It’s enthralling. The first time I saw a porn flick I was at my godbrother’s house and we were in his parents’ room getting ready to watch some kids’ movie. I hit “play” just to see what was already in the VCR. A man and woman were doing things by a motorcycle, then there were other samples of movies.
I realized, at 13, that I was watching people have sex. It looked gross but yet I couldn’t turn away. I couldn’t get those images out of my mind. We put the tape away in his parents’ armoire, so one of them had to know that we saw it. No, we didn’t keep it out and put it back after watching the cartoon. We didn’t rewind it to the point where it started.
I had always imagined what sex looked like prior to then. I only had my imagination and ideas from talking about it on the back of the school bus ever since I was 10 years old. When I finally had the sex talk with my dad at 12, he laughed at what I thought sex was and how a woman got pregnant. My older cousin had told me that a man stuck his penis inside the woman and urinated into her vagina and that’s how a baby is made. Yes, from urine. My dad actually laughed a lot at that.
But is it real?
Armed with what I knew about the birds and the bees, I looked at those scenes and wondered why no one was using condoms, how the women didn’t wind up pregnant, why so many of them had every other tooth in place, and a lot of other questions about attraction, comfort with being naked, wondering how many people were in the room, how comfortable someone was with their genitals being filmed so closely, etc.
Ever since then I’ve gone back and forth with watching and not watching. The Internet made it all too available in college and when you have a dorm room alone…oh boy. First were pay sites, fake names, and newsgroups. Now there is no excuse for paying for porn online. It’s the number one Internet revenue stream for the economy and bootlegging has not diminished its standing. The music industry could take a cue from this, but I digress.
So, porn is addictive. Some people don’t get into it out of a commitment to Jesus or just not ever really liking it. They feel their imagination is better than whatever a porn director can come up with. Some people like making their own and sharing it with the world.
Overall I feel that porn is problematic for several reasons:
1. Porn creates a sense of fantasy that too many people try to act out in real life.
Porn plots are as tight as a puddle of water on a flat pavement. No one’s life plays out like this:
Doorbell rings -
Man: Hi. My car broke down outside. Can I use your phone?
Man (finished making call to wife): Thanks. My wife will be here soon but it’s rush hour so it’ll take her about 45 minutes to an hour.
Woman: Oh, well you can stay here. I have an idea how you can thank me properly for using my phone for a 30-second phone call.
Man: Yeah, you do.
*Bow chicka bow wow*
I’ve seen so many single men (gay and straight) act like this in their lives. Even if you happen upon a similar scenario in your life, it’s not one that gets played out consistently. On top of this, from what I understand, it’s never as hot in real life as the scene seems to portray. People have body odor, the man above is probably a bit funky from trying to figure out what’s wrong with his car on a hot day under a hot hood (and stress from being stranded). There’s no telling if the woman above bathed that day yet. So many variables.
I’ve seen (live, in front of me at a party) where someone gave a compliment to someone and that person said, “Thank you. Show me how cute you think I am,” and proceeded to make out with the one who gave the compliment. A group of us watched and asked aloud, “Is this really happening? Is this a porn set?”
2. Porn provides unrealistic expectations of what sex with be like in a relationship or marriage.
Your body has limits for positions and the views you have during sex are of your ceiling, sheets, wall, floor, or partner’s face. You will not see what the camera sees during sex, even if you film it yourself. Also, your sex will probably not last as long as that 30-minute scene. If you expect that, you will be disappointed. Your body also has limits for constant assault without some numbing agents too.
3. No one has STDs in porn plots.
Well, some companies may specialize in this. If you can think of it, there’s already a porn for it. But overall, everyone is healthy as a bull…and has sex like one.
4. No one gets pregnant in porn plots.
Don’t try that at home.
5. Everyone is automatically mutually attracted to the object of their affection.
Again, this doesn’t happen in real life. Porn set the expectation that anyone you hit on with your cheesiest pickup line in a bar or club will be so turned on that they’ll have sex with you in the nearest bathroom. Doesn’t happen.
6. Sex is a tool, but porn makes it a weapon.
Porn weaponizes sex. It makes sex the first thing you think about when approaching someone (if you indulge it enough times). It makes someone who is being approached think of sex first instead of getting to know someone. You walk out into the dating world with your sex swords drawn hoping to draw first blood on someone when you should have your shield up and slowly let it down as you engage someone.
7. Porn dehumanizes and devalues people.
What I mean by this is that it turns people into objects and devices for getting off. That’s the point of porn – to get your rocks off. Even if it’s “romance tips for couples” porn, it’s only there to get your rocks off. In turn, you start treating people (and yourself) as nothing more than a device to either get off or help someone else get off. I’ve seen people define themselves with terms they learned from porn. I’ve seen people want their partners to watch them have sex with random people…that’s not an idea they got in their own brain, I’m sure.
If you want to get off they sell those kinds of devices in sex stores (and on Amazon) and most of you were born with three of these items already (your two hands and your brain). I just feel that we were created to be more than the biology between our legs.
8. Porn makes it hard for people to take you seriously when you’re done with being in the industry.
Ask respected community leaders how quickly they fall from grace once they admit to indulging in it. Just ask teachers who’ve been fired for porn pasts and friends I have in the industry how hard it is to become a mainstream actor or singer after having done porn. Yes, I have friends in porn. One has done quite well. The other two have gone downhill quickly and feel left with very limited options for work.
9. Porn glorifies sex to an unhealthy level.
Kind of a repeat of #7, but it really makes sex larger than it is. Porn places importance on sex above the importance of being an actual human being – with blood, guts, emotions, memories, feeling, and love. Also, the worldwide average erect penis length for most men is 5-7 inches, with most men falling between 5-6 inches. Porn seems to dispute that and can really mess with expectations, leading to disappointment.
10. People often use porn to escape personal pain.
I’ve seen where people use porn to escape personal pain. It’s like a drug that helps you escape your reality for a few moments. It becomes a crutch from which you can’t easily escape. I’ve been there. It’s better to deal with your pain than push it off until later. It just gets nastier. I’ve even seen one person write a porn star thanking them for making their movies to get them through rough times. I’ll just let that one sit with y’all.
11. You don’t really “act” in porn.
You’re automatically a star in porn. You’re never an aspiring porn actor. If you’re in one group scene for 2.28 minutes, you’re a porn star. Where are the training programs for porn stars? I have a regularly working mainstream actor friend who met a porn star once who claimed that he was an actor too. My friend all but bit his head off. “You’re not really an actor! That’s like being filmed eating cereal. Having sex is just something you do!” Show me an Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Porn Acting (or even an accredited course within an MFA program) and I’ll shut up about it. I’m a trained actor, so I understand my friend’s frustration.
I know that porn lovers/workers/directors/producers/actors will say it’s for entertainment and fantasy. They’ll say that porn gives you creative ideas for your sex life. However, I see it doing more harm than good lately. Young men have vastly, woefully, and completely wrong ideas about expectations from interpersonal relationships with women and the realities of sex with a real woman, and not a Jenna Jameson. It’s a very rude awakening to realize you have to grow up and live in the real world, which is a bitter reality compared to porn worlds.