Sunshine Recorder

Link: Hands Off

Why are a bunch of men quitting masturbation? So they can be better men.

Traditionally, people undergo a bit of self-examination when faced with a ­potentially fatal rupture in their long-term relationship. Thirty-two-year-old Henry* admits that what he did was a little more extreme. “If you’d told me that I wasn’t going to masturbate for 54 days, I would have told you to fuck off,” he says.

Masturbation had been part of Henry’s daily routine since childhood. Although he remembered a scandalized babysitter who “found me trying to have sex with a chair” at age 5, Henry says he never felt shame about his habit. While he was of the opinion that a man who has a committed sexual relationship with porn was probably not going to have as successful a relationship with a woman, he had no qualms about watching it. Which he did most days.

Then, early last year and shortly before his girlfriend of two years moved to Los Angeles, Henry happened to watch a TED talk by the psychologist Philip Zimbardo called “The Demise of Guys.” It described males who “prefer the asynchronistic Internet world to the spontaneous interactions in social relationships” and therefore fail to succeed in school, work, and with women. When his girlfriend left, Henry went on to watch a TEDX talk by Gary Wilson, an anatomist and physiologist, whose lecture series, “Your Brain on Porn,” claims, among other things, that porn conditions men to want constant variety—an endless set of images and fantasies—and requires them to experience increasingly heightened stimuli to feel aroused. A related link led Henry to a community of people engaged in attempts to quit masturbation on the social news site Reddit. After reading the ­enthusiastic posts claiming improved virility, Henry began frequenting the site.

“The main thing was seeing people who said, ‘I feel awesome,’ ” he says. Henry did not feel awesome. He felt burned out from work and physically exhausted, and his girlfriend had just moved across the country. He had a few sexual concerns, too, though nothing serious, he insists. In his twenties, he sometimes had difficulty ejaculating during one-night stands if he had been drinking. On two separate occasions, he had not been able to get an erection. He wasn’t sure that forswearing masturbation would solve any of this, but stopping for a while seemed like “a not-difficult experiment”—far easier than giving up other things people try to quit, like caffeine or alcohol.

He also felt some responsibility for what had happened to his relationship. “When a guy feels like he’s failed with respect to a woman, that’s one of the things that causes you to examine yourself.” If he had been a better boyfriend or even a better man, he thought, perhaps his girlfriend wouldn’t have left New York.

So a month after his girlfriend moved away, and a few weeks before taking a trip to visit her, Henry went to the gym a lot. He had meditated for years, but he began to do so with more discipline and intention. He researched strategies to relieve insomnia, to avoid procrastination, and to be more conscious of his daily habits. These changes were not only for his girlfriend. “It was about cultivating a masculine energy that I wanted to apply in other parts of my life and with her,” he says.

And to help cultivate that masculine energy, he decided to quit masturbating. He erased a corner of the white board in his home office and started a tally of days, always using Roman numerals. “That way,” he says, “it would mean more.”

For those who seek fulfillment in the renunciation of benign habits, masturbation isn’t usually high on the list. It’s variously a privilege, a right, an act of political assertion, or one of the purest and most inconsequential pleasures that exist. Doctors assert that it’s healthy. Therapists recommend it. (Henry once talked to his therapist after a bad sexual encounter; she told him to masturbate. “Love yourself,” she said.)

And despite a century passing since Freud declared auto­eroticism a healthy phase of childhood sexual development and Egon Schiele drew pictures of people touching themselves, masturbation has become the latest frontier in the school of self-improvement. Today’s anti-masturbation advocates deviate from anti-onanists past—that superannuated medley of Catholic ascetics, boxers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Norman Mailer. Instead, the members of the current generation tend to be young, self-aware, and secular. They bolster their convictions online by quoting studies indicating that ejaculation leads to decreased testosterone and vitamin levels (a drop in zinc, specifically). They cull evidence implying that excessive porn-viewing can reduce the number of dopamine receptors. Even the occasional woman can be found quitting (although some women partake of a culture of encouragement around masturbation, everything from a direct-sales sex-toy party at a friend’s house to classes with sex educator Betty Dodson, author of Sex for One).

Link: The Size of Porn Sites

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of a fast internet connection must be in want of some porn.

While it’s difficult domain to penetrate — hard numbers are few and far between — we know for a fact that porn sites are some of the most trafficked parts of the internet. According to Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner, which tracks users across the web with a cookie, dozens of adult destinations populate the top 500 websites. Xvideos, the largest porn site on the web with 4.4 billion page views per month, is three times the size of CNN or ESPN, and twice the size of Reddit. LiveJasmin isn’t much smaller. YouPorn, Tube8, and Pornhub — they’re all vast, vast sites that dwarf almost everything except the Googles and Facebooks of the internet.

While page views are a fine starting point, they only tell you that X porn site is more popular than Y non-porn site. Four billion page views sure sounds like a lot, but it’s only when you factor in what those porn surfers are actually doing that the size and scale of adult websites truly comes into focus. […]

The second largest porn site on the web, YouPorn, was kind enough to furnish us with some real-world facts and figures. You’ll be glad (or scared) to know that the estimated DoubleClick Ad Planner figures are actually quite a lot lower than reality.

YouPorn hosts “over 100TB of porn”, and serves “over 100 million” page views per day. All told, this equates to an average of 950 terabytes of data transfer per day, almost all of which is streaming video. This is around 28 petabytes per month, which means our 29PB estimate for Xvideos is on the low side; it probably serves 35 to 40PB per month.

It gets better! At peak time, YouPorn serves 4000 pages per second, equating to burst traffic in the region of 100 gigabytes per second, or 800Gbps. This is equivalent to transferring more than 10 dual-layer DVDs every second.


Hunter Moore Makes a Living Screwing You
The hated revenge-porn profiteer says he wants to teach a lesson with his web site. How long before the 26-year-old learns one himself?
Hunter Moore is the unrepentant founder of Is Anyone Up, a virtual grudge slingshot of a website that gleefully publishes “revenge porn” photos—cell-phone nudes submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, malicious hackers, and other ne’er-do-well degenerates—posted alongside each unsuspecting subject’s full name, social-media profile, and city of residence. Over the past 16 months, the site has been a source of public humiliation for pop-punk bassists, a Maple Leafs forward, an Ultimate Frisbee champ, an American Idol finalist, and the founder of Dream Water. (“Obviously didn’t make Smart Water,” Moore zinged.) Should you mistake these targets for adhering to a code of heartbroken vigilantism or entitlement schadenfreude, let it be known that the only guides Moore follows are the law and Mark Zuckerberg's principle that the greatest online power is the people you know. “At the end of the day, people just want to see their friends fucking naked,” he offers. Now he posts nude schoolteachers, young mothers, American military members, little people, and, recently, a disabled woman in a wheelchair. It’s worth noting Moore often advertises with the tagline “Pure Evil.”
Naturally, Moore has spawned a legion of enemies. After posting images of the daughter of a major GOP campaign donor, strangers tried to climb over his home fence. Last spring, Bamboozle organizers threatened to arrest him if he stepped on festival grounds. In July, a San Francisco–area woman stabbed the Sacramento native in the shoulder with a pen, a wound that required surgery and left a caterpillar-size scar. Facebook instituted a universal ban on the site; Moore enjoys telling everyone that he responded with a picture of his dick. Anonymous has targeted his site, as have other savvy hackers; he now pays a security firm five grand a month to ward them off. And there is a steady stream of death threats, which has Moore mulling over moving back to New York, where he has lived in two separate spells. He could really use a doorman. “I’m scared I’m going to get fucking murdered in my sleep if someone finds out where I live.”



And this is why you don’t take naked photos of yourself.

Hunter Moore Makes a Living Screwing You

The hated revenge-porn profiteer says he wants to teach a lesson with his web site. How long before the 26-year-old learns one himself?

Hunter Moore is the unrepentant founder of Is Anyone Up, a virtual grudge slingshot of a website that gleefully publishes “revenge porn” photos—cell-phone nudes submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, malicious hackers, and other ne’er-do-well degenerates—posted alongside each unsuspecting subject’s full name, social-media profile, and city of residence. Over the past 16 months, the site has been a source of public humiliation for pop-punk bassists, a Maple Leafs forward, an Ultimate Frisbee champ, an American Idol finalist, and the founder of Dream Water. (“Obviously didn’t make Smart Water,” Moore zinged.) Should you mistake these targets for adhering to a code of heartbroken vigilantism or entitlement schadenfreude, let it be known that the only guides Moore follows are the law and Mark Zuckerberg's principle that the greatest online power is the people you know. “At the end of the day, people just want to see their friends fucking naked,” he offers. Now he posts nude schoolteachers, young mothers, American military members, little people, and, recently, a disabled woman in a wheelchair. It’s worth noting Moore often advertises with the tagline “Pure Evil.”

Naturally, Moore has spawned a legion of enemies. After posting images of the daughter of a major GOP campaign donor, strangers tried to climb over his home fence. Last spring, Bamboozle organizers threatened to arrest him if he stepped on festival grounds. In July, a San Francisco–area woman stabbed the Sacramento native in the shoulder with a pen, a wound that required surgery and left a caterpillar-size scar. Facebook instituted a universal ban on the site; Moore enjoys telling everyone that he responded with a picture of his dick. Anonymous has targeted his site, as have other savvy hackers; he now pays a security firm five grand a month to ward them off. And there is a steady stream of death threats, which has Moore mulling over moving back to New York, where he has lived in two separate spells. He could really use a doorman. “I’m scared I’m going to get fucking murdered in my sleep if someone finds out where I live.”

And this is why you don’t take naked photos of yourself.


I Like Vintage Erotica
 A reader asks if fantasizing about now-dead people is “creepy.” We ask Dan Savage and other experts to weigh in.



Dan Savage says that it’s creepy to fantasize about people who have died. Because it is not possible to ever actually … you know. I may agree with him about the recently deceased, but I like vintage erotica, and sometimes I do fantasize that I’m making love to the women in those naughty French postcards — the lingerie, the beds, the divans, the pillows on the floor … it’s all so soft and warm and pre-Raphaelite. When the Internet happened and all the porn became available, like most lesbians, I didn’t like any of it — until I found the porn of pre-WWI Europe. Finally! I have a genre. What a relief. I’ve noticed that modern photographs that re-create vintage erotica do nothing for me. Women in the costumes with the period props are just silly. There’s something about knowing that she lived her life long ago and left only these beautiful glimpses of her sexual expression that captures my erotic imagination. But. She’s dead now. And there’s no possibility of meeting her. 

Read more.

I Like Vintage Erotica

A reader asks if fantasizing about now-dead people is “creepy.” We ask Dan Savage and other experts to weigh in.

Dan Savage says that it’s creepy to fantasize about people who have died. Because it is not possible to ever actually … you know. I may agree with him about the recently deceased, but I like vintage erotica, and sometimes I do fantasize that I’m making love to the women in those naughty French postcards — the lingerie, the beds, the divans, the pillows on the floor … it’s all so soft and warm and pre-Raphaelite. When the Internet happened and all the porn became available, like most lesbians, I didn’t like any of it — until I found the porn of pre-WWI Europe. Finally! I have a genre. What a relief. I’ve noticed that modern photographs that re-create vintage erotica do nothing for me. Women in the costumes with the period props are just silly. There’s something about knowing that she lived her life long ago and left only these beautiful glimpses of her sexual expression that captures my erotic imagination. But. She’s dead now. And there’s no possibility of meeting her. 

Read more.

Link: My Hard-Core Porn Obsession

I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household in New York, where the Old Testament was believed to be the literal word of the Almighty God and where we obeyed, as closely as we could, all 613 commandments elucidated within its holy pages. To us, God was not simply a concept, but a very real, everyday presence in our lives and our community. Which is to say, I know pornography. Hard-core, graphic pornography. My father had it buried beneath his mattress. My brother had it hidden under his dresser. Pornography, like God Himself, was everywhere. Sex was dirty. Pornography was worse.

The really bad news was this: God, my rabbis told me, could only grant me forgiveness for the sins I had committed against Him; sins I had committed against my fellow humans could only be forgiven by them personally. If they didn’t forgive me, my rabbis said, when I died and went to heaven, God would cause me to suffer in the exact way I had caused them to suffer. At the time, though only 14 years of age, I had already tired of the porn magazines I found in my house and decided it was time for full-motion video. I went to Times Square, where a group of women stood outside a porn shop, protesting and carrying placards. On one placard was a picture of a naked woman tied to a bed. She had a ball gag in her mouth and clamps on her nipples. I ducked into the store, spent every dollar I’d stolen from my father’s wallet, hurried home, and hoped the videos wouldn’t work. They worked. Fuck. 

I wondered what was wrong with me. I wondered how many gang bangs I would have to suffer in heaven. Was it like an eye for an eye—a gang bang for a gang bang—or was it some sort of eternal gang bang that never ended? Would I be anally violated? Would I be spanked? Did they have ropes and ball gags and Ron Jeremy in heaven? I decided to watch them again. If I did, and they didn’t work for me, surely I would be forgiven. I watched them again. Fuck.