I have recently been thinking about the way that our modern way of life makes relationships more difficult, in particular our capitalist paradigm and the ubiquity of porn.
In my view, capitalism makes relationships harder because it pre-programmes us to be selfish and to be "a consumer". In the capitalist world, we are all in individual competition with others for goods or services which are produced with an artificial scarcity.
To quote Margaret Thatcher: "There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families."
So as isolated individuals, and not members of a community, we interact with the world. We compete with others for jobs, status, possessions and all the other "necessities" of modern living. This does not help us to develop the mindset or the skills necessary for living co-operatively or identifying others’ needs, both of which are essential in any real relationship.
As to the ubiquity of porn: this is huge! I would say that for males in our society, porn is often their first sexual experience.
Porn captures and shapes male sexuality, hijacking the creative element of our sexual desire and channelling our fantasies into predetermined avenues. Our intimate fantasies and our very sex lives become an internalised re-run of porn. And of course, porn objectifies both men and women. It turns our sexual desire into a commodity to be courted; a button to be pushed so that we will pay to sate a hunger that has been stimulated by the industry itself. It is, after all, a multi-billion dollar business.
Porn can never show the complex interplay of emotion or the mental aspects of desire. As a result, when young men experience sex with a partner their expectations are often unreal, insecure, skewed and selfish. Sexual gymnastics and the moneyshot are what any girl should do right? Porn numbs our potential to be guided by our natural impulses, numbs our ability to be sensitive to the individual needs and tastes of the partner(s) we have.
How do we (especially young males) deal with this? I find it saddening that we males have been enlisted by the porn industry to defend it from the "feminists and conservatives" who would take it away: after all it is our "right" to have our very minds and sexuality exploited for a buck.