The excitement of clothed porn stars

By Razib Khan | March 29, 2011 1:59 pm

Porn Stars, Clad? They Seem to Appeal to Indonesian Filmgoers:

Ms. Aoi, and others like her, are the secret of a winning formula stumbled upon by Maxima Pictures, the production house where Mr. Hidayat is an executive producer. For two years, Maxima has made some of Indonesia’s most popular domestic films based on a simple premise: that many in Muslim-majority Indonesia will pay to see foreign porn stars perform — clothed — in local films. Just don’t expect Indonesians to own up to it.

“We’re hypocrites,” said Mr. Hidayat, who is a Muslim. “People know who they are, but they won’t admit it. It’s a love-hate thing.”

This sort of “counter-intuitive” behavior makes total sense in light of the work reported in Paul Bloom’s How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like. People consume in a particular context. The hedonic experience can’t be isolated from its history and the prior facts (and expectations) you bring into it. This sort of insight is essential when we start talking about utilitarianism as if it’s a simple calculus.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Psychology
MORE ABOUT: Pleasure, Porn, Psychology
  • http://apesinelysium.blogspot.com/ Primateus

    Makes sense. As Bloom argued, convincingly, pleasure and “essentialism” are entwined. We don’t just look at the superficial layers of things; we look deep into their history and origin.

    Random example I think applies: Musical preference. I feel fairly confident in saying that anyone who thinks Nine Inch Nail’s version of Hurt is better than Johnny Cash’s is saying so based on who the band are and what they represent rather than the inherent, detached virtue of the song. Cash’s version is just so much better.

  • Miley Cyrax

    I don’t relate to this at all. I don’t look at girls in bikinis or cocktail dresses on Facebook, camwhores on sites like Chive, or models on FHM or Maxim. I can see equally hot girls be defiled in innumerable ways for free with a few clicks of the mouse, and in the case of girls’ on Facebook I can sometimes bang the girls themselves. Why watch Kim Kardashian and her vapidity on Keeping up with the Kardashians when you can cut to the chase and see her get drilled on video?

  • L

    Primateus: I came across a good thought experiment in one of Chuck Klosterman’s books that demonstrates this. The basic idea is that what would happen if one day, you woke up and all your musical preferences were inverted. You still gained the same amount of pleasure from listening to music. But the artists who now bring you pleasure were the ones you recoiled the most from just yesterday. He asks if you would be upset. I’d wager most people would. And the degree to how upset you’d be would be a good measure of how much signaling matters to how you consume music.

    It’s a clever and concise way of showing that the pleasure you get from music doesn’t entirely depend on the aural qualities the music displays.

  • John

    Primateus, if I’m to completely detach myself from my appreciation of who Johnny Cash was and what he represents, then his version of “Hurt” sounds to me like an old man who can’t sing.

  • Spike Gomes

    L:

    I’ve had that happen to myself listening to the radio. I found myself enjoying a song and then found out it was ‘Lil Wayne and was disgusted with myself. It’s also happened a few times in the past with some of the more indie Contemporary Christian Music songs, though I actually got to get past that and like the artist anyways.

  • http://thekleptosgtm.blogspot.com/ The Klepto

    We in the music trade (click my link) call those ‘guilty pleasure songs’. We’ve all got them. I mainly listen to rock and metal but I occasionally listen to stuff much lighter and way different in musical input. It happens to the best of us

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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