasn’t a consideration.

    • Zach Musgrave says

      What was really interesting to me in that research is that countries that decriminalized kiddie porn (three in the world) saw child sex crimes decrease. It would appear that allowing pedophiles to get off legally keeps them from molesting as many children. But don’t expect to hear this data point in any future debate on this subject — when child molestation is involved, people just aren’t capable of thinking rationally.

      So we’ve got people on one side screaming that porn incites rape (because it objectifies women) and that kiddie porn incites molestation. Then we’ve got data on the other side which quietly refutes both those claims. The fact that data loses in this argument is why democracy doesn’t work.



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