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Gina The Chimp Only Wants To Watch Porn (And Us Humans Are Rather Fond Of It As Well)

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Sometimes I feel bad about wild animals enclosed in zoos. But I feel slightly less bad for Gina, a chimpanzee at the Seville Zoo in Spain, who spends her days watching porn on TV.

Gina’s TV has lots of different channels, but the only ones that this frisky primate watches are the ones rated “adult entertainment.”

Chimps are, of course, one of the closest cousins to humans; we share 90 percent of our DNA with them.

That information should, I hope, make Salon.com writer Issac Abel, 23, feel slightly better: Abel published an essay this weekend about how he came of age masturbating to internet porn and now he’s having difficulties getting sexy with real, live women who don’t fulfill his fantasies quite like those on set.

Abel starting watching Internet in middle school, increasingly upping the ante: he began with regular, heterosexual penis-in-vagina sex, but in time moved onto more graphic content like BDSM, bukkake (don’t Google that at work, friends), threesomes, and rape fantasies.  He wrote:

The unknown, the unseen, was sexy to me, and I pursued novelty with vigor. I found myself rapidly desensitized to online images. If a threesome was kinky last week, then I’d need something wilder this week. To reach climax, I had to find that same toxic mix of shame and lust. … Was I more turned on by porn than by real women? What did that mean about my sexuality?

Clearly, the options were unlimited and the only fear he had was confrontation from his parents about why there were porn web sites in the family computer’s browser history. By his senior year of high school, Abel was so concerned about his extreme porn habit that he decided to quit Internet porn cold turkey. While he was able to stay off the sauce for five months, he had a few sexual encounters with real, live women (after struggling to get it up with the first three) and eventually found himself able to be aroused by real, live events.

But his “addiction,” if you could even call it that, was far from over: Abel still needed to fantasize about stuff he had seen in porn during sex and was most able to enjoy sex while drunk or high. It was very difficult for the physical and emotional realms of real, live sex to converge. He described it thus:

It was a dissociative, alienating, almost inhuman task to close my eyes while having sex with someone I really cared about and imagine having sex with someone else or recall a deviant video from the archives of my youth that I was ashamed of even then.

Issac Abel hasn’t found a simple answer to this problem. His candid essay on Salon does shed some light on how he’s been able to “reprogram” himself by “unlearning [his] socialized sexuality.” He’s had more long-term relationships, a wider breadth of sexual experiences (including kinky ones, which he enjoyed watching in porn), and lots of conversations with friends, including porn-watching millenial dudes, which have helped the reprogramming along. These days he’s hoping “that the pollution of XXX videos slowly clears from my masturbatory fantasies to reveal more dream-like, meditative, present, fleshy, alive states of mind and body.”

I’ve never been a teenage boy watching porn and even as a grown woman I’m not especially interested in it (that’s Amelia’s department); I much prefer reading pornographic stories/erotica than looking at visual content.  But where I can really empathize with Issac Abel is the shame he felt for his sexual desires. His confusion about what’s “okay” and what’s “not okay” in the realm of sexual fantasy are, I think, pretty common for people with alternative sexualities. It wasn’t just his porn habit that made him feel ashamed; it was the type of porn he watched — the bukkake and the BDSM and whatnot — that really had him feeling guilty. No one bats an eye if you want to watch “normal” porn featuring, say, a blonde woman with big tits riding some dude’s cock. But rape fantasies? S&M? Ageplay? Now that’s weird and don’t the people who are aroused by those fantasies know it.  Abel writes in the piece about how he enjoys kinky sex and enjoyed his sex life more once he started having kinky sex rather than watching it online. For his sake, I’m grateful he got to that place: feelings of guilt, shame, and self-disgust over what turns our cranks are a big struggle.

Issac Abel might have been the only 23-year-old daring enough to write about it, but he’s hardly the only Internet porn “addicted” primate (oh, if Gina the chimp could only communicate!) or guilty kinkster. I praise his openness and honesty and I hope other young folks — in particular young men who have been “reared” on Internet porn — can be as self-reflective as he when it comes to porn’s effect on their emotional connection to sex.

[New York Daily News]

[Science Daily]

[Salon]

Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.

[Photo: Thinkstock]

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