Friday, August 16, 2013

Porn Review Special Report: Various Paraphilia

When I first decided to do these reviews, I only had one particular work in mind for a review. That work is the Unending Breast Expansion Add-venture, a collaborative choose-your-own-adventure style interactive erotic fiction document (whew) that debuted in 1998 as a paraphilia-themed version of other popular collaborative fiction projects. As the name would indicate, the primary paraphilia on display was breast expansion, which we covered in the last report. This is by far not the only paraphilia contained in the beaddventure, and I felt it would be disingenuous to introduce the work without a broader picture of some of the paraphilia at play.
  
(Trigger warning: Some transphobia, pathologization, what could be considered a form of bestiality, pervasive objectification of women)


A quick note on the word “paraphilia”: The word is one of those fake Grecian words coined during the heyday of psychoanalysis in Germany. The word means literally “beside/aside loving” which roughly translates into “inverted sexuality” and is essentially synonymous with “perversion.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder III adopted the term as an alternative to perversion, given the latter’s negative connotations. Paraphilia as a term is an explicit denominator of all non-standard sexual interests. Of course, that’s an incredibly broad definition and only explicitly doesn’t cover heterosexual sex in the missionary position (for the sole purpose of procreation). As such, subsets have been created that define the specific inverted sexual proclivities, such as homosexuality (or more specifically homophilia), vorarephilia, maiesiophilia and so on. Paraphilia, however is the broad term for particular kinks.

These are fetishes

 The word “fetish” comes from a tortured Latin past to ultimately mean a charm or sorcery, or when later appropriated for academic labeling purposes, an object that has special powers within it. Some of the more popularly known objects classed as fetishes are things like lingam stones and fertility statuettes, leading to the inevitable association of “fetish” as “an object with sexual powers” and then fetish’s modern definition, “an intense sexual obsession.” In reality, even in diagnostic materials, a sexual fetish is the sexual proclivity or arousal by a specifically non-human object. A good example would be a latex fetish or a formalwear fetish. The arousal is in the object and not in the people involved. In many respects the intense amounts of pornography modern people consume is itself a fetish. However, as much as it is a losing battle, and as much as these sorts of labels are stigmatized (more on that later) I will continue to reject the use of the term “fetish” to describe these paraphilias, since they’re sexual attractions to specific behaviors or fantastic situations. A foot fetish is the erotic attraction to feet, a portion of a person’s body and thus not actually a fetish. An erotic attraction to prosthetic feet would in fact be a fetish.

Does that make sense? That’s the framework we’re going from, anyway.

Futanari/Hermaphrodite





Futanari is by far the most common non-physical paraphilia that exists in the world today. The word comes from a Japanese word that means new half or something similar and it refers explicitly to female bodied persons with a penis. There’s a continuous disagreement about the specific classification of futanari since a few different configurations can exist. The women[1] involved can have a penis and a vagina and testicles, a penis and a vagina and no testicles, a penis and testicles but no vagina, or just a penis, no testicles or vagina. Various subclassifications are suggested, but there’s little consensus on these alternative terms.



Futanari is directly related to (and owes a debt to) “Tranny” or “Shemale” pornography, which is also some of the most popular physical paraphilia pornography among straight men. Both types of paraphilia express a form of homoeroticism that is elided by presenting physically feminine bodies for the penis to exist on. As such, men who consider themselves straight can consume this pornography specifically for the empathetic connection they feel to penis owners while avoiding the overtly homosexual tension of consuming the pornography of another man jerking off or having sex with a woman.[2] The importance of that empathetic connection to the erotic appeal of a material cannot be stressed enough. If the consumer can’t somehow relate to a character involved, the porn typically loses its impact.


The elision is not always successful, however, and at any given moment at least one thread on 4chan’s /d/ forum is an argument over whether or not enjoying futa makes the consumer gay. The arguments rage back and forth and usually little conclusion is reached. The answer of course is no, it does not make you gay, but neither does it make you straight. Your sexual identity is your identity, so whatever you say you are has infinitely more relevance than what you actually do or especially what pornography you consume. The question really is “will others think I’m gay for consuming this pornography,” and the answer to that one is always “maybe.”

Anthropomorphic paraphilia



Furries have been a punching bag for the internet at large at least since the mid-1990s when furry roleplayers and conventioneers established a strong internet presence. The paraphilia is easy to mock, as nearly the whole fandom is composed of hyper-idealized cartoon mascots that both then and now are mostly only referenced in children’s entertainment media. This created (and sustains) a concept that furry paraphiliacs are essentially just developmentally arrested man-children that are insecure about their looks[3].




Whether or not this is true eventually became beside the point, as furries came to represent everything that was weird or abnormal about the internet. This process was certainly helped along by prolific artists like Doug Winger, Karno, and Gafoxtaur who drew ever-stranger pornography in what might be described as either an arms race or mining a seam of sexuality. Arguments can be made that R. Crumb ended up creating the concept back in the 70s with his sexually explicit Fritz the Cat character, but modern anthropomorphism has existed in one form or another at least 80 years ago in underground Tijuana Bibles featuring popular cartoon characters from the 1930s. Human beings sexualize literally everything they create as a matter of habit.

From left to right: Doug Winger, GAFoxtaur (Micheal Higgs), Karno and Robert Crumb. Click to embiggen.
The core concept of anthropomorphic paraphilia is the same as the concept of breast expansion: they’re both expressions of idealized bodies, created specifically for the purpose of the consumer to imagine the pleasure derived from being in or near that idealized body. Furries just have a different concept of what body is ideal. The fur community is fairly large and anthropomorphism is a broad category of paraphilia that encompasses numerous other paraphilia within it. Furry can be thought of less as a specific genre of paraphilia and more as a style or a canvas. Indeed, paraphilic works are more common in fur fandom than non-anthropomorphic fandom as the material already features one form of sexual deviance so there’s little barrier to presenting more.



The culture surrounding anthropomorphic art is not necessarily sexual in nature though sexuality is an important and critical element to the community. Much of the fandom crosses over into wider “nerd” culture or those who integrate their enjoyment of fantasy and sci-fi elements into their identity. The construction of anthropomorphic fandom itself owes a tremendous debt to the convention culture that established itself around the late 60s. These are discussions for another time, though.

Size Paraphilia



Size paraphilia has a fairly large community and is one of the most popular obscure paraphilias, or the least popular common paraphilia. It’s hard to describe. Kind of like a middle child. The community is also, from a totally subjective perspective here, the most angry and prone to ridiculous infighting. A large reason for this is that though all size paraphiliacs are interested in differences in size, the specific nature of the material enjoyed varies widely. Some Size paraphiliacs are attracted to the idea of a giant woman crushing them or other things around them. Others are interested in the idea of being eaten by a giant woman. Still others are more interested in having a tiny woman use their entire body to stimulate their penis. As a result, the specific behaviors that the giant woman (or giant man or tiny man or tiny woman) exhibits become tiny fiefdoms of attitude, perpetually at war with the other fiefdoms for the creation of new material.


It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s not something that’s subsiding any time soon. The single largest problem all of the groups I just termed “obscure” paraphilia have is that material featuring those paraphilia is rare, and material that doesn’t look like an 11 year old drew it even rarer. There’s a common refrain on the internet: “Everything is a repost of a repost of a repost,” and it’s only truer in obscure groups. It’s not uncommon for an average thread on an imageboard to contain 90% reposts, many sourced to an earlier thread on that same imageboard. The same is not true of furry material, of which the internet is awash, nor is it true of futanari, which gets new doujin releases almost biweekly.

A Lorekeep commish

This scarcity has created the situation where mediocre art and poorly constructed stories are broadly accepted as valuable and worthy on the basis of the subject alone. Any two bit underage chucklefuck can walk into giantess city’s forums and post a 200 image series of them cranking up the scale slider of a figure in Poser and expect at least some kind of faint praise. Arguments about the merit of the art are often shut down with the justification that serious criticism of the material being generated will cause less of it to be generated and starve the already impoverished community. This is one of the reasons I started this particular series, though I haven’t covered much of the truly terrible art since it’s basically beating a dead horse.
Another interesting result of the scarcity is that a great deal of the better artwork in more obscure paraphilia is based on commissions by a handful of community members with the means to do so. One of the major communities in broader terms of obscure paraphilia has essentially become a commission outlet for the owner, namely Process Productions by Lorekeep. You can tell when a particular work of art is a Lorekeep commission when the main character at some point decides to wear platform heels, a Lorekeep-specific fetish. Blitza, a person obsessed with a variety of anthropomorphic paraphilia featuring various evolutions of Eevee from Pok√©mon[4] as busty, growing women, is another major commissioner.



Conclusion

These three paraphilia are not the only ones featured in the unending BEAddventure, but they are the most common to it, and generally the most common overall of paraphilia that aren’t physically possible.  Look for the next installment of this series as early as next week.



[1] Technically here we’re moving into a murky territory where genders like “women” are not really relevant. They’re potentially hermaphrodites or they’re essentially an entirely new gender (called futanari). What I want to emphasize, though, is that despite their physical equipment the vast majority of futanari works establish futanari as essentially female. Most depictions feature shy or demure futanari (or other gender-typical attitude) who are diminutive in stature and feature the curvaceous hips of a woman, whether or not they’re equipped with a uterus. Futanari are unequivocally feminine in terms of how we associate behaviors and this is often exploited to present a “surprise, this cute little girl actually has a dick” situation.

[2] The neurosis runs pretty deep. Informal polling across paraphilia groups suggest that many members are most comfortable when material does not feature another man, but instead two women. Or in this case, a woman and a futa, or two futas.

[3] Also, pedophiles

[4] Referred to as “poke-morphs”

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