We are in no way suggesting that a depressed person should not get help (nor did anyone we interviewed); we think that these medications can make life worth living again and even save lives. However, we do believe antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for specious reasons, or without full disclosure, or, as an absolute worst- case scenario, just borrowed from a friend, and used without any medical supervision at all. Depression, like impotence, can be a sign of masculinity gone astray, and diffi cult to admit, even to oneself.
Men have used various forms of erotica for partnered enhancement and solitary plea sure for centuries. Erotic artifacts, some dating back thousands of years, have been found in archaeological digs. However, until very recently, pornography was limited to printed material (which allowed for rich fantasies) and seedy movie houses. The VCR made privacy possible, but content was limited and not readily accessible.
The Internet irrevocably changed all that. Now every type of exotic erotica is available, and it's private, cheap, and virtually infinite. This is the biggest, newest, and most versatile sex toy of them all.
Why would a guy spend so much time online looking at naked women when he has one in bed, ready, willing, and able?
Some men view porn as a way to have imaginary sex with other women without actually cheating on their wives. There are also examples of chat rooms leading to virtual adultery and online infidelity; whether these are crimes or misdemeanors can only be determined by the couple involved. Others use the stimulation to enhance their offline experiences, and sometimes ask their partners to join in. And clearly, some guys are using porn as a complete substitute for marital sex, like this 45- year- old male who wrote:
"When I was a kid, I used to love Penthouse and Playboy. What guy didn't? But the Internet has opened up this whole world of endless pornographic experiences, beyond my wildest dreams. I feel guilty, but after the first few years of marriage, my wife just can't compete. I still love her, but I have no desire to have sex with her anymore."
If a woman is married to a man like this, it's bewildering:
"I really can't figure out why it happened. I was willing to have sex with him at any given time, but he just kept watching [porn] more and more. He would tell me it was going to stop. He would hide it from me and I would catch him. I keep getting angrier and more resentful. We are on a downward spiral, and the madder I get, the more he rejects me and watches porn. I think he enjoys it more than he enjoys it with real women, certainly more than with this real woman." (Female, 40s)
Why would a guy spend so much time online looking at naked women when he has one in bed, ready, willing, and able? Well, there's the variety, of course, and he knows for sure that he'll get lucky. There's no pressure of any kind, no per for mance anxiety, no emotion, no talk, no criticism, no foreplay. Anyone else's plea sure is irrelevant. He's insulated from rejection and perceived inadequacies. It may be light-years away from connected, committed, hot (or spi ritual) sex, but it's quick, it's easy, and it doesn't require an erection. (Male sexual plea sure and ejaculation are most defi nitely possible without one.) If getting or maintaining an erection is problematical, online porn can be a refuge.