The Challenges of Self-Censoring
"Flogging the Freelancer" is a blog post a day about freelancing in the gig economy. Browse the archives here.
A few hours before New Year's Eve, I posted my final Forbes post of 2015: "I've Waited for Virtual Reality Forever and Now It's Here." I wrote the post because I'd been sitting on the material for a while, and I felt underwhelmed by the work I'd published this year, other than "Blood Sacrifice."
The virtual reality porn piece combined several things: some backstory about me writing about porn, a visit I paid earlier this year to a virtual reality porn star where I donned an Oculus Rift for the first time, and a phone conversation I had with the guy who's arguably the biggest pornographer in the business.
One of the challenges of writing the post for Forbes, and probably why I sat on it for so long, is that because it's the Forbes website, I knew it couldn't be X-rated. So that meant leaving out any graphic description of John Holmes in a porn movie I saw when I was 15, like how it seemed he barely had the energy to get his monstrous appendage erect; leaving out the part about getting a lap dance at a strip club in 1997, and the dancer's implant-stuffed boobs in my face, and her skin smelling like peaches; leaving out the spectacle of the girls fucking themselves with dildos atop the tables at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre while guys sat around them in booths like it was some kind of explicit diner; leaving out the five years I spent chasing the most extreme things in the porn business, including bukkake, and gangbangs, and other weird ass shit; and leaving out the part where the virtual reality porn star stuck her fingers inside herself and put them in her mouth and her spit glistened like something otherworldly in this alternative universe.
Does including or leaving out that information make the piece any better or worse? I'm not sure. Self-censored, it becomes more discreet, obviously, and there's something to be said for that, but it's not so raw when it's cut, and the point of pornography is to rip things down to the raw so you can see the pink.
At one point in the post, I write: "At a certain point, she opened her mouth, and she leaned forward like she was getting close to me, and the only thing that was missing was the sheer scent of her, and I thought: I’m sold." And, for now, you know, that is one thing that VR lacks for sure. When you visit a porn set, the smell is unmistakable: the meat, the fluids, the things that happen under the heat. That's the action. That's the story. That's the truth.