All people in this post are amalgams of people I know, so if you think this is about you ... it probably is.
My dear friend, henceforward known as Crystal, (a name I used once to great effect) called me the other night in a state of crisis. She'd forgotten something at home and returned sooner than expected to pick it up only to find her husband of 15 years, Frank (pronounced Franc) watching an adult film on his MacBook Air.
There was a breathless pause wherein she awaited my shock and dismay. But all I said was, "And ... ?"
This may be a sign of the apocalypse, but I wasn't shocked, dismayed, appalled, perturbed or even mystified. It just seemed pretty ordinary. I'm going to guess that most people -- I have no statistics to back this up so feel free to jump in -- but most human adults have at least upon one occasion viewed for the purpose of self- and/or couple gratification the Sopornos. Search your soul -- or just your computer history -- and tell me I'm wrong??
Pornography has always existed -- have you seen the Mayan hieroglyphs? The ancient texts of the Kama Sutra? Just head to your local museum of art where it won't surprise you to discover that Rome is the "birthplace of modern pornography" -- and of course all roads lead there.
I was watched like a hawk by my parents when puberty hit, and even so I was exposed to my first pornographic image as a seventh grader by my friend Annabeth Lingua (admittedly not her true identity).
Annabeth was bookish, with owl-lensed glasses. She wore her hair in a bowl cut, skirts to her knees and blouses buttoned up to the neck. She was a Good Girl. But her mother, Savannah, was a lusty divorcee who sunbathed topless in the backyard while we scandalized middle-school girls treaded water, pimply and flat-chested in the swimming pool nearby.
One day when Savannah traipsed out at 4 p.m., no doubt to meet one of her liaisons in an upscale Howard Johnson, Annabeth and I were left to our own devices. Before five minutes had passed, we were eyeballs deep in pornographic magazines found under the master bed.
I had only recently read (in my closet with a flashlight) a purloined copy of Judy Blume's "Forever," from which I discovered one could kiss and copulate simultaneously. Imagine my stupefaction that both could also be done while standing in pleather stilettos!
In 2012 we have either the good fortune or extremely bad luck of being able to access pornography in our homes on televisions, computers and even on our cell phones. Not that I've done that. I've just heard that you can do that.
I'm ambivalent about pornography. It bears an unsavory sheen. Also I worry I'll be smote from above should I use pornography for my private gratification. That perhaps I'll be cursed with a flesh-eating virus rendering me fingerless in recompense for my transgression.
But here is what I'll admit in print. Cable TV has single-handedly kept things frolicsome in my marital bed for 14 years. Fourteen years, people. Fourteen. Years. And Henry won't be able to pry his wrists from my lifeless, rigamortic grip until we hit the Golden Anniversary. We'll both be pushing 100, but it's going to happen.
Some of my favorite aphrodisiacs include True Blood, Spartacus, Hung (which sadly was canceled), Girls and Game of Thrones. Oh sure, sure, the story lines are compelling, the dialogue whip-smart, the worlds rarefied, but let's face it, these shows are all soft porn.
Soft or hard (yes, a pun), I think pornography can help keep a marriage fresh, vital, funny and ever-evolving if it's not used as a replacement for actual sex with your spouse.
And just as the Native Americans bless the animal that sacrificed their lives to provide them dinner, I too sometimes bless the performers who sacrificed their dignity to give me my ... FADE TO BLACK.
Do you dare leave your thoughts? You can use your Porn Star pseudonym. Mine is Buffington Shelby (street I grew up on, first pet).
Follow Shannon Bradley-Colleary on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShannonColleary