Respect - more than just a word.

Porn & Relationships

Felt Doll of a naked woman lying on red carpet

Photo taken from Inne’s Flickr stream under the creative commons license.

Porn is easier to find than it has ever been before. A Few clicks and you can watch it almost anywhere. But what is porn teaching us about sex? Does it matter?

Porn is made on a film set with actors; it is not a realistic representation of sex. It often focuses on male pleasure, but sex should be about everyone having a good time. Watching porn might make you feel like there are certain things you are expected to do- but you should never do something because you feel pressured into it. You have the right to say no to any sexual activity you aren’t comfortable with or don’t want to do. Sex is about more than just physical pleasure; it’s also about intimacy between you and your partner.

Most mainstream porn shows us a certain kind of sex. There is usually no focus on consent or safe sex practices. Things like asking your partner what they would like to do, or to use a condom are missing. Humiliation and violence towards women are also common in porn; this is not a respectful way to interact with your partner. (This is different from something that you and your partner have talked about and decided to try in a safe and consenual way.) Sex should be fun for everyone involved; no one should feel degraded, embarrassed or hurt. This is why porn can be a problem, because it doesn’t teach us about these important aspects of sex.

Consent and Violence

Consent is when you freely agree to participate in sexual activity with another person (or people). It is saying YES! to sex (anything from kissing to intercourse), either verbally or physically. If there is no consent it’s sexual assault. Clear consent is rarely visible in porn, so if that’s how you’re learning about sex you might not realise that such an important part of a healthy sexual relationship. Being pressured into saying yes is not consenting, so it’s important to communicate with your partner about what you both want to do. You have the right to say no to anything and at any point. Read Let’s Talk About Sex for some tips on talking to your partner about what you want and like.

The sex in porn is often violent or aggressive, especially towards women. Although the women in the video may appear to enjoy this kind of sex it’s important to remember they are actors. Some of the things you see may actually be really painful for the actors but they are pretending they aren’t. Violence during sex is not ok. The only time violence is acceptable between you and a partner is when you’ve talked about it beforehand and both agreed that that is what is going to happen. (CONSENT!)

If your partner is violent or aggressive during sex, it might make you feel really upset, emotional or just crappy. It’s important that you talk to them about it, tell them it’s not ok and how it made you feel. They may think that this kind of behaviour is ok, let them know that you don’t like it, so that they realise it’s not. They should respect your feelings, if it happens again start to think about whether this is the kind of relationship you want to be in. If a partner has been violent towards you during sex it could be sexual assault, you can call 1800 RESPECT for free phone counselling to help you deal with it.

Safe Sex

Another thing often missing in porn is the negotiation of safe sex. It’s important to talk to your partner about using contraception to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you watch porn you might not think this is important, but engaging in risky sex can have some pretty big consequences on your life. Remember the actors in porn negotiate this stuff when they are booking a job, it’s not part of what you see. Check out our post on Sexually Transmitted Infections and Pregnancy to find out more.

Body Image

Watching porn can also change the way we think about ourselves and our own bodies. Most of the women in porn have a very particular look, they are thin with big boobs and usually no body hair. But porn is often photoshopped and some of the actors have plastic surgery to change their appearance. Watching porn might make you think that’s what you need to look like to be sexy, or to find a partner, but that’s not true. Everybody’s body is different and everyone finds different things attractive. And what’s the deal with body hair? Read our post here to find out!

It’s important to remember that porn is fake, and the typical bodies in porn only represent one body type out of the millions of body types out there.

Follow the links for more of our posts on Sex and Consent, Abusive Relationships, and Love & Other Stuff.

Relevant Links:
WestCASA

Tags:
, , ,

Share this!