Here's a piece that expresses exactly what I've long suspected ... that the ubiquity of porn hasn't made any of us tigers, but has declawed most men ... and one wouldn't doubt, most women. I remember once being in a movie theatre in Morocco when a kind of preview image of Jane Fonda as Barbarella came briefly on screen. To a western eye, it wasn't much in the stimulus department. But there was a quick roar from all the men in the theatre -- and I realized that they had access to a quick-tripping motherlode of libido that no North American I knew still had. And along comes Naomi Wolf to explain why. Here's her fascinating piece, slightly edited. I think it's just as true for gay as straight. Tell me what you think: The Porn Myth In the end, porn doesnt whet mens appetitesit turns them off the real thing. · By Naomi Wolf At a benefit the other night, I saw Andrea Dworkin, the anti-porn activist most famous in the eighties for her conviction that opening the floodgates of pornography would lead men to see real women in sexually debased ways. If we did not limit pornography, she arguedbefore Internet technology made that prospect a technical impossibilitymost men would come to objectify women as they objectified porn stars, and treat them accordingly. In a kind of domino theory, she predicted, rape and other kinds of sexual mayhem would surely follow. She was right about the warning, wrong about the outcome. As she foretold, pornography did breach the dike that separated a marginal, adult, private pursuit from the mainstream public arena. The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized. But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as porn-worthy. Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They cant compete, and they know it. For how can a real womanwith pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond More, more, you big stud!)possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumers least specification? For most of human history, erotic images have been reflections of, or celebrations of, or substitutes for, real naked women. For the first time in human history, the images power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn. For two decades, I have watched young women experience the continual mission creep of how pornographyand now Internet pornographyhas lowered their sense of their own sexual value and their actual sexual value. When I came of age in the seventies, it was still pretty cool to be able to offer a young man the actual presence of a naked, willing young woman. There were more young men who wanted to be with naked women than there were naked women on the market. If there was nothing actively alarming about you, you could get a pretty enthusiastic response by just showing up. Your boyfriend may have seen Playboy, but hey, you could move, you were warm, you were real. Thirty years ago, simple love making was considered erotic in the pornography that entered mainstream consciousness: When Behind the Green Door first opened, clumsy, earnest, missionary-position intercourse was still considered to be a huge turn-on. Now you have to offeror flirtatiously suggestthe lesbian scene, the ejaculate-in-the-face scene. Being naked is not enough; you have to be buff, be tan with no tan lines, have the surgically hoisted breasts and the Brazilian bikini waxjust like porn stars. (In my gym, the 40-year-old women have adult pubic hair; the twentysomethings have all been trimmed and styled.) Pornography is addictive; the baseline gets ratcheted up. By the new millennium, a vaginawhich, by the way, used to have a pretty high exchange value, as Marxist economists would saywasnt enough; it barely registered on the thrill scale. All mainstream pornand certainly the Internetmade routine use of all available female orifices. The porn loop is de rigueur, no longer outside the pale; starlets in tabloids boast of learning to strip from professionals; the cool girls go with guys to the strip clubs, and even ask for lap dances; college girls are expected to tease guys at keg parties with lesbian kisses à la Britney and Madonna. But does all this sexual imagery in the air mean that sex has been liberatedor 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? The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. The reason to turn off the porn might become, to thoughtful people, not a moral one but, in a way, a physical- and emotional-health one; you might want to rethink your constant access to porn in the same way that, if you want to be an athlete, you rethink your smoking. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity. After all, pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on. The ubiquity of sexual images does not free eros but dilutes it. Other cultures know this. I am not advocating a return to the days of hiding female sexuality, but I am noting that the power and charge of sex are maintained when there is some sacredness to it, when it is not on tap all the time. And feminists have misunderstood many of these prohibitions. I will never forget a visit I made to Ilana, an old friend who had become an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. When I saw her again, she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a head scarf. I could not get over it. Ilana has waist-length, wild and curly golden-blonde hair. Cant I even see your hair? I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. No, she demurred quietly. Only my husband, she said with a calm sexual confidence, ever gets to see my hair. When she showed me her little house in a settlement on a hill, and I saw the bedroom, draped in Middle Eastern embroideries, that she shares only with her husbandthe kids are not allowedthe sexual intensity in the air was archaic, overwhelming. She must feel, I thought, so hot. Compare that steaminess with a conversation I had at Northwestern, after I had talked about the effect of porn on relationships. Why have sex right away? a boy with tousled hair and Bambi eyes was explaining. Things are always a little tense and uncomfortable when you just start seeing someone, he said. I prefer to have sex right away just to get it over with. You know its going to happen anyway, and it gets rid of the tension. Isnt the tension kind of fun? I asked. Doesnt that also get rid of the mystery? Mystery? He looked at me blankly. And then, without hesitating, he replied: I dont know what youre talking about. Sex has no mystery.