Culture

Across the Tumblrverse: What’s in a Porno GIF?

Culture

Across the Tumblrverse: What’s in a Porno GIF?

+

N.B. This post is not NSFDads! I’m serious, Ian. 

The Internet is down at my apartment. This means a few things: one, I hate my life; two, I hate Time Warner; three, I’m finishing novels; and four, I’m forgetting to jerk off.

About the latter—I mean, I’ll remember in good time. But, sans high-speed, my daily ritual of self-love, like all of my Internet-related habits, has been thrown out of whack. (Off of whack? Off my whack. Ha. Okay.) Without an Internet connection in my safe space, without my bookmarks bar of favorite porno GIF blogs as a reminder, I’m forgetting to make Fiona time.

Yes, I just typed porno GIF blogs. Tumblrs, mostly. Endless pages of endless looping animations of people fucking.

Everyone loves a good GIF, right? (That’s Graphics Interchange Format, btw, for anyone that’s not everyone, an animated .format, like this and this). 2012 was basically the year of the GIF. We saw gallery shows dedicated to the art of the GIF. It was even pronounced the “word of the year” by the Oxford American Dictionary.

In the wide world of active GIFs, the porno GIF—exactly what it sounds like—is both proliferating like bunnies and grossly under theorized. The Google rating tide, though, is starting to shift. Much needed reflections on the porno GIF are beginning to surface on the first search page, alongside urls like xxx-gifs-for-you.tumblr.com and animated-sexy-gifs.tumblr.com. Here’s one more (much needed) reflection…

I never used to watch much porn. I found the labor of milling through everything that didn’t turn me on—donkey sounds, long acrylic nails, extreme squirting (bad feminist me, soooorry)—not worth those few stimulants in the whorestack. For years, I subsisted on literotica.com, my imagination, and the best sexter (I miss you). Then, circa mid-2012, I became single… or maybe I got bored of words when I started writing so many of them. Whatever it was, I suddenly needed porn—visual, real-actors-fucking porn. (This sounds so quaint to you, Internet, I know, I know.) Streaming sites, like Pornotube and Xfiles, were a revelation, but I still found myself skipping videos the moment a fist or a gut or a groan I didn’t like came into play. I’d end up finding one or two clips I liked and then looping between the actions I liked until, you know. And then!, very recently and thanks to this column (take that Protestant work ethic), I discovered lesbian-fever.tumblr.com and, through it, the filthy, hyperlinked Tumblrverse of porno gifs.

Porno GIFs are my new favorite turn on, my go-to aid in self-pleasure. At first, I mindlessly enjoyed the discovery. But soon, like any good student of sexuality (summa cum laude Concordia University 2005), I became curious as to why. Why did I lust after GIFs (GIFs!)?

From my onanism, a thesis was born: Porno GIFs attest to the natural simplicity of the most-evolved mammalian reproductive brain, i.e. we don’t need much in the way of a trigger. What’s more, GIFs may most accurately represent, more than any other form of visual pornography, the image memory of a sex act, kind of like Carolee Schneemann’s 1965 video art Fuses aimed to do, as their rudimentary motions mimic the beat of the pulse and strobe-like blinking of body turned on. GIFs look just like the flash-in-the-bed memories of my best sex experiences; a bicep here, a thrust there. They loop with a rhythm like the rock of getting off. Lastly, and most importantly for us picky pornographers, with a GIF, one can control exactly what actions one wants to see, over and over, until, you know. In the words of porn-star-slash-budding-poet Kimberly Kane, a great proselytizer of the porno GIF:

GIFs boil sexuality down into a visual tweet,
focusing on the exact moments of sex
I want to see
on repeat.
[My line breaks.]

I’m clearly not the only one to appreciate the eroticism of the GIF. Tumblr is rife with animated porn for whatever your taste. Find a site that suits you. Or, even better, take full agency and curate your porno GIF tumblr. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.