Owning Porno Used to Mean Something, Damnit
1. When I was in high school I kept my porn in a white box. Inside the box was a stack of magazines—almost entirely Playboys, because I liked the clean stuff—as well as a purple folder full of the images I liked best, so that I could spread them out on my bedroom floor and sit in the middle of them, kind of like a crude manual version of Tumblr.
2. The internet really changed the way people masturbate. Today, if you want to see someone naked you just press the buttons and poof, there’s a boob. But as a teenager I remember thinking of pictures of naked women as a kind of secret relic, something you had to search out, anticipate and covet, which made them that much better when you got them.
3. I saw my first porn magazine in fourth grade when some kids in my class were passing one around under the lunch table. I remember feeling a weird sense of doom, like I was going to get caught the second I touched the paper, even though everyone else was laughing about it. I’m not sure what magazine it was, but the pictures were of naked women holding automatic weapons, dressed up like military personnel. I remember the feeling of seeing more than I actually saw.
4. The kid who owned that magazine briefly ran a business where you could buy a page out of other, similar magazines for a dollar. He carried them around in a duffel bag with a padlock on it. They were his dad’s magazines, he said, and there were more where those came from, if you had the money. I never bought one. Eventually he was caught and suspended.
5. I used to occasionally go to work with my dad. I remember feeling an insane sense of agency whenever he would stop at this one gas station that had a rack of tattoo magazines with tits in them. I would stand in front of the rack and wait until I knew I had half a second with no one watching, and then I would open the magazine as if I didn’t mean to, in case someone caught me. So instead of full visions, I caught flashes and tried to embed them deep in my memory so that I would be able to see them for a long time afterward whenever I shut my eyes.
6. A very brief, insanely vivid memory from when I was probably four or five, of picking up a magazine my dad’s friends were passing around at a camp in the woods, and the men laughing as my dad took it away from me before I could see. I remember my uncle saying something to the effect of, “one day you can have that,” and everyone laughing. I don’t remember many other things from that early stage in my life.
Examining the Pull of Group Masturbation Parties
Of the various group masturbation parties 30-year-old nudist Kyle Rudd has attended over the years, the biggest one drew a dozen-odd men, predominantly over 50. He was the third to arrive that night, and when he walked inside, the host and another guy were already naked. As the remainder of the guests sauntered in, conversation centered on things like work, how the week had been, and the bodies and penises on display. Rudd did most of his masturbating—a blend of group and solo—from the vantage point of the organizer’s couch and managed to ejaculate on himself three or four times in six hours. In the breaks between these bouts of industry, Rudd, a Melbourne-based arts-sector employee, spent his time socializing, drinking beer, and eating pizza.
While some men might prefer to spend their weekends watching the game or relaxing with the family, Rudd says he had a great time.
“I find genitals to be very erotic—ten out of ten,” he says. “For me, I think being exposed and on display is very erotic. It’s knowing that others are admiring your genitals as they mutually get off on it.”
For anybody entertaining the idea of attending a group masturbation party, the grassroots DIY scene is a fertile field of opportunity, according to Rudd.
Kids Have It Way Too Easy When It Comes to Porn
In seventh grade, my friend Brian found his dad’s porn stash.
It was in the underwear drawer, a classic hiding spot for suburban fathers to keep their dog-eared fantasies. We breathlessly flipped through his dad’s three or four issues ofPlayboy—not knowing exactly what to “do” with the porn we had unearthed, we just looked at it, marveled and had to rearrange ourselves on account of our tiny boners. Then we heard a car door slam. Brian’s dad had come home early from work.
My friend hustled up the stairs to his parents’ bedroom, with me right behind carrying the precious contraband magazine we’d been poring over. (I remember Jenny McCarthy was on the cover.) As I bounded up the steps, I felt something seize my ankle—Brian’s dog had been spooked by our sudden frantic movements and lunged at what his stupid dog mind thought was a new intruder. As I fell back down the stairs, I frisbee’d the magazine to Brian, who avoided the fluttering pages and caught it by the spine. He placed the stash back in its proper place and stacked the underwear on top, just moments before his dad walked in. “What are you guys up to?” he asked.
“Nothing!” was the only appropriate reply.
I was in a mall bookstore’s magazine section, trying to be casual. This meant picking up an issue of Spin and flipping through it absentmindedly to give anyone watching the impression I was just another music-obsessed kid. In reality, my eyes were scanning the rack in front of me in search of a rare phenomenon. While most “adult” magazines were wrapped in cellophane—and are therefore impossible to secretly unwrap—every now and then some brave soul “stuck it to the Man” by ripping one open. That’s what I was after.