Recently, this article entitled â€œThe Vanishing Male Libido â€“ Heâ€™s Just Not That Into Anyoneâ€ by Davy Rothbart (New York; January 30, 2011)* came my way via NMCâ€¦
In this piece, Davy (Davy?) conducts a semi-autobiographical/semi-journalistic analysis that explores the effects of online porn on dudes and their interest in actual (read: tangible) women. According to Davyâ€™s analysis, itâ€™s likely that the overly abundant â€œtsunami of [online] pornâ€ is actually deflating the US heterosexual EveryMaleâ€™s libido. In support of this assessment:
– A study out of the University of Kansas reported that 25% of college-aged men have faked orgasms.
– A handful of men told Davy that, in essence, they got more sexually aroused during porn-fueled masturbation than they did during sex with a partner.
– Some scientists claim that a dopamine-oxytocin combo is released in the brain during orgasm. This acts as a â€œbiochemical love potion,â€ which increases a personâ€™s likelihood of forming an emotional attachment post-pop (so to speak). But when you watch porn, you hypothetically â€œbondâ€ with it instead of a sex partner. So in essence, if you jerk off to porn, you fall in love with it.
– John Mayer said that on some days he may see more than 300 vaginas before he even gets out of bed!!
– Davy himself reports being perfectly capable of jerking off to porn, but that he had to fake a pop during a recent sexual encounter with a random hook up because he couldnâ€™t finish.
It goes on and on, but essentially Davy is saying that men are so in love with/made hott by adult content, which is endlessly accessible, that they are no longer satisfied with sex in an actual tangible reality.
He then goes on to talk about how, â€œas a result of the blending of reality and fantasy, some women have chosen to willingly play along by a new set of rules in order to keep their men interested: theyâ€™re intentionally impersonating porn stars.â€
But, ironically, men donâ€™t seem to be too into that either, and a conundrum emerges:
â€œMen, oversaturated by porn, secretly hunger for the variety that porn offers. Women, noticing a decline in their partnersâ€™ libidos, try to reenact the kinds of scenes that men watch on their computer screens. Men, as a result, get really freaked out. They donâ€™t want their real women and their fantasy women to inhabit the same body.â€
So, in a nutshell, Davy is telling us that men have found a new way to subject women to that age-old virgin/whore dichotomy â€“ virgin : actual, tangible girl :: whore : online, porn girl â€“ and when real-world â€œvirginsâ€ attempt to imitate those alluring â€œwhoresâ€ living onlineâ€¦ well, all hell breaks loose. Or goes limp.
Davy ends his piece with an experiment: he takes a little break from online porn. And on the fourth day he has actual sex with a real (tangible) personâ€¦ and this time he didnâ€™t have to fake his orgasm. Good for you, Davy!!
Here are some things I didnâ€™t understand and/or wondered about while reading “The Vanishing Male Libido:”
If you’re like one of Davyâ€™s respondents, â€œRon,â€ and you have your favorite porn chics on a â€œdateâ€ rotation/schedule during the week (Ron only sees his girlfriend on the weekends), couldnâ€™t oneâ€™s â€œrelationshipâ€ with online adult content be an indicator of some deeper issue of which said porn habit is simply a symptom?
What other slightly socially awkward behaviors does someone like Ron also have? A difficult time making phone calls and/or friends? Engaging others in face-to-face conversation? Does he abuse other vices? Drink too much? Play video games day and night?
Iâ€™m not a psychologist, but it seems possible that a person who is having difficulties limiting their time online and/or distinguishing the computer/fantasy world from reality may have other issues bubbling beneath the surface. Which brings me to my main sticking point with Davyâ€™s piece.Â As I was reading, I couldnâ€™t help but wonderâ€¦
What about all the guys who know when to say â€œwhenâ€ in terms of adult content online and donâ€™t go on weekly â€œdatesâ€ with a set rotation of websites? What about the 75% of college-aged guys or the undisclosed percentage of men in their 30s who havenâ€™t faked an orgasm?
(…and what about those guys who may have faked an orgasm because they were inexperienced or nervous or uncomfortable with a stranger or not in the mood or something? Why must men always pop, and why donâ€™t guys get any sort of window to feel variably about sex?!!)
Is Davy telling us about the rules, or is he telling us about some of the exceptions? And how far can we read into the “why?” before we start reading in too much?
John Mayer seems like heâ€™s doing okâ€¦ so when Davy tells us that the male libido is vanishing, maybe heâ€™s just talking about his own?
*This article is one of three pieces collectively entitled Drowning in Porn, all published in New York on January 30, 2011.Â This series includes â€œOnline Pornâ€™s Explosion,â€ â€œPorn and Junior-High Culture,â€ and â€œThe Vanishing Male Libido.â€
(image above from the source material – some guy photographed while watching adult content online)
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You may quote anything hereinÂ with the following attribution: â€œReprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright Â© Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).â€