The Accidental Voyeur: Reign of Tera

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Do we not realize now just how innocent we all once were, even as recently as a decade or two ago? Tera Patrick said it best in an interview with The Village Voice, back in April 2005: “I think ten years ago, anal sex was very taboo. Now people have to move on to other stuff because they’ve already seen anal – now it’s double anal. Pretty soon, it’s going to be a donkey. You know what I mean?”

Yes, we surely know what she means. There was a time when the creampie didn’t even exist, back when a gangbang was the most extreme thing any girl could choose to do. I thought about this just a week ago, when I spent part of my convalescence after a surgical procedure reading (yes, actually reading) the new May 2015 issue of Playboy, which featured a fascinating interview with political comedy’s ace pundit Bill Maher. Famous for skewering all sacred cows, Maher took a pot shot at porn when asked about the surfeit of adult content in today’s oversaturated media world. “It must be strange and a little confusing to be a teenager now,” he said. “My introduction to sexuality was Playboy and the magazines I would spirit away when I was babysitting. When I was 12 to 14, the dad at the house would have a stack of Playboys and we would steal them and bury them in the woods, dig them up later and look at them. We liked to look at boobies. Was that such a terrible thing?

“Today, the stuff kids have access to is fucking unbelievable. The idea that you can sit in the backseat on the way to school with an iPhone and watch six Japanese businessmen coming on the face of a girl who has a squid up her vagina – I mean, Jesus! These kids must be so jaded. We should be afraid. What does it do to relationships, how do you relate to a girl? That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have watched that stuff if it was around when I was a kid.”

That made my mind wander back to when I was a kid. Sure, discovering porn when I was a teenager had a great deal to do with magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, but I think it’s also safe to say that my curiosity intensified because I attended Catholic schools for a whole 12 years. And I’m still using porn to undo my Catholic damage because there is a particular memory of my teen years that I have actually never divulged in print before, itself triggered by something I’d also read – this time in The Guardian in the U.K., when I was in London over the recent Easter break. Joni Mitchell was quoted about her refusal to be considered a “confessional singer,” because that implied a connotation she disliked, one reminding her of the dreaded confessional box. “There’s the voluntary confession of Catholicism,” she said, “where you go to this window and you talk to this priest and tell him that you’re having sexual fantasies and he’s wanking on the other side of the window.”

Yes, Joni, I know whereof you speak because I still remember him — Father O’Neill, the Irish priest who would come over to my school regularly to celebrate mass and hear our confessions. Not satisfied with the usual litany of sins we tended to blurt out, he would make an annoying habit of asking me specific questions while I was trapped in the confessional box: “Did you masturbate this week?” “How many times?” “How and where did you do it?” Being young and naïve at the time, I answered to the best of my knowledge and it was only much later as the years passed when I realized what his agenda was — the sordid geezer was getting his rocks off hearing this kind of stuff when he wasn’t molesting altar boys.

Imagine if we met again today. Wouldn’t he just love it, to know how I eventually ended up writing about porn and prostitution with five published books to date covering the spectrum of adult entertainment? There’s no end in sight, as far as I can see, since the whole subject of sex work still fascinates me. I’m sure he would’ve been self-righteously nonplussed if I were to tell him what my book editor in New York had said of my writing, that she thought I specialized in “porn for the thinking person.” That’s still one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

So poor Father O’Neill, whom I’ve never named and shamed till now, I wonder if he might freak out at what’s out there today. Girls doing bukkake (with or without a squid in their vaginas)? Hmm, that might not have appealed to him, since he presumably preferred young boys. With the wisdom of hindsight, however, I can now proclaim that I owe him a debt of gratitude — for fostering my own interest in supposedly prurient matter. His questions only made me more and more curious so I can naturally laugh now, to think about how his line of inquiry ultimately backfired.

I doubt he’s reading this now (or rather, to be frank, I hope he’s already dead), so I won’t ever know if this so very demure photo of Tera (above) would even result in a rise in his robes. I can only safely say that I’ve seen her perform all kinds of sexual display and haven’t yet had reasons to complain (well, if I don’t include her scenes with the rather replusive Evan Seinfeld aka Spyder Jonez, whom she married and thankfully divorced – really, Tera, what were you thinking?!!) To me, she represents a different era — when things were a whole lot less complicated, when double anal wasn’t a commonplace position and when porn was actually a more innocent and even unusually, unspeakably romantic thing.

Stuff the donkey, along with Father O’Neill and his reign of terror. Give me the reign of Tera anytime.

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Drew McKenzie was previously the "Cinema Blue" columnist for Penthouse Variations and also wrote for AVN Online, Fox (from Montcalm Publishing, New York) and Guld Rapport (from Stockholm, Sweden). He is also the author of seven books -- three on porn stars, all done under his real name.