In 1992 the world of pornography was a very different place.
Porn came in the form of magazines and video cassettes. Or if you holidayed on any of the Greek islands, adult playing cards.
Because your porn stash was a physical commodity and not something you could delete with the click of a mouse, you had to be extra cautious. Perhaps the fear that your mum might watch that special VHS cassette you’d deliberately mislabelled as SLACKER heightened the experience.
There was far more loyalty towards the porn you’d accumulated. You had an affinity with the characters in the films and proper crushes on the centrefolds.
You’d return with enthusiasm to the same movies and the same magazines time and time and time and time and time again. And that was just the 15 minutes before school.
Nowadays everything has to be new. Because there’s a seemingly infinite amount of pornography in the world there’s a stomach-churning sense of disappointment if you end up watching the same clip twice.
It used to be porn was just about stereotypically beautiful women posing naked in nice bedrooms or having pseudo-loving sex with regular blokes whilst being filmed in stunning low definition.
Now it’s more akin to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
In today’s digital age of pornography, deviation is pretty much mainstream. Gone are the days when the only piercing you’d see on a centrefold was the magazine’s staples.
I pity the person who searches the internet for holidays to the Pukaki region of New Zealand’s South Island only to end up making a small typo and ending up with a real eyeful.
Hardcore porn star Jenna Jamison and Tila Tequila, a celebrity whose entire career is based on sex, both appeared on the last series of Celebrity Big Brother while we’ve got shows like Channel 4’s Date My Porn Star which have turned an explicit pursuit into a light-hearted competition, like Come Dine With Me but with no pants on.
It’s clear pornography isn’t the taboo subject it once was.
In contrast, back in pornography’s halcyon days, flesh-based stimuli were much harder to get hold of. Every schoolboy will recall that euphoric moment when he found a discarded lads’ mag in a bush. Using a twig to leaf through the pages his eyes were opened to a whole new world.
If you were lucky enough to actually own a video or magazine, the next hurdle was to find windows of opportunity to explore your passion. I’m convinced mums and dads rarely leave teenage boys alone in the house for this very reason.
Today’s internet enabled phones and tablets have knocked the thrill of the chase on the head.
Perhaps this is why the iconic Playboy magazine have decided to buck the trend. As of next March, for the first time in its illustrious 62 year history, Playboy will no longer feature full nudity.
In an interview with the New York Times, Playboy executives admitted the magazine had fallen prey to the very animal that founder Hugh Hefner helped unleash: the world’s insatiable demand for porn, now out of control in the digital age.
“That battle has been fought and won,” Playboy chief executive Scott Flanders said. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
So by the sounds of it Playboy is about to become GQ.
If Playboy are to be bring about a dilution of the pornographic industry, just as they had been instrumental in its explosion, it mightn’t be too long before we have to go old school and resort to our biology textbooks and our mum’s catalogues for a glimpse into the unknown.
I never though I’d get nostalgic about pornography, but here goes…
I fondly recall a time in the early 90s when my cousin lent me one of his adult magazines for the night. Always the pragmatist, rather than indulge in a porn-fest that evening I chose to seek a way to prolong the experience.
Devoid of such devices as a camera phone, scanner or even a spare photocopier, I was forced to improvise in order to make myself a copy of the unholy grail.
That’s when, armed with a pencil and an A4 drawing pad, I invented sketch porn, reproducing several of the magazine’s star attractions with the same artistic endeavour that was to earn me a C in GCSE Art. Sketch porn is comparable to life drawing in so far as you’re drawing naked people, except with sketch porn it’s a fair bit more explicit and you don’t have the rest of the class there to make you feel like you’re being legitimately cultured.
Not long ago I found one of my crude pornographic doodles between the pages of the 1992 Shoot annual (it just had to be Shoot). Much as I’d love to share it with you, I’d be defeating my own argument about the digital age making pornography boring and mainstream if I put to use that same technology to share an image intended for my eye’s only.
So if the porn industry follows Playboy’s lead it mightn’t be a bad thing. We might have to resort to the most dangerous tool of all for instant gratification… our imaginations.