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Written by Charles Rammelkamp. Charles Rammelkamp’s latest book is entitled “Mata Hari: Eye of the Day,” a sequence of poems about the life of the famous exotic dancer/spy (Apprentice House). A chapbook was published last year by Finishing Line Press entitled “Mixed Signals.” For more on Jewrotica by Charles, see Kitty, Reunion, More Jewish, The Merkin, Forever Jewish, Glasscutter, and Revolutions Per Minute.
Jacob Silverman only discovered online pornography by accident, on his sixty-fourth birthday, when a colleague at the high school sent him a link to a webcam video of a girl masturbating in a college library in Oregon, a blond shiksa with big tits. The Subject line read: “Student of Yours?” It was intended as a joke from a fellow guidance counselor at Potawatomi Rapids High. Jacob had clicked the link and watched the video. And he was hooked.
Silverman and his wife had stopped having sex years ago. They’d been married almost forty, had two grown sons, five grandchildren. They’d had a good sex life, mutually gratifying, but it had run its course. R.I.P., and no lingering regrets, really. After a couple of decades, the number of times they had sex during any given week had dwindled to a mitzvah fuck after synagogue on Saturdays. God had said sex was a good deed, right? But then had come Susan’s menopause, and then even that ceased, along with the occasional mercy fuck.
Plus, Silverman’d had increasing difficulty getting it up. At his request, his urologist had prescribed some Viagra pills, but they’d given him headaches. True, his penis stiffened to the point that it could penetrate his wife, but Susan was just not into it herself, seemed to be barely enduring it, which took away any pleasure he got from it, so he gave up on that experiment.
Still, his difficulty in achieving an erection had had its psychological impact: he felt he was getting old, impotent. He consulted his family physician about testosterone injections but the whole process sounded complicated, and he didn’t like the idea of injecting substances into his body. And who knew what the risks were? And since Susan had closed her legs to him already, anyway…
But Silverman did enjoy masturbating. The trouble was, it was difficult to get a shaft solid enough to grab hold of and, well, jack it. He’d become reconciled to rubbing the underbelly of his dick while it lay against his abdomen like a dead bloated fish. This was effective in bringing on orgasm, but it was always tinged with something like humiliation and regret.
So when he discovered that just watching the girl in the video displaying her tits and playing with her pussy caused his dick to stiffen, all on its own, like an animal stirring from slumber, Jacob Silverman felt overwhelmed with wonder and satisfaction – and gratitude, though to whom he wasn’t sure. Adonai? His colleague at the school, Ben Rutherford, who’d sent the link? The girl in the video? It had been his birthday and he was humming the old Beatles song that marked his milestone when he loaded the video (“When I get older, losing my hair…”). Wow. Will you still be sending me a valentine?
After that, Silverman had his dick out several times a week, sometimes twice a day, marveling at the way it responded to the girl in the video, thickening and thrilling with sensation. He was afraid that he’d lose interest after a few times but no, the online porn always performed its magic, the hocus pocus that produced a graspable dick, one that responded to the rhythmic massage of his hand so that it was only a matter of a few minutes before he came. Where previously he’d had to work long and hard to produce the spasm, now he could even, as he had as a teenager, withhold the ultimate release a tantalizing few moments longer by slowing his pace, to intensify the sensation.
Susan noticed a welcome change in his personality. More sunny, more relaxed. Less tense, not as gloomy. His sense of humor had returned. She liked this new Jacob, remarked on it, but after several months, he began to wonder if he were being somehow dishonest, deceptive, and the inevitable reaction took place. A good Jewish boy at heart, Silverman began to feel guilty. Was he somehow betraying Susan? Being unfaithful?
Silverman’s acquaintance with Halacha was sketchy, but he did know that a good deal of the Talmud dealt with sex and marriage. He’d heard several rabbis who’d called sex the most enriching expression of love between a man and a woman. The thirteenth century rabbi, Nachmanides, had said that sex was holy and pure. “When a man is in union with his wife in a spirit of holiness and purity,” he’d written, “the Divine presence is with them.”
And masturbation? The Tanakh does not explicitly prohibit it – as Maimonides himself had pointed out. But it appeared to be prohibited in the story of Onan, whom God had killed for refusing to impregnate Tamar; Onan was “evil in the sight of the lord” for jerking off. The Talmud called masturbation akin to murder since it was circumventing new life – but at sixty-four Silveman was not about to have another kid, not to mention that Susan was beyond the stage of conception anyway. The Shulchan Aruch of Joseph Karo says it is “forbidden to discharge semen in vain,” that it is a grave sin. In vain? What was “in vain” about jerking off and experiencing that pleasurable feeling?
Besides, on the other hand, the Aguddah, another Talmudic compilation of legal decisions from the Middle Ages, expressed a more lenient view, sanctioning “extra-vaginal ejaculations” with one’s wife. Besides, weren’t there also passages in the Bible where you were supposed to sacrifice lambs and heifers, “burnt offerings”? But nobody observed those any more, right? Indeed, some poskim permit masturbation to avoid “forbidden relationships” (arayot).
But – back to his worries about his wife: how exactly was this being unfaithful? And would telling Susan about the online porn achieve anything? Wasn’t there such a thing as discretion? Best to keep it to himself. Still, the guilt persisted.
Did this mean his new hobby – for so he had come to regard it – was shameful? Wasn’t pornography degrading? Weren’t these innocent girls being exploited? But Silverman didn’t care for the videos in which muscle-bound well-hung guys came all over a girl’s face, spewing jizm all over her cheeks. That was only demeaning. But a girl masturbating, giving herself pleasure? If he’d had daughters, though, he wondered, would he feel differently about watching these videos? There were his granddaughters, Rebecca and Leah, but they hadn’t even reached puberty and it was difficult to imagine them as sexual beings.
Besides, the blond girl with big tits really did seem to be enjoying herself. In a video she’d posted at Christmastime, all got up in a Santa hat and antlers, long boots and a red bra with snowball-white puffs (which she removed soon after the video had begun), she’d opened her “presents” that Saint Nick had brought her – a butt plug, a dildo and a vibrator. Had she been naughty or nice? She really seemed to enjoy sticking the first two into her holes and applying the vibrator to her clit and labia. The moans and whimpers sounded so authentic, so ecstatic. She came explosively. This couldn’t be “acting,” could it? If this was exploitation, if this was torture, Jacob thought, chain me to the wall!
Laughing at himself for his “moral” dilemma, Silverman shook his head. Wasn’t he just over-thinking all this? Why was he getting so worked up over it? Couldn’t he just enjoy it? He remembered Martin Buber’s distinction between “I-Thou” and “I-It” relationships. But this was an online video, for Christ’s sake! The girl was not real. She was a digital image, a creature of the internet. He did not have any “relationship” with her.
But then it occurred to Silveman that he should probably be paying for his pleasure, shouldn’t he? Wasn’t he technically a sort of “customer”? This was how the girl made her living, even if it was a link that anybody could click on for free. She did have her own site to which you had to subscribe to get the full benefit. And production costs alone were doubtless enormous. Wasn’t it part of the transaction in a Capitalist economy to pay up? Silverman had recently read about the concept of “Willingness to Pay,” the amount a consumer was willing to pay for a product or service. Businesses used it to build up a demand curve. Maybe porn was like public radio? Would he feel any guilt if he didn’t actually make a pledge during those ubiquitous drives, when he listened to All Things Considered? No matter how the radio announcers guilt-tripped you, this was outside the realm of moral obligation, right? Capitalism certainly wasn’t a system of ethics.
Then again, maybe the shiksa with the enormous bazooms was just in it for the “Likes” on her Facebook page, the number of followers on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, ego gratification. “Thank you for watching me come,” the blond girl with the big tits had concluded one of her videos, like the host of a variety show. The video had been meant as a gesture of thanks to her “fans” (and wasn’t Jacob a fan?). She was certainly getting a charge out of it, money or no money.
But he did feel like he was transgressing, violating some sort of taboo. Feeling penitent, Silverman decided to experiment by watching the video in a mood of contrition. Maybe he could be objective about it, come to a decision. He clicked the link…
…and magically, Rod began to stir and waken like a baby in his pants. The slumbering giant. One last time, Silverman promised, pulling down his pants. After all, he reflected, he was sixty-four! How much longer could he count on doing it?
Indicate precisely what you mean to say,
Yours sincerely, wasting away….