Why you should care

Because the species depends on it.

The setup was sweet. A Russian-Israeli multimillionaire had approached me about doing a blog for him. It would serve as an accelerator to his mainstay, porn reselling for his one-stop porn shop, GameLink. All we had to do was to review sex films and products and follow the reviews with a link back to his site.

“We’ll give you a monthly fee,” said his then-general manager, Mike Voss. “And all the porn you’d ever want.” A boast that when I backed my car into a spot in front of their shop revealed itself to be much more full than empty. I opened the trunk, they filled the trunk, and I set about reviewing 300 DVDs. All by myself.

Like Mickey and the Sorcerer’s apprentice where the character is outsmarted by his own smarts, I got 20 minutes in when I realized that I had stumbled into a crevasse of fleshy hopelessness. There was a way out that didn’t involve returning the monthly fees, of course, but the true horror of the appointed task would have to be concealed from the helpmates I was seeking.

“Hey. You want to review some porn?” And the life cycle was exactly the same: enthusiasm, followed by reality, and then by fevered attempts to get out of delivering. You see, it really is impossible to watch this stuff for more than five minutes at a time.

Sex is for hippies.

Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols

But the experience uncovered a sneaky and creeping possible truism: Sex, which porn is not really, had the power to undo its own power by being — heaven forbid — less than exciting. Though the coffee was there, there was resistance to smelling it. From the rise of sexless marriages to men opting out of the hunt for it to birth rates plunging globally, it’s pretty clear that despite, or possibly because of, the so-called pornification of modern culture, we might be done. Done, as in: finito, finished, basta, no mas. Done.

“Sex is for hippies,” The Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten once said in full punk rock dudgeon. And compared to the bloated and cocaine-fueled rock that preceded punk’s anarchy, he seemed right. So right that the music and culture that followed in punk’s early wake heartily agreed with hard-core punk rock stalwarts Minor Threat declaring that they didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and didn’t fuck, but “at least I can fucking think.” Sure, people were still having sex … it was just low on the listed state of priorities.

Has the 'pornification' of modern culture made real sex boring?

Has the “pornification” of modern culture made real sex boring?

Source Scott Houston/Corbis

Where it’s remained, culturally speaking, with minor detours courtesy of hair metal and the leading-edge tech access to porn, with its nearly perfect segue from something you watched on your TV when no one was home to something you watch on your phone. On the bus. And commercially? Full speed ahead, since sex was used to sell everything from Halloween to batteries to just about everything outside of maybe tampons.

Then there was the unholy convergence of rock, outlaw, porn and post-modern irony that fueled Demi Moore, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé — the list is notably absent any male stars — play-acting out outré sex roles that have largely left us where we are now, with today’s average music video being the perfectly appropriate porn of yesterday.

So even as people still watch billions of dollars’ worth of porn a year, articles about how it shrinks your brain are not laughed out of the place. And the blizzard of boobs, butts, plastic surgery-enhanced cookie-cutter secondary sex characteristics, billboards, newspapers, magazines and ads full of the same are clearly having an effect. Just maybe not the desired one.

No, people saying NO in greater numbers is probably not what the sellers of leather bustiers, motor oil and fish sticks had in mind, but here we are. Is actual SEX itself really boring? Probably not. But how many of us can really get to actual sex? Or rather, get to it through the massive and noisy attack of attempts to seduce and sensation us into buying stuff that will increase, improve, expand, amplify the experience?

Apparently not enough. And until sex can figure out how to outsmart those who would dumb it down to sell toasters, lawn mowers, records, movies and shoes? Probably not as many as would normally. So here we are with celebrity after celebrity trying to break the Internet — we’re looking at you, Chelsea and Kim. And the people who vote? People with genitalia? Just yawning the night away … even if you did succeed in making them look.

But maybe there’s a way out, I don’t know. Maybe try romancing us a bit with something other than inducements to do the nasty every time you want us to open our wallets? Or decouple coupling from some Madison Avenue scheme to finagle our sometimes very real fantasies into marketing indices?

Or how about this. Just leave us alone to frame sexy the way it works best: with the powers of imagination and lots of massage oil. Could work, worth a try.

Does this immodest proposal turn you on? Let us know.

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OZYImmodest proposal

Propositions that fall on the continuum between controversial and utterly insane. Sometimes we're tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes, dead serious.