Porn’s impact on our skill in the sack

Comments // //

150 young people in Britain share their experiences of having grown up alongside the rise of internet porn.

The idea that using porn is a singularly solitary practice, just you and Kleenex, entirely unconnected to the real world, is a stickily seductive one – but, as the results of our porn survey of 150 twenty-somethings in the UK make clear,  this just isn’t the case: porn’s definitely making its mark.

Now, fortunately for fans, this doesn’t mean porn’s real-world impact is necessarily negative. Indeed, as we’ll explore in this entry, one area porn is exerting an influence is on our very real skills in the sack –  with some of this definitely for the good.

“I think porn has made me more aware of different fetishes/things you can do sexually; if anything, it has given me very open relationships were we can talk about things we like/don’t like, or make us uncomfortable.”

It can’t be denied though, that some of this was also for the not-so-good (and reaching the realms of very bad).

Has porn ever made you feel pressured?

“Yes, someone I slept with spat on my vagina without asking and it was gross.”

Yep, from better boning within couples to the uninvited hocking of phlegm into strangers’ vaginas, porn’s real-world impact on what we’re up to between the sheets is undeniable. For better, or for worse.

For better

Widening the individual’s bank of moves and techniques in bed was one theme several respondents picked up on, with an increasingly porny prowess, particularly within relationships, being celebrated.

Yes, some of it is completely fucked up and wrong, but if you find out you like something, or would like to try something which makes sex and relationships better (bondage for example), then that’s fucking awesome.”

“Porn, as odd as it sounds, has probably been a positive benefit to relationships by making me more aware of myself and teaching things to me.”

“Porn has always been shown as a negative thing to me, when actually I think it is a good aid to both explore your sexuality and open your eyes to what you might want to try.”

Yes, as a how-to guide for previously unexplored sexual territory, porn has been opening doors, minds, and thighs.

For worse

Now, the only problem with picking up moves from an impersonal and fake video of actors, is this doesn’t allow for real world variety. To have a good bonk, everyone hankers after different things, so if you pick up your set sex routine from porn and apply it indiscriminately, you’re not going to have the best sex possible. When it comes to how each individual likes their sex, one size does definitely not fit all.

If I have to sleep with one more guy who half-heartedly gives me thirty seconds of oral, bites my clit, humps me for thirty seconds, changes positions, humps for thirty more and then asks to come in my mouth, I am going to fucking scream.”

“It’s devastatingly possible to tell when someone’s sex education has come from porn, when they attempt to mimic what they’ve seen.”

I feel as though my partner has an unrealistic expectation of how women should orgasm (even to the point of assuming that for all women the experience is the same).

And it’s certainly not just hetero porn causing problems in bed; gay respondents voiced the same issue too.

The way that mainstream gay male porn is constructed places anal sex as the pinnacle of a sexual experience. If you haven’t got to anal sex, the act or experience is somehow incomplete, unfinished – you’ve stopped before the natural conclusion. It took me a little time in a supportive relationship to realise that for many people, penetration doesn’t have to feature in a sex life. For some, it’s just not what they do.”

All this focus on following the rules laid down in porn is definitely to the detriment of the experience of sex:

When I had sex I wouldn’t necessarily be connecting – I’d just be thinking about what I should do.”

For worst

Having sex which is too prescriptive and self conscious may be a pretty hefty negative, but at least it’s not actively violating. Unfortunately, many responses voiced this experience too.

I have also encountered men who try to have porn-like sex without first asking for consent for specific, perhaps even quite violent acts.”

“I have sometimes felt as though asking someone to stop that kind of behaviour would make me bad in bed.”

My partner has tried to initiate very porn-esque sex without discussing it first.

As one respondent summed up, for exploring new ideas in a safe and communicative atmosphere, porn can be a helpful tool. They also note though, that feeling entitled to porn-spawned moves would be problematic.

If I see a new technique/position/whatever that looks interesting then I´ll talk/introduce it gently to the other person to see if they´re into it, rather than expecting it. If I were to expect it, then it would be dangerous to a relationship.”

Well quite, no one could argue with that – and yet many respondents stated that porn-born techniques are increasingly being used on them, uninvited and non-consensually, in an apparently widespread trend.

Tying it up

Each respondents’ experiences are personal, and their responses subjective, so perhaps the only general conclusion to be drawn on porn and sexual techniques is that however you use it, or even if you don’t, it’s highly unlikely porn’s not making some kind of mark on your sex life.

Although porn can offer positives for communicative sexual partners, it’s also ushering in some very negative behaviours. From finely honed blowjobs to anxious, fumbly sex, the pros and the cons are both out in force, with the prevalence of uninvited sex acts which have sprung from porn making for a particularly concerning theme.

So to deny any real-world effects is definitely a mistake: whether we’re watching it ourselves or not, porn’s impact on our bedside moves is one key area in which porn culture is affecting us all.

It is just acting to a certain extent; but the lines between porn and reality are completely blurred.”

Next up in the series: porn and body image. We’ll delve deep into curvy willies and shaven pits, and explore the suggestion that porn’s hitting men harder than women (especially when it comes to cumming). Find out all next week!

Explore the whole series here.

@lucehouse



Image credit: Rowena Waack via Flickr

blog comments powered by Disqus