Monday, December 7, 2009

My First Porn Site.

When I was thirteen years old, my best friend and I started a porn site.

Well, an erotica site; it didn't have photos, but there was a sizeable selection of written and drawn erotic (or more often "erotic") material. It was hosted on GeoCities, and hamfisted in every way--the layout was a mess of big purple text and teenagerish babble, the pages were random collections of anything we thought would be cool, and the content was an unsorted hodgepodge of things we'd made, things stolen from other amateur sites, and things stolen from the free sections of professional porn sites. We had no concept of copyright and would post anything that CTRL-C could grab.

We did have a PayPal account set up and linked to the site, but (fortunately) the technical intricacies of a password-protected paysite were way beyond us and we charged on a "donation" basis, which of course never made us a red cent.

We were both virgins, and I was about to make fun of how this must've affected our writing, but looking back at the old TXT files, honestly, we were pretty damn good at theorizing. Knowing these files were written by thirteen-year-olds makes me feel all dirty. I didn't realize until just now that at age thirteen I knew exactly how buttsex works. (Also, my spelling and grammar were quite good. I'm so proud of little proto-Holly.)

So as fairly young kids my friend and I were so immersed in porn culture that we were not just avid consumers, we were trying in our puppyish way to join the production side. Three questions that come up in retrospect:

1) Where were our parents? Clueless, of course, not because they were negligent but because we were wily like foxes. We knew when and how to sneak computer time and cover our tracks, and "parental control" filters barely slowed us down. Our parents could have disallowed all unmonitored computer use and probably stopped us, but that would have put a considerable enforcement burden on them, and thirteen is probably too old to be so draconian--we used the Internet for legitimate purposes all the time.

2) Were our views of women or sex skewed? Probably not too badly. We looked at a lot of gay male porn, which was fairly equalizing, but also a lot of Japanese and anime straight porn, which was chockfull of humiliation and rape. I think we took it in fairly good humor--we understood the difference between rape fantasies and real violence, and I don't remember ever thinking that real rape was sexy or that humiliation fantasies were literal. Certainly I don't ever remember feeling or expressing any ill will toward the women in porn--hey, they're just actors.

3) Were we harmed? I don't think so. I'm not really sure what kind of harm to check for, honestly. I don't regret anything other than the copyright infringement and the poor web design. If we'd been a little dumber we might've posted pictures of ourselves, and that might have had consequences legally and socially, but I don't think the act of posting self-kiddy-porn would have done much to us psychologically. Even though it was sexual, we were coming at this from a pretty innocent place--we just wanted to entertain and get a little attention--and there was no sense of exploitation or debasement. We were in control of the whole project, after all.



So when people get all panicky about kids under eighteen being exposed to anything remotely sexual, pardon me if my monocle doesn't exactly fly off. Kids getting into sexual situations with older people is a different matter, but kids experiencing sexual material on their own or with peers is as natural as the morning dew and about as hazardous. Hot Coffee, sexting, racy scenes in library books, Janet Jackson's nipple, gay marriage taught in the schools, putting condoms on bananas? Yeah, whatever, I was younger than that when I ran a goddamned porn site.



In fact, the only thing that did get dangerous was a result of society "protecting" us. We could download pictures and text, but this was dial-up-era, and being under 18 we couldn't buy porn videos on our own. We had a friend who was 18, though, and he would buy porn and invite us over to watch it with him. Now that was some sketchy shit.

12 comments:

  1. google 'my fathers top drawer'

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  2. ...Or maybe you were just an usually well-adjusted kid, Holly...

    When I was growing up, there was no internet to speak of (I'm 36) so I had few, if any, opportunites to secretly investigate various takes on sexuality and come to some idea of balance. My main source of information on sex and relationships was romance novels, to which my parents knowingly gave me unfettered access.

    For anyone who doesn't know, romance novels all have the same plotline: a strong, self-assured, often tomboyish woman meets some snarky prick who makes her feel like an idiot in a way that nobody else ever has. She hates this guy, and he seems to hate her, too. Then one day the two of them get in a screaming fight about something or other and as an expression of anger he kisses her (or sometimes rapes her). She falls in love with him and they get married. The End.

    I don't, by any means, think that my parents should've restricted my access to these books. I do wish they'd been more open to discussing them with me, though. I tried to ask some questions a few times (mostly about what some of the more florid metaphors meant) and they got all embarrassed and tonguetied with me so I stopped asking. I assumed that it must make sense to express anger through sex and to fall in love with someone who made you feel stupid. I think this contributed, later, to my first choice of boyfriend: a physically and emotionally abusive prick that I wanted to "save" with my love.

    Another source of sexual education for me was, of course, the occasional glimpse of a (straight, mainstream) porn movie. Porn disturbed me a lot because the women made sounds I couldn't imagine making and enjoyed acts that looked (and still look) distasteful to me. Same with most sex scenes in mainstream movies, actually. I became afraid that puberty would fundamentally warp my personality and I'd become a vapid twat who would squeal with delight when a guy came on her face. It scared me, imagining myself all my tastes and behaviours shifting like that.

    I wish my parents (or someone) had encouraged me to talk about things. I wish my parents (or someone) had reassured me that the media portrayal of women isn't always realistic; that even once my sexuality developed, I'd still be the same person I always was, plus orgasms. I wish my mom had at least read some of those romance novels herself so she understood the horrible misogynist bullshit I was ingesting (the books were hand-me-downs from my grandmother; my mom the self-proclaimed feminist never bought that shit).

    But I turned out okay anyway. :)

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  3. Perversecowgirl - I'm always a little skeptical of "let the parents decide, let the parents provide guidance," because my mom was very neurotic and borderline abusive. Getting more frank talks and guidance from her would've been the worst thing for my developing sexuality, much worse than being able to discover and explore sex at my own pace.

    Sure, parents may be smarter than their kids, but their motives are conflicted. They're very concerned with safety and can't really consider their child's sexual pleasure as a priority. Many parents are not going to accept any risks or tradeoffs as "worth" getting off, and because of that they can't offer realistic advice.

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  4. Actually, you make an excellent point - my parents are neurotic and weird, too. But someone should teach a kid stuff, and who decides who that should be? Maybe there's just no way for a kid to get through puberty without a lot of trial and error.

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  5. Saw my first porn when I was 10 (I had 2 older brothers, that explains why). After getting to know the existence of porn , I used to watch it every month or so, just because I was curious.
    I was 13 when the concept of masturbation caught up to me. I really don't see how discovering porn at such a young age changed anything. Stupid paranoid society.

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  6. Young people will model their behaviours on their caregivers. Why would they not model their sexual behaviours on their caregivers.

    Human caregivers of children (parents or parental analogues) are supposed to have their children's best interests at heart. And considering the limited life experience and poor judgement of most teens, I think a trade off favouring safety vs. getting off is well worth it. You have the rest of your adult life to get off. Do somehing dumb early, you'll have fewer orgasms overall.

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  7. I have not modeled my sexual behaviors on my parents. (To the best of my knowledge.) A lot of people I know tend to have sex lives in active rebellion to their parents'--from children of conservative families going wild to children of broken families being particularly careful not to rush into relationships without trust and commitment. Most people don't want to end up like Mom.

    As for trade-offs, I agree that some pleasure should be sacrificed for safety--but not all of it. Saying "there might be some risks, you're pretty dumb right now, so don't even think about it before you're eighteen" is going to hold zero water with a fifteen-year-old, and I'm not sure that they're wrong.

    I hope I have the maturity to say to my own kids that doing it is beautiful and natural, and what matters is how you do it--not with skeevy people, not without a condom, and not out of pressure or desperation. But if you're using protection and you have a decent relationship, go for it, kids, it's fucking awesome! I don't want to raise kids who don't have sex, just kids who don't get in trouble.

    But a lot of parents aren't going to have that perspective, a lot of parents are going to try to teach an "absolutely no sexual expression at all for five of the horniest years of your life" philosophy, and that guidance, followed or not, isn't much help.




    I'm in my mid-twenties, so I'm going to cross over one of these days, but I'm still on the kids' side. I sympathize more with someone whose entire life is kept down by The Man several years into their biological adulthood than I do with The Man. When someone tells a kid they're too young and dumb to have sex, my knee-jerk response isn't "yeah, kids are dumb," it's "fuck you, Mom."

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  8. Unrelated to your post, but I saw this on SMBC and thought you might dig it:

    Cosmotopian

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  9. Most kids aren't ready for sex at 13, but that's in a large part because our society conspires to make it so - and if they don't defy that conspiracy, then they usually aren't any more ready when they're 18.

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  10. If I had kids (but I don't and won't) I'd teach them that there are a lot of fun, relatively low-risk ways to have orgasms and be intimate with someone, so they don't need to feel like sex is the be-all and end-all. And I'd try like hell to build their self-esteem so that they wouldn't end up being pressured into things they didn't want to do.

    I agree, Holly, a kid isn't going to be scarred by consensual sexual activity with someone cute and nice - unless of course the kid gets pregnant, or gets someone else pregnant. So personally I would try hard to keep my theoretical child from having intercourse until around age 18 - but in the meantime it's cool to experiment with every other damn thing in the world. :D

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  11. I got to my dad's Playboys too young. It's not entirely possible to know what effect they had, of course, but I suspect they played a role in my disappointing adolescence.

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