In a titanic struggle to determine which generation lies more convincingly, a study from Nielsen//NetRatings found that only four in 10 adult British men confessed to looking at porn online last year, while more than half of Britain's kids came across porn "while looking for something else online."
That only 40 percent of male Brits fessed up to taking a sneaky peek while pretending to peruse FT.com indicates either a heretofore-unheard-of ability to lie with a straight face--or that a large majority of the respondents were questioned in the proximity of their wives. There can be no other rationale for not wanting to see Elizabeth Hurley or Catherine Zeta-Jones naked. Perhaps the study itself was not explicit enough in ruling "Well, maybe just once, and then only for a brief moment," as a "yes" response.
Anyone who has a teenager under his or her roof already knows that teens are the most accomplished liars in the world--and that expecting them to say anything other than that they stumbled across ComeOnMyFace.com while looking up the capital of Botswana was idiotic to begin with.
Not even Chris Hansen stepping out of the shadows of their kitchen, bearing a logbook of their site navigation for the past 10 years, would prompt most people to admit that having dirty pictures a couple of clicks away is pretty handy. What an improvement over glancing furtively about while trying to sneak unrecognized into an "adult bookstore" to pay $10 for overexposed photos of women with monstrous breasts pretending to have sex with pasty-looking men who look like they've spent the majority of their lives in solitary confinement.
With virtual oceans of porn covering three-quarters of the earth's surface, the competition for the user's attention (and credit card number, which we swear is only for ID purposes) has considerably improved the quality of porn for connoisseurs of all age groups. Now, it matters not that your hot button (so to speak) might be left-handed golfers spanking cross-eyed blondes sitting in a Jacuzzi filled with chocolate-chip cookie dough; somewhere out there, there's a site for you. And best of all, with all of the fun taken out of sneaking a peek the way you did with your Uncle Henry's copy of Playboy, it doesn't take long to realize that even porn can get tiresome and meaningless.
While it is certainly worth dropping in now and again to find out if they have finally posted worthwhile nudes of, say, Julia Roberts or Elisha Cuthbert, by and large most porn sites, although filled these days with extraordinary-looking women doing everything imaginable with and to their bodies (often just for the fun of seeing themselves online), are about as interesting as Bret Easton Ellis' second novel.
Perhaps this is what is most right and wrong with the Internet. It can deliver a whole new world of news and entertainment to your screen, but its ready availability takes a good deal of the thrill out of it.