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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Notes Toward A Theory Of Pornography

A fair number of pornographic movies nowadays begin with the action: a man and woman appear on the screen and are already fooling around. No doubt the filmmakers think they are skipping over the superfluities and getting right to the good stuff — anyone who had to sit through the agonizing skinflicks of the Sixties, which were all superfluity and no good stuff (just like our dates), would have an understandable tendency in that direction — but it seems to me they are missing the point. The dramatic fantasy of pornography — the situation portrayed, words spoken, gestures made — is an essential part of the excitement.

Words

The words pornography, obsenity, and erotica — and the emotions they evoke — create an endless debate which quickly twists into confusion when terms are vague and law is complex.

More Than A Rumor

I watched a slide show prepared by a women-against-pornography group from New York. The bulk of the images were presumably the most startling pages from hard-core pornography magazines though they didn’t include the issue of Hustler which our narrator described as having drawn her into this fight. On a trip with her husband and five children, she found it in a motel room, under the phone book, apparently missed by the cleaning people. She took it into the bathroom, locked the door, and looked at pictures of pregnant women with a variety of objects stuck into their vaginas. Women tied with rope, bound with vinyl straps. bound rigidly — lying down and barely standing — gagged, dressed in spiked heels and sharp pointed spurs, knives between their teeth, knives held over their heads, at their backs, splayed on the floor and cover with blood-like color, waist-deep in a meat grinder.

Thoughts On Censorship

What bothers me most about the arguments against pornography — particularly the new one which states that pornographers are violating the civil rights of women — is the failure to think with any concern or clarity beyond the offending issue. To the anti-pornographers the offense against women is so pertinent as to make it impossible for them to imagine a worse crime. But there are worse crimes than offending women; and my guess is that in a world in which the constitutional rights of a free press have been abrogated — because of some moral emergency or other — we would all look back yearningly to the days when the very existence of pornography seemed like a guarantee of what we had since, perhaps irretrievably, lost.

A Matter Of Degree

As a writer, I’m not fond of limits on the press or media. In theory, then, total freedom of expression. For adults. In any relatively normal situation.

The Gift Of Sexual Energy

In order to sensibly discuss the subject of sexuality, we will have to travel back in time. It will come as no surprise to you that sexualty is not a modern phenomenon and the problems that have arisen around it are ancient, varied, and very exotic. To gain a vaster perspective we will look at what your sexual obligations are. I am not here to lay down laws for sexual behavior. You are responsible for this, just as you are responsible for every law under which you operate. There are no rules — and are you surprised?

Fiction

The Housesitting

He drove slowly toward the house. He wasn’t anxious to get there. He could have gone somewhere exciting for his vacation. Instead, he would be housesitting for two long and dreary weeks, while John and Laura were in Europe.

M’Orgasms

I had a nightmare soon after my mother died. She is dying and I am right there. I ask if she’d like a sponge bath and she says, yes. I get her naked and slippery and then I fall on her and she grips my arms, her long nails painted fresh as blood, and makes me promise never to leave.

Organic Gardening

Everyone else I know accepts temporary malaise, the blues, as an ordinary human infirmity like the flu and sees nothing wrong with a few lackluster days of self pampering and doughy lying about. But my own chosen love, my Cynthia, the caramel center of my bittersweet life, views depression as indistinguishable from masturbation and weight lifting: a waste of limited male energy.

Thesme And The Ghayrog

Thesme, a troubled young woman of the frontier settlement of Narabal, has left home and built a shack for herself in the jungle outside town. There she has met a Ghayrog, a member of a reptilian-looking race now beginning to settle on Thesme’s native planet of Majipoor. The Ghayrog has broken his leg in a tree climbing accident and Thesme has been caring for him for a few weeks. . . .

The Day Of Saint Valentine

A whole lot of little girls everywhere are disappointed on Valentine’s Day because they have a crush on the little boy who stepped on their foot while they were waiting for the light to turn green and then laughed at them but it was the most attention anyone had ever paid to them so when Valentine’s Day came around they went through the whole pile of white envelopes from everybody in their chess class until they got to the one with his writing on it and inside there was an ugly picture of a skunk on it and it said when it comes to Valentines — you stink.

Desire

It was Summertime and the black and boysenberry bushes in the back yard were a rich dark pickable color. My daughter, Pearl, had just turned two, and Lucas had just turned five. It was in the afternoon, and there was wind in the air and sun and no fog. I was watching them both, and two others, Sage, who was also two, and Caya, with her long thin blond hair, who was six.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Quotations

Sunbeams

That so much human struggle seems to take place in sexual terms is somewhat misleading. The ambiguity and uncertainties of fulfilling oneself as a man or as a woman sometimes mask the more profound anguish of simply being human.

Sheldon Kopp, If You Meet The
Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

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