Today Ava talks all about her browser history. As you can imagine, it might raise a few eyebrows and be a teeny bit shocking.
My Browser History
Having written one thriller about high class escorts and another based in the porn industry, you can imagine how alarming my browser history might appear to a casual observer. I probably should delete it all, but I wouldn’t know where to begin, so it’s still there in all its sordid glory. Though I have at least taken the precaution of password protecting my laptop.
I’ve lost count of all the things I’ve googled over the last few years since writing Untouchable and Exposure – and many would be far too rude to mention. Most of what Grace got up to in Untouchable was pretty obvious, but my research into Exposure and the world of porn was truly an eye-opener. And I didn’t even stray near the more specialised or fetishistic stuff – believe me, you don’t want to go there. Or at least I didn’t.
So Kitty’s porn career is pretty run-of-the-mill, but even so I hadn’t realised just how hard that kind of sex is on the body, and the extent of the physical illnesses and ailments most porn stars face. And it’s not just the girls – one particularly memorable snippet from my research was a male porn actor who actually broke his penis. Yes, that really is a thing.
On the whole, the porn stuff was much more distressing than anything your average call girl will be asked to do. There’s a much more ingrained sense of misogyny in the porn industry, and far more pressure on women to comply with things most of us would deem unthinkable. What struck me most was the relentless search for novelty, for something new to lure men into parting with their money – that’s a pretty downward spiral, and the more I read and researched, the more concerned I became about what porn is doing to all of us.
Believe me, I’m no prude – well, I guess that’s obvious if you’ve read my books – but some of the things I discovered in researching Exposure really shocked me, particularly the violence and sadism involved in many porn shoots. Victor, my ‘villain’, was loosely based on a real but anonymous director, renowned for making some of the nastiest porn you can get hold of. A lot of his stuff – and that of others like him – involved the deliberate and systematic degradation of girls participating in the shoot. I haven’t watched any of his films, but others describe them as brutal and shaming. This guy liked to break women down, to cause them as much mental and physical pain as he could get away with. By all accounts it is abuse on camera, and many of the actresses who worked with him said they deeply regretted it and were genuinely scared for their lives.
But even mainstream porn is problematic, I think. Whereas you could argue that prostitution involving women who entered the industry willingly, is relatively harmless, I think you’d have a hard time making a similar case for pornography. Indeed, studies have shown that porn desensitizes viewers to rape and violence, and there’s increasing anecdotal evidence that many young men, who’ve had plentiful access to online porn, have expectations of their sexual partners that are highly questionable. If you’ve grown up seeing certain things done in almost every porn flick you’ve watched, it’s hardly surprising that you might think that was normal practice.
More insidious still, I think, is how porn has insinuated itself into mainstream culture. Back in the day, no one shaved off their pubic hair – though you might trim your bikini line in the summer. But now a ‘Brazilian’ is considered normal, despite originating from porn where girls were encouraged to depilate their entire vaginal area so directors could get clearer penetration shots. It’s got to the point where any woman with a full bush is seen as freakish or even slovenly and I think that’s very unhealthy.
Similarly if you watch an episode of The Apprentice or practically anything else showing professional women on TV, you have to wonder since when teetering around in six-inch stilettos came to be seen as ‘power dressing’. Indeed, the issue came to public attention when a London receptionist was recently sent home for refusing to work in crippling heels.
In short, I think porn has upped the ante for women right across the western world. So before any of us look down on Kitty, or condemn her, we should perhaps take a long hard look at ourselves and what we think is normal or acceptable.
Please check out Gordon at Grab this Book’s Q&A yesterday with Ava Marsh at http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1920