Davy Rothbart and His Wankers: It’s Harder Online

by Julie Klausner and Natasha Vargas-Cooper

Natasha: In Davy Rothbart’s semi-confessional piece about the alleged effects of porn on the male libido he basically says that dudes have so much access to porn that they ‘over-masturbate’ and lose their desire to penetrate human lady vaginas. Do you think this is a problem a LOT OF DUDES HAVE 2 DEAL WITH?

Julie: To be sexually dysfunctional around real ladies who have real lady parts? The answer is in your answer! Okay, this piece caused me to become mentally ill, and I’ve been thinking about why. It’s not because I don’t like subjective journalism — I love when people insert their own journey into a subject that affects more than one person including the reader.

Natasha: Journeylism.

Julie: But I think Rothbart put himself out there with the assumption that there are a lot of other guys exactly like him. And, maybe because of that, he described his dysfunction with no shame whatsoever.

Natasha: This is a different sort of shamelessness than the Tucker Max brand.

Julie: Completely. Tucker Max is about exhibiting braggadocio and conqueror’s arrogance. Notches-in-the-bedpost stuff. Rothbart’s piece is the opposite: “Hey everybody! I can’t come inside of a lady until I stop checking my email for a week!” It’s odd. To say, I can’t keep my erection when my penis is in a human being’s vagina, because I watch a lot of internet porn should be embarrassing.

Natasha: Right, there seems to be no humility about the fact that most other men are able to look at porn star b-holes and still want to fuck their wives/girlfriends/interns.

Julie: To make a trend piece out of this phenomenon almost seems under-ambitious — if what he’s saying is true or even universal, this should be on a way bigger scale than porn. This could be a “What’s wrong with men?” piece. And the kinds of men he’s really talking about are those who constitute the intellectual class. These are guys who maybe use their bodies when they make it to the gym and jerk off, ONLY. They’re not lifting luggage. They’re not in coal mines.

Natasha: “Before I return to my slum, I like masturbating, to relieve the stress of the blood diamond mine.”

Julie: Oy, and that thing about pumping away into a dry condom while Neil Young plays.

Natasha: The thing that makes me GROAN SO HARD about this piece is that Rothbart and his group of pouty-faced masturbators feel put upon by porn! A kingdom of women putting all sorts of things in all kinds of holes, and they’re the ones with the sour puss.

Julie: Again, shameless.

Natasha: Do you think these men are ultimately flummoxed by human woman?

Julie: Yeah, probably. Which is a bummer, because we used to inspire. If you think of, say, CIVILIZATION — Greco-Roman sculpture — getting that grunt just so in stone tittay. Writing plays about the mysteries of the muses. We would fascinate. Now it’s, “Me scared!”

Natasha: “My dick can’t handle all this access to Lusty Cougar Camz!”

Julie: But that’s the thing about the internet. Online porn is all SEO stuff. The filth we watch online is what the internet is for, and how its content providers make money. I mean, it’s not Arianna Huffington’s fault if your brain is an SEO-driven bag of stupid garbage. She’s still going to publish lists like “The Ten Fattest Dogs!” It’s the same thing with porn. “Ten Hottest Gang Bang MILF Scenes.” Duh, click.

Natasha: Right, it’s not so much that porn is rewiring — we are already hard-wired to dig watching people fuck. Rough.

Julie: If I wanted to stop checking my email to read a book or article about how the internet is changing my brain, I would.

Natasha: Although, I’m not into enthusiastic porn consumers. I prefer desperate porn consumers. Those who turn to porn out of out of necessity, because otherwise they’re just a compulsive masturbator which IS UNAPPEALING.

Julie: You know, “wanker” used to be an insult.

Natasha: Right. So not only does Rothbart misdiagnose the problem –- which is nothing new, by the way: a cluster of the male population over-masturbating…

Julie: So Catholic.

Natasha: … who’re sexual neurotics, plagued with tepid virility and a limp peen when it comes to flesh and blood. Women have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the mass proliferation of porn — he also has a certain pride in being a compulsive masturbator. Which I have no tolerance for. It’s like when alcoholics tell their war stories of being sooooo fucked up they peed in their roommate’s bed.

Julie: Rothbart is also blaming the symptom.

Natasha: What do you think is the cause?

Julie: Pass.

Natasha: I think we agree that men grappling with their virility is best left private.

Julie: At least I think you, me, and Rothbart would all agree that we’re contemporaries to a generation of damaged men.

Natasha: What would you tell a young lady who didn’t know what to do with this news of a boyfriend needing to ‘unplug’ because he likes to pull his peen to porn all week?

Julie: I’d tell her that there will be another trend piece out next week that will scare her in a different way. And otherwise, just know there are SO MANY GUYS who are AS damaged as these, but will at least fuck her. I mean, at least get hurt and get fucked.

Natasha: I would say, even if this dude could fuck you, on occasion, that when he admits this you’ve got to bounce. Because some girls I think may view it as a challenge or a project — to save the dude.

Julie: That’s what Etsy is for. Learn to make dioramas instead.

Julie Klausner wrote a BOOK and Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote a BOOK, and both of them are experts in concurrently frightening and arousing weak men with discourse and panache.

Photo via ArtinthePicture