I Will Mourn the Loss of Tumblr

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Lawrence Lanoff

It’s difficult to find safe spaces to make like minded connections with adults who want to explore the flavors, shades and desires of a complex human sexuality.

Tumblr had accidentally discovered a niche in the collective mind of human sexuality. With its easy to use interface, the ability to upload quickly and the nearly instant re-blog, people were free to discover, view and connect with folks around the planet who shared their interests.  Especially around sex. This turned into a massive experiment that began to paint a massive portrait of the diversity of human sexual expression around the world.

But this great experiment that has been going on since the mid 2000’s is coming to a close. At least for porn. As of Monday, Tumblr will no longer allow “adult” content on its platform. All of that incredible data about the reality of the diversity of human sexuality will be shut down.

It makes me wonder how our culture has it so incorrect. Culturally, we believe that people are supposed to behave within a tiny window of context as prescribed by ancient texts - according to the ways of the good old days - as decreed by a Heavenly Father.

And so, anything outside of missionary sex and or procreative sex is bad, evil, wrong. And needs to be corrected. That people who deviate in anyway from the prescribed are deviants. Fucked up.

But then there comes a great human experiment - the ultimate self curating library of images, gifs, sounds, ideas that is Tumblr. It’s filled with infinite sexual creativity and clearly an infinite community. 

It maybe true that an abrahamic god wants monogamy, servitude and sacrifice, but it seems that the rest of humanity has a very diverse palette of sexual desires. 

When left to their own devices it seems that humanity is anything but “vanilla.”  Yes, the game to surviving in the domesticated, outward facing world is to pretend that we don’t want to do anything sexual at all. And that if we do want sex, we want “normal sex.” But to inner facing world, the world that Tumblr shone a light on, it is clear that we are all curious whether our deepest desires and that those desires are, in fact, quite normal. Which leads me to my main point: if it’s possible to do, then it’s normal and natural. It is culture’s job to defines whether or not it’s acceptable.  And things that are fine in one culture are taboo in another. There is no normal with a capital N.

And what’s culturally acceptable has been under attack for decades. To the point where I’m not sure how regular people are able to have sex at all. Things are so confusing, lacking of clarity, open discussion and education. It seems many people are just opting out of sex all together, instead relying on spaces like Tumblr to discover and share all the hidden sexual selves that live inside.

And I feel for all the microbloggers who made their living off of their micro porn businesses servicing the wide range of sexual desire. Those who build fan bases, who saw, connected with and serviced clients, who nurtured their communities. They will all have to find new ways to express, connect and monetize. They had created super safe communities in Tumblr. Now, once again, they are being pushed into the streets, into the cold, harsh world of sex negativity.

With more and more avenues closed to adult sex, education and exploration, I’m very curious where this energy will go. Humans are not god-like creatures just “behaving badly.” Humans are sexual animals. Sex is life. Yet culturally, sex is fear, damnation, death. It must be overcome and controlled. But our relentless moralizing of sex is cutting us off from ourselves and each other.

I’m curious where this energy will go. And I’m curious where you think we are headed. I don’t really know. But I do know that humans need outlets for their desires and their sex energy. They need porn. Without any kind of sexual outlet, the human collective psyche will go mad. How that madness will express is yet to be seen. I know, from experience, it tends to head towards violence and volatility. However it expresses in shadow, it won’t be good.

I will morn the loss of freedom on Tumblr as I have mourned the loss of freedom on other “adult” services, like Craigslist. In our effort to control human sex, we will continue to put more people at risk mentally, physically and emotionally, especially those in the adult industry.

I guess the removal of sex and porn is another step towards making America sexless again! Well done, Tumblr. Well done. 

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