Monthly Call: January 2022
Community Call: January 2022
Porn in the Pandemic:
Pleasures and Pitfalls
This is a ZOOM Video Conference call for members and their guests.
with Don Shewey
Gay men have a special relationship with pornography. No matter what disapproval or titillation or money-mindedness it might conjure for the culture at large, pornography has been a teacher, a friend, a refuge, a companion for many gay men at some point in their lives. For gay adolescents, pornography provides a peek into the world of adult sexuality without shame or judgment. For gay men who are closeted or don’t have access to community, it’s been a bulwark against isolation.
During the worst years of the AIDS epidemic, when it felt like sex=death, pornography kept the erotic impulse alive and safe from the plague. And again in the last two years, during periods of pandemic lockdown when physical touch and intimacy once more felt fraught, porn in its many forms (not just PornHub videos but Twitter feeds and pic-swapping on hookup apps) has been a godsend as an alternative to the aching loneliness of social distancing.
As Don Shewey writes in his book The Paradox of Porn: Notes on Gay Male Sexual Culture, the joys and liberation that erotic imagery can conjure are inseparable from the shadow side of pornography. Porn has never been easier to access or more alluring, which makes it all too easy to use it to distract or numb ourselves and for addictive personalities to disappear into it to the detriment of other responsibilities. And for all the pleasure porn can impart, it can also instill distorted ideas about sex and bodies that can muddy the waters of interactions with others “in real life.”
How is pornography working in your life these days? While clients hardly ever bring it up, what do you notice about their consumption of porn and the impact it’s having on their sex lives and their self-perception? Join guest speaker Don Shewey in a robust, authentic, judgment-free discussion of the pleasures and pitfalls of pornography.