December 17, 2009

Pornography: Just Because It Looks Good Doesn’t Mean It Feels Good

In reality just because a particular position looks good for the camera doesn't mean it's going to feel good in the bedroom.

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Pornography, Sexually Explicit Material, and Reality

Let me break the ice and say what’s on my mind: Pornography is not most people’s reality. What looks good for a camera shot does not necessarily feel good in reality. There, I’ve said it.

I’ve been debating about how I wanted to introduce this topic. Each semester at least one person approaches me in frustration that his or her respective sex life does not measure up to the latest sexually explicit video that they’ve been watching.

Pornography vs Sexually Explicit Material: A Quick Note On Language

(As a quick aside to language, from here on out I’m going to use the term ‘sexually explicit’ instead of ‘pornography’. The reason being  is that while pornography generally falls under  the category of sexually explicit material, what is considered pornographic is subjective to individual people.

The other reason why I’m going to use sexually explicit material is because the very word ‘pornography’ evokes an emotional response in a lot of people and so it can be harder to get past the emotional reaction and thinking analytically.  So there you have it, my quick footnote to the use of language in this blog)

Erotic Videos As Sex Education

As I was saying, the sexually explicit behaviors that we often see in erotic videos (both amateur and professional), are not always selected because they feel good.  In order to create the fantasy, positions are often picked for the best camera angle. As a result, bodies are bent into all kinds of contortions that are painful or practically physically impossible for those of us without backgrounds in gymnastics or yoga.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am by no means making a value judgment on sexually explicit material and the behaviors showcased in them.  What I am saying, is that for some people, sexually explicit movies are sometimes used at their primary source of sex information. There are certainly genres of erotic videos with the goal to arouse and educate.

The adult film star Nina Hartley comes to mind and does a very good job at incorporating sex education and communication into her videos.  But Nina seems to be the exception rather than the rule.  Due to the magic of editing, all of the mistrials, awkward moments, and time spent getting a body lubed, relaxed, and ready for the sexual Olympiad that we end up watching are usually never seen.

Putting Things In Context

Now that I’ve said all of that, sure, I admit that at the end of the day it can be erotic to mimic the things we see in movies.  However, it is important to do so with the realization that it is a movie. In reality, sex may sometimes be fumblely, arousal takes time, and the respective orifices on our bodies can’t always take extremely large objects on the first try.

So if you are self-conscious because you and your partner couldn’t complete your ideal mimicked behavior in the bedroom, let me be the first to tell you, it’s okay. You’re okay! Pornography is not most people’s reality and what looks good on camera is not necessarily what feels good.