The Absurd Myths Porn Teaches Us About Sex

Noah Brand and Ozy Frantz bring humor to this theme.

...learning about sex from porn is like learning about firearms from action movies.

“My first boyfriend told me, in all seriousness, that he was pretty small—just seven and a half inches,” said Pervocracy. “He thought nine was average.”

... porn still has many racist, sexist and queerphobic elements.

“The majority of guys who fetishize Japanese women are clearly getting it from anime porn,” Pervocracy said, “and will be very disappointed if their Japanese woman turns out not to be childlike, whimperingly submissive, or cartoonishly cutesy.”

Within the world of mainstream porn, erections appear upon request and continue until their owner wishes for the sex to end, at which point the orgasm is prompt.

Everyone is constantly up for sex, with no negotiation between fluctuating libidos required. No one ever experiences vaginal farting or can’t get the penis in no matter what they do or falls off the bed.

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Replies to This Discussion

The "director" knows exactly what he or she is doing, and is running a totally legit business. It's worth what it pays, and my parents will NEVER find out.

Hmm, I think lesbian porn is a bit less loaded down with this sort of nonsense.  Or at least the stuff I watch tends to be.  I almost never see pubic hair, so that misconception could still spread, but at least the sex itself is a bit more realistic and they pay attention to the clitoris.

 

A teenage boy who believed that all women, no matter how much they protested otherwise, really wanted to be called sluts when they had sex.

This is a major thing that always bothers me.  I have to abort, halfway through reading most erotica, when the sex talk starts approaching the point of emotional abuse.  A little dirty talk is one thing, but lots of people just go way, way too far with it, in their fantasies.

 

Guys who think that foreplay is just jamming a few fingers up someone’s vagina before sex.

Yet another good thing about lesbian porn.  I usually see a lot more foreplay.

 

In my comprehensive sex education, we labeled a diagram of the vulva that didn’t have the clitoris on it—no wonder some people think that women are supposed to get off on friction with their vagina!

What the fuck?  I guess that part isn't necessary for actually making babies, so it doesn't count as a sexual organ?

Or worse, maybe they got the diagram from one of those African groups who practice FGM?

 

Within the world of mainstream porn, erections appear upon request and continue until their owner wishes for the sex to end, at which point the orgasm is prompt.

Not a problem, in the stuff I watch.

 

Sex positions and acts are chosen for how they look on camera, not how they feel to the participants.

I can see how this would be problematic.  There's nothing wrong with missionary position, with a few twists and angular adjustments to better hit the g-spot.

 

Everyone is constantly up for sex, with no negotiation between fluctuating libidos required ...

Well, more like the girl isn't always up for sex.  If I'm conscious, I'm in the mood.  I'm a bit of a freak, though.

 

... or falls off the bed.

What the hell are you people doing in bed?

I have several young straight friends who complain that porn made their boyfriends crappy in bed. 

I don't care for porn, but I, like Joseph, am almost always up for sex.  Being tired or asleep or sick/injured would be the exceptions.

The last paragraph of that article is my favorite.  I like all those kinds of sex!

Yes!!!

  

... more importantly, truly comprehensive sex education can point out the diversity of sex ... there are thousands of possible and enjoyable sex lives. Sex is human and weird and often quite funny, and that’s a side of it that porn rarely shows....

“It wasn’t until I got out into the sexual real world that I understood the idea you could have sleepy sex, that you could have silly giggling sex, that you could have quick morning sex or slow evening sex, that you could have romping goofy sex with your shirts or socks still on, that you could have cuddly sex, that you could have comfort-sex when one of you is sad, that you could have ‘hm, let’s see if this works’ experimental sex, that you could have sweetly awkward nerd-sex, that you could have gleefully competitive athletic sex."

And she adds, “It wasn’t until I got out in the sexual real world that I knew you could smile during sex."

Other myths from mainstream porn:

"All women are bisexual, whether they know it or not."

"M/F couples enjoy it when the guy pulls out before orgasm."

"Nobody gets pregnant (unless they want to), and nobody has STDs; thus condoms are unnecessary."
(I remember a future-Earth SF world (John Varley?) where contraception kiosks were common: they would test a couple for all known STDs, then synthesize and inject them with a preparation ensuring that for the next 24 hours, that man couldn't get thatwoman pregnant.)

Everyone is constantly up for sex, with no negotiation between fluctuating libidos required.

A good take on differing libidos and desires in the real world is Al Vernacchio's delicious metaphor of, not baseball with its prescribed goal of "scoring", but rather, pizza!

To Slide or to Slice? Finding a Positive Sexual Metaphor (Carly Dreyfus at scarleteen.com)

Some people are happy with a single slice once or twice a year, and others eat a whole pizza for breakfast every day. And that’s okay! ... some people don't like pizza at all.


...

Also, just because your partner feels like pizza, or you’re standing outside a pizza parlor, there may be many reasons it’s not the right time for you to eat it. Maybe you’re not hungry.... Maybe you’re on a juice fast. Maybe you have plans to eat pizza with someone later in the day.... We wouldn't put up with a friend who demanded we eat pizza when we don't want it, or who accused us of being frigid for not eating more pizza, or who implied we may be mentally ill based on our choice of toppings.

 and this:

Say you’re a plain cheese guy, and you meet someone at the pizza place whose favorite topping is pineapple, M&M’s and spam. You might think it’s a little peculiar, but that’s it... No one thinks someone who likes ketchup on their pizza is going to burn eternally in hell.

Porn is a cartoon of sorts, a caricature.  If taken as representative of reality, absurd misconceptions are inevitable.

But the real tensions in sex are not from unrealistic expectations derived from an artificial medium such as porn,  but from misunderstanding between the partners.  A flawed relationship will not be repaired by "good sex", while a strong relationship should overcome sexual misunderstandings.  The goal, then, isn't good sex per se, but a satisfying and supportive relationship. 

Getting out "into the sexual real world" is a laudable goal.  Now let's discuss: how is this done?

I do it by freeing myself of rules.  When I was younger, I had certain standards and I would not deviate from them.  Now, I'm liable to have sex with a woman who I find only slightly attractive because I like the way she's looking at me. 

And this is an entirely wise and practical approach.  But it's insufficient, because it covers only one half of the sexual partnership - that is, one's own behavior.  To generously embrace (in all meanings of the term) a potential partner who is not physically "attractive" by conventional standards makes perfect sense.  But the other half, is that potential partner.  How to attract his/her interest?  If the initial act of attraction fails, or never even occurs, then the whole question of sexual inhibitions (or sexual realism) becomes moot.

Speaking by analogy:  if you have a car, then it makes sense to maintain it assiduously, changing the oil and doing tune-ups and so forth, even if the car is neither a classic nor an expensive luxury car - that is, even if it's just basic transportation.  But if you don't have a car, then whether or not you are an attention automotive owner is irrelevant.  You might have a garage full of tools, and good skill as a mechanic from prior education,  but if you're not in possession of a motor vehicle, then your automotive skills are moot.

So where am I heading here?  Well, the point is, that the toughest part of a relationship, including a sexual relationship, is how to start the relationship, how to reach the point where it becomes meaningful.  The rest - the sexual inhibitions from exposure to ridiculous or unrealistic teachings - are of secondary importance.

Good point, but I am not wanting to own a car.  Seems there is usually one ready to be driven.

Porn does have sexist and racist and homophobic elements to it - there is gay porn out there. I don't like the fact that women or men have to have a certain flawless look in the porn industry. Mostly women that is - have to look like a Barbie doll or something similar.

I would think that the VOLUME ALONE in a porn movie (were it done in a real life "sexual encounter") would have non-participants convinced that someone was being violently murdered, and call the authorities accordingly! The fact that there is such LOUD "screaming/moaning/verbalizations", etc. PROVES that the scene engaged in is one of ACTING, not "actual" sex (doesn't make it any less fun or arousing to watch though! ;) 

Not sure I agree with you about volume, John. A very long time ago I used to have that impression too. But I learned to disinhibit myself, to unlearn the social stifling inhibitions, from a partner who was skilled at disinhibition. Ever since, I'm loud and not acting. I learned that one is more whole and authentic in response, and you actually feel you own responses more, when you don't worry about what the neighbors will think.

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