Monday, April 5, 2010

Your husband, and not his porn, is ruining your marriage.

Over at Salon they are chattering about the old porn/romance novel debate. It started with this anonymous story about porn being blamed for destroying a marriage.

Hmmm. Yes... ummmmm.

Please grow up people? Porn, romance novels, fashion, shopping, sports, and most techno-gadgets all come from the same place. It is a place that we try and reach, where the world is more the way our feelings would want it to be. We try and reify that sense, or consume the reification of others. We want to make the evanescent fantasy moment, real before our eyes and senses. In its rarified form, it is art, literature. In its more pragmatic form it is life. In its tawdry form, it's porn, the celebration of being able to consume on camera. I've done a lot of porn, and the one question that men always want to have answered is "do you feel it? does it get you off?" They are always looking for a woman who reifies their cravings, because, honestly they want the craving without having to work, the mango that just falls from the tree.

However to blame the creation for the urges of creating it, or less still to blame the creation for the urge to consume the creation, is getting it backwards. The National Review Online's anonymous gets it so wrong... her husband, and she in all probability, ruined their marriage. Porn was just the fixation, the compression, of what was missing: visual appeal, sexual freedom, and a release from all the realities of a marriage with five children.

It is not that the pain of loss is not real, and it isn't that anyone should have much, if any, sympathy for a man who shares in creating five children, makes promises of forever, and then runs out. I certainly don't. He'll find the make up peels, the boobs sag, and probably his new porn girl will find he has moved on. If anything the post is an excellent argument for garnishing wages for child support, not about porn, because there are millions of stories of a man running out, and they don't all revolve around porn, but they all revolve around the man running out.

Recently I experienced a break up, where the guy was sort of making noises about marriage, but in reality, he didn't really consider it. Many of my friends spent their twenties with boy friends who were just not going to get married to the first girl they met. I'm sure there are big picture problems that are contributing to what, from here, seems like an epidemic. But as far back as we read human literature, there are stories of a man chasing and catching a woman, getting her pregnant, and then running on to the next woman. It's classic mythology. In some stories he runs, and in others, he gets caught in one way or another. So if the people of forever ago antiquity saw this, it's a pretty good wager to say that it will be with us for a while yet.

So the whole whose porn is worse is missing the reality: Mr. Anonymous is an awful human being with not a shred of decency. Mrs. Anonymous, if she looks at herself, will probably see some imperfections that contributed to this sorry situation. What Mr. Anonymous' excuse to himself for running out is totally beside the point. It could have been an African American girl with a round ass, it could have been a blond boy, it could have been a slinky thing with fishnets, it could have been anything. Reading between the lines, it seems like he had checked out of the marriage a while ago, and was simply waiting for his chance to leave.

If there is a discussion worth having here, it is why we spend sooo much time in this society talking about marriage, supposedly celebrating permanent monogamy, celebrating child rearing, and do so little, both as a collective and as individuals, to make it all work. Fantasy is neither constructive nor destructive, in itself, it is how we seek that concrete version of it that is constructive or destructive. It wasn't the porn that lured an otherwise good Mr. Anonymous into the arms of a bimbo, it was that he was always looking to get there. Mrs. Anonymous, if she wants someone to blame, should ask herself why Mr. Anonymous disappeared off into pornland, and the answer is probably in part her own actions and the way she treated her husband. I say this, because taking responsibility is crucial, and she can not do that, even in the after light. Instead, she turns it into a talking point in someone else's ideological crusade. An activity that others seem happy to help her with.

So I write this simple ending: I feel Mrs. Anonymous' hurt, because it is a hurt that almost every woman knows, the promise of forever and ever broken for a hand full of flesh. But don't blame the camera, or the pictures, or the society, for what is your story. Pick up, protect your children, and yourself. And, if you are motivated to political activism, then be motivated to make it so that men will stop treating marriage like a bank, which they rob and then try and make a break when they have looted everything of value.

You have five children Mrs. Anonymous, and a porn crusade has nothing to do with them. Think of your children first, you are all they have.

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