Porn vs. reality: Ultimate fantasy or fallacy?

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Simone Paget, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:54 PM ET

I remember the first time I watched an X-rated movie as a 20-something. At the time, I felt very hip and edgy - like I was getting a glimpse into this secret world that was still considered taboo. However, that was in the early 2000’s - before suburban soccer moms started taking pole dancing classes and celebrity sex tapes weren’t considered the rite of passage they are today. Now more than a decade later, porn culture and everything that it embodies has infiltrated mainstream culture to the point where it’s become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives.

However, if you ask many women in their 20’s and 30’s, they’ll be able to tell you exactly how porn culture has affected the men in their lives. I was reminded of this when I got together with a couple of girlfriends for drinks this past winter. After a few cocktails, we started to discuss men and how porn has influenced their bedroom habits. When I told her about what I thought was a unique sexual quirk of a man I had recently hooked up with, my friend responded,

“Yeah, that’s gross. They do that move all the time in porn.”

Maybe I need to watch more porn? Or not.

The truth is, the majority of porn doesn’t turn me on because it usually lacks a lot of the things I enjoy about sex like kissing, intimacy and eye-gazing. Porn presents a very unreal reality - a hairless universe where everyone is turned on easily and ready to go all the time. Porn reduces sex into fixed components - sexual acts that all end the same way: With the satisfying money shot. Because of this, when I do watch pornography I eventually become desensitized to whatever is happening on the screen. The sex starts to seem mechanical, and ceases to be well, sexy.

Because of the instant and predictable pay-off depicted in pornography, Ian Kerner, a sexologist and founder of Good in Bed - a website designed to be “your guide to a better sex life”- , recently wrote that he’s noticed a sharp increase in men who suffer from what he’s dubbed “Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder,” or SADD. Kerner writes that men that suffer from SADD “become so accustomed to the high levels of visual novelty and stimulation that comes from internet porn that they’re unable to focus on real sex with a real woman.” Many of my female friends and I have experienced the fallout of SADD. As Kerner writes, “Men with SADD tend to find themselves getting bored or impatient during sex. They may be physiologically aroused and erect, but they’re not at peak mental arousal. Guys with SADD may also simply lack the mojo for real sex because they’re depleted from masturbation.”

The flipside of this issue is that many women I’ve spoken to (and a few men as well) feel the pressure to live up to what they feel is the “ultimate fantasy” depicted in porn. Although there are definitely people who enjoy the acts and imagery shown in pornography - the hair pulling, the name calling, the proliferation of bodily fluids - it’s not an accurate representation of human sexuality in all of its explicitness, or of what the average couple does (or wants to do) in the bedroom.

At the end of the day, I think it’s important to keep in mind that like other forms of entertainment, porn is a fantasy - one that’s not universal, but rather a very specific expression of human sexuality. In other words, porn isn’t the “ultimate fantasy” but one slice of the pie. Sexual fantasies are incredibly diverse and personal. Give yourself permission to explore what makes you feel good, not what you think someone else would like to see onscreen.

 


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