The unreality of porn
Most teens today have access to a computer or smart device from which online pornography is as easy as any Google search. Sometimes a legitimate search for educational content about sex may send you to extremely explicit material. So it is important that teens have easy access to comprehensive, inclusive and accurate information.
Reality & Risk, a porn education organisation, estimates more than 90% of boys and 60% of girls have seen online porn.
There’s no reason to feel guilty or embarrassed about watching porn, but it is important to remember that porn is not real! Whether you watch it, hear others talk about it, or just confused about sex, here are some pointers to keep in mind about porn:
1. Porn is fiction.
Most internet pornography is a cartoon of human sexuality exaggerating on the most mechanical and stimulating parts about sex. There is no regard for context, story, consequences, and very little portrayal of relationship between the parties. Remember that the actors are selected for their attractiveness and hours of footage are edited, photoshopped and refined to make a single video. Porn actors are just doing that – acting! In reality, sex is not a performance.
2. Porn characters don’t talk about sex.
Becoming comfortable discussing sex may take time but it’s really important! Porn actors rehearse scenes before filming so what is shown in porn makes it seem like they know exactly what excites their partners on the first go without communication. In reality, people need to talk about what they like or would like to experiment. These conversations can also occur in a non-sexy setting where there’s no pressure. When you’re with someone, this may sound like: “Keep doing that”, “A little to the left”, “Are you enjoying this”, “It feels good when you…”, “Could you…?”, “If you’d be up for it, could we…?”. Remember: it is never OK to touch anyone without their explicit, enthusiastic consent.
3. Porn is sexist.
A lot of porn shows men disrespecting and abusing women who seem to enjoy it. Although men in porn are rarely shown being physically assaulted as women are shown, men are routinely shown being pressured into sex.
Porn ignores the importance of consent. One in five women and one in 71 men are raped during their lifetime and in 8 out of 10 cases, the victim knows the person who assaulted them. Sexual assault and rape are highly traumatic events that causes tremendous and lasting pain to people of all genders.
Porn can also perpetuate the gender stereotype that women are passive and men are aggressive, and that men always want sex. It also often prioritise men’s pleasure over women’s.
4. Porn edits out awkward parts of sex.
Porn is a business that makes money selling fantasies so all that is awkward and un-sexy is edited or erased. Mainstream porn is produced to appeal to heterosexual men, so women are shown to always be keen for sex, but in reality, many people with vaginas require foreplay (or non-penetrative sex) to produce enough lubrication (or get wet enough) to comfortably have vaginal sex.
So what happens in reality? Using lube, appropriately putting on and disposing the condom, getting up to use the bathroom after sex and plenty of other important details of safety and comfort are just not sexy enough for the porn industry. Sex can be funny and sometimes embarrassing and all that’s okay if you and your partner are both comfortable and trust each other.
5. Porn doesn’t show the different ways of experiencing pleasure.
Mainstream porn portrays only a very small portion of human sexuality. This leads to common misconceptions about how people experience pleasure and what is “normal” during sex. But this is far from the truth. Sex is as diverse as people themselves!
Porn also upholds the myth that women experience orgasm from vaginal sex. In reality, only 25% of people with vaginas regularly orgasm from vaginal sex.
6. Porn ignores safe sex.
It is rarely shown that condoms and dental dams are used even though they’re necessary for preventing STIs.
7. Porn perpetuates unrealistic expectations of sex.
There are increasing number of reports of high school girls sustaining serious injuries trying to replicate things they or their boyfriend have seen in porn.
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