Not Tonight, Honey. I’m Logging On.
Internet porn is everywhere; even “nice” guys are hooked. So where does that leave their girlfriends?
By David Amsden
For Jonathan—an attractive, Ivy League– educated musician and adjunct professor—it all started a couple of years ago, when he was working as a temp in the sleek offices of a Madison Avenue ad agency. There he was, seated at his desk, half-heartedly going over pitches for new accounts, when a colleague tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hey, man, you gotta check this out.” The co-worker spoke in a whisper.
“Just come over here.”
Jonathan—who is 33 and speaks with the hapless charm of a Nick Hornby protagonist—made his way over to the neighboring cubicle, where, on the Mac’s fifteen-inch screen, a pixelated young woman was making love to a machine that resembled a Pilates apparatus. The image, he says, “wasn’t for me,” but it did send an impossible-to-ignore signal to that region of the male brain where curiosity and testosterone intersect. “I was like, Oh, I want to see what’s out there,” he says. “At the time, I barely understood what a ‘link’ was, but it didn’t take too long to figure it all out.”
Indeed not. Suddenly, cyberporn seemed to be everywhere Jonathan went. While in the recording studio, he found that the producer, “a real straight-up guy,” was constantly procrastinating with Internet porn. “Sometimes I’d drop in unexpectedly, like when he was supposed to be mixing my stuff, and he’d be at the computer, staring at pornography, going, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ ” Jonathan recalls. “At first, he had the attitude like, Look at how awful this is, because, obviously, we were both supposed to be these educated men. And I’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s awful.’ But the whole time, we’d be exchanging these knowing glances like, But it’s kind of cool, too, isn’t it?”
It became a once-a-day habit—one that, these days, Jonathan admits has gotten somewhat out of hand. For instance, before most dates, he finds himself logging onto TheHun.net, one of many sites that cull and categorize free porn daily, “so I’m not so anxious.” He now jokes about the Internet as “the vortex of self-hatred” because of how it can turn mere diversion into a self-destructive act: “I’ll have a ton of papers to grade, but instead I’ll be like, Let’s jerk off to the Internet first. So I go online, but then I despise myself. I look up, and my computer says I’ve been online for 47 minutes and I’m like, What the hell have I been doing?!”