Porn And Sex

Porn has become by default the sex education of today. Realizing this led me, nearly three years ago, to launch MakeLoveNotPorn.com with this talk at TED.

Despite the name, MakeLoveNotPorn is not anti-porn. I’m entirely pro-porn and watch it regularly myself. The issue I’m tackling is not porn; It’s the lack of an open healthy dialogue around sex and porn in our society, that would enable people to bring more of a real-world mindset to viewing what is artificial entertainment. Otherwise you'll be stuck implementing these porn moves you should never, ever, use in real life.

I launched MakeLoveNotPorn to explore how porn may be impacting your sex life in ways you may not necessarily have realized or considered. Here are the top 10 ways porn may be ruining your sex life.

 

While there are a number of women porn producers, the bulk of mainstream porn is made by men for men. When female porn stars produce and manage their own content, they are still targeting men, and so they're still operating by the industry conventions. The sole raison d’etre of porn is male pleasure, and therefore the be-all and end-all of every scene is to get the man off. Which has led to a generation of guys and girls alike growing up believing that the be-all and end-all of sex itself is to get the man off. It's unconsciously reinforced by women, who believe that making it all about getting the man off is what makes them "good in bed." Porn World: One-sided proposition.

Critics claim that we now prefer the computer screen to the real thing. But our Ian Lang says a little porn never hurt anyone.

Real-world sex suffers from the Porn World double whammy of zero interest in or focus on the female orgasm, combined with actresses writhing and panting in an ongoing state of simulated ecstasy that implies that whatever the male actors are doing is all it takes to satisfy them completely. I have found on occasion that my casually referencing the fact that I have yet to reach my own happy ending has elicited genuine astonishment, when as far as I’m concerned none of my reactions (despite having a very nice time) could possibly have been mistaken for orgasmic ecstasy (and I’ve never faked an orgasm in my life).

If you want to make a woman come, mainstream porn is not the place to learn. One place that is:

Some women enjoy having cum on their face, a lot of women don’t, and a number pretend they do but don’t really. Ask, negotiate, but don’t assume. Male blogger Oruba Stone found this out the hard way:

I was 25 before it was brought to my attention that some, no, most women don't like getting cummed on. It had been my thing for quite a few years to ask right, when the moment was right, where she wanted me to cum. Most wanted it on the stomach. Some wanted it on their ass. Still others, the keepers, let me jizz on their face.


One night, while wiping off her breasts, my girlfriend at the time quietly said she didn't like it. “Like what,” I asked. “When you cum on me,” she said in an even quieter voice. Why did you let me do it then? It's not like I surprised you. I did ask.

I spent that month calling exes and flings. An unscientific poll was conducted. The majority preferred I had kept my fluids to myself. When asked why they'd allowed it, they all answered the same way as sweet, quiet June: It made me happy. And why did creaming on girls make me happy? Well, a lifetime of porn led me to believe it's what girls like. Oh, the vicious cycle!

Anal is all the rage in porn. The standard depiction of anal sex in porn -- essentially, stick it in minus any preparation or lubricant, with instant general ecstasy on the part of the woman/man being penetrated -- is not helpful vis-à-vis the real-world reality that anal sex requires preparation. The irony here is that for people who might currently think anal sex isn’t their thing, gentle ass play, large amounts of lube and a slow introduction to the backdoor might actually result in her liking it.

Vast amounts of porn are dedicated to celebrating the exquisite art of the blow job, with its many, many variations. The drooling, the spitting, the gagging, the sliding, the twisting, the deep-throating. There are no equivalents in giving women oral sex.

This lack of reciprocation of oral sex is reinforced by the way the porn industry recognizes and awards what it considers the best of its output, at the AVN (Adult Video News) Awards -- the Oscars of porn. The award for Best Oral Sex Scene is only awarded one-way: girl>boy. There is no award for Best Oral Sex Scene boy>girl.


So no, porn doesn’t serve as the optimum guide to great pussy-eating. This does.

I’m a big fan of talking dirty. Talking dirty in porn, however, tends to utilize a relatively limited and repetitive vocabulary, which also often involves abusive modes of address for women. Nothing wrong with this if you happen to get off on that and you have agreed in advance with your partner that that is a turn-on for both of you. Not such a great idea if you haven’t.  

Being called "bitch," "whore" and "slut" can have a very different effect on real-world women vs. the effect it has on porn-world actresses -- who are, of course, acting. A friend recounted how her date startled her during their very first sexual encounter by coming out with “You like that, bitch?” (She did indeed like what was happening, but not the mode of address.) She, carefully, post-sex: “So what was that ‘bitch’ thing all about?” He: “Well, women in porn really like it when you call them that.” She: “What else have you gotten that women like from porn?” He: “Women love it when you cum on their faces.”

Things that look good in the porn world don’t always work so well in the real world. One of my many MakeLoveNotPorn inbox emails came recently from a woman who has been puzzling with her friends over “the slapping of the penis against your butt or thigh during sex. They pull it out and smack it against the skin in porn, we think, to maybe re-up the erection and get a nice close-up of the organ. I've had men working me towards a climax, pull it out, and smack my vagina with it. Maybe they are trying to refrain from finishing too soon? But the way they look at it and at me looking at it has this certain je ne sais quoi ... it's from porn. While the move may have some redeeming qualities, I'm not sure from the look on their faces that even they know why they do it. They just do. But they definitely interrupted my hard-earned orgasm. There's a time and a place for everything.”

Great sex is all about great communication. If you boiled my entire message with MakeLoveNotPorn down to one thing, it would be purely and simply: Talk about it. This is where porn helps you -- it tells you that talking about what you like is OK. The problem, however, is that there is no negotiation in porn -- the actresses are there to do what you want. They’re taking orders. “Lick my balls.” “Suck my dick.” “Tongue my asshole.”

The actresses in mainstream porn tend to be repeating or endorsing the instruction -- “Yes, I love sucking your dick” -- as opposed to providing any of their own: “Here’s what I’d love you to do to make me come.” (You’ll note that the pussy-eating scenes in porn never feature the actress going “Up a bit... down a bit… a little more to the left… slower... “)


If you realize the verbalizing is all one way -- don’t let it be.

The phrase “watching porn” always amuses me, because nobody’s just “watching” porn -- they’re wanking. Over time, you can get so used to coming via your own handling, sensitivity and knowledge of exactly what kind of pressure gets you off, that you can no longer come inside a woman, in her mouth or her hand. Which obviously leads to unhappiness, particularly within committed relationships or marriage.

This issue of literal desensitization is defined by Dr. Ian Kerner of GoodInBed, where constant porn-watching can make it difficult to hit peak arousal during real-world sex.

Technology is currently having immense influence on the most fundamental aspect of human behavior -- our sexuality, which informs how we feel about ourselves, other people, our relationships, our lives, our happiness. As Ryan Duggins writes in Confessions of an Online Porn Junkie, “Men are changing, and while I don’t know what the answer may be, I do know what the problem is.”

Sex is personality. It’s as fundamental a part of who you are as any of your other skills, talents, characteristics, and psychology. How you operate sexually should be an expression of you. The irony is that in a world where much is talked about technology’s ability to make creators of us all, and to enable creativity and self-expression to flourish on so many different platforms in so many different ways that never previously existed, instant accessibility to online porn is killing creativity and self-expression in sex. Porn is homogenizing sex.

So make the sex you have be all about you, in the most profound sense. Talk to your partner/partners, about what you each like, what you don’t like; listen, explore, negotiate, take time, push the boundaries, be creative, express yourself.

And if you think you might like some help with that, it’s on its way with MakeLoveNotPornTV.

Buy Cindy's short TED e-book, Make Love Not Porn: Technology's Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior

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