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Did porn warp me forever?

It was the era of Kazaa and we knew no better. Among my group of male friends at my austere private elementary school, watching, discussing and even sharing pornography became a sexual outlet. With the ease of downloading, we would burn CDs and swap them in school with “clever” titles taken from some album with a vague penis reference (like Will Smith’s ignominious “Big Willie Style”). That way, we could talk about porn in public, asking each other on field trips, “What did you think of that new Craig David CD I burned for you?” The “inside joke” rose to evil middle-school comic genius when other students bought the actual music albums to get in on the trend. It was a typical preteen hijink, except that the images on those CDs were far more raw than the traditional Playboy pin-up.

Both of my parents were shrinks, and even though I was generally comfortable talking about sex in my household, porn — especially the porn I was watching — just had to be taboo. It was inexplicably gross, divorced from the concept of sex as it had been explained to me. If sex was a man inserting his penis into a woman’s vagina, then how did girls drinking cum out of champagne glasses fit into that picture? Because of its unspeakable nature, Internet porn became inextricably linked with the anxiety of being caught.

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