You guys, porn is a normal part of being a person. It’s not that everyone watches porn. Not everyone drives cars. Not everyone watches sportsball. These are, however, all normal things.
I did not grow up watching porn. Aside from having hilariously terrible computers (I mean, when one of your parents works for a major computer company, you would think that your family would have computers before your friends do and that they would be better; we had the opposite) and being extremely paranoid about getting caught (I am, as a rule, quite risk-averse), I was more than content to read smutty fanfic.
Most fanfiction is not sexual in nature. The vast majority of fanfic is poorly written. But what well-written smutfic (sexually explicit fanfiction, often with sex as the plot) in the realms of Harry Potter and Inuyasha that I could find, I read. It got me through high school. I have read the term “Quidditch-toned abs” more than most people, I would wager.
In fact, one of my favorite actual authors, whose first actual book—of which I received a signed copy months before it was published—is being made into a movie and will be in theaters in a year, got her start writing extremely long, extremely good Harry Potter fanfiction. She also wrote Harry Potter smutfic. (This is not, however, a Fifty Shades situation — none of her original story or characters are borrowed from anyone else’s original work)
In college, with my own computer and a much greater measure of privacy, I started looking into porn, but mostly through friends. I think that this is probably more unusual, but my friends and I discuss porn with each other. We’ll recommend porn to each other, or even send each other copies when one of us has an external hard drive that stops working. We might just tweet about liking a particular new “actor” (it’s awkward to call them that), or send each other porn that we especially like, or just talk about what we like the best. I assume that that’s how other people talk about who made the best touchgoalruns* in the latest sportsball thing.
A darling friend of mine, whom I had not seen in at least a year, came to visit me in 2009 when I was living in an apartment. I happened to mention how I had not seen Pirates, which is (or was, at least) the highest budget pornographic film ever made. As …