Narrative Arcs in Pornography

Warnings of danger to mental structures of open minds, this is a dangerous site, and you are going to read it anyway.  Dangerous, see you can’t resist the title! Nor the fact that this is 4100 words long, and touches on a lot of aspects of life and sex, meandering in structure.

So I work at finding different points of view, we tend to novels illustrating foreign lives, and historical lives, at least those lives translated into terms modern enough to understand, and I know so much is lost. Any farmer who reads historical novels involving farming life in the Middle Ages has a far different appreciation of the situation than a scholar, and even the modern farmer must miss much.

Also, there is a lot to be gained from ads.  Egyptologists have found that also, so many of the bits of papyrus from the old times illustrate Egyptian lives from contracts, love poetry, offers of love potions, etc.

Ads in modern times are not so different, tho we find many variations on love and sex. Probably I could learn just as much by perusing the ads wanting cars and houses as the ones for girlfriends and sex, but then I couldn’t produce great Headlines as above.

But I like standard male stuff, am not going to apologize for being either biological nor male.  Sorry, society has to adjust to me also, I side with Trump in this.  And society has adjusted, sex as explicit as you would like in unbelieveable variety of astonishingly lovely people performing awesomely, or at least pretty awesome to my middle-class, sexually-deprived existence (nothing special and no criticism of wife, it is a condition of being male – my mother told me ‘never enough’ is the motto of the men in the family).

So every few months I spend an hour or so on Backpage and Craigslist and another period of time on a porn aggregation site, and I read enough ads and sample enough porn segments to have some idea of what the trends are.  I find the world sub-optimum.

Since Linda Lovelace made porngraphy respectable enough to discuss in public, porn has progressed.  (Avoiding double-entendres is not so easy in a discussion about porn.)

One very informative site is a porn aggregation site that purports to show you, scrolling on your screen, the world’s queries of their database, search terms.  The aggregate imagination and knowledge of the world is awesome.  And the truly astonishing thing is there are videos delivered to all of the strangest search terms I can imagine, and I know that because that is the kind I check, of course.

One trend that has caught my eye over the last few years is the enormous increase in “Agent” videos.  The premise is as old as Hollywood : a young woman comes to a talent agent who is searching for porn stars and makes his $ from referring them to directors.  Of course, the interview is a casting couch, and she performs for free.  And the agent sells the tapes.

I always found it a bit hard to believe the premise, documenting your fraud and then selling the document for profit, some boyfriend or father would be enraged and he wouldn’t even need to be mob to ambush you, bad position to be in.

The young women are rarely natural stars, uncomfortable and/or not polished actors, tho some of them claim to be.  The sequence is always a couple of minutes of chit-chat, who and what is she in the world, get her to admit she wants to be in porn, along with some “star in the spotlight” reason the old reliable $, he explains his role in the porn industry and how much $ there is in it, she shows her body to him and the cameras, and then, yes of course he is the male talent she is to work with.  The new girl to the business is put her through her paces.  It is clearly effective on the porn-viewing audience, must sell vidoes or ads, because many many more have been made.

Cheap, low-overhead operations.  So some of the men, who don’t show their faces, must be doing this as a hobby, and/or audition of their own for the world of porn.  Even low-end video cameras now produce very good videos, GoPros handle more vigorous action sequences routinely, and it isn’t that hard to get lighting good enough, because they do, the videos are getting better all the time.

So explaining the male side of the supply (I assume the same genre exists for gay films, checked, yes, both gay and transexuals, didn’t watch any, but the thumbnails suggest those indeed display the same dynamics, and confirm the strong Neanderthal influence in NEuropean genetics), doesn’t take any special attributes of standard human male.

But I have a difficult time getting my head around the apparently very many willing auditioneers of all sexes.

It is especially easy to see the intended in these.  The young woman auditioning is aware of what porn stars must do, so none of it is unexpected in theory, but the reality can be so different, and the reality of her experience as shown by her expressions as they walk her through the audition is the grabber of attention.  My wife was as struck as I was by this in the two examples I could make her watch.  The sex is so-so, sex per se is not the reason people watch those, they are putting themselves inside the heads of the girls to share their real experience. Assisted imagining is what porn is, and this is an assist at imagining what the girl could be feeling in a first-time situation, what you think you would be feeling on both sides.

The main thing that convinces you there is any reality is that it is not a standard script : in a standard script, the recipient of the male attention has to be ecstatic about it, and these women rarely are. (But of course, these are facade artists, I am not, so maybe I saw what they wanted.)

A few have the attitude and enthusiasm to actually do porn, tho rarely the looks.  Most are enduring what it takes to make $, you assume desperate or deluded or advertising other services.  I am sure there are as many reasons as women doing these tryouts.

That ‘casting couch’ genre of porn films has expanded into sub-markets, as do all genres of everything, when they can.  Porn has become more specialized.  The ‘high end’ of pornography began with Larry Flint’s Penthouse films and now there are several films specializing in very young, very beautiful women with, for the first time, star quality men. Those also supply more reality, on average, simple scenes but much better aids to imagination than previously. From live shows through films, ever-more of it and ever-more variety in as many dimensions as people can invent and convince others to watch.

That is parallel to the narrative arc of porn’sacceptance in American life.

So plucky American lovely young women are desperate or deluded and even these amateurs are willing to endure vigorous-to-painful varieties of sex for the entertainment of others in return for the hope of a big paycheck.  And those are the lucky ones.  The unlucky ones end up providing more personal services for the very uncaring customers, e.g. the Jeffrey Epsteins of the world.  Or Dennis Hastert. Or some one of the many other oligarch- or ruler-class men.  We only learn about these things from scandals, and scandals happen mostly for political figures, a private individual such as Epstein has to go far outside of the law for a long time before the law gets applied.  One assumes that ‘far outside’ and ‘a long time’ are proportional to the wealth applied to the problems.

I find this appalling, it is one aspect of huge economic-social failures our elites have produced.   Conservative or Liberal, the number of young women who have decided to provide sexual services to the sections of the nation wealthy enough to afford such services is a measure of how FUBARed the economy is. Laws that make the actual providers vulnerable to police increases the size of the cuts to the middlemen providing such protection, and of course, bribes to the police.  To then undercut them in social status and income by the laws and competition from visitors from 3rd world countries with 3rd world ideas of good pay is elegant indeed.

So the ugly part of this story for me is the arc of our FUBARed social story, from a society of free people to a society of lower class providing a very full range of bodily services to upper classes, not the arc of the poor girls progress through their scenes, nor even the progress of pornography through out society.  Those were mostly all voluntary on the provider’s side, and I could not see simple-minded in their chitchat, the internet means young people in the modern world can be aware of anything they want to be aware of, I am not responsible for Hollywood’s delusional effects.  Hollywood does have delusional effects, the pimp culture as well as the fact that so many of the early San Fernando Valley porn stars did very well indeed, I heard some made $1M / year, $20K / week.  They continued the travel from strip club to strip club and associated prostitution that had existed from early days.  Just recently I read that very many of the actors in San Fernando Valley were back to hooking also, there was so little money in the business. Another reason for the cheap videos to proliferate, and even less reason for any of the starlet-hopefuls to do it.  So the reason must be it is a quick substantial paycheck for them, and they need it, desperate for it.

However coercive the environment and horrible the cultural encouragement, the very bad thing is the total system that so reliably produces the young people who are faced with such lousy choices in their varieties of servitude. Sexual servitude is not the worst thing, it turns out.  (The usual link that proves what I wanted it to, really do your own googling for independent thought.)

How many indications of all this do we need?  The many scandals  of high-level men hiring sexual services, stories of Wall Street broker’s parties all the way down to down and out women living in motels on the cheap side of town advertising for free on Craigslist, so long as they are ambiguous enough in that.  Sex is being bought and sold throughout our society at all levels and in all forms, mild to wild or as personal as you would like, and if you would like her to act like she was passionate about you, so willing to please.*

An economist could get the idea that sex was a tradable commodity, convertable into most other goods, good in an emergency to buy protection, nearly as good as gold. An anthropologist or sociobiologist would assume that was built into the genome by our ancestry as primates.

I have for years been growing increasingly aware of the range of lives on our planet. Youtube is responsible for much of that.  The web in general.

We got here by cosmic accident after cosmic accident, most inevitable in some form or other, nevertheless this particular configuration of matter and energy flows is surely unique in all of the universes we can even imagine. I just finished a book on that matter, Andreas Wagner’s “Arrival of The Fittest”  The point of the book was genotype pathways. Short form of that is that chemistry is analog enough, and biochemistry even more, and the patterns of control systems even more than sufficient to allow progress in building life and making it an ecosystem full of very different sets of genomes, all equally improbably inevitable.  Enough of the initial steps such as building bilayer lipids and protecting chemical environments within vesicles and the ionic concentration flow through pores in rocks proceeded in parallel due to different chemical and geological processes, ultimately came together in one time and place on earth, and voila, life bootstraps itself into a planet-dominating people contemplating its own mental and social organizations and optimizations thereof, at the same time that we are evolving ever-faster in culture and possible lifestyles.

Being real competitive about it too, not just between societies.  Negative-sum games everywhere.  Everyone wins their slice of the total action, is terrified to see it slipping away as the system degrades, crafty middlemen straddling the information channels play us like schools of fish in a net that breaks easily.  Don’t put money into prepping, don’t put money into seeds, how much do you think you can grow on an acre? A year’s worth for a family?  I didn’t know that.

Also, you don’t have to be omniscient, caring helps, to notice this planet has very wasted resources of people and treasure, why are we doing that?  And killing each other while we waste humanity’s treasure.

One does not need to be a far-left or -right ideologist (idiot) to think that the situation could be improved, and improved by changing the political system, although one of those is necessary for concocting a solution and preaching it.  This is a different kind of prescription, just the things we should stop doing as individuals that would improve lives everywhere.

We waste the resources of the earth, kill our fellow humans, pop pills and overindulge in drugs of all kinds for all reasons, and have to pay for the sex you would like with the image of the person you would like, or with sex like another wants, for something you want more.

I do not see any problem with the commercial side of that.  Seems to me that the nature of people guarantees we all want more than we can get without some effort in some dimension.  That buys the cosmetics and the gym memberships and the reading a recent best seller to make a good impression on a first date through sex being a routine exchange for a nice dinner.  Human behavior since caveman, major philosophers have had opinions on all sides of the many questions, but none of that is where we moderns have gone wrong.

Whatever your religious, cultural or philosophical positions in all of these questions, surely you agree that legal attempts to control any of it produce perverse results?

None of this fits with my understanding of Conservative Values.

We have taken so much of the joy out of life, and you don’t have to be a sociobiologist or cultural athropologist to read EOWilson’s latest and see how a defended nest works to develop eusocial species.  Now add in “Sex at Dawn” (although that is a bit out of date).  The earliest bones from which they have been able to extract DNA show small bands, much inbred.  Any stranger would be welcomed for the genetic potential, of course.  We know they were in historical times in isolated peoples.

Then read Matt Ridley’s “Red Queen”, a long consideration of the evidence for sexual selection in humans, in which he concludes that human intelligence is such a selected capability. Intelligence, youth and beauty are all selected as signifiers of good genetics and capability of raising children.  He emphasizes the monogamous aspect of the human species at the same time as the very strong tendency to opportunistic sex the male side of that is lead to in their half of the genetic evolution game.  That is different than what Ryan and Jetha emphasized in Sex at Dawn, which was

Humans lived around campfires in caves and bomas and ragged hides and grasses. You know how the men back from the hunt with game enough for a feast and the women waiting with berries in baskets, some fruit that had begun fermenting, what a treat, cracked nuts in another, tubers baking in the coals, were going to act, even before someone decided to try out the psychedelic. There was an orgy, every night they could manage.  Except they didn’t think of it as an orgy, that implies something special. Their lives were hard, pleasures fleeting, take them while they are hot. This is a brotherhood in a small band in the middle of a big and fierce continent, there could be no divisions, no jealousies, that would endanger all.  Of course they shared.  For 100s of 1000s of years, we humans shared all around our campfires, and I think that is true whether we consider ourselves more sex-friendly mutually-submissive Bonobo or killer chimp become continuously receptive sexually.

We have not changed that much in basic sexual natures.  How many scandals in your college years in some fraternity or other’s outrageous sexual sharing, alternatively considered ‘use’, of women in one excuse or other, or just a wild party?  Seems to me the women got something out of some of the situations I have heard about. My marine friends tell me of the same scenes in every Asian and South American port, the women know what to provide, it isn’t special.  The various security details roaming the world with politicians regularly have wild parties in cat houses, you can’t believe we hear of all of them?  How many slang terms for orgy, gangbang, etc. do you know?  Gangbang and threesome videos are a high proportion of videos.  Do you think we do that for something that never happens?  You know not all of those are coerced or paid for.

After I wrote this, I asked a friend who has lived in a lot of places what he thought were the sexual behaviors of ‘an average American’.  His opinion was that it varies by the country and the group.  In California, very common, he thought and relatively open.  Less so in other groups, but more and more everywhere in all of the working class groups, and more and more openly, moving upward.  Pretty much what you would expect, given the 2 or so $100M porn companies that distribute by way of Tupperware-type parties and the fact that 25% of all video rentals were porn, just before the Web killed off DVDs and rentals thereof.

It all leaks into popular culture a lot, not just pornography.  I saw a wine named “Menage a Trois”.

This is the reason pornography works, if seeing others having sex around the campfire increased your sex drive even a little bit, it increased your line’s ratios of genes in the population, and evolution continued upward, so to speak.  That doesn’t affect just one sex, and not in just one way.  We are each an amalgam of wirings and plumbings and drives derived from evolution’s long sequence of genetic designs.

You can’t possibly think the issue of sex in a society of evolved biological beings would be a short list of simple rules?  Right, just like the short list of simple rules for all the other aspects of our society.

Not so many opportunities for orgies any more.  We men miss them, it is in our genetics, really.  Thinking about it, if I wanted to bond men into a hard team, what rituals would I use?  If I wanted to attract a certain kind of man into my group, what kind of image would I project.  Say the kind of man who hankers in their deep psyche for a certain kind of bonding ritual, and I bragged about the wild parties we routinely have.  Or the recruiter hinted at the great and wonderous benefits of overseas deployment, all those lovely horny fellow soldiers nowadays, and the inexpensive pussy off-base.

Something happened that should be explained, because the rate of rape of military women has gone through the roof!  What is that all about?

The arc of the story that I see is all of the supposedly traditional Puritan and subsequent Victorian values, were instead used to mold a society they could control.  And that they knew perfectly well what they were doing, that was the kind of thing the church leaders discussed.  If you want to control a society top-down, you make it a shame culture..  Billy Graham probably knew it better than me.  Progressives added their Temperence thinking and have increased their level of control to outright fascism.  That resulted in corruption that the Israeli-Neocons took advantage of, 9/11 resulted, an attack on the people of our country, a declaration of war.

We are currently deciding what to do about that.

Whatever we do shortrun, next time lets avoid all of the traps of strict morals and laws. Honest work, good food, and great friends in a shared peace and freedom with plenty of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll entertainment at frequent intervals being the highest conservative values are what we need to be aiming for. Satisfied people are good neighbors.

Anyway, we have to stop using force on each other and start running entirely positive-sum games.  We are doing our civilization hurt because we are wasting the resources we should be using to improve human lives everywhere, every increment of wealth to a human being improves our civilization, compounded daily.

The arc of pornography I would like to affect is to end all the war porn and move more of the sex off the screen and into everyone’s daily joys of life.  That is an achievable goal.

*This bit of propaganda has multiple goals.  It is another in the series of personal confessions by which I am gradually convincing you to make me your world dominator.  (An Iggy will be an OK consolation prize, really, only need kill your serious opponents.)

It is a sincere complaint from me that this world is not going well for many young people.  It is a critique of the low-standards of pornography films, and will support the business plan based on a new kind of pornography I may give up on funding, along with the opportunities for casting couches I so anticipated.

And, it is a way of insulating myself against any possible exposure as the sexual being that I am, defeating any attempt at blackmail, because I do research, you see.  I believe my wife has finally been convinced by this post, that is a measure of my propaganda’s power.  You have been warned.

Finally, after adopting a completely outrageous position in our uptight society “We need more orgies”, I ensure that nobody can take me seriously, in the coming era of gulags for subversives, that is good.  Don’t take me seriously, ideas allowed free reign in unprepared minds produced the idiocy we see in the world around us. (The exact point of all of this propaganda, I hope you noticed.)

But you know what?  The warriers already know it.  And their women.  And the criminal classes and their women.  And men of the inner-rings of rulers and their women. Some of the bikers gangs were wild in exactly this way. We of the standard society do not compete well in attracting everyone to our ranks.  Very possibly a bunch of those women in the audition videos were looking for the experiences the watchers of those videos wanted also? Passion and a wide range of experience in interesting communities?

I don’t think we know everything about people’s sexual natures, I think all of our ‘natures’ are dependent upon many things in the environment.  By this time, Western society has figured out not to use corporal punishment on children, lest you raise authoritarians, and not to put your children into prison-schools if you want creative intelligence and wide knowledge.  But I don’t think we know as much as the Romans about raising children to be intelligent in guiding their sex lives.

If you think you know more, go watch the search terms for a porn site scroll by for a few minutes.

**Judging from advertisements, at least.  No personal experience, dammit.  If only I could lie.

The usual stuff I find after publishing. I just finished reading Matt Ridley’s “Red Queen”, an interpretation of human characteristics in terms of sexual selection.  He emphasizes the monogamous aspect of our mating as primary, and the daring drive for sexual satisfaction independently of that as mainly male and women mated to lower-class men who are attempting to better the genetics of offspring.  Indeed, the evidence is persuasive of all that, I am not arguing against that base level.

But, it seems to me based on much evidence, personal, friends reports and everywhere else, that male and female sex drives overlap a lot, and I never believed the statistics of number of partners people report, but of course, that assumes the kind of women I have gone to bed with or told me their sexual secrets in less intimate contexts are normal, probably not. This is an example, sort-of scientific reporting from observation of every guest in a motel over 10 years.  Citizen science.  Sex at dawn has the contrary view, discussed above.  While that is not accepted in all respects, and I have to re-read to evaluate it after Red Queen, it certainly seemed to have interesting data and a consistent view of the data.  Somewhat different data than Ridley.

Added a few days later, in the midst of re-reading ‘Red Queen’ : Re-reading all this again, sorry about the rambling, but when you cover a lot of material, you either write a formal paper or ramble. Formal papers are boring, people don’t read them, and certainly a lot less fun to write. I just understood that, so it is probably rationalization, however rational.

Next, the import of pornography for the study of human nature is the amount of attention it gets and the variety. If you judged from nothing else, evolution has produced males who are permanently interested in sex and females who accommodate that with more or less pleasure of their own. For men, sex is a very primary driver of their behavior as all other interests are a means of living and getting as much sex as possible, while for women, one does not need to read between the lines to see women extract value from their sex. That is an overstatement producing caricature, different men and women will argue how much. It also fits very well with the best biological and ecological thinking, in my interpretation, of course. Next, pornography reveals what everyone wants, and the range of activities indicates a wide range of human desires in sex. The genomics and understanding of many different evolutionary solutions to the problem of parasites and the resulting different systems of genetic recombinations, as well as the games genes play, explains it all, once you add the concept of sexual selection. Biology inevitably produces a full range of sexual desires and, independently, body types, by genetic skulduggery of competitive genes or accident of embryology, and it can be hard to tell which.

At some point, the ape’s who became human got to the point where they had enough minds to notice other minds, then cultural evolution kicks off. When minds noticed others made good decisions and invented the idea of ‘clever’, sexual selection kicks into high gear as the many ways of standing out as clever evolve, each success producing offsprings of the successful mind. Then minds start getting shaped by the requirements of sexual selection in a band very dependent upon each other for survival living life around a campfire, which is where “Sex at Dawn” thinking kicks in.

I think both the aggressive chimp troop behaviors and Sex at Dawn orgy around a campfire were true, and the balance could change for many reasons, that is part of cultural evolution. Certainly, it would be hard to argue against them in pornography or what I have seen of other’s sex lives.

Added a few days later : Utah has declared pornography a dangerous health hazard, “producing hypersexualization of teenagers”.  In order to judge ‘hyper’ we would need a baseline to compare against.  People must forget their own experiences as teen agers, sex is a drive under which people are not rational, and much literature depicts proper young women in the most repressed societies nevertheless indulging. The rate of teen pregnancies, I think, has always been proportional to the incentives and technology available to prevent.  Certainly part of the incentive is the acceptance of sex in the society, and porn is an indication of that.

I worked several months on a project in Salt Lake, liked the Mormons I worked with.  They described a society where the church occupied everyone’s time as much as possible, then the men go off on missionary years, and when they come home, immediately get married, divorced after 3 or 4 kids 7 or 8 years later.  That organization of their society worked in a farming society, but is a bad sequence when divorce is accepted. The modern one in our social world is experimenting with relationships and sex through late high school and college, a few years out of college for women, longer for men. Then married 25-28 for women, 30-35 for men. Those marriages last at least through child rearing.

Mormon church attendance is down, I have read, as are all religions.  This is a reaction to that, and also the beginning of the tightening that happens in every social and economic disaster.  More power to the state, more laws to be selectively enforced.  But sexual behavior won’t change much, it just gets hidden. And there wo’t be any special crackdown on elites using children for sex, and middlemen in those transactions will go on doing well, you don’t believe the DC Madame was the only pimp working DC do you?

Prohibitions of things in digital images are likely to be especially futile. How many movies can be put on a flash drive?  Porn is being made by complete amateurs with cell phone cameras, and published to major porn sites, the equivalent of Youtube, except there are many of them. The amount of porn published is cumulative, and is copied onto computers all over the world. The porno cat is out of the bag and won’t go back in.


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