How Not to Give Up Internet Porn

You call yourself a feminist, an activist, a conscious citizen, but then you watch women get walked around on leashes

 via Showgirls

via Showgirls

BY ERICA GARZA

Maybe it all began one late Tuesday night during summer vacation. You didn’t have to be up early, but your parents did, so you stayed up late to watch re-runs of The Cosby Show alone, but wound up catching Shannon Tweed doing her thing on Cinemax.

Or maybe it was the movie Showgirls, a grown up Jessie Spano living the topless dream in Vegas. Never again would it simply be the place you won buckets of tickets at the arcade while your parents gambled away your future in the casino.

Whatever ignited the twitch in your fingers to first find the right stimuli and then paddle the pink canoe, you may have found yourself, one day, admitting to a room of fold-up chairs and like-minded people: Hi, I’m so-and-so, and I’m a sex addict.

And now you want to stop. Not because you think you’re going to hell, because, honestly, the scantily clad Jesus that hung over you every Sunday might also be to blame for your twitchy fingers. But because you’ve gone too far. One day you were looking at two hot people bliss each other out, the next you were watching 50 men in masks finish all over a girl’s face and then blow dry her eyes shut. First it was all about the things you’d try out in the bedroom that night—then it was canceling plans to stay in and watch slutty cheerleaders fuck their stepdads.

You want to stop because the hypocrisy is so intense it makes you nauseous. You call yourself a feminist, an activist, a conscious citizen, but then you watch women get walked around on leashes and your panties get soaked through. You have to fantasize now to get off. And you have to do the rubbing just the way you like it. You’re stuck in your head more than you’d like to be. You’re agitated when you’re clothed. You’re tired.

Tired of the pop-ups. Tired of the plastic bodies. Tired of escaping.

If you want to stop, try not to convince yourself that lessening the severity of the type of porn you watch will work. There’s no magic carpet ride through the layers of your addiction, dropping you off at that first exciting image—bare breasts and dry humping—and leaving you there to start all over again with fresh synapses turned on by everything. Even kissing.

What will happen is that you’ll scan over all the gangbangs and golden showers, convinced (or at least hopeful) that your sickness isn’t a sickness, but a natural fascination. You’ll hop up on your high horse and forgo humans altogether, deciding instead to invade the cartoon porn vault—a category you never touched because you considered it much too mild.  

But what you won’t realize is that cartoon porn is the exact opposite of mild. It is the apex of your disease. You’ll expect to find anime movies of Japanese schoolgirls or robots fucking each other in some futuristic alternate universe, but then you’ll quickly realize that the cartoon section is just as diverse as the human section. Yes, they make Disney porn. Yes, you can watch Pocahontas fuck John Smith. And Ariel fuck Eric. And Belle fuck the Beast. You can watch Snow White take on all seven dwarfs and Jasmine fuck not just Aladdin, but his pet monkey, too.

You’ll choose Ariel fucking Eric because The Little Mermaid was one of your favorite movies and in ways too complex to explain, is still one of your favorite movies. First, you’ll be amused. Your brain will tell you, “I can’t get turned on by this,” until the twitch comes back and you’ll find yourself simultaneously marveling at the skills of cartoonists these days and successfully turned on.

But what will happen over the course of your muff massage is an irrevocable rewiring of your brain. And you do not want to be messing with that type of equipment casually. You see, the part of your brain that has stored the butterflies you get when Eric takes Ariel through the lagoon while the lobster sings, “Kiss the girl,” is pre-porn. Uncorrupted. Pure. The other part of your brain is where the drunk girls at frat parties live. The casting call couches. The oil orgies. Once you see what happens when Ariel’s tail is replaced by legs and she spreads those legs for the camera, there’s no turning back. That voice that once sweetly sang about her underwater collection of human things like forks will now echo in your mind as a catastrophic moan while your childhood memories get rewritten and more precious real estate of your mind gets sold off for a short-lived thrill.

If you want to stop watching Internet porn because you simply can’t think of any more good reasons to waste the better part of your day and energy on that shit, then there’s really only one way to go about it. Do something else.


Erica Garza's essays have appeared in Salon, Narratively, Alternet, BUST, Refinery29, Bustle, Vival, Mamamia, Role Reboot, Hello Giggles and The Los Angeles Review. She has contributed food reviews for the publications Maui Now and Brooklyn Exposed  and worked as a copywriter for a digital marketing agency in Manhattan. In 2010, she earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia University and is now at work on her first book. Born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, Erica has spent most of her adult life traveling and living abroad in such places as Florence, London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Bogota, Bali, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chennai, Melbourne and the island of Maui.