If you are reading this, the chances are you are reading on either a laptop, a thin rectangle computer that has no keyboard but you can carry like a folder, or on your phone! Yeah, your phone. You can search the web on your phone. The only other use I had for my first phone was as a door stop.
But the time’s they are a changing. You can do anything now on your phone. You can get access to anything. Porn is the same. You used to have to look for porn. It was an effort. But that changed. Now porn, or at least softcore porn is pretty much everywhere. On billboards. On TV adverts. On your phone.
But even that has changed in recent times. If you wanted access to very specific porn like S&M or fetish you still had to search it out.
Not anymore. Now it is part of our pop culture with artists such as Rihanna and Christian Aguilera using S&M imagery in their videos. There is no barrier between S&M and us. It’s right there on MTV.
How this has affected us is hard to judge. When Madonna released her Sex book back in the early 90’s it was scandalous. Now it wouldn’t seem quite so shocking. We are sort of used to it; we expect our pop stars to wear leather and be highly sexualized. If they aren’t, well they might not be quite as popular. Girls want to be as sexy as them and guys want to have sex with them. Even our Disney show stars are getting in on the action.
And it’s not just pop music that has been influenced by S&M. A recent episode of New Girl depicted Zooey Deschanel’s character, concerned over whether she was going to be good in bed with her new boyfriend trying her hand at some S&M to make sure she measured up to his (or what she thought were his) expectations. Samantha in Sex and the City was often seen using S&M in her sex life. It is there. It may not be as hardcore as it can be but our pop and media culture certainly has seen S&M play an increasingly bigger role.
Since it is more available to us than ever before, we don’t have to hide away in our rooms to watch it. It has been taken from the bedroom in the darkest corners of the internet late at night, into the living room during the day. If you are sitting watching TV with your friends or even your parents, it’s inevitable that sooner or later you will catch a glimpse of S&M.
But the thing about the new found desire for using S&M to sell products and pop stars is that it only pricks our curiosity. Like all porn it never satisfies. Does this mean that we can expect more extreme S&M entering our homes through TV shows or pop videos? Is S&M just selling us the products it is trying to entice us with or is it selling itself?
Because sex is powerful. And sex is often abused. So a lot of the time we will turn to it in the wrong way and we will get stuck. Perhaps the biggest question we need to be asking is where the use of S&M in pop culture will lead us. Will it lead us to freedom or will it encourage us to hide ourselves away in our bedrooms looking for more extreme examples?
It may show us that it is out there in the public view and so isn’t hiding anything. It may just show that we have come a long way and are able to express sexuality in all forms, honestly and without shame.
Or ultimately it might just lead us into more secrecy as we seek out the full feature alone.
Because everyone knows that the trailer is never enough.