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Porn and Erotica in Sex Play

 
I want to first make it clear this blog does not advocate a position on benefits or detriments of pornography use. In this blog, I aim to provide a set of strategies people can use to assist them to discuss the use of pornography and/or erotica in sex play.

 
Pornography use is highly controversial. Erotica is also controversial. The debate about the differences is endless and inconclusive. For now I will define difference as erotica as alluding to a sexual act and pornography as explicitly a sexual act. If you are interested in the definitions and differences of pornography and erotica you might like to consider Nigel Pope and colleagues article on this matter.

 

Pornography is Not Real

Pornography is not real: it is fantasy. I often find myself asking clients if they have ever watched Spiderman. I follow this up with a second question: Do you try to climb the walls afterwards [like Spiderman can]? Of course not is the standard reply; it’s a movie, it’s not real! And so is pornography.

 
Pornography is a movie with explicit sexual content. It has actors, camera operators, directors, producers, lighting people – you are getting the drift. The actors act (yeah, yeah, I know some of you want to challenge the quality of acting). Bottom line is pornography is fantasy; pornography is not real; it is filmed in segments and edited together to create the “storyline”.

 
The problem I see and hear in practice is that for some people they use pornography for educational purposes. This is about the lack of sexuality education and this is the responsibility of society. If people are provided with good sexuality education and also learn about porn literacy (it is a film; it is fantasy; it is not real) then maybe we would see a shift in the impact of pornography.

 
Remember: Porn is a fantasy; it is not real.

 

Who Watches Porn?

According to the Australian Study of Health and Relationships 63% of men and 20% of women looked at pornography with 31% of men and 9% of women reporting they had watched an x-rated movie (1).

 
Remember: It is common; but not that common that “everyone is doing it”.

 

Not Everyone is into Pornography

So about two-thirds of men and one-fifth of women have watched porn. People’s attitudes and beliefs also affect their desire to watch porn. Looking at the recent data from the Australian Study in Health and Relationships, around 42% of men and 49% of women believed pornography was degrading to the women in it (vs. 42% of men and 30% of women who disagreed with the statement); and 30% of men and 37% of women thought pornography degraded the men in it it (vs. 54% of men and 42% of women who did not support the idea) (2).

 
Remember: Pornography is not everyone’s cup of tea; some people find it degrading.

 

Can pornography Help a Relationship?

This is the contentious question. For some people yes; for other people no. This depends on people’s beliefs and attitudes toward pornography. When the Australian population was surveyed, 66% of men and 54% of women who thought pornography could improve sexual relations among adults (2). Pornography is not a substitute for good sexuality education, yet it can add spice to the sexual relationship when both partners are on the same wavelength.

 

Introducing Pornography into your Relationship

Pornography can be good for your relationship. It must not be threatening to either partner. Pornography can provide a platform to talk about sex and sexuality. It can be fun to watch the poor acting together and laugh about it. Pornography can also offer a way to talk about fantasies.
Pornography can of course also be a threat to an individual. Some women worry about do they look like the porn actors on the screen; or they should be able to do what the actors are doing. These actors are employed because they do what they do and they look how they look.

 
Some men worry about that their penis is not as big as those on the porn actors; or they cannot last as long as the porn actor. This is a movie; not real life. It is filmed with multiple cameras; in segments and edited together to create the scene you are watching. The men are selected for their penis size. A large penis can be more painful during penetrative sex.

 
Remember pornography is actors portraying a fantasy; telling a story. It is a created medium like any other film. The sex therefore is not real. I always advise proceed with caution when trying to re-create a scene.

 

Get Your Thoughts Organised

Spend some time preparing your thoughts on the topic. What is it you are asking of your partner? What is it you are proposing to do? Why do you want to do it?

 

Use your Good Communication Skills

Good communication is the key to a successful relationship; and the key to discussing pornography.
Be prepared for your partner to raise issues and concerns. Listen and reflect or paraphrase to demonstrate good active listening. Be open to all ideas. Avoid judging your partner.

 

So your Partner says Yes – Now What?

Set some ground rules. Discuss the limits; or potential no-go areas. Part of this process is working out your boundaries. How will one person communicate that they want to stop watching, while respecting the other person’s interest?

 
Set the mood – you both need to be comfortable – emotionally and physically. Grab the laptop or tablet and sit some together in a comfortable place.

 
Explore together – there are many free websites which provide homemade and ethical commercial porn clips to watch. Discuss what you might like to watch, and what your approach to selecting a site will be. An ethical approach to watching porn is to pay for it; this way the actors and crew can make a living. There are Australian ethical pornographers, many of them women. Find a website and look at some of the categories of pornography. Talk about them and your thoughts about them.

 
Watch together Watch the pornography together. For first-timers and recent-adoptees I recommend not one person watch porn while the other performs a sexual act. Pornography is about fostering togetherness.

 
Have fun – Remember it is about having healthy fun.

 

There is No Right or Wrong

If the action is legal in your viewing jurisdiction then it is legal. It is not about right and wrong. It is about likes and dislikes. Partners need to be able to respect differences. Also I want to finish up with that a person who does not wish to watch porn is no more wrong or right than the person who does wish to watch porn. We are all different and need to work with our differences.

 
Pornography can be good for your relationship when approached in a healthy and respectful way. Pornography is not real and is not a substitute for sexuality education. A healthy relationship has a healthy sexuality. A healthy sexuality is based on healthy actions and behaviours. Explore together, have fun and communicate.

 
Enjoy!
Dr Christopher

 
 
Dr Christopher Fox is a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist at Sex Life Therapy in Melbourne. He has clinics in East Melbourne and Frankston.

 
 
References
(1) Richters, J., de Visser, R.O., Badock, P.B., Smith, A.M.A., Rissel, C., Simpson, J.M., & Grulich, A. E. (2014). Masturbation, paying for sex and other sexual acitivities: The second Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Sexual Health, 11, 461-471.
(2) de Visser, R.O., Badock, P.B., Simpson, J.M., Grulich, A. E., Smith, A.M.A., Richters, J., & Rissel, C. (2014). Attitudes toward sex and relationships: The second Australian study of health and relationships. Sexual Health, 11, 397-405.

 
 
Disclaimer: The information contained in this document should be read as general in nature and is only to provide an overview of the subject matter covered. Please read product packaging carefully and follow all instructions.

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