7 Things I Want This Woman to Know About Porn

7 Things I Want This Woman to Know About Porn

Op-Ed: 7 Things I Want This Woman to Know About Porn

CYBERSPACE—A couple of weeks or so ago, Alternet reprinted an article from the Mamamia.com website titled, "7 Things I Want My Son to Know About Porn." Why Alternet reprinted this article is unknown, but clearly, whoever made the decision knew little about porn—much as is the case with the article's author, Harriet Pawson.

We won't speculate why Pawson won't have this discussion face-to-face with her son—unless it's that she's afraid of the questions he might ask if given the opportunity. But of course, we're well aware of the millions of households in the U.S. with children approaching pubescence, who will never receive a letter like this, much less have a discussion on the subject with either parent—most of whom are too poorly sexually-educated to have such a discussion anyway.

Readers can view Pawson's article here, and what follows is this author's analysis of the article's main flaws, which were also posted in the article's comments section. (And don't miss checking out the Cindy Gallop video at the end, which also contains its share of misinformation.):

As someone who works in the porn industry, how about if we take Pawson's objections to porn one by one?:

1) "Porn is not real sex." Well, if by "real sex," Pawson means unpaid sex, she's correct. But the people having what is in fact real sex on camera are often off-screen lovers or married couples, and there's been a concerted effort in recent years to depict the sex as something real-life young adults would engage in, though likely for shorter periods of time than shown in the movies. And it's a proven fact that older couples who watch porn often adopt positions they see but haven't ever tried into their own sex lives.

2 and 3) While it's true that non-actors should not compare their own physical characteristics to those of actors (who, after all, are generally chosen for their societally-approved good looks), the main reason men shave their pubic hair is for comfort, and the comfort of their partners, who don't wish to get such hair stuck in their teeth. Women shave for the same reasons, although that hairlessness is a fortunate side effect. Also, modern porn has many women who have not had their breasts enlarged, in part because of a growing fandom for natural breasts. Perhaps the most important point: The vast majority of women in porn have not had their vaginas surgically altered. In fact, it's incredibly rare. But to state that there's "nothing remotely natural about most of the bodies you see in porn" is simply not true!

4) Many women in porn do fake orgasms, but not nearly as many as Pawson would have her readers believe. As a journalist covering the porn industry, I have been present on many film sets and the number of real orgasms had by female actors is probably close to 50 percent of the total number depicted, especially in "girl/girl" movies. Many women get into porn because they actually like sex and want to experience sex with a large number of partners, often both male and female—and they like it!

5) It's true that no one wants a partner who fakes enjoying sex. Trouble is, Pawson assumes that most porn performers don't enjoy sex, when in fact they do. And while it's true that many women like a lot of foreplay, many others don't care one way or the other—and the current most popular genres of porn—romance stories from companies like New Sensations and Wicked Pictures—feature a fair amount of foreplay.

6) I have to wonder on what basis Pawson can decide what "many women... are not OK with" when it comes to sex acts. Porn videos are not sex-education tapes, any more than the latest Die Hard movie is indicative of the typical day's work of New York City police (or the CIA or whoever John McClane is working for these days). Porn movies display a variety of sexual acts; they don't prescribe them. If a couple (or threesome or more-some) can't decide what sex acts give both/all of them pleasure, they probably shouldn't do them. On the other hand, many women (and men) do enjoy anal sex once they've tried it—but again, a determination not to try a particular sex act is something every person should respect.
Regarding Pawson's admonition to "Always ask first," it's not just young adults who need to hear that; plenty of oldsters assume their partners will go for things that in fact they don't like. Conversely, many people who have been convinced to try a particular act have wound up liking it. As for performers being paid more to do anal, it's not because most of them don't like it (they do); it's because it's an unusual sex act that many if not most people have never tried in their personal lives, and the rarity of it in "real life" is part of the reason people watch porn: They fantasize about doing it, and porn lets them see that fantasy on the screen. In a sense, it's why stunt people in Hollywood get paid more to perform unusual acrobatics: Such moves are rarely seen in real life. And rest assured, almost no one likes semen in the eye, especially when there are many places on the body to deposit it, and many women in porn will NOT do facials.
Finally, there are plenty of people out there (including a fair number of elected officials) who have sexual fetishes they will go out of their way to find partners for in real life, but at least, if they can't find a willing partner, porn will help assuage the urges—and yes, that includes bondage, domination, spanking, "water sports," diaper play and just about any human act a person can imagine. Again, always ask first!

7) If Pawson really wanted to teach her son a lesson about porn, the first thing out of her mouth should be, "You will probably not find that all of the sex acts in the movie turn you on, and you may even think some of them are stupid or hurtful. That's when you need to realize that what you're watching is fiction, a fantasy that people are paid to engage in"—but to assume that he won't like certain acts that he sees on the screen is to assume that his tastes in sexual activity reflect either Pawson's own or the ones that "polite society" is willing to admit that it enjoys. And the truth is, many people's sexual tastes are much more complicated than that, so attempting to prejudge a particular act as "loathed by many" is a surreptitious attempt to limit the kid's sexual freedom and, perhaps more importantly, sexual imagination—and why would she want to do that unless she has an unspoken agenda?

Just a few ideas to mull over...

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