Guest Post: Leandra Vane – Be Proud of your Phone Porn


Phone Porn – In this extract from her new book, Thinking Myself Off: Fetish, Fantasy, and My Erotic Imagination, Leandra Vane argues that the line between ‘porn’ and other media is much blurrier than you think.

*

I keep a lot of porn on my phone.

Of course, I keep a lot of other things on my phone, too. Music, inspirational quotes, selfies with friends, photos from trips I’ve been on, ebooks, memes, and pictures of cats (cats that belong to me and cats that belong to other people from the internet).

But among all that stuff, there’s porn. Visual porn. Word porn. GIF porn. Still porn, all of it.

If I’m honest, I wish the rest of my life was as organized as the porn folder on my phone.

I know I’m not the only one who accesses or saves pornography and other erotic media on my phone. People’s phones are so individual and intimate, I often wonder what kinds of things, sexual or otherwise, people gaze upon in the dark, their captivated features lit and shadowed by the screen in their hand.

‘We all have media we keep secret from other people’

Whether we are watching YouTubers or listening to music, streaming popular TV shows or porn clips, we carry our fantasies in our pockets. I have a universe at my fingertips where I can access websites, read erotica, and gaze lovingly on the kissing GIFs I’ve downloaded, even when I’m in the guest room at my aunt’s house on Christmas or taking my lunch break from my Day Job in my car.

This private, portable, and mostly inexpensive access to our fantasies allows us to curate the perfect environment for our pleasures.

But these worlds often remain woefully secret. Besides me just now, I would bet very few, if any, people have told you they keep porn on their phone. But I would venture there are other things people don’t admit to keeping on their phones, either, like cheese-tastic 80’s ballads that we all secretly love.

Basically, we all have media we keep secret from other people because we love it so much and we don’t want to face the disapproval from others, even if it’s as minor as an eye roll. We just want to enjoy what we enjoy and not have to explain it or justify it.

Which is why I genuinely consider most of the media on my phone to be porn.

‘At what point does the media we consume turn into porn?’

Some of the stuff on my phone is what most would consider porn: people being sexual with each other using their naked bodies, or dressed in fetish wear and engaging in kinky acts. I also have countless erotic stories and ebooks. But most of what I keep as porn, most would agree doesn’t look like porn. The people in the pictures are dressed (in non-fetish wear) and are often not even engaged in any sexual act. Some of the images don’t even have people in them, but I still find them erotic. A lot of the music I like explores various aspects of sex, plus a lot of the songs I listen to have special meanings to me, many erotic. And don’t forget the aforementioned kissing GIFs. Fuck, I love watching people kiss, and GIFs are the perfect little package to push that erotic button of mine.

But I also keep pictures of celebrities, apps to stream my favorite movies and TV shows, music videos, and all my social media accounts which include connections to people ranging from my friends and family, artists and writers I love, and larger-than-life celebrities.

Where then, do we draw the line of desire? At what point does the media we consume turn into porn?

Most people would draw the line at erotic arousal. ‘Regular’ interest or attention to something doesn’t make it porn. Right?

‘There’s still a stigma around consuming and producing erotic media’

Lots of people take issue with the word porn. Porn implies pure, unfiltered, instinctual physical pleasure, desire, and release. That makes us feel vulnerable, exposed, out of control, and bare. And in many ways we are shamed for things surrounding sexual expression, desire, or satisfaction. Thus most people don’t like it when you label something as porn. It’s viewed as less important and less valuable than more mainstream forms of media.

So even if people are consuming media to escape, fantasize, feel good, reduce stress, feel less alone, or process emotions in a safe way, there’s a line drawn between what is sexy and arousing and what is not. There’s still a stigma around consuming and producing erotic media like porn, erotica, romance, or erotic fan-produced works like fan fiction or fan art.

But when I see people consume mainstream media, I see them doing so because they’ve tapped into something that makes them tick. They’ve found something that makes them feel creative, alive, engaged, and tuned in if not turned on.

I just wonder what kind of disservice we are doing for ourselves when we leave desire out of this understanding of why we consume media.

‘Media and art inspires us to be better creators and go after our dreams’

Now, now, I know. Just because I think everything is about sex doesn’t mean everyone else does. Lots of people are perfectly fine not tapping into erotic desire in the media they consume. But I feel a genuine understanding of any media consumption requires you to acknowledge the role your desire plays as an audience to the media.

Media and art inspires us to be better creators, go after our dreams, and plan our goals. We take the values and philosophies of our favorite characters to meet the challenges in our lives or the lyrics from our favorite songs to get through tough days. We use these things in life to make the next day better than the day before, for us and those around us.

We consume all media, including erotic media, for a reason. Acknowledge that reason so you can use media and art to its fullest potential. Because I truly believe that living a life of pleasure and freedom to indulge in your sexual expression makes you a happier and more fulfilled person who can go on to treat other people better and do kinder, more productive things in the world. Porn is a part of that. Written smut is a part of that. Music, film, TV, and art are a part of that. Take it wherever you find it. And wherever you find, it acknowledge it and be grateful.

Because that mindfulness and gratitude is how we bring authenticity to our sexualities, and to all aspects of our life

*

Leandra Vane is a sexuality writer and speaker – her groundbreaking blog The Unlaced Librarian covers body identity, relationship styles, sex and disability, kink and book reviews. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Want all the news plus exclusive discount codes and offers? Sign up here.


More from The Edge

Get Under the Sheets with us

Subscribe to our newsletter