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Apr 29 2008

Two Erogenous Zones Walk Into A Bar: Sex And Humor

Note to family members and others who don’t want to read about my sex life: This piece talks about my sex life a little. Not in a lot of detail, but some. If you don’t want to read about that stuff, use your own judgment on this one. This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.

ComedyiconsvgI want to like it.

Really, I do.

But mostly, I just don’t.

I’m talking about humor in porn. And to some extent, I’m talking about humor in sex.

If you’re one of these people who complains that porn is too serious and you wish they’d lighten up and have some laughs with it… well, I guess I’m part of the problem. Sorry about that. I’ve written some laugh lines into some of my porn, but I do it sparingly, and I never do it when a story is heading into the home stretch.

I just don’t like it. Not usually. Not as a porn writer, and not as a porn consumer. I find it distracting, I find it un-sexy, and I find it a mood-killer. Or a mood-dampener, anyway.

Part of the problem with funny porn, of course, is that so much of it isn’t actually funny. In the same way that commercial porn often winds up with half-assed writing (for books), half-assed lighting and framing (for photos), and half-assed writing and lighting and framing and acting and music and everything else for porn videos, the attempts at humor in all porn media often wind up being pointless, labored, and flat.

But even when humor in porn is done well, I still don’t often like it.

Looney_tunesIt’s not just porn, either. It’s sex itself. I once had a sex date with someone — a couple, actually — who wanted to have sex with Warner Brothers cartoon music in the background. They were definitely of the “people take sex too seriously, we wish they’d lighten up and have some laughs with it” camp. I liked the idea in theory… but in practice, I found the music extremely distracting. I’d be working up to a nice erotic climax, when I’d hear some comic “boing” in the background, and completely lose my momentum. I felt bad — I felt like I was one of those people they were complaining about who took sex too seriously — but it absolutely did not work for me.

So here’s what I think the problem is:

Laughter is a tension breaker.

And I don’t want the tension broken during sex.

Sex is about tension. Obviously sex is about a lot more than that… but tension is one of the main things that makes it work. The slow, gradual, rise-and-fall buildup of tension, the amping up of erotic tension to an almost unbearable level of pleasure, the sudden, explosive release of all that tension in orgasm… that’s what it’s about, baby. And I don’t want it interrupted with some silly dirty pun or a comic “boing” on the stereo.

DemocrituslaughingI’m not saying I never laugh in bed. Of course I do. And laughter can have some real benefits to sex. It can be a bonding experience, making sex feel like a naughty conspiracy that the two (or more) of you are in on together. And it can release the bad kind of tension as well as the good, smoothing over awkward moments and making you feel good about yourselves and each other.

I’m saying that when I do laugh in bed, it tends to break me out of my erotic mood. And it can take a little doing to get back into it and find my place again. That’s true for sex with another person, and it’s true when I’m enjoying porn by myself. Humor and laughter can definitely add to a sexual scenario… but for me at least, it does so at the cost of sexual arousal. It releases the tension too early, and in a non-erotic way. I can be turned on, and I can laugh, but I can almost never do both at the same time.

It can still be worth it. It can definitely be worth it when I’m with someone else and we’re getting the good bonding stuff you get from a good laugh. And porn can sometimes use humor in a similar way: early on in the story, to establish a mood and get you to bond with the characters. But once things really get going, I want my erotic tension to be broken in a shattering orgasm — not in a fit of the giggles.

2 comments

  1. 1
    Amy

    I often spontaneously laugh when I orgasm. In fact, my biggest, best orgasms are almost always accompanied by a ginormous belly laugh. Needless to say, this has caused worry for several of my partners over the years; I have to assure them that I am not laughing AT them, but that I am laughing because I am having a friggin’ blast.

  2. 2
    nina hartley

    I hear both Greta and Amy on this one. I agree that the tension should be built up to released by an orgasm, not laughing or “boinging,” AND that, after an especially good one I often collapse laughing at the sheer amazingness of it all.
    Good, as usual!

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