Saturday, March 22, 2008

more sex thoughts

[another half-finished post finally rescued from limbo. I'm really on a roll today! also, as with all sex-related material on this blog, I'm going to post the disclaimer that people who might read this blog but with whom I don't usually discuss my sex life, please feel free (nay, encouraged!) to skip over this entry, or at least pretend that you still don't know anything about my sex life the next time we're face to face.]

I just read a very interesting article from an old issue of NY Magazine, about porn and feminist attitudes about it. I thought this was the most interesting (and, to me, resonant) quote:

"But does all this sexual imagery in the air mean that sex has been liberated—or is it the case that the relationship between the multi-billion-dollar porn industry, compulsiveness, and sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity? If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but further apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so."

I'd never thought of porn quite like that before, but it's an analogy that I think really works...particularly in the sense that while I don't always agree with how some arguments are laid out ("junk food makes you FAT so it's BAD!" or "porn is full of DELUDED, EXPLOITED WIMMIN so it's BAD!"), I do agree with a lot of their underlying premises (for food: processed foods don't really deserve to be called food, are involved in a lot of economically shady, environmentally criminal supply chains, and are definitely not as good for you as whole, local food, etc; for porn: there is a lot of misogynist, exploitative porn out there, watching a lot of porn will definitely affect one's sexual inclinations, substituting porn for a real sex life probably isn't the healthiest thing, etc).

And I'm bringing it up in the context of this transition journal because sex drive and sexual habits are something that get examined a lot when testosterone comes into play.

My experience through the past two years of taking testosterone has been that the quality of my sex drive has definitely changed. By that I don't necessarily mean good or bad- I'm neither more nor less pleased with my libido. Just that, qualitatively, it is a different animal. It's increased slightly in frequency, but that's sort of like saying I went from thinking about sex frequently to thinking about sex REALLY frequently, so that's not saying much!

Probably the main difference in my libido is that I jerk off these days, which I never used to do before. Well, I did very infrequently, without much success. Whatever combination of body dyshporia or differently structured sex drive I had going on, it meant any masturbatory efforts were just not very fulfiling. My pre-T sex life was awesome when it involved other people (though not as awesome as it is now, by god. I thought it was good then, but I had no idea!), but solo efforts were not at all successful. I was not so pleased with my own body, so I wasn't particularly interested in having sex when just that body was involved. Over the past two years, however, I slowly discovered that that is no longer the case- whatever happy re-arrangement of my libido has nicely combined with my steadily disappearing body dysphoria to open up a whole new world for me, a side effect that I am definitely pleased with.

So, mostly, what's happened is that my sex drive has become more insistent/urgent, but at the same time, easier to satisfy....or if not satisfy, at least nourish. By which I mean, I find more things stimulating or sexy than I used to. I'm more visually stimulated than before, and less choosy about the things I find stimulating. If it's sexual, it's probably sexy to me, to at least some extent.

My porn consumption has definitely increased, particularly now that my solo sex efforts are more successful, and it does get me thinking about what kind of impact such consumption is having on my arousal patterns, etc. "Junk food" porn is more appealing now than it was before, just because most things are more appealing than they used to be, and I hope I'm not doing myself any permanent harm! Then again, I'd imagine no more harm than most guys do to themselves (I gotta stop with the harm remarks, too many pun capablities) during their first few years of puberty, as they get used to new sex drives.

Anyway, one thing I do want to be clear about is that I do NOT believe it is true that testosterone gives one an "uncontrollable sex drive." Yes, it has sharpened and made more urgent my libido, but it is still ultimately something over which I have control and for which I have responsibility. (I'm resisting the urgh to add "Duh." to the end of that sentence.)

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