Parting Glances: P, as in Peeping Tom

BY CHARLES ALEXANDER

I was eight years old when I was exposed to my first pornographic glossy 8" x 10" photo. It was of a muscular naked guy and a curvaceous woman, shown to me by a ten-year-old neighbor. How Tommy Jones came across it I have no idea.

I couldn't have looked at it more than seconds short of a would-be hot minute, but I recall distinctly to this day that its after image mentally carried by me for ensuing weeks was of the guy. (Oh, really, Mary!)

When I was 13 I was exposed at Hutchins Intermediate School shop to my first "illustrated comic booklet: the kind men like." It was a comic strip version of cartoon characters being silly for six panels, and screwing and giggling, highlighted by exclamation points and bold-face ejaculatory urgings for the remaining six!!!!!!

Something of a Baptist prude back then I was embarrassed, and somewhat tempted to report the shocking effrontery to my then-recently-baptized self but, graciously turning the other cheek early on, I didn't.

Five years later - gay and out at 18 - I began to collect 50-cent copies of "Grecian Guild Pictorial," a collection of photos of male models in posing straps. Many of the models carried coded symbols around their individual picture, indicating availability for payment for the possibility of a future amorous encounter in the magic land of California.

It was against federal law to send the Pictorial through the mail. (American Literary Historian Newton Arvin, an author of several biographies of 19th century writers, lost his teaching position at Smith College, for sharing forbidden mailed copies of the Pictorial with colleagues. He died in 1960, and was exonerated recently.

Truman Capote, whom he mentored and briefly had as his undergraduate lover, instituted a fellowship in Arvin's memory.)

If you'll pardon an unavoidable, but apropos, pun: we've come a long way in terms of porn circa the 1960s, 70s, 80, 90s. Today's internet is Open Sesame to sex. Sexuality in its infinite variety! Challenging and convoluted body positioning! Eclectic use of clever and damned curious triple-A battery instrumentation! Adored performer status! (Thankfully, porn about or using children is prosecuted with heavy fines and jail sentences.)

Data estimates of internet pornography use vary with data source and prevailing attitude influencing the gathering of such data.

These data are sourced by TIME magazine, but are now ten years old: 4.5: average number of porno emails received by each user per day; 68 million daily internet searches for porno terms; 72 million individual visitors to porno websites each month; 1.5 billion "peer to peer" file-sharing downloads, each month; 2.5 billion porno emails sent each day; 5 billion, estimated number of work hours lost to cyberporn each year in America, $2.84 billion, annual U. S. sale of porno products and services. ($4.9 billion, worldwide.)

The ever-censorious, fundamentalist American Family Association offers its contrasting viewpoint: "The porn industry knows that it cannot survive, unless more users become addicted to their material. They also are specifically targeting more Christian communities, which is part why the Bible Belt leads the nation in consumption of porn.

"The porn movie Fifty Shades of Grey heavily targeted the Bible Belt with advertising and PR, which is why their highest concentration of box office ticket sales come out of the south.

"Number 25 in the Current Communist Goals from the book, "The Naked Communist, published in 1958 is "Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV."

Perhaps what's so intriguing about this APA quote to it's 180,000 membership is it's comment about the Bible Belt leading the nation in consumption of porn.

In a biblically based attempt to stem this alarming breach -- one highly publicized by liberal critics -- of Christian morality standards, the APA is offering to its members a five CD set for curbing and breaking the porn viewing habits of its flock.

"Breaking Porn Addiction" recruits for $79.95. The APA reports it has so far changed the sexual viewing needs and satanic cravings for 360,000 addicts. The Gospel truth with a T, as in trumpet, is that, as always, the sin of lust is big business. APA, Amen!

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