Reminder to not take yourself too seriously

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Porn Study: Too Close to Call

I really wanted to post at least every other week about the porn study progress but you know…life. But really life just got really effin’ crazy. Or more accurately school did. This semester is pushing me in totally different, amazing, shoulder-pain-creating ways. And I love it but most I’m exhausted by it.

Also sadly I’ve found that with all my other porn study responsibilities, I don’t have time to code videos during the week. I only get to see an occasional few crazy videos as I’m sorting through everyone else’s data. I’m actually still shocked how much time and energy it takes to coordinate 10 coders, clean data, answer questions, and organize data. I thought coordinating would be the easy part. Turns out it is the mind-numbing, body-losing-muscle-mass part of this whole project.

But if nothing else it makes me feel prepared for when I do this by myself in less than a year. Several people have given me the wise advice of “whatever you do don’t do a content analysis for your thesis.” Well folks, I’m already knee-deep in shit so I’m just drudging my way through. At least I’ve gotten used to the smell.

 

Porn Study Two Months In: Taking an unsanctioned break from coding to sample

I haven’t done any coding for the past two weeks. Not that there isn’t coding to do. Not that I shouldn’t have been coding. Not that I won’t have a backlog of two weeks of coding to binge on over break. It was just that I couldn’t. I needed a break. I needed to unpixalize sex.

Not that I wasn’t watching porn. I had to sample the 400 LGBT videos from Pornhub for the next phase of the study. In order to sample you have to figure out first how many videos you need to have enough power in your sample. Once you find your magic sample number X, then you need to find the total amount of videos in that category, divide that number by your magic number X to find your sampling nth number and finally sample random video 1,2,3,4, etc on each nth page. I did not explain that well but just trust me; it is all pretty basic math-y and not fun. Not fun at all.

All that translated to about five hours of simultaneously sampling videos while trying to not actually watch the videos. I ended up putting Battlestar Galetica on my little Chromebook, putting on my headphones and pretending that wasn’t an image of a young man wet humping a soccer ball on my Acer.

Let’s just say I had some weird dreams about Starbuck and some kinky cylons. Unfortunately this means I have to do two weeks’ worth of coding over break. Lord help me, I may never be able to watch porn for fun again.

The Porn Study: 6 Weeks, Forgetting how to do “real” sex

Sometimes I’m actually afraid I’ll forget how to have “real” sex; that one day I’ll be naked with someone lovely and I’ll ask him to hold my leg up and out so the non-existent camera can get a better angle of my cooch, or I’ll leave on my socks and shoes for traction, or worse yet, I’ll forget to kiss my partner, to look into his eyes and remember that he is a person, that we are people connecting for reasons other than for a camera.

I’ve been on my steady stream of mainstream porn now for about 6 weeks and the effects are real and slightly terrifying. Beyond coding every single sexual situation I see, I’m beginning to worry I won’t be able to actually connect with someone again on a physical level without hearing imaginary bow-chicka-bow-wow music in my head.

Without delving too deeply into my dating habits in my new city, let me just say I have met a bevy of wonderful young men, none of whom have tickled my particular fickle fancy. Which is to say I’m am single, a status I’m used to, but one that feels particularly lonely now that I’ve surrounded myself of images of strangers banging. Without having a partner to balance out the images of fake boobs and inhumanly large penises, I’m afraid my brain is forgetting what it is to have intimate sex.

Or maybe I’m just horny.

Either way, this is becoming a rather painful processing of uncomfortable learning. I feel unbalanced, pushed to my edge of what is not just comfortable, but rationale and even spiritually safe. It is here – teetering – that I contemplate just how much of my personal life, my sexuality, my balance I will willingly give up. It is here that I have to admit: I’m afraid I won’t regain my comfort and ease with real life sex; that this project will somehow change forever how I view sex and not in a better way.