Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pornosophy: Addicted to Love

cover of Robert Palmer single "Addicted to Love"
A drink provides a buzz. There’s nothing like a cocktail or two on a gray afternoon to lift the spirits. But for some people the buzz is not enough. They need to constantly refill their glasses. It’s the same with pornography. It provides an escape into a larger than life world that literally pierces the veil of appearances. There’s a rush that derives from seeing that which is normally hidden from plain sight. Artful pornography may even be found on coffee tables and there's sometimes a fine line between pornography and the kind of erotic in situ photography done by a Nan Goldin or Roy Stuart. But for some people the gentle enjoyment of nudity and voyeurism, that also attends to the longing for love objects that one can’t have, is never enough. There are those who become as addicted to pornography as they are drugs or alcohol or sex itself. They’re like crack heads who’re caught in an insidious cycle in which they continually need a new hit. Gay Talese wrote a piece in The New Yorker ("The Voyeur's Motel," 4/11/16) about an innkeeper who had built spying devices into his establishment. Talese’s description of institutionalized voyeurism tells the story of a porn junkie, someone who has to create a business to support his own habit. And with the rise of on- line pornography, there's been no dearth of opportunities, either in terms of chat rooms or web cam sites (where live interactions take place) for those who require constant stimulation to satisfy their needs. One characteristic of addiction is that the dose that formerly satisfied a need often needs to be increased and those who dabble in porn often find that they require increasingly stronger stuff, in terms of violence, explicitness or perversity in order to satiate their cravings. Freedom was the commodity that was being touted back in the 60’s during the early years of the sexual revolution, yet for anyone who finds they're exceeding their credit limits as they sink further into addictive behavior, the feeling is the reverse of being liberated. Robert Palmer’s hit song was "Addicted to Love."

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