Paulita Pappel, Lustery, Ersties, and my corrective emotional experience concerning sex and porn

Paulita Pappel, Lustery, Ertsies and my corrective emotional experience concerning sex and porn

Paulita Pappel, a 33 year old, Spanish, sex positive feminist filmmaker, pornographer, and founder of lustery.com, and a force behind ersties.com, profoundly changed the way I think and feel about love, sex, women, and pornography.

I had an emotionally corrective experience

I had what psychologists refer to as a “corrective emotional experience” (“Reexposure under favorable circumstances to an emotional situation with which one could not cope in the past” as defined by the Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing quoted on The Free Dictionary by Farlex – Medical Dictionary ). Or, I should say, more accurately, I am, thanks in large part, to Ms. Pappel, in the midst of a “corrective emotional experience.” (I first heard of the concept in a therapy session with a sex therapist. I think I was explaining how I still feel unnerved by the erectile dysfunction that plagued me for several months when I was 19 and she said that what I needed was a “corrective emotional experience.”)  

You see, during the pre-Pappel era of my pornography/erotica/ “adult movie” viewing, my love for porn was my very “dirty little secret.” I associated porn with shame, guilt, immorality, perversion, lack of self-control, additive personality, et cetera. That I loved porn, to me, was clearly a failing of character. I never openly discussed porn with anyone (I think maybe once back in 2018 I might have made a quick passing comment that I have seen porn sometimes, but I never opened up about my thoughts and feelings on porn HONESTLY. Not even to my wife!)

Worse than those things, I also associated porn with my father’s elaborate objectification of women and…aspects of him that I think were very sexist.

Speculating on at least one reason why my father was somewhat sexist

Of course, there’s more complexity to it than that. First of all, “God bless him” and “may he rest in piece.” (He passed away in the Autumn of 2008.)

I do not believe my father meant to objectify women, or that he consciously meant any sort of disrespect towards women. (At least, I really hope not!) By that I mean, my father never gave any indication that he thought women were less capable of men at anything. He admired very ambitious women with dreams and encouraged them to follow their dreams. I don’t recall him ever suggesting that certain things are strictly for the male domain, and certain other things for the female domain. I mean, to the best of my knowledge and memory, he did not possess any sort of conscious malice or hostility or premeditated vindictiveness towards women.  He was after all, a psychologist whose specialty was love and sex counseling. A pure and outright sexism would have no place in such a context. (Or, again, I really hope it would not have a place.)

And I have reason to believe my father was a damn good psychologist.

I’ve read pieces of his dissertation too, (it’s called The Reading Apperception Test: An Exploration of Attitudes Toward Reading, published way back in July of 1968 by Oklahoma State University) which I keep on one of my bookshelves, so I know he was both “smart”/knowledgeable, and humanistic. At his wake, several of his clients told my siblings and I that he “saved” their romantic relationships and that he was a great therapist.

As for some of the context behind where he seems to have gone wrong despite trying, I suspect, in this effort of trying to do something that spoke to his conscience and sense of ethics, he was also clearly struggling to balance a very passionate sex positivity with his bitterness towards Christianity.

Indeed. I’ll explain how that’s more directly relevant, shortly.

My father was also a photographer. He never pursued photography professionally, never (so far as I know), sought recognition and fame, at least not on a wide scale, but he did get some of his work featured and displayed at a few galleries, he constantly educated himself on photography, had an elaborate photography studio, with an array of different lights and cameras and lenses, and he had a dark room. He also graced and filled the walls and halls of his house with his photographs, mostly of nude women, sometimes with or of a nude man. On a few occasions, I got to hang out with him in the dark room, watching him develop the pictures, dipping the soon to develop paper into tray of some chemical or chemicals after tray of some chemical or chemicals. It had a very distinct smell, not unpleasant though not fragrant either. More of an industrial kind of scent, like the smell of a new car or new shoes, perhaps.

One of my stranger memories of him in general, but also pertaining to his photography more specifically, is when he had me model for him with my shirt off, wearing a wig, and standing by a cross. (I was probably somewhere between the age of nine and 14?) Experimenting with different ways to reimagine how we visualize the symbolic power of the cross was, for a time, a major theme in his photography.

He told me once that when he was around 13 years old, while at church, he asked a nun a question, and she slapped him in the face. So the story goes.

He told me that was it for him, so far as religion was concerned. (Though for fun, he invented a fake religion he called “Shabboganism”—he even created a make-believe baptism and initiation tradition—a grower of marijuana for a time, I have to wonder if he was high out of his mind on these occasions, or if he was just very…. “silly.”) and I believe he dabbled a little in some Wiccan concepts and owned some kind of “official” Wiccan ID card).

In terms of metaphysical and spiritual beliefs, he was an atheist. He also was of the post-world war II, postmodern generation, embracing existentialist philosophy, the sexual revolution, et cetera.

My father’s over-reaction?

My theory is that one of my father’s top goals in life was to celebrate the spiritual beauty and sacredness of sexuality and counter the stigma surrounding it, but that he inadvertently took it, shall we say… too far.

The example I always share with people is the story of when I was 16 and asked him his opinion of Dolly Parton (as a singer) and he had only one remark: “she has huge tits.” Or “she has nice tits.” (I forget if the adjective was “nice” or “huge”; or maybe he said “I like her tits”; something about her breasts and essentially the fact that he derived pleasure from them, but nothing else, not that came to his mind then, at least.)

Another example: once, while parked at a gas station, as his car was being filled with gas, he pointed to a pick-up truck and said to me, “I can tell you what that guy jerks off too.” He added: “men like that drive big cars to compensate for their small dicks.”

My guess is that he truly wanted to be unapologetic about his expression of sexual thoughts and feelings, but that for him, being unapologetic also meant he saw no significant cause for consistent re-evaluation of his thoughts or keeping an open margin of error concerning his views on sex and his sexual behavior.

In the context of postmodernism and existentialism, morality is often viewed as “relative,” and if someone is moralizing, postmodernists often fear that the moralizer is making a power claim, trying to control you (you know, the philosophy of Nietzsche, et cetera). And to reiterate: he had just gotten his doctorate in the prime of the sexual revolution. He was part of it, and thus riding the waves of REACTION.

The philosophical writer, poet, and feminist thinker/activist Gloria Anzaldua, in her book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza describes this about as eloquently as anyone so far as I’m aware. She wrote:

“The counterstance refutes the dominant culture’s views and beliefs, and for this, it is proudly defiant. All reaction is limited by, and dependent on, what it is reacting against. Because the counterstance stems from a problem with authority—outer as well as inner—it’s a step towards liberation from cultural domination. But it is not a way of life. [Emphasis mine] At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between two mortal combatants somehow healed…The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react” (see pages 100 and 101).]

In other words, it’s my theory that my father was trapped by his activistic sort of “reaction.”

Some contrast might elucidate this further.

Some of the contrast between the postmodern generations and millennials re: women and sex

My fellow millennials and I were brought up with tv shows that depicted the abuse of sexual harassment and how this impacted women.

We also were brought up with tv and media that exposed us to a wide variety of sexual contexts. I can remember the original Beverly Hills 90210 and its approach to depicting the complexities of teenage perspectives on sex.  

And we must say something about the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of the mid 1990s! I mean, to process this widely publicized scandal at something like 9, 10, 11 years old, and be exposed to the complex debates on how the issue should be framed—that’s a rather intellectually intense thing for a young person and must no doubt have a profound impact even if only subconsciously.

And so what kind of messages did we receive?

Clinton lied and it was wrong, most people agreed. But he lied about sex, which is private. So, the Democratic/Liberal perspective held. The infidelity and Hillary Clinton’s role in the affair led a lot of people to debate what a woman’s response to this sort of thing should be. We saw that Clinton received oral sex from a very young woman. We learned that he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. We learned that it was cum stain that caused him to get caught “red handed,” as the expression goes. We were told by Republicans that this was an impeachable offense, worthy of removing him from the office of the U.S. presidency. (of course, just a few years earlier, when Anita Hill accused Justice Clarance Thomas of sexual harrassment, the accused was not subjected to anything near what Clinton was subjected to. Anita Hill was granted brief testimony which video archives seem to suggest was “lip service,” whereas Clinton was thoroughly investigated by the Kenneth Starr for several years!)

My point is simply that we millennials I think received a significantly rich socio-cultural education on the complexities of sex, even if the stigma still existed (and still exists today).   

I also lived, for a time, with a mother who was single, juggling motherhood, work, and nursing school, with no sign of support from the man who married her and made two babies with her—my father.

Of course, being exposed one’s mother as a struggling woman without support of a man will affect people differently, and THIS experience is not special to millennials. (My father’s father was worse than him and also left his wife and pretty much abandoned my father). What’s special to millennials is the heightened degree of empathy we can feel in reaction to the injustices and social mistreatment of women. In fact, I often tell people I believe that if we are living in the age of female sexual liberation, we’re also living in an age of male emotional liberation, due to this degree of empathy which is probably easier for millennial men to feel than those of previous generations.

And…we have come of age at a time that is literally flooding with digital media providing us with not just exposure to the injustice, but furthermore offers us an exceptional opportunity to synthesize information and perspectives in an extremely accelerated and potentially quite maximalistic fashion—such that not only is the problem exposed, but numerous takes on how to address it are also embedded in our minds.  

Pre-millenial generations had tv, newspapers, magazines, and…if they really wanted to get specific information, they often had to do a more manual sort of research. I mean, we’re comparing the advances one can make with the computer and smart phone, where every little question can be typed into Google and while your question may not be answered, you’ll at least be within a few clicks of resources that might help you answer your question. And there’s always SIRI and ALEXA to help you out if you don’t feel like typing!  

Furthermore, we have the hindsight of seeing the sexual revolution, not as it was first launching, but its STORY and impact over the decades and how, as socio-cultural consciousness expanded and processed experience, new insights, of a political, scientific, and psychological nature, et cetera. (Not that I go so far as saying my father is expunged simply due to the context of his times. I’m just saying I think I have a fair guess as to what might explain how his mind…in some respects…was processing some of this.)    

My father was sometimes very abusive

Now, tying this back to my personal experience: witnessing how my father mistreated my mother, and witnessing it with my millennial context, it most certainly evoked strong empathy for my mother and the factors that lead women like her into the sort of situations she was in—sexism, being abandoned, being taken advantage of.

My mother was 19 years younger than my father. She was in her early 20s, vulnerable as people in their 20s are, so new to adulthood, not yet ripened and seasoned by a decade of adult experience to form a slightly better informed, more practical and less idealistic worldview, and my father was highly educated, a practicing psychotherapist, in his 40s. I guess, to be fair, connections between people are very nuanced, and maybe there was real love even if the age difference surely tested the limits of how ethical and psychologically healthy such a relationship could be, even if it didn’t last, even in spite of my father’s struggle to give love.

But here is where it gets even more complicated, dark, and no doubt plays a role in my psychological experiences related to porn and sex and women…and even men.  

My father was also abusive physically and verbally/emotionally. I may never know the nature of how he abused my mother, but he did hit me once, and said very sadistic things to me (speaking of hitting, he once said to me: “come here so I can hit you” [what a strange thing to say to a child, along with evil and fucked up], he called me a “shit head pussy jew,” used to say “get out of here” when I was around him sometimes. He had an anger that so TERRIFIED me that my unconscious has blocked the details of it out considerably. I can’t recall the sight of the yelling and the outbursts. I don’t recall the sound of it. What I remember is the fear I FELT. The terror.

He so frightened the hell out of me that one time, when my stepmother threatened to leave him, I actually begged her to take me with her, and I despised my step-mother! In other words, my father’s anger was so scary and probably traumatic that I would take my step-mother’s verbal and emotional abuse over his! (I’ll explain)

For awhile, I wanted to “beat him up,” as I told my grandparents, when I was very young.

It’s also the case that he permitted my stepmother to verbally and emotionally abuse my siblings and I. Despite constantly expressing to him concerns about her unceasing meanness, she blew it off. The ultimate climax of this conflict occurred when I was…I think…19…and I had been blamed for a mess I didn’t make and said I didn’t make it, but her daughter did. And she told me I was “kicked out.” Not my proudest moment, when I reacted. I left her a note in my bedroom saying “karma will fuck you, bitch!” And I told my father that I no longer viewed him as my father for the way he always allowed her to be so belligerent to me.   

My former step-mother was sometimes verbally/emotionally abusive

How do I even begin to explain my step-mother?

Former stepmother, that is.

She ultimately left my father and divorced him just as his Parkinson’s Disease was progressing to the more debilitating and dangerous stages. I do not really know why. My father is no innocent husband, so as callous and fucked up as my former step-mother may seem on the surface in this case, for all I know, it was one of the smartest and most reasonable decisions of her life. I just don’t know.  

I feel bad saying this because I believe she’s still out there somewhere and maybe one day she’ll learn of this essay. Maybe it will anger her and she’ll try to sue me. Maybe she’ll apologize. But…I don’t feel so bad about how this might make her feel when I consider how awful she made me feel, and how consistently she made me feel so awful.

There’s got to be some kind of karmic justice, I hope!

For years, I hated her. And then, I forgave her and tried to contact her. So, I sent messages to her on the internet. I never did hear back from her. All the better, actually. Because as I’ve learned more recently to be honest with myself, the slightest recollection of her gives me anxiety and depresses me. If we ever have a conversation somehow, I’m going to tell her that in my opinion she absolutely abused me emotionally and verbally and I’ll tell her I absolutely feel she traumatized me and contributed significantly to my anxiety, and panic disorders and my depression.

When my stepmother once heard me utter the world “sexual,” she came up to me and said “don’t you ever say that again!” She told me one time: “you don’t give a shit about anything!” One time, while driving towards my father’s house, with me in the car, she stopped, and told me to “get out!” As in…just stand on the edge of the road, goodbye. (I did not get out, ultimately) When her daughter made messes, my former stepmother blamed them on me and made me clean them and yelled at me when I tried to stand up for myself. At a political event she was part of, and that I had to attend, — I was 9 years old!—and someone asked me who I wanted to win the election, I said I hoped for the candidate she was against, (not to spite her but because in those days, most people I knew were Democrats, and so, I had my bias) and when we got home she said to me: “how would you feel if I went to your soccer game and rooted for the other team?” “You can root for whoever you want,” I said. “Go to your room!” she responded. She constantly called me “rude” and “fresh.” To but it bluntly, she was literally almost never nice to me.

My point is that among other things, my father 1) instilled in me very negative associations of men in general, as mean, violent, angry, and not a gender of people to make friends with; 2) his mistreatment of my mother, the contrast between her taking responsibility for raising me and him neglecting me, instilled in me an association of women as superior beings, and victims of man’s cruel nature.

All of this merely scratches the very surface of the thoughts and feelings that begin to arise when I think about porn and then, consequentially, my father.

Daddy’s dirty videos

Then there’s my memories of his porn itself, and his attitude towards it, which often disturbed me. For now, I’ll just focus on the porn, not so much on the deeper dynamics of his attitude.)

To be fair, I was just a kid, and a teenager, when I was exposed to his porn, and I never exactly confronted him about it. I never granted him the platform for any kind of explanation. In hindsight, I do appreciate that sexual acts which disturb some people turn others on and as long as it’s based on mutual consent…well, as Dr. Emily Nagoski puts it in her book Come As You Are: “don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

That said, I always found my father’s porn sexist, degrading, and disturbing.

Keep in mind, my memory of each and every video of his that I discovered is not exactly vivid in my memory, but certain trends are vivid. The best example I can think of is that his porn was practically devoid of depictions of female pleasure (I mean, aside from that all to cliché and fake convention of women screaming and talking very dirty; that and Girls Gone Wild—problematic in my opinion since the depicted context is really young women who indulge in their exhibitionist fantasies only when drunk and “partying”… as opposed to sober, consensual, conscientious sexual expression… furthermore, now that I think of it… [and perhaps I’m thinking of it because I’m currently reading Wordslut by Amanda Montell—“These subtle preconceptions are reflected when we say things like female doctor or woman scientist, implying that such positions are inherently male, while models, nurses, and prostitutes are all default female” –page 11—why are the girls referred to as “gone wild” and yet no adjective is offered to describe the men exploiting and degrading some of these women—Men gone degrading and exploitive of girls gone wild, is perhaps “more like it.”

Indeed. I see, as I’m researching the series, and stumbled upon an article on Slate’s website, written by Emily Bazelon [having never looked into it before beyond the videos I saw in my teens] that the founder Joe Francis

“was convicted…on misdemeanor charges of assault and false imprisonment. The allegations: In 2011, Francis met three women who went out after college graduation, took them home with him, and then tried to separate one from the other two, in the process grabbing her by the hair and throat and slamming her head to the floor.”

As Emily Bazelonput it: “This is a guy who has literally made it his business to use and humiliate women.”

I see from a Cheat Sheet article that furthermore, “He pleaded no contest to accusations of child abuse and prostitution.”)

Returning to the fact that this man created some of my father’s pornography: more specifically, my dad’s collection of porn almost never depicted the female orgasm. (I mean, I can’t say whether the women in the movies ultimately did or did not orgasm, but I can say there was never, well, with one exception, so far as I can recall, any clear expression from a woman that she was indeed orgasming.) .

Perhaps I can actually remember it because it was one of my first encounters with the concept of the female orgasm.

What I remember is that it was part of the Barely Legal series. I remember the woman in the scene was blonde. I remember her saying “I’m cumming” and that it was the hottest thing I’d ever seen in my life.

But that was it.

A lot of video covers featured pictures of semen on women’s faces. This, I never understood. But what’s clear here is that my father’s porn, so far as I can recall, catered much more to male sexual pleasure than female sexual pleasure.      

And as I think back on all of this, there’s another unpleasant association.

I was always “sneaking” into my father’s garbage bags of porn, and I stole some videos because…I was a bit unethical and didn’t respect his privacy.

I used to have nightmares of him discovering my crime, confronting me, causing me to feel very, very awkward, scared, ashamed, bad, and dirty.

How did I rationalize this behavior?

I was so in love with images of sex that I believed I just HAD to have a few videos, trouble and ethics and privacy be damned. Furthermore, I was extremely CURIOUS! Porn represented this “secret” world of sex. Why was porn so secretive? Why were these acts, which most adults engage in, that are captured on film, at all, as such, problematic? It made no sense to me.

What also made no sense to me was soft-core porn (which was at least easier to watch and didn’t have to be stolen from my father—courtesy of HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax). Why did the filmmakers almost always hide the intercourse, orgasmic fluids, the penis, and the vulva? (Interestingly, much but maybe not a majority of these movies actually celebrated the female orgasm. You see, my porn has always required visceral proof of female pleasure, both for my conscience, and for my own capacity to cum. These movies were often much more “tasteful” in this sense.)

Not enough porn highlighting female pleasure and the female orgasm

This theme of feeling a need for explicit proof of the women in porn getting off has been a consistent in my life. (It is perhaps one of the most consistent things about me, actually) And throughout my teens, twenties, and early thirties, porn consumption was a complex and challenging endeavor because most or much porn I saw struck me as rather degrading… I think to both men and women.

At some point, on the various free porn sites, “female orgasm” was added to the list of categories, along with “homemade” and “female masturbation.” What I discovered was that there’s a lot of videos which appear to be self-filmed by women—videos of them masturbating. I mean, every day there was more. It was so plentiful that I began to suspect at some point I’d find a video of a woman I knew. Indeed, perhaps I did but failed to realize it! Sometimes I wished to encounter a video of me and a former lover so I could have the memory…captured. “So I can keep it” as my father once said when explaining to me his reason for photographing things.

Furthermore: I also began noticing a massive increase of videos feauturing couples swinging or engaging in small orgies and nonmonogamy.

The thought that transpired: it seems like a lot of people are very liberal and open sexually, and I am not.

Are they immoral? Am I in fact, ironically, a prude? Was I unethical for watching them while never having the courage to openly embrace the sexual freedom they embraced? Or was I in fact immoral for watching videos of people doing “bad things” when in fact, if I was so offended by what I saw, I should have refused to support the video with my “view” and speak out to whomever it may concern about it?

Another thing that drove me a little crazy and persistently plagued my conscience: almost all of these videos drop the context in which they’re produced. You see the clip of the woman masturbating without any information as to who she is, what it means to her, without clear evidence, even, that she wasn’t coerced by people away from/behind the camera. And I would wonder: WHO IS SHE? I wanted to know them. To perhaps seduce some of them, or have them seduce me. I was picky as hell about the videos I would permit myself to get off to. It wasn’t enough that the women were “pretty.” Like I said, I needed to believe they were enjoying themselves. And…it had to be more than mere enjoyment. I needed to believe these women were ASSERTIVELY pursuing their sexual pleasure.

By assertively, I mean that I needed to believe, essentially, that exhibitionism was their fetish just as voyeurism was mine.

Enter Paulita Pappel.

Lustery.

Ersties.

Erika Lust.

Non-monogamy.

Polyamory.

Ethical porn.

Porn elaborately and consciously focused on women’s pleasure.

Lustery: the porn site

Every now and then a Lustery video would find its way onto the string of videos I was exploring and considering and contemplating and masturbating to. NOTHING HAD EVER TURNED ME ON MORE! And they made me orgasm pretty fast. I felt almost over-excited! It was claimed, in the videos, that these were couples who simply wanted to film themselves having sex for the pleasure of it. And they talked about themselves and their relationship, their hobbies, sometimes their day to day, et cetera. The impression was that I was watching REAL couples who were sharing themselves, and having meaningful sex! I was getting that CONTEXT I was craving, a more holistic and expansive view of the women in the videos.

My conscience began to entertain the possibility that perhaps there can be decent and ethical porn and perhaps I don’t have to despise myself for watching it, and I don’t have to feel so anxious about it.      

I actually felt a little bit depressed that I lacked the courage to pay for a subscription to Lustery. I wanted it bad but felt conflicted about wanting it bad. But then I did subscribe. And to Paulita Pappel’s site Ersties.

There are two particular videos on Ersties that made strong impressions on me.

The first one was very spiritual.

The second one…dares me and inspires me on a very psychological level to improve my self confidence, self-image, self knowledge/awareness, and impacts me in other ways as well.

The first video is actually a series of videos. The “Squirting Workshop” series.  

This woman named “Lindsey,” (I put her name in quotes because I don’t know if she just calls herself Lindsey for the purpose of protecting her privacy somewhat, or if it’s her real name. I entertained the possibility because her last name is never revealed) a 21-year-old, who gives the workshop.

In the videos, she seems so relaxed, comfortable, yogic, chill, spiritual, …. Tantric(?) that it turned me on rather exceptionally.

Not only that, but it serves as a visualization for how I aspire to feel with myself and my body. You see, anxiety has been such a life-long struggle that I yearn now, to do as much as I can to experience poise, relaxation, comfort with my body, confidence in body, more body flexibility, et cetera.

My reaction to watching her teach women about how to squirt made me feel beyond aroused. I experienced “chills” and a sort of ecstatic mystical emotion. It’s like a very nuanced and…particular, and unique attraction.

Attraction in a most literal sense of the term, I must emphasize.

There’s attraction to somebody in the sense of “oh, that person looks very pleasant. I enjoy looking at this person and find this person compelling, visually” and then there’s attraction that feels like you are being PULLED IN magnetically, like something within you is ACTIVATED and as a matter of physics, biology, and chemistry, you literally GRAVITATE towards this person just as objects in outer space gravitate such as they do.

 Of course, I have a vivid imagination. Thus, the experience, for all I know, is based on how I felt in response to my fantasy/imagined notion of what it would be like to be in the same room as her and what it would be like if she felt the attraction to me I felt ton her. Whatever the deeper nature of it is, the experience is a pleasurable, exciting, and intense outlier among my reactions to women in pornographic videos.

Lindsey, in these videos, seemed to exude an exceptional professionalism and self-confidence… for someone who’s 21 years young. That and she has a leadership like quality about her.

She says, “I just want to start out by asking all of you your expectations, and why you’re here, what brought you here. I just establish this as a safe place to kind of experiment together.”

I find that to be a beautiful articulation. It’s so…considerate, holistically considerate…creating a vibe, one based on offering the other women a “safe place” as she said, caring about the quality and meaning of their experience! And inviting it to be free, open, and even DEEP; sex treated so much like a spiritual and meditative act, akin to yoga, tantric sex, et cetera.   (I didn’t memorize what she said, by the way. I re-watched the beginning of a few of the videos).

In a video interview she gave for Ersties, I learned that she studies (or perhaps completed her studies in) arts. In Amsterdam. She likes to peg her boyfriend. (That particular sexual act is not for me!)     

My admiration for Paulita Pappel and some of the sexual and psychological aspects

I have also seen pornographic videos of Paulita Pappel.

When I saw one in which she masturbates…it actually intimidated the hell out of me! Intimidated the FUCK out of me, let us say.

Which begs the question: why?

I think the answer is more complicated than I might be able to address in one blog post but, put simply—performance anxiety and I think a self-esteem still in progress. Sometimes those feelings would be so intense that I just couldn’t stay hard while masturbating and watching her masturbate.

Also, here’s some context that I consider relevant!

First of all, I am so fortunate because I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Paulita Pappel in the past. (In my opinion, she is beautifully humble and comes across as sort of inherently, or fundamentally compassionate and intellectual.) Actually, this is mortifying to tell you, but on more than one occasion, I sent her Instagram messages while pathetically drunk and ranted somewhat incoherently.

That’s one reason why I’m writing this essay. I feel really bad about that. I fear how disrespectful it was to her, and how much I showed her the worst of myself when what I had wanted was to make a good impression and I had wanted to express to Paulita Pappel as exactly and thoroughly as possible, what her work means to me.

It means more to me even than how it has impacted my view on sex, porn, love, et cetera. I furthermore find her genuinely amazing and revolutionary, a part of a group of artistic and intellectual leaders in the “adult film” industry (alongside, for example, Erika Lust, whose work I’m still in the earlier stages of exploring). I find her even to be an international leader among feminist efforts.

She forces porn to be philosophical!

She forces the conversation around porn to address what constitutes, what she would refer to as “ethical” porn.

I’m not a woman but I think that she’s an incredibly positive role model for women. (For people in general, too. Especially millennials, as I’ll soon explain).

She annunciates in a sort of deeply reverberating and far-reaching voice that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are a woman and utterly love sex and want to share videos of yourself having sex… with the world…because it is a beautiful, natural, and human thing. More than merely something we, the global culture, should not be afraid to look at, she gives compelling reasons for us to indulge our eyes in videos of sex…and hold it to a standard based on CONSENT, optimizing our mind and body connection (and thus our health/well being) and optimizing our connections to one another so that they are rather holistically sexual.

Seeing a video of someone you’ve corresponded with, and who clearly happens to inspire very intense feelings, masturbate and cum…to experience FEELINGS and EMOTIONS and see her as so… “human”…naked….exposed…so beautifully and embracingly so…well, first of all, I’ve not been able to look at women in porn the same way I did before that.

The offensiveness of my father’s porn is made more blatant and obvious.

I don’t even visit many other porn sites anymore, because they don’t measure up to her ethical standards…or mine!

For those who stereotype women in general, and sex workers more specifically, she demonstrates how ridiculous even cruel that is to do to someone.

I believe Paulita Pappel is an inspiring and ground-breaking millennial… despite living in one of modern history’s most challenging times

As a fellow millennial, she also inspires me. She’s advancing the global culture which I fear, at least as of December, 2020, is a rare thing to do among millennials. (So far as I know). I mean, there’s also Pete Buttigieg (!) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, but I think this clique is an exceptional one among millennials.

That’s not an insult flung at millennials, to be clear! We’re still relatively young, in an economy that seems often better suited to people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. But also, we live in depressing times!

If a massive swath of my fellow millennials say they’re not a bit beside themselves in the midst of a pandemic, with Donald Trump as president for the last four years, demoralizing the American psyche worse than probably any president since Andrew Johnson, back in 1868! Plus… the corruption of the U.S. political system, due to gerrymandering, the electoral college, and a Republican party which literally tossed away all of whatever tiny bit of ethics and decency they had pre-Trump.  

To put this another way: many parents of millennials, and grandparents, tend to be influenced by postmodernism and existentialism (even if only unconsciously) and THUS… at times, in my experience, express an unsettling pessimism or heavy-handed cynicism, such that they feel there’s no use trying to remodel the system.

As if to say we’re too broken and the corruption is just too hard to fight.

Yes, it’s true that they were instrumental in voting Biden in and Trump out, and saving the direction of this country.

But, as I have been saying for years, a postmodern culture where morality and even TRUTH ITSELF are viewed as strictly relative concepts such that ideas sometimes suggest anyone who is viewed as too vehement, too lacking in humility, is just trying to sucker you with their power claims. And because views on morality tend to be so “relative” and pessimistic, subjective, et cetera, WELL…those who just absorb the culture’s prevailing philosophies but don’t really question them or think about them critically in all their nuances and non-binary ways they can be interpreted, they possess minds that are RICH SOIL FOR MIND CONTROL and Fascism!

It’s like leaving the door to your house wide open for anyone to come in and out of, and even though many of the neighbors are vigilant and virtuous, when a mob seizes the house and has unfairly and evilly obtained weaponry which, if not superior, gives the virtuous a “run for their money,” so to speak, when countering the invading gang.

The bottom line is that while being told by many of our elders that it’s all “fucked,” we watched as opportunists took advantage of their lack of assertiveness and moral CONVICTION.

We were handed, essentially, an “anything more or less goes” philosophy. (I repeat: more or less. Anything goes so long as you’re not violent or abusive, let’s say). And again, it’s not that our liberal parents and grandparents let us down. Rather, when push came to shove, they actually saved us! But that “the anything goes” philosophy was pushed to dangerous limits by con-artists who took it and made a corrupted counterfeit version of it and hijacked and broke pieces of our political system!

This is why Trump can talk about grabbing pussies with no comment on consent and can get away with it. This is why, despite violating numerous laws, with the evidence in plain sight, the Republicans simply lied to themselves and didn’t care to hold him accountable, legally, for his crimes.  

We grew into our adulthoods, our thirties, with a culture that was too cynical and overwhelmingly discouraging and depressing and anxiety inducing. In my opinion, anyway.  

But what has this got to do with porn and Paulita Pappel?

Put most basically, despite the exceptionally complex and unsettling times we live in, (a whole year, practically of social and professional life put on hold because of the pandemic, which no doubt, spiraled out of control in great part due to Trump’s lack of leadership and dangerous actions and inactions [granted, Paulita Pappel lives in Germany, not here in the U.S.,  but Western Europe is feeling the bite of these times too, as nationalists across the continent try to usurp political power]), Paulita Pappel creates beautiful, hot porn, and contributes crucial philosophical ideas about ethics and sexuality to our international culture…and she does it in exceptional fashion!

An honor

So, when I see this woman masturbate…yes, it’s a bit intimidating and…I suppose… because masturbation is a more traditionally private thing, the experience of feeling as though I’m in her private world feels like, in a sense…I’m there too and…as my imagination can go wild, in an almost eerie way, the fantasy of having sex with her was made more vivid, realistic, and visceral.

To feel as though, brief as it may have been, I had sex with Paulita Pappel, a woman whose work personally impacted me in a soul transforming way, is just simply psychologically profound. Very emotional and honored, let me say.  

If it seems that I’m idealizing, please forgive me. What I meant for this essay to do was express my admiration and respect because I feel it, and I feel it very intensely.   

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