“I need sex for a clear complexion, but I’d rather do it for love.” – Joan Crawford
From deep-throating to anal sex, I investigate how porn is affecting what we do in the bedroom.
She reluctantly gets down on her hands and knees – as she’s been instructed – and crawls through her boyfriend’s dingy apartment and into his bedroom. He grabs her and throws her on to the bed. He tells her that he wants to “f*ck [her] from behind” and starts recreating the kind of rough sex he’s most likely seen in plenty of pornos before. It ends with him masturbating over her and ejaculating on her breasts. “I don’t think I like that”, she says. “I, like, really didn’t like that.”
That scene from Girls, between Adam and his new girlfriend Natalia, was one of the most controversial of the show’s second season. For a series that is most often praised by critics for its honest depiction of Gen Y’s messy relationships, how realistic was writer Lena Dunham’s portrayal of the events between Adam and Natalia? Are more of us having youporn.com-inspired sex? Are woman taking it on the chin (or breasts or face) because they think that’s what’s normal?
Emma says yes. In fact, she has been through something similar. “Guys have come on me before and it’s gross. If they have to do it, do it on my stomach, not my face. It’s belittling”, she shares. “I’ve told guys that I don’t like it and they’re usually respectful of that, but sometimes… they think it’s funny. When it does happen, I remind them I said no for a reason – but what can I do? It’s already on my face.”
Online sex ed
It’s no revelation that porn is easy to access. While men previously had to pass around dog-eared girlie mags, all we need now is an internet connection. Studies have revealed that 47 per cent of porn users watch more than 30 minutes and up to three hours a day. What isn’t so obvious, though, is how it is shaping our bedroom performance. The current generation of young people is the first to be growing up with porn. Porn is, for many, their first introduction to sex, rather than their first exposure being something like kissing their partner.
The problems arise when those who use porn don’t see it as the exaggerated version of sex that it is, and instead watch is as a form of education. Porn does teach men some pretty dodgy ideas, and that does shape some of their sexual practices. Anal intercourse is certainly the one thing that women mention the most when you ask them about impacts of their partner’s porn use. The second is deep fellatio – you know, penis-down-the-throat sex. Another practice is ejaculating on women’s faces and bodies. Lastly, men also become more interested in making their own porn by filming their partners.
There can be benefits to watching porn, like learning about different sexual practices, and giving and receiving pleasure. But when men are presented with a limited representation of what sexual expression is, as is often portrayed in mainstream straight porn, they may develop ideas about sex, sexuality and body image based on that limited representation.
Life imitating porn
When it comes to doing it like they do in the X-rated movies, it seems anal sex is the top prize. Joey used to watch porn every day before getting together with his partner. He now only watches it once a week, he explains, but he still loves the fantasy of it. “I have wanted to re-enact things that I’ve seen. I have had a threesome with a woman and another man. That was alright. I have been masking my girlfriend is she’ll do anal. She won’t do it now, but she’ll work her way to it”, he explains.
Peter was 16 when he first started watching porn, to “show [him] what you’re supposed to do”. Now 37 years and single, Peter still watches porn for inspiration. “I love the fantasy of it, the massive tits. I haven’t tried anal yet, but I want to with the right person.” While women in porn achieve multiple orgasms every time they’re entered from behind – giving men a blasé view of anal – many women have a different perspective. Rosie tried anal sex with her partner when they were drunk one night, after months of him pleading with her to do it. “It was uncomfortable and it hurt”, she says. “I would never do it again – it didn’t feel good at all, and why do something that doesn’t feel good?”
Anal sex itself isn’t a problem – there are plenty of women who enjoy it. The issue is the constant pressure to live up to pornographic sexpectations. Emma has been propositioned by two boyfriends. “One said, ‘Oh, so you have your period, so you want to do it in the other hole?’ The other one told me, ‘I don’t have a condom, let’s just do it the other way.’ I’ve had friends who’ve done it. They told me you need to use a lot of lube and that it will hurt the first few times. But the man has to be patient. These guys didn’t want to wait at all.”
Have a sexy week,
P.S. The influence of pornographic movies goes as far as making some women want to do plastic surgeries… down there, to look more like the porno actresses their partners see in porns. Scary, right?