I should know, as an ex journo of any stripe, that one of the only hoary old rules of writing that’s actually worth listening to, heeding and tattooing on the backs of your hands is “Write what you know”. There are legions of people yammering about things they don’t know or can’t grasp, and I really ought to know better than to join them.

A really interesting post on sexualisation by Brooke Magnanti at her new blog immediately made me look again at the parts of my last post that were general, not personal. Writing what you know isn’t about limiting, it’s about connecting with your personal truth, about getting to know the storms inside, not rashly perceiving or judging the storms in the distance.

So, writing that I felt mainstream porn could be potentially bad is folly – what I mean is that in certain people, it could combine with other factors (a prelidiction for violence, an aggressively objectified upbringing, a lack of basic compassion) to potentially cause unhappy consequences. But even then, as Brooke’s post starkly explains, cause is a word best used within the boundaries of fact, not assumption.

Because what I really should be writing about is not how society is suffering or how I perceive it to be suffering, but how I am suffering, how I am reeling or reacting or being influenced by society and its contents. Drift into the Daily Mail spectrum and all I’m doing is making noise, interference. My occasional ‘GU’ style diatribes are no better.

And these diversions from the only path worth treading – writing what is true and honest – mean I fudge the good stuff. I ended by explaining that I feel my relationship with porn, my early encounter/s, blossomed my lust too early and stalled my emotional development, my sensitivity or love. This isn’t true at all. If it were, my lust would be the more sophisticated.

In fact it is the exact reverse. I feel sure that because of my nature, my repressions, that my encounters with porn have stalled and arrested my sexuality, my lust – this is my immortal adolescence. Meanwhile my emotions, my love and passion has developed as the more sophisticated, the more eloquent and self-aware, the more adult.

But children throw better tempers, and adolescent lust is a blunt and blundering thing. I know that there’s a more adult sexuality within me, but until now and still now it’s suffocated by the underdeveloped and unsophisticated 15-year-old who kept clippings of girls from the Daily Sport and the 18+-year-old who feels an exultant thrill when purchasing pornographic magazines.

If my adult sexuality is to rise out of this mire of objectivication, pulp pornography and adolescent fantasy, I think that I need not only to remember how unable porn is to return the rewards I have sought from it, but also to accept my adult sexuality. Crucially, to own it. Then my emotional and sexual pysche can begin to strike a balance, can complement each other rather than conflict.

About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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