Fantasy vs. Reality

Something we don’t always address in discussions of sexuality is the fact that fantasy and reality are two different things. Sometimes people watch porn with the notion that the performance on the screen is how sex should be done, particularly if they’re young and new to sex.

I think this may be the most problematic point of porn (I’m talking about mainstream heterosexual porn here) – it shows sex acts that are not only difficult to achieve if you’re not 19 and fit, but also don’t necessarily feel anywhere as good as they look. In a way, getting older and more experienced has made me far more critical of the porn I watch. When I was young, I figured all those acrobatic contortions led to great sex. I assumed any woman making lots of appreciative noises was enjoying herself. And while she may be enjoying herself, she’s probably at least partly acting. After all, she is a porn actress. She is paid to produce hot porn with the other performers involved.

I was probably in my 30s before it dawned on me (or someone pointed it out to me) that the sexual positions used in porn are used because they both look hot and provide the camera with a good angle to see details of the penetration. Porn is also heavily edited, so what looks like a continuous 20 minute sex romp probably took all day to film, with breaks in between. There’s nothing wrong with getting off on watching porn, but we run into trouble if we feel less than adequate because our sex doesn’t look like that. While porn can be useful in giving people ideas to try and fantasies and images to think about, you shouldn’t feel that because something seen in porn didn’t work for you that there’s something wrong with you.  Porn is a performance, fantasy, and entertainment – not a measuring stick.

Reality includes all of us who aren’t young, or aren’t fit, or possibly aren’t even able-bodied. People have issues like back pain or post-traumatic stress disorder to deal with, so our real life sex won’t look like the movies put out. This doesn’t mean we’re in any way less sexy and entitled to pleasure as the hot performers. Something I really enjoy is finding a way to have hot, stimulating, and satisfying sexual experiences while working with the reality of my body and my partners’. My primary partner is older than me and he worries about the occasional erectile dysfunction becoming a permanent issue. As much as I love penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex, I’m thrilled to know that he and I have such a connection that simple touches can lead to orgasm. PIV is held up as the ultimate in heterosexual sex, but we’re missing out on so much pleasure if we don’t know that a multitude of other sex acts can be just as exciting and satisfying, not to mention intimate.

I recently got hold of a Stallion vibrating thigh harness to try out (courtesy of Good Vibrations) with the idea that a dildo strapped to my partner’s thigh might make a satisfactory substitution for the closeness and motions of sex if his penis does stop working reliably many years from now. We tried it out recently and it worked great. It put our bodies very closely in the position we’re usually in for penetrative sex, and the intimacy that came from it was just as good as sex using his biological cock. There’s too often a stigma in using sex toys, but if something feels good and you and your partner enjoy it, why does it matter if you’re using a toy to help? In reality, penises are not always hard, or you’re not always up to PIV sex. I sometimes need help with lubrication despite being aroused. Reality affects us all, and it’s okay if we modify things to suit our own pleasure and needs.

When you get into bdsm, I think the problem of fantasy vs. reality becomes even more pronounced. While it’s hot to think of yourself as walking around naked all the time, available for your dominant to use, in reality you need to be clothed to leave the house. Or you might be ill or too busy with housework or child care to be available instantaneously. Maybe you have to refrain from your usual honorific used for your dominant while around family. This doesn’t make someone less of a slave or submissive. The fantasy of being always sexually ready is not feasible. If you can make it happen for you more often than not, good for you! But very often we need things like foreplay, or lube, before we can get down to business.  We’re human and as such even the horniest person isn’t aroused and ready all the time.

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations is the premiere sex-positive, women-principled adult toy retailer in the US. An iconic brand and one of the world's first sex toy shops to focus specifically on women's pleasure and sexual education, Good Vibrations was founded by Joani Blank in 1977 to provide women with a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place to shop for erotic toys. Good Vibrations has always included all people across the gender spectrum, and is a place where customers can come for education, high quality products, and information promoting sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Customers can shop Good Vibrations' expertly curated product selection across any of its nine retail locations or on the website, where they can also find a wealth of information pertaining to sexual pleasure, exploration and education.

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