PVV – your boyfriend likes his online “girlfriends” better than you?

Recently, this article entitled “The Vanishing Male Libido – He’s Just Not That Into Anyone” by Davy Rothbart (New York; January 30, 2011)* came my way via NMC…

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 Davy’s analysis, it’s likely that the overly abundant “tsunami of [online] porn” is actually deflating the US heterosexual EveryMale’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 “biochemical love potion,” which increases a person’s likelihood of forming an emotional attachment post-pop (so to speak). But when you watch porn, you hypothetically “bond” 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 couldn’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, “as 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: they’re intentionally impersonating porn stars.”

But, ironically, men don’t seem to be too into that either, and a conundrum emerges:

“Men, oversaturated by porn, secretly hunger for the variety that porn offers. Women, noticing a decline in their partners’ libidos, try to reenact the kinds of scenes that men watch on their computer screens. Men, as a result, get really freaked out. They don’t want their real women and their fantasy women to inhabit the same body.”

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 – virgin : actual, tangible girl :: whore : online, porn girl – and when real-world “virgins” attempt to imitate those alluring “whores” living online… 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) person… and this time he didn’t have to fake his orgasm. Good for you, Davy!!

Here are some things I didn’t understand and/or wondered about while reading “The Vanishing Male Libido:”

If you’re like one of Davy’s respondents, “Ron,” and you have your favorite porn chics on a “date” rotation/schedule during the week (Ron only sees his girlfriend on the weekends), couldn’t one’s “relationship” 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?

I’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 Davy’s piece.  As I was reading, I couldn’t help but wonder…

What about all the guys who know when to say “when” in terms of adult content online and don’t go on weekly “dates” with a set rotation of websites? What about the 75% of college-aged guys or the undisclosed percentage of men in their 30s who haven’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 don’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 he’s doing ok… so when Davy tells us that the male libido is vanishing, maybe he’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.  This series includes “Online Porn’s Explosion,” “Porn and Junior-High Culture,” and “The Vanishing Male Libido.”

(image above from the source material – some guy photographed while watching adult content online)

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