The first time I watched porn I was twelve. It was a grainy video of some German couples in lingerie and during the extended closeups of their genitalia I remember thinking it looked like lunch meat. Being twelve years old I did not masturbate during the videos, I had no fucking idea how. Instead I ate a sandwich, squinted, and felt incredibly confused. Was this ‘sexy’? What was ‘sexy’? When I finished the sandwich I turned the video off and did some homework. Life immediately went back to normal.

As the internet took off porn stopped being about videos found in salubrious locations, and suddenly was being shot at me from every angle. Even on dial up I can remember surreptitiously clicking onto porn sites, peeking at pixelated boobs, and then shutting down the window and deleting my computer’s history in a fit of terror.

Obviously, being female I had both a whole host of body and eating issues as a teenager. Convinced my body was repulsive I found it hard to believe anyone could ever fancy me. How could they? The girls that you fancied didn’t have thighs that touched, they didn’t have frizzy hair, or spots, or pale skin, and they certainly didn’t have small boobs. Every time I watched TV, read a magazine, or passed an advert in the street these skinny silky haired tan girls grinned at me with their pneumatic perky boobs and perennially sunny nature. One afternoon in a fit of tearful depression I took a marker pen and drew balaclavas on everyone in Just 17. Even then their lithe limbs jangled at me. Fuckers.

While the bodies I saw in magazines were uniformly oppressive the ones I saw in porn weren’t. There were of course legions of women with breasts bigger than my head, held up by hope and complicated feats of engineering, but they were flanked by women skinny snake like women with S-bend curves in their backs, middle aged women with crepe like lips, and chubbier girls who wobbled all over to everyone on screen’s delight.

The mainstream media was telling me, constantly, that the key to being loved, to having any value at all, was by being thin. Not healthy, not fit: thin. And that only by being thin could I maybe be considered as being pretty, and therefore have any worth to any society. However of course I couldn’t have any worth if I was slut. How dare I enjoy sex? How dare I enjoy kinky sex? Ew. Ew. Ew. Shut your legs and eat a rice cracker already.

While porn is fraught with problems, problems so enormous it would take legislation, a lot of therapy, and some frank and honest sex ed classes to solve, not just a simple blog post, it is not the body fascist hell hole that it is assumed to be. If you want to see women with shaved heads, pear shaped hips, who aren’t a size zero (whatever that means anymore…), that aren’t white, and dudes who not only want to eat you out but also care about your feelings, then seriously: try porn.

Finding Alexis Texas*, who’s measurements differ from mine by barely an inch in places, made me realise that the body I have can be seen as beautiful. That having a big arse doesn’t mean I need to dress to hide my ‘faults’, as so many women’s magazines had told me, but that this wiggly jiggly thing was capable of being beautiful, adored, and obsessed over. And while I don’t want to refer to myself as Buttwoman and become the sum of my parts, there is nothing wrong with wearing a tight skirt and shaking my hips every now and then.

 

Still from Prince’s Kiss video, and self-portrait by the amazing Sam Haskins.
*This is the one NSFW link in this whole post, promise! Except for maybe the ‘shaved head’ one, I dunno, it depends how liberal your workplace is. Shouldn’t you be working anyway? 

Lastly: I’m swimming 2.5k for Marie Curie’s Swimathon, in April. I am not an amazing swimmer and this is totally going to be a huge challenge, so please do sponsor me, it’d mean the world to me!