Something that goes very unremarked is how many generations we’ve had of pornography exposure being a significant male rite of passage in America. And how government funding injected enough cash into the industry to industrialize its production. You can start a timeline with World War II, in which pornography was distributed as an alternative to camp followers and the “gifts” they brought (mostly venereal disease, but also babies). There were millions of young men exposed to pornography in a mostly or all-male environment. Then, after seeing hundreds and thousands of pictures of women dressed even less discreetly than the picture opening this post and doing way more than what that lady is, they went home to wives and future wives.
That was the Greatest Generation.
Their sons got exposed a little earlier, magazines under the bed, late teens high school bonding. But it was already normalized as something a young man might want to do. It was acceptable fringe. Not to mention their sons were coming of age in the middle of “free love”. There was now some idea that it might be ok to try a few of those things in the magazines out before marriage, just not with the girl you planned to marry.
Well, we all have a pretty good idea how the Boomers and Silents handled the influences of mass pornography getting even more normalized and mainstream in their young adulthood.
They were the swingers and nudists and the earliest waves of what is now called “polyamory” on the secular fringe. On the Christian-inflected fringe side, they were Flirty Fishers and sisterwivers in the 1970s and 1980s. There was also the acceptable fringe of taking your date to a pornographic theater, although now that is moving more into Generation X.
It’s hard to accept, but these were the parents of the Millennials and Generation X. And this is just part one. Part two is going to note what the consequences were to those Millennials and Gen X’ers.
Might also want to notice that this is an early example of managerialism and modern efficiency thinking, too.