Sex and Pornography

The average man and woman learn about how their body works in school and they learn how to have sex from pornography.  This is actually quite sad.

When it comes to enjoying sex, nobody can teach you about your own body.  Everybody and every body is different.  What turns one person on may feel uncomfortable or even repulsive to another person.  By exploring what feels good and what feels bad to you and communicating this to your partner, your sexual encounters will become more and more satisfying.

Pornography is all about visual stimulation.  It is about showing you images and situations that might turn you on.  And in general, it does a great job at that.  But it is probably the worst way that a person could learn about how to have sex.

Some positions look very erotic on video but don’t necessarily feel pleasurable in practice.  Some positions are very pleasurable in practice but are rarely shown because they don’t look erotic on video.  On top of this, the actors’ bodies can have unrealistic proportions that can make us feel bad about our own bodies.

Men are generally more visually stimulated than women, who often get turned on more by the things they hear.  As a result, most porn is geared towards men.  In many cases it objectifies women as a collection of body parts whose sole purpose is to service men.   Very little attention is given to clitoral stimulation–either manually or using a vibrator–even though this is the primary way that most women achieve an orgasm.  In Dirk’s mind, this is equivalent to showing a man having sex without anything ever touching his penis.

Because the focus is on men, foreplay is almost non-existent and when attention is shown on the clitoris, it is usually short-lived and rougher than what most women prefer.  The clitoris is twice as sensitive as a penis and should be approached gently and with care.  A woman needs to be aroused before she is prepared for intercourse.

The Role of Pornography

So is there a role for pornography in a sexual relationship?

Pornography can be an effective communication tool in a sexual relationship.

The more you communicate your likes and dislikes with your partner, the more satisfying and fulfilling your sexual encounters will be.  And trying new things can add more excitement to your encounters.  Most people want to feel that their partner is enjoying themselves as much as they are.  However, many people are uncomfortable discussing these things—inside and outside of the bedroom—and can take constructive feedback personally.

Watching a porn video or leafing through the Kama Sutra together can be a great way to talk about what you already know you like or don’t like in a non-defensive manner.  And it can give you both ideas about new positions, outfits, toys and situations you’d like to try together.  Because you are discussing the characters you are looking at and not yourselves, the conversation can feel less personal.  There is a big difference between a positive comment about a nameless couple on a video (“I like what he is doing to her”) and a negative comment directed at your partner (“I don’t like what you are doing to me”).

Make sure to keep things constructive.  Try not to compare your body or your partner’s body to the ones you are watching on screen in a negative way.  Most of us don’t have huge penises and tiny waists.  And that’s ok, because most huge penises and tiny waists don’t want to sleep with us either.

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