How Porn Made Me Unlearn Love

Painting by Carsten Weitzmann represented by Jarmuschek & Partner Gallery

Painting by Carsten Weitzmann represented by Jarmuschek & Partner Gallery

As a little girl, I really knew nothing about love. I didn’t have the clarity of thought and speech that I now possess.

I was a mess of emotions and an adamant believer in God, spirits, honesty, and love. Every time I was bullied and defeated, I would cry for hours and come back to sleep in peace to the lullabies of my mother’s comforting words, restoring faith in my capacities to exist and persist in this toxic world.

Then, one day I stumbled upon porn: Xvideos, Brazzers, PornHub, Tube8. I was too young to process anything, but it definitely sounded like a fancy far-fetched idea. As my fingers couldn’t stop themselves from clicking, my hormonal clock went ticking.

Porn gradually taught me everything away from love in the name of love.

I learnt that two people with things in their pants that don’t resemble each other could grope, thrust, and choke each other’s flesh; that sex wasn’t two broken hearts melting into each other only to realize that they had always been whole, but sex was one overpowering body engulfing the other; that testosterone and estrogen weren’t just hormones, but demons residing within our souls; that two people could be so, so close to each other and yet so far.

It taught me that, every time you look at me, you do not wonder how I’ve been surviving in your absence. You do not think of the struggles of my previous day. All you do is think about my lips, not for the fireworks of hope they burst into the universe every millisecond, for the love they’ve seen, but for how you can spread them wide, wide enough, to suck everything out of you devoid of the beautiful person you could have been.

You really never wondered what I felt and thought. How could my flesh, and the fantasies associated with it, be all there is to my presence? How could women and men just be chemicals to each other?

Porn made me forget men who had loved and comforted me because, apparently, men are just bags of lust who will mark even your stretch-marks with the foul smell of their desire.

But how could men be lustful, dangerous, and wild, and ready to hit, grab, rip, and rape another human being to pieces?

As a little girl, I always thought men were as nurturing and caring as women because people can’t be so different depending on what you find in your pants.

Porn destroyed everything that was sacred to me. Love, care, sex. Everything. Now, my head was a mess of images playing one after the other. A gang bang with a dumb whore without any traces of a brain. Shivering legs tied to a chair with a chain. Two women curled into each other, as if they were tired of struggling under the carpet of systemized male dominance. Images of kisses blowing, juices flowing, arms around necks, bloodthirsty tongues, and screaming lungs.

I began idolising mascara clad girls without realizing that they overdosed on LSD and various other dangerous drugs to numb their bodies to the devilish process of “making love” with 33 men in one go, keeping unknown fluids over bodies they once knew as theirs, shifting angles in uncomfortable positions for long hours at insensitive, worse-than-hell sets, in the presence of rocks for cameramen. From their tripping eyes, open mouths, and screams of extreme ecstasy and excitement, I could never even guess that most of them landed there from broken homes with abusive pasts, forced to resort to porn to keep breathing, having to redefine their pain as pleasure for cameras that never stop, for gravely deceasing viewers’ brains, and then being exotic medicines for the same.

It was with time that I started feeling unhealthy with those images. No, it wasn’t someone who preached certain things. No, it wasn’t the media. It was a certain discomfort, loss of identity, and negativity that came with internalizing the imagery in porn.

As I saw how it influenced my mental processes, I noticed how porn strategically soaked, stitched, and silenced all the spaces for imagination and conversation in my mind with ideas of how men were just lust and danger, women were things to be slapped and spitted on, and how sex was close to the devil’s final frontier.

Many would say that it’s up to me how I take things, that this is not what happens with every one, that the people in porn are happy doing what they do, irrespective of my claims of the industry being absolutely destructive, not only mentally and emotionally, but also propagating sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Syphilis etc. You would say that not all porn stars have dark lives, surviving on spineless promises of money and fame, and painstakingly meeting the extremist, soul-destructive contracts of pimps and companies.

Yes, I agree with you.

No, I’m not against non-emotional sexual relationships. Yes, nothing is absolute. But I know for sure that sex is a creative level playing field, which involves conversation, connection, and chemistry between two beings, as opposed to two pieces of flesh violently rubbing against each other, filling space in their sheets.

Avnika Gupta is a 19 year old female writer based in New Delhi, studying Sociology and Psychology at Lady Shri Ram College For Women. She believes in unleashing our hidden human potential by connecting to our raw nature through art and promotes using theatre, poetry and dance to heal the world, as these are those fireworks that fill our damp eyes with the reassurance of shared existence, which break our romanticized idea of wandering as solitary beings.