Generation XXX: Having sex like porn stars

How is smut changing teen sexuality? One word: Facials

Published August 18, 2009 8:01PM (EDT)

Teenagers now have access to a free Internet library of "bestiality, piss-drinking, throat-fucking, bukkake gang bangs, triple anal penetrations" (and let's not forget, coprophilia), as Eric Spitznagel puts it in the September issue of Details. There's no doubt this is influencing teen sexuality -- I mean triple anal penetrations on demand, c'mon! -- but he sets out to answer the question of how it's changing, exactly. That question truly deserves a book-length response, but his short answer is: Kids these days are having sex like porn stars.

The most vivid example he gives is that most members of Generation XXX think "sex ends with a money shot to the face." Some boys, like one 17-year-old quoted in the piece, believe that "there is just something about blowing a load in a chick's face that makes you feel like a man." Spitznagel explains, "For most men over 30, facials aren't something you actually do. They're like car chases or hurling someone through a plate-glass window -- the difference between cinema and life. But the ubiquity of porn has blurred the line." He gives other examples of how the sex lives of "America's porn-fed youth" are different from past generations: They think pubic hair is nasty and anal sex is hot, and girls idolize the porn stars who inadvertently teach them how to give toe-curling blow jobs. But he spills the most ink, ehem, on the come on the face thing.

As an image, it's become emblematic of what Ariel Levy dubbed the "female chauvinist pig" of the porned generation. Take the Harvard sex columnist who published a photo of her spunk-covered face to her blog along with a caption that framed it in a feminist light. Or, consider this quote from 22-year-old Lindsay, who was shown from the waist up masturbating in the documentary "Immersion: Porn," on her taste for bukkake gang bangs: "Even if [a porn star] has eight dicks on her face, she's still the queen of those eight dicks. I definitely like come on the face."

It's impossible to talk about people's sexual tastes in any definitive way -- people like all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. What's most interesting to me, though, is the idea that young women of my own porned generation are embracing a sex act most often intended to humiliate the fantasy whore on-screen. Someone will surely pen a book someday soon that details how women's pornification of their sex lives amounts to shameful self-exploitation. There's another way to look at it, though: Enthusiastically engaging in that defining act, the grand finale of most X-rated fare is one way to dramatically announce oneself as a member of our dominant sexual culture -- which is the world of porn.

The alternative is to disengage from that mainstream narrative, but many young women of Generation XXX don't want to. We grew up under the influences of feminism and girl power, after all, and aren't satisfied leaving the world of porn to the boys; we want a part, too. Not to mention, many of us don't buy that our sexuality is fine china that can be irreparably broken through incautious experimentation. Some of us may eventually find the aesthetics of smut restrictive and unsatisfying, but maybe, just maybe, that will prove a catalyst to revolutionize our sexual culture. Buckle your seat belts, because that will be one long and bumpy road.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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