Sex and technology are two things that are paired together almost as often and peanut butter and jelly. In fact, the relationship between sex and technology dates back to the late 1800’s, when the vibrator was invented, and perhaps earlier. However, in recent years, this pairing has become increasingly common all thanks to our dear friend, the World Wide Web. One aspect of online sexual activity is pornography and since the invention of the internet, pornography has become extremely accessible.
Nearly everyone in developed countries now has access to the internet, and as a result pornography is now only a few clicks away. In fact, more than 25 billion X-rated websites exist today with free access to 24-7-365 sexually explicit material, available on everything from desktop computers to smart phones. As a result, majority of people are able to watch any type/genre of porn, in a matter of seconds, for free, in any setting desired.
Based on the ease of watching online pornography, it should come as no surprise that people are watching more porn than ever. In fact, a Canadian study conducted in 2009 sought to compare the views of men in their 20s who (a) had never been exposed to pornography with (b) regular users. However, their project struggled to take off when they failed to find a single young man who had not viewed some type of pornography! Moreover, principal investigator Dr. Lajeunesse concluded that “Guys who do not watch pornography don’t exist!” Keep in mind, however, that men report watching more erotic films and consume more sexuality explicit material than do women, so we would not expect the same trends to exist for women.
So, how does watching all of this porn influence our sex lives? And are the effects of pornography shaping our sex lives in positive or negative ways?
Well, seeing as though most of you reading this electronic blog post have probably viewed porn at one point or another, you most likely are aware that it doesn’t exactly feature the kind of sex most people have in reality. Put differently, pornography can be EXTREMELY unrealistic. For example, actors and actresses in porn often portray an impossible standard, where many of the women have large breasts and next to no body hair, whereas the men often have larger than normal penises. This may produce negative consequences, where men and women may not be satisfied with their bodies as a result.
Porn may also give us unrealistic ideas about the ways in which we should behave during sexual activity. It portrays impractical sexual positions, questionable expressions of pleasure, and behaviours that are undesirable to some. For example, actors and actresses in pornographic videos are often arranged in positions designed for good camera angles (meaning that the only body parts that touch are the genitals). This is not necessarily desirable in reality, in fact one of the great things about sex in direct skin to skin contact. Moreover, actors and actresses in porn often moan as loud as possible and engage in large amounts of dirty talk. They do this because it is entertaining not because they are incredibly aroused. Lastly, people portrayed in pornographic films often engage in external ejaculation, regularly cumming on a partner’s face and/or mouth. Although, this may be pleasurable to some it is not to all. All of these behaviours portrayed in pornography may negatively influence one’s sex life, resulting in uncomfortable sexual positions, unrealistic verbal expectations, and unpleasurable experiences.
Now, I realize that this has painted a pretty glum picture of porn’s influence on reality. However, there are many positive aspects associated with viewing pornography. In particular, it has been suggested that porn can be used as a means for suggesting new sexual activities to a partner and may result in people feeling more comfortable with their sexuality. In addition, pornography can be great tool for people when trying to fill in the gaps in their sexual knowledge. For example, it has been suggested that people learn about varying sexual techniques and sexual positions from watching porn.
So, no matter how you look at it, porn is having a profound impact on our culture and our sexual expression. And like anything, you have to accept the good with the bad. However, remember that pornography does not have all of the answers and if you really want to please your partner, make sure to ask him/her what is desirable/pleasurable. Lastly, remember to be respectful, because everyone is different and sexual preferences vary widely from one person to the next.