In an interview in this month’s Playboy, John Mayer says he can’t keep his hands off himself. Giving new meaning to narcissism, Mayer says he prefers an intimate night in with his computer to a night out with a real live woman.
Even when he’s with a real woman, Mayer confesses he is just using her as a masturbatory aid while porn images and stories run through his head. To Mayer, women are only a means to an end: his own, self-assisted, big bang.
Here’s an extract:
MAYER: …pornography? It’s a new synaptic pathway. You wake up in the morning, open a thumbnail page, and it leads to a Pandora’s box of visuals. There have probably been days when I saw 300 [naked girls] before I got out of bed.
PLAYBOY: What’s your point about porn and relationships?
MAYER: Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation’s expectations. How could you be constantly synthesizing an orgasm based on dozens of shots? You’re looking for the one photo out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don’t finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and continue your shot hunt and continue to make yourself late for work. How does that (porn) not affect the psychology of having a relationship with somebody? It’s got to.
PLAYBOY: You seem very fond of pornography.
MAYER: When I watch porn, if it’s not hot enough, I’ll make up backstories in my mind. My biggest dream is to write pornography.
PLAYBOY: Masturbation for you is as good as sex?
MAYER: Absolutely, because during sex, I’m just going to run a filmstrip. I’m still masturbating. That’s what you do when you’re 30, 31, 32. This is my problem now: Rather than meet somebody new, I would rather go home and replay the amazing experiences I’ve already had.
PLAYBOY: You’d rather jerk off to an ex-girlfriend than meet someone new?
MAYER: Yeah. What that explains is that I’m more comfortable in my imagination than I am in actual human discovery. The best days of my life are when I’ve dreamed about a sexual encounter with someone I’ve already been with. When that happens, I cannot lay off myself.
It wasn’t only his sexism, Mayer revealed. His penis was “white supremacist”, like “David Duke” because it didn’t get up for black women, he said. He did find some black women hot, but that’s because the ones who turned him on were more like blonde white women.
Mayer’s ode to self-love shows how pornography has influenced his attitudes to women. Impatient with women in the flesh, he has turned to the image of a woman for his habitual computer sex. Porn is shaping the thinking of younger boys as well.
Boys who watch porn are more likely to think sexual harassment is acceptable and less likely to form successful relationships when they’re older, according to Australian researcher Michael Flood. Flood’s latest research, while reported overseas, has had little mention in Australia’s mainstream media.
The report, ‘Harms of Pornography Exposure Among Children and Young People’, also found that boys who see porn are more inclined to believe there is nothing wrong with pinning down or sexually harassing a girl. “Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships”, says Flood.
In the UK last week, porn’s troubling influence on boys was given significant attention in a Daily Mail piece, ‘Teenage boys watching hours of internet pornography a week treating girlfriends like sex objects’.
Girls spoke about taking chaperones (’3rd wheels’) with them on dates to try to rein in the sexually aggressive behaviour of boys. Boys called them bitches and demanded they act like porn stars.
But not all men want to act like that.
Oliver, from Queensland, just wrote to me about porn’s effect on him:
“I have struggled with pornography for a long time and I hate it. I hate what it does to my mind and my perception of women. I hate how it can consume my thoughts. I hate the fact that I constantly fight to keep my mind free from it and I will have to fight for the rest of my life. I also hate the fact that it is almost impossible for a young man to grow up without having this perversion shoved in his face…We have a very screwed up view of masculinity and what a ‘real’ man looks like…”
Mayer might think the only risk to himself is Repetitive Strain Injury. But he is risking real relationships with real women in the real world, because he is entirely oriented toward seeing them as his personal ejaculatory helpers.
Unlike images, real women touch, and speak back. Real women are complex and messy and difficult. That’s why loving a woman, like loving a man, is a communion rather than looking in a mirror.
Mayer’s ode to narcissism also means he has forfeited the pleasures of love. Any woman with a brain or a heart would run a mile from the singer with the calloused hands.
Mayer’s public act of pornography product placement contributes to the dominant cultural script that girls and women -whether computer-generated or real – are merely in the world as pleasure centres for men, that they are to be targeted for porn-inspired acts, and that they have no place or existence outside these roles.