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The misconceptions that arise from pornography

Pornography provides boys with completely unrealistic images of women’s sexuality. The female body is sexualised and objectified (projected in way that causes male arousal). Such images give misleading impressions about women’s sexual willingness and availability. This issue needs to be addressed by sex educators if boys are to have healthy relationships and find emotional happiness. Porn shows women doing things that real women do not do. In other words, women are shown as men would like them to be: sexually proactive and enthusiastic. Porn actresses are also portrayed as if they relish all the body fluids that men enjoy including ejaculate and vaginal secretions.

One of the most confusing things about how female sexuality is portrayed in erotic fiction, is the implication that women achieve orgasm by stimulating a variety of different anatomy. Even men cannot achieve this imaginary feat. Equally, we see women apparently achieving orgasm as easily as men do. Without the general all-body tumescence that men have, women have much less sensitivity to touch. Women are shown apparently having orgasms in different positions as well as from totally different stimulation techniques.

In porn, the portrayal of female arousal is based on the resistance scenario. There is an inherent turn-on in the screams, the body straining to escape and the shocked expression of someone being penetrated against their will. A porn actress has an expression of surprise as if she can feel a penis thrusting in her vagina, which she cannot. A woman feels almost no sensation from consensual intercourse. Women are shown tiddling their vulva while facing the audience because this gives male observers the best view. Stimulation of the clitoral glans does not provide amazing pleasure. A responsive woman enjoys orgasm rather than the stimulation that leads to it. Cunnilingus is portrayed as an amazing pleasure when, in truth, there is little sensation.

The problem with visual media is that we don’t know what is happening inside a person’s head. This is confusing for anyone watching because they assume that a woman is responding naturally to stimulation (rather than acting). Even in erotic literature women are portrayed as if they are aroused by real-world erotic stimuli just as men are but this does not reflect reality.

Pornography gives a completely faked portrayal of women’s ability to become aroused with a lover. It also shows women being able to apparently have orgasms almost without end with no recovery time. Responsiveness does not work like this even for men (only rare cases of some young boys).

In porn a woman is shown apparently having almost continuous orgasms during penile thrusting. So-called multiple orgasms have been used to explain how women might do this. Even men enjoy only arousal, rather than orgasm, while they are thrusting. Anyone who has an orgasm does not want to continue with the same stimulation that caused their orgasm. This is the whole point of orgasm: that it releases sexual tension. Women can engage in sexual activity indefinitely with a lover because they are not sexually aroused.

Porn actresses moan intermittently throughout the male performance. They build in some smaller climaxes along the way to bring the man on. It’s as if women are aroused and re-aroused on a never-ending basis until the man has had his orgasm. Finally when the man is about to ejaculate, the woman is miraculously also simultaneously satisfied. Ideally, she brings her vocal accompaniment to a final crescendo coincident with the man’s orgasm. Porno actresses provide vocal accompaniment as a male turn-on. Men don’t have to make all that noise to convince a lover that they have had an orgasm.

Women also offer enticements as a tease. “Come on Big Boy! Come and get me!” Vocals range from “Oh my God!” to “Come on baby. Give it to me!” Porn actresses indicate their sexual willingness by talking dirty or engaging in sex chat. A young man assumes a real woman should provide all the same turn-ons he sees in porn. So some women copy these cries of ecstasy, verbal come-ons and proactive engagement as a turn-on for a lover.

Porn actresses smile or pout. There is a continuous dialogue. They look delectable and their make-up is not even smudged. This is not a realistic portrayal of how anyone achieves orgasm. Anyone who is aiming for orgasm needs to concentrate on the turn-ons and stimulation at hand. Men do not approach sex expecting to need to provide turn-ons for a lover. When a man is heading for orgasm, he may grunt and his face is focussed in concentration.

Men never observe a woman truly having an orgasm so they have nothing to compare porn with. Most women have no idea what an orgasm is either. So although men do not respond in this way, the sounds and images of a woman faking orgasm have become a substitute for the real thing. Women just have to copy what they see in movies or read about in erotic fiction. A woman can provide a male erotic turn-on just by copying the faked orgasms portrayed in porn. Faking also represents a way for a woman to reduce the amount of time that she needs to invest in sexual activity. Hence why faking, and the idea that female orgasm is possible with a lover, is so heavily promoted.

Men are anxious when their penis does not compare well to those shown in pornography. Porn shows men with unusually large (regularly shaped) genitals and a constant erection throughout almost endless sexual activity. Porn actors are chosen for penis size and stamina so that they look good on film. Presumably they also become desensitised over time to the visual turn-ons and the constant stimulation involved in producing a porn movie.

Nothing in porn is real. You need to watch porn knowing that this is all completely fabricated. (Tracey Cox)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)