Porn Makes For Shabby Sex Ed

I was looking at one of those post-your-own-sex-tape websites the other day, and though there were thousands of viewing options, I had the most difficult time finding something that turned me on. Among the heterosexual pairings, the women seemed disembodied and remote. They were generally propped into various fuckable positions, their faces blank, pouty, or stiffly, smokily seductive. They were either silent and distant, or, more commonly, they started moaning loudly the instant the guy touched them, regardless of how it was done. They continued moaning at approximately the same volume until the man came. The clit generally didn’t get any action whatsoever, but nobody seemed to notice, and the women certainly didn’t appear need it to get off.

That porn isn’t realistic is hardly a newsworthy revelation, but the extent of it still startles me sometimes. Besides, a lot of this was homemade stuff. I guess I hoped that homemade videos would be likelier to reflect the realities of what actually works to create pleasure for both partners.
What I wanted was realism, clit action, and a sense of playfulness and connection between the partners. I wanted to see something that, if it were happening in my life, would be awesome for everyone involved.
I’m relatively new to porn, but watching it explains a lot about how my boyfriend in college (and many of his peers) got some of his ideas about sex. This was a very sweet, progressive, kind, thoughtful guy. But porn, although it it had been a sexy and entertaining friend to him for years, had given him a miseducation that got in the way of our sex life.
Everyone goes through a learning curve with sex; if you’re lucky, it’s lifelong, and you get better and more informed over the years. But when I watch mainstream porn, I see some of the origins of this particular guy’s misconceptions. He thought he could be rougher with me than was actually comfortable for my body. He assumed intercourse would be automatically pleasurable for me. He thought we should be able to climax at the same time, with zero practice, on the first go. And so on.
Any of these assumptions could have been cleared up with conversation, and there’s a good chance I would have been willing to try some of the porn-based fantasies if they’d been presented to me as an option, rather than an assumption about my body should work or what my role was in sex. I don’t think my boyfriend was even really aware of the line between where porn ended and reality began, and it was a delicate topic to bring up, because it was kind of embarrassing for him.
All of our sex was consensual, and a lot of it was awesome, but porn had done both of us a disservice. Real sex isn’t like porn, and my guy got a bunch of rude awakenings. I didn’t understand where these ideas were coming from. Now I do. It’s both galling and it builds my sense of understanding, which leads to compassion.
I didn’t like feeling like the killjoy who had to announce, mid-action, that my body couldn’t be bent that way or that I didn’t want him to come on my face without a conversation happening about it first. Sometimes it’s easier to spread your legs than loosen your lips, but I have had my sex-positivity training and knew, at least most of the time, what would make me feel good about myself, so I stuck to my guns. But it felt sort of crappy to have to put my foot down when we both just wanted to be enjoying ourselves.
I appreciate this website, Make Love Not Porn, for the refreshing wake-up call about ways that porn veers away from reality. The name is a little misleading; it’s not saying that porn is inherently bad, just that its tropes don’t generally apply in actual real-life encounters. The sooner that’s cleared up, the sooner folks who got their sex-ed from porn and their partners can start enjoying sex for what it is, in real life, rather than what the videos tell you it should be.
When I was looking for something juicy to watch yesterday, the closest I came was a sexy homemade video of a couple who obviously shared a lot of love and knowledge of each other’s bodies. I loved how enthusiastic they were, the way their affection shone through in their gestures, and the way they talked to each other. The fact that they were talking at all was pretty radical, compared to the other videos on offer. It wasn’t plot-based, the way I’ve heard women’s desires for porn summed up before, and it didn’t involve a lot of costumes, gauzy romance, or artifice. They were just having a rollicking romp in various fun positions around the living room. The clit got some action and the woman was vocal about what she liked.
I dig it. I’d like more where that came from.

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