With hot vax summer, the world will once again come together, and it's time to look back in solemn introspection and pay respects to the one thing that kept us all going during these difficult and lonely times: free porn. Just imagine how much worse the self-quarantines would have gone if we couldn't lock away all that stress, loneliness, and boredom in spank banks so vast they could not be depleted (and gods know we've been trying). Oh, how ill the human race would have fared without its unlimited access to every variety of visual kinks ever invented, as it was but a generation ago when the only genre of free porn was Wave-On-Wave action.

Back in the '80s and '90s, horndogs only had two ways to get free pornography: wander around the woods and hope someone had ditched a dirty magazine or find a way to unscramble your cable box. For all you too young to remember the days of cable *flips chair around* you could say that TV scrambling was the first-ever paywall screen. Pay channels are almost as old as television itself, with the first "pay-as-you-see" service, Phonevision, introduced in 1950. These channels could only be accessed by paying for a "descrambler," a box that allowed rabbit ears to pick up the broadcast's frequency, but eventually just for undoing the channel's artificial screwed-up signal. And it was these expensive "premium" channels that granted audiences the best TV had to offer: live sporting events, blockbuster movies, and, of course, all of porn.

For financially independent adults, these channels were inconvenient. For teens, the temptation of having porn so close yet so scrambled away was torture. Sick of having to stare at a poster of Jason Priestly or a picture of a topless lady from their mom's breast cancer awareness edition of Vogue, kids would spend long nights staring at warped pay-per-view porn, which newspapers warned parents still "occasionally picked up erotic sounds and images." There, in the bright darkness of their living room, they waited for that magic moment when the chaotic waves would randomly align and show a two-second clear image of a boob. Or was that a butt? Or some dude's bicep? Playground talk would swell with legends of kids having found a way into the pornoverse, either by figuring out the rituals to unlock the parental Pandora's box or discovering that a secret channel would unscramble for one hour when the moon was high and the gods would rest.

So, Sunday at midnight.

Fortunately for fiscally fraught freaks, there was a cheap way to gain access to all the terrible VHS porn acting their hearts could desire. Analog paywalls had also spawned analog pirates who had raised their grainy flag back in the days of black-and-white. This started with 'hackers' mailing out IBM-era punch cards to slot into the cable box and overwhelm it with its mighty 64 bytes (new code had to be sent every month, making it the first annoyingly subscription-based VPN service) and led to complex, custom made descrambler-descramblers. Of course, if you were truly despicable and desperate, you could instead try to steal their neighbors' cable. But this often required a very dangerousvery illegal, and occasionally lethal climb up an electricity pole to manually tap in your own cable and siphon off their endless stream of unscrambled sex.

With the advent of the internet, horndogs no longer had to ruin their vision gawking at screwing waves as they could surf the net and look at all kinds of nudie pics -- which took between three seconds or three hours to download depending on the decade. Of course, these goshdarned TikTok zoomers don't realize how good they have it with their Pronhubs and Sexhamsters. And the plethora of options now is of little comfort to the millions who can still only get sexually aroused while squinting at a lava lamp. But at least society can proudly say that if not healthcare, tuition, or elections, at least we gave the kids of the 21st-century free porn.

To stare at more of his scrambled brain, you can follow Cedric on Twitter

Top Image: Cinemax

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