During a discussion with a female friend recently, the subject of porn came up. With a cold stare, she looked at me with her eyes burning, and said with much conviction (and volume):
"F*ck porn, Charles. Period. I mean, who told men that women like it when they... " [she then takes two fingers and pounds violently on the table with them] on my clit!?"
While some women might like it rough, it was then that I truly understood how the porn industry is teaching its primary target market (read: men) all the wrong things, creating a huge disconnect with what many men expect—and provide—in the bedroom.
Pornography is a polarizing topic. Is it a good thing or a bad thing, and does it help or hinder our sex lives? The truth is pornography can be good for some people and relationships. If a couple is going through a challenging time with physical connection (emotionally or medically), they might be prescribed pornography as a way of rejuvenating their sex lives—provided both people are into it. The real issue is that some people—men in particular—think that what they see in porn is what all/most women want.
Once you strip away the façade of overacted orgasms, bulging biceps, and silicone implants, you can remember that there is a crew of 10-15 people on the set—and from that simple fact, the fakery is obvious. These are people getting paid to perform a job... and it's no different than any other form of entertainment. The question is: Does your guy believe that it's real?
Pornography (in myriad forms) has been around much longer than any of us have considered. Let's acknowledge that porn is here to stay, and even accept that the average age children are first exposed to pornographic material is 11 years old. (I was about 9; my father had an extensive collection of Playboy that I quietly commandeered.) With these issues accepted, the problem is exemplified in many ways:
- Availability and access. Getting your hands on porn usually to be a operation of stealth. But today—in addition to mail order DVDs, magazines, adult bookstores and strip clubs—it's available with the click of a mouse, with vast amounts of content available at no charge. Every second, 28,258 internet users are viewing it, with 372 internet users* typing adult search terms into Google. Porn is a $131B industry worldwide (Family Safe Media — 2010). Regardless of age, location, ethnicity, or socio-economic background, just head over to Google and type in what turns you on. You will instantly be greeted with a plethora of content.
- Everyone can be a star. A young woman strutting her stuff sans clothing on Vine or Instagram falsely believes she is empowered and in-control—when in truth she is actively selling her sexuality for online shares and comments as a soft-core porn starlet. Her self-esteem gets a constant boost from people (mostly men) telling her that she is attractive and desirable, but she is setting herself up to be used as a sexual outlet for men—and she is enabling it.
- For many, pornography acts as an educator for sex. Due to a lack of comfort on the part of parents, dwindling budgets and schools, and a general lack of discussion around a normal human act, many teenagers and young adults don't have a solid understanding of sexual relationships. The majority of pornographic movies don't even show the face of a man, just his privates with the camera centered on the woman's "enjoyment" of a random sexual activity.
- Popular culture reinforces emotional disconnection from sex. What people enjoy sexually, how to build a mood, how to discuss wants/needs in the bedroom are all foreign topics for so many people. Instead assumptions are made based on what has been viewed and what's shown as "normal" in popular culture. Endless songs and musical artists brag about sexual activities, "banging bitches", and glorify rape and the mistreatment of women. And famous women further that message. Kim Kardashian having sex and promoting it to build her fame? Normal. Miley Cyrus twerking and grinding on Robin Thicke and broadcast worldwide as her statement of achieving adulthood, symbolically stating, “I'm not a Disney Girl anymore! I'm empowered!" Normal.
- The horrific treatment of women in all pornographic media types lends itself to a number of problems—for male and female viewers. (Yes, there are a multitude of sites and production companies that specialize in "romantic porn" and offer a gentler view into sex, but they are hardly the majority.) Men end up believing that all women enjoy giving oral sex, like rough intercourse, enjoy being hit, and achieve orgasm without the slightest bit of foreplay, emotional connection, and/or intellectual investment. And women end up believing that if they don't perform like a porn star—regardless of their own personal preferences or sexual desires—there is something wrong with them. It doesn't matter if a woman doesn't want him to achieve his orgasm on her face, or be taken forcefully, or perhaps smacked around in bed due to "passion". He's doing what he was taught women like... so of course she's going to like it; why wouldn't she? (To be clear, there are many people who enjoy sex this way. This observation isn't about them. It's about the countless others who don't enjoy sex like this, and don't say anything, thinking they can't or shouldn't because this is "the way it's done".)
Here are 6 bad lessons from the porn industry:
- Women are always ready. Porn is flawed right from the time you hit Play on the DVD player. While there are women who are ready for sex at the drop of a hat, most require some kind of effort besides eloquent, smooth lines like, "You ready?" or "How about some?" Do men really think that a line like "Wanna bump uglies?" is going to get them in the mood? It’s going to take a little more than that to get a woman to relax enough to forget about work stress, money worries, the kids, boring chores and everything else that is preying on her mind.
- All women want to do anything to/for the man, while he provides a bare minimum. This is highlighted in every movie and in every scene. 99 percent of sex scenes start with.... (wait for it) — a blowjob . Of course... because she's been sitting around all day just waiting to perform that act.
- Foreplay is not necessary. No need for all that pesky foreplay — kissing is overrated, ambiance is unnecessary, creating any kind of a mood is just a waste of time. Just give it to me now! Sometimes a quickie is just what a woman wants, but every time? Come on. Many women would be happier if he rushed home to take out the trash and clean the house instead of walking in expecting oral sex.
- Everything on a woman is... "accessible"... and she wants you to do whatever you want to her body. Yeah, right. Anytime a man wants to insert his various extremities into any part of her body—and then pound (perhaps without any lubrication)... that works for her. Gimme a break.
- Nipples are there specifically for men to abuse. In Pornland, pounding, pulling, pinching, twisting and prodding obsessively — with ever-increasing intensity — on the most sensitive of a woman's body parts will earn men extra points. (And can we please acknowledge that there is a real difference between aggressive sex and clumsy, seventh-grade experimentation? Some women are into pain and kink... but not all. (A clearer definition: Erotic might be a feather... Kinky is the whole chicken.)
- All women are naturally attracted to other women. Ah yes... the Holy Grail of sex for men: The threesome. There’s nothing wrong if she's into it, but you won’t catch most women hanging out a with a friend, dressed as secretaries (or school girls, or teachers, or bikini-wearing “housewives”) with blue eye shadow and sticky red lip gloss, waiting (err… pining) for the guy to come home (or knock on the door with a pizza delivery) so they can have sex with him together.
These examples showcase the massive disconnect between what most women say they really want, and what men are being exposed to on a constant basis. If men are being turned on by an ever-increasing selfishness in bed, it’s no wonder sex lives are suffering (which I’m not just assuming … I’ve been told). I'm not suggesting that sex needs to be candles, soft music and aromatherapy every time, but assuming all women want these things is B.S.; there's just no other term for it. And I'm also not suggesting that men should be doing all the work to create the mood, but I would suggest that there are rewards to be reaped for reading the scene, creating the right environment, and moving slowly... ending in a fever pitch.
Bottom line: Porn might be a great, but great sex requires more. Seduction is not over-rated… and it starts way before you enter the bedroom.