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Why I am an Anti-Porn Star by Lawrence

Why I am an Anti-Porn Star by Lawrence

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Published by bluptr
Why I am an Anti-Porn Star by Lawrence;
Originally published in the Fairfield Weekly under the title "Confessions of a former porn addict"
Why I am an Anti-Porn Star by Lawrence;
Originally published in the Fairfield Weekly under the title "Confessions of a former porn addict"

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Published by: bluptr on Sep 27, 2009
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12/24/2012

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"Why I am an Anti-Porn Star"By LawrenceOriginally published in the Fairfield Weekly under the title "Confessions of aformer porn addict"; edited by o.a.g.One day, I remember coming home from Catholic school with my younger brother,Earl, and stopping by Grandma's house. We had to be around 8 and 9 years old.After a big hug and kiss hello and some small talk about the school day, I made myway past the faded hallway curtain to Grandma's back bedroom, where the big TVwas, as she prepared food for us to eat. I clicked on the television to WoodyWoodpecker, or whatever cartoon happened to be on. As I walked back over to sitdown on the bed, I noticed a stack of magazines sitting on a chair across theroom. The glossy magazine on top read 'PLAYBOY' in big red lettering, and beneaththe lettering a very friendly-looking, curvaceous, smiling white woman sat thereinvoking me to turn the pages and step into her realm. Instinct told me there werenaked women stacked away in them there glossy pages, and a quick flip throughconfirmed all suspicions. While Grandma and Earl were engaged in conversation inthe kitch! en, I strategically placed the girl y magazine underneath my Catholicschool uniform and stealthily tiptoed my way to the privacy of the bathroom.I remember sitting there on Grandma's toilet seat, flipping the pages and beatingthe meat. After a few minutes of gawking at pictures, I placed my tingling ear tothe door. Hearing familial voices still up front, I quietly exited the bathroom,gingerly placed the magazine back in its original position, and stepped lively tothe kitchen, eager to join the conversation.I thought I was being slick, but unbeknownst to me, what had actually occurred wasthe beginning of years of addiction to pornography that would challenge, plagueand pain me to the core of my being until well into my 20s.Shortly thereafter regular reconnaissance missions around Grandma's apartmentturned up hard-core pay dirt: explicitly graphic pornography in the form ofmagazines, video catalogs, sex toys, 'the works.' I don't remember thinking ill ofmy grandmother, as in, 'Damn, Grandma sho' is freaky.' I just concentrated on thenaked thrill and excitement of seeing two human beings getting raw like sushi. (Iwould later learn that the majority of this porn paraphernalia belonged to mygrandmother's then live-in boyfriend)Even in those early days, there were times when I sensed something incorrect withmy behavior. If everything were completely kosher...why feel a need to sneakaround and be underhanded with it? I remember one time there was a 'glossy' layingout on Grandma's bed, so I picked it up and started eyeballing it in full view ofher. Grandma's face said, 'Boy, if you turn one more page, you won't have a faceto look through.' I gulped and put the scholarly text down. Shortly thereafter,all magazines were concealed - though, admittedly, it never took long to locatethe hidden stash. Thinking back I can also recall awkward moments when Grandmawould catch me with my hand in my pants and she'd say, 'Boy, I thought I told youto stop playing with yourself!'Having attended an all-male, Catholic high school in Manhattan, I soon discovereda flourishing underground trade in X-rated videos. One of my best friends, Kenny,who attended a separate school, also had access to tapes, and by that time I hadbegun renting adult videos from a local store. The delivery boys from the videoshop, most of whom were barely my age, paid little attention to my adolescencewhen I opened the door. Their primary focus was on a fat tip.Kenny used to bring his VCR to my house and leave it for days on end. When my
 
mother was home I'd tell her I was recording standard R-rated movies: Aliens,Ragtime, and the like. When she wasn't around I'd pop in the raunchy shirt andrerecord porno movies for hours. At that time, video tapes featuring black peoplewere becoming more popular. Of course, I wanted to see black folk, but even backthen I found the images disturbing, sexual fantasies with black women playingmaids, or 'African savages,' were of color in extremely stereotypical roles, mostoften servicing white men. These images pierced on some level, but I never soul-searched long enough to really, truly understand the raw psychological assaultthat was taking place. After the tape played for a little while I'd find a way todeaden myself and ignore it. My mindset at the time focused on that fact that myboy Kenny and I had the ultimate hook-up! - which meant an abundant supply ofporn! o tapes for trade on the open marke t at our respective (sacrosanct)schools.It was in my personal attitudes toward women that I began to question more deeplymy involvement with pornography. Probably my biggest source of cognitivedissonance arose from comparing the women I saw on video with the women in mylife, particularly the black women of my family (who were by far the dominant rolemodels of my childhood). The family women were independent, intelligent, warm,humorous, well-rounded human beings. The women portrayed on-screen, irrespectiveof race, were essentially objects for male pleasure. Personality-wise, they wereeither obsequious and servile, or cold, conniving opportunists. These twocontrasting images of women - from my family and the video screen - never lined tofocus in my mind.I did notice that my attitude toward my first girlfriend fluctuated back and forthbetween these two extremes. While I admired her intelligence and humor, I loathedthe manipulative aspect of her being. So sometimes I'd treat her like family, andother times I'd treat her like a video 'actress' by being cold, distant,distrustful. I remember once telling a friend of mine, partially in jest, that ifmy girlfriend kept acting up, I'd have to get a jar of grease and a stack of pornotapes to replace her ass. Thinking about comments such as this ultimately broughtabout greater realms of consciousness.One time I was watching an X-rated tape. At the end of a sex scene, after the malehad ejaculated, the woman with whom he was having sex, whom I had noticed had aseverely disturbed expression on her face throughout the ordeal, broke downcrying. The filmmakers had tried to edit it out and quickly cut to another scene.But I kept rewinding and watching this small part over and over again. She wasdefinitely crying, and it wasn't from pleasure. I began to wonder whether thiswoman had been forced (either physically or financially) into doing the film. Ormaybe she had been abused as a child, and that early sexual trauma had producedlow self esteem that opened the door to her doing films. It occurred to me thatthe people whom I had blindly derived pleasure from over the years - and hadobjectified - may have in fact been actual human beings in pain. I though tomyself, what kind of emotional or spiritual low point does one have to hit inorder to make X-rated fi! lms or to work in the sex industry? And if that was thecase, the idea of thriving on someone else's pain, subjugation or exploitation didnot sit well with me, particularly as a black man understanding the insidiousnature of this society (and how it so frequently thrives off of black people'spain, subjugation and exploitation).My interest in pornography began to seriously wane. Sporadically, I'd watch, butafter viewing a tape, oftentimes I'd destroy it rather than pass it on to friends.I did not want to consciously be responsible for promoting misogyny and blatantracism among my brothers, my peers.Even with this new outlook and attitude, I still found that oftentimes when I was

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