(From the "When I was young, we had to walk three miles to school, up hill, both ways!" file.)
I was talking to an old friend recently, and we laughingly agreed that this is the golden age of pornography. Without leaving my desk or spending a penny, I can see just about anything my randy little heart desires. Whatever I decide would entertain me, I can bring up on my screen with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. I take it absolutely for granted now - but our conversation started with reminiscing about the incredible lengths we used to go to see an image of a naked woman.
As teenagers, one of us would sometimes get a copy of a Playboy or a Penthouse or a Hustler magazine, and it was something like discovering gold. We would crowd around, devouring the magazine page by page (always the argument of whether to go through the pages in order, so as not to miss anything, or to jump right to the good stuff.) The Penthouse Forum letters ("I never thought these stories were true, but then I had an experience...") were my first exposure to erotica, and I was hooked from the first.
I saw my first X-rated movie in college, and it was an unforgettable experience. My heart felt like it was going to pound right through my chest when the first "action" scene was getting started. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world, and missed no opportunity to see more. But the opportunities were limited.
In my 20's, most video stores had a special room in the back for the X-rated stuff. This was certainly more accessible, but you had to pick out what you wanted to rent, then go back out into the main store and wait in line to check out. There was always the possibility of the mortifying encounter with someone you knew (schoolteacher, family friend, etc.) Fortunately, that never happened, but it was always a possibility, and it kept me from renting more than I otherwise would have.
Then there was cable TV (especially Cinemax,) and their soft-core porn late on Friday and Saturday nights. How many hours of sleep did I forgo ("No dear, you go to bed, I'm just going to flip around a little while longer.") to watch the occasionally very erotic, but usually horrid, movies? Emanuelle parts 1 - 27, Wicked Passions, Animal Instincts, Lady Chatterly in various places, etc., etc. Horrendous acting and brain dead plots, but great looking women in various states of undress, and sometimes pretty good sex scenes. I still have a soft spot (or maybe a hard spot) for Shannon Whirry - possibly my idea of the perfect female form. But as much as I make fun of it, I never missed it if I could - you just never knew, maybe the next scene would be amazing.
These kids today have it so easy. It boggles my mind to think of myself with a computer and an Internet connection in my room. I would never have left my room. My parents would have had to slide pizzas under the door. And gallons of water to replace the lost bodily fluids. Seriously.