Porn Sex: The Perpetuation of a Fallacy

lovers-kissing-silhouetteI met a woman several years ago. She was in her early 50’s and confessed after some drinking that she had never had an orgasm. She presented this information in an almost shameful way, and I was uncertain if it was out of embarrassment, or if sex itself was viewed as a shameful act. I was in my early twenties and I could hardly believe what she had revealed. How had this woman, a married woman with children, gone through life and never experienced an orgasm? Her admission made sex sound so much like a chore in a matter of seconds. Her words stripped sex of the joy it was supposed to bring people. It made me wonder about all the ways we rob sex of its true glory. It made me wonder about all of the ways in which we shame our sexuality, or completely miss out on one of life’s greatest shared pleasures.

Trying on sex partners is a lot like searching for a great pair of shoes, but I do not recall ever bragging about a bad fitting pair of shoes.

I’ve had conversations with various types of people about sex, and the thing that strikes me most in those conversations is how very little people seem to understand about sex and their own sexuality. I hear some men talk about the female they’ve slept with like a piece of livestock on a conveyor belt, and the sex they brag about doesn’t sound very exciting at all. Yet, others laugh and join in the conversation like this guy is a sex god. He sounds like a douche to me. He sounds like a guy that probably isn’t very entertaining in bed. It isn’t even that he cannot be exciting. It is that he has chosen to speak of and portray sex like a meaningless and shallow act. He has chosen to portray the person as another notch in the bed post…or car seat.

Sometimes sex is shallow, and that’s all well and good, but when it’s the only conversation you are having on repeat, I have to wonder if that individual really knows what sex is.  He sounds like the hit and run kind of guy that one does not really remember years later. I’ve often wondered why these guys act as if they’ve conquered something…through uneventful sex. On the other hand, women are becoming just as bad in the ways they speak about male partners. As if men are pieces of meat to be devoured and regurgitated. Maybe all of us are missing the bigger picture with regard to sex. Not all sex will be meaningful, of course. Still, all of this boasting about sex like the point is solely sport fucking reminds me of being in High School. I thought becoming an adult meant we had graduated beyond all of that.

At 34 years old, I cannot say that I have had an abundance of great sex. I’ve had my moments, but the bulk of it has been the kind of sex that is rushed, disconnected, and, well…the kind of sex you see in porn. Fast, hard, and over before you have even started to get to the good stuff. Only, here in the real world there is no rewind button to loop or extend the process, and you’re basically just left wondering if the sex was even worth the trouble. It is the kind of sex you expect to have in a one-night-stand, but it is no where near soul shaking. It does not rattle you to the core, and leave you feeling awakened to everything you’ve been missing in life. It is unremarkable, and there are few things to be remembered about those encounters. Trying on sex partners is a lot like searching for a great pair of shoes, but I do not recall ever bragging about a bad fitting pair of shoes.

I do not believe we are meant to connect with every sex partner we have. If that were the case, no one would really be memorable. Still, it seems that this kind of sex exists even in committed relationships, and no one speaks of it as if they are fulfilled. It is mostly referred to as a chore we must complete because it is required. It’s the kind of sex that lacks any real intimacy. It is the kind of sex that we should be having when we barely know someone, and not necessarily the kind we should be having regularly with someone we have spent copious amounts of time with. Even a great pair of shoes have to be broken in, just as meaningful sex takes time and investment.

Shallow sex has a neediness to it, but lacks deep passion. Eventually, that grows arduous and, well… boring. I cannot say for sure if some of the problem lies in our obsession with sex as a culture. These obsessions highlight pornography as being the status quo, but porn sex is a fallacy.  I believe it is in the unrealistic expectation that we lose some of the greatest benefits of connecting with our partner. Playing out fantasies during sex is not the same as living in a fantasy during sex, to be clear. One is sharing something with someone, and the other is a distraction from the one you are with. Likewise, rigorous sex can be really amazing, and should not be confused with what I refer to as “porn” sex. I quite literally am referring to the sex demonstrated in porn.

I once read a biography of a very famous porn star. It was interesting because of the distinction she made between her married life and sex, and her professional life and the sex she was paid to have. She seemed to confirm every belief I had ever had about the sex in pornography. These are paid professionals bending and flexing in uncomfortable positions, moaning and going on and on to show everyone how great the sex is, but apparently, it is just a job and viewed as such. The reality of what is happening on set is that it is apparently incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes an ugly process to get the sex to play out in certain ways on screen. This is likely a thought that any woman who has viewed porn has had, but this was a professional confirming that fact.

I found it difficult to see anything incredibly sexy about porn sex when it was explained extensively.  Sure, there were two naked people, but they were being directed like work horses in order to get the perfect shot. It made the things we do at home seem way more appealing, and pornographic sex seem very complicated and dull. There seemed to be nothing profoundly attractive about it, and the ways that the uncomfortable positions were described from her point of view gave interesting perspective. This major adult film star explained that she is paid to look that way. She is paid to have sex that way. The life she leads at home is worlds away from the sex life she portrays on a movie set. Throw in the chemical mind numbing drugs and alcohol that so many in the adult entertainment industry have claimed to abuse, and I started to wonder halfway through the book why we are such a porn obsessed culture. 

It kills me sometimes to think about how vastly insecure some of us women are during sex. There are those of us who are afraid to be seen. There are those of us who want so badly to be wanted that we will do whatever our partner wants us to do just to be accepted, but we hardly enjoy what is happening. We are afraid to ask for what we want out of sex. We pick ourselves apart about the cellulite we have, or the extra 5 pounds we carry around our stomach. We don’t relax into our sexuality enough to really allow our bodies to be worshipped during sex, or to enjoy the feeling of it all. Because there are those thoughts that keep persisting.  These are thoughts that destroy great sex, and the negative ideas that obliterate intimacy. I wonder if men are thinking some of the same things. Is it these insecurities that perpetuate a fantasy, distract us from what is really happening, and hold us all back from thoroughly enjoying what we’re doing?

When we do these things, we suffocate the passion we should be experiencing beneath all of our insecurities. We kill the connection we should be having with another person. Sometimes it is a matter of having the wrong partner, but if we have someone that truly wants to be with us in that moment, then our focus should not be on all of the things we are worried we lack. Sometimes I wonder what sex would be like if we could shut our minds off like the lamp on the nightstand we have all certainly reached for. Could we enjoy it more if our minds were in the dark instead of turning the lights out on the two bodies engaged in something that should be about pleasure? Would we be able to be supremely connected to what we were doing instead of lost in what our minds were distracting us with?

The negative thoughts we bombard ourselves with are shallow, vain, and ego driven thoughts. They keep us tethered to the surface of the interaction. The passionate sex requires that we go further in, and those thoughts will not allow for that. All of us have had them for whatever reasons we’ve had. Maybe it was a partner whose actions made us feel like we are not enough. Maybe it is the guy who expects sex to be like a scene played out in a porn film. Perhaps it is the images of sexualized women splashed across magazines, and social media that we simply cannot avoid in an oversexed society. Or maybe it’s just the lifetime programming we’ve received about what sex is supposed to be versus what it really is between two people. Really, life is just too short to be having bad or disconnected sex all of the time. It seems odd to me that sex is such a huge part of the world we live in, and yet we still seem to understand so little about it.

I believe listening to how people speak of sex says a lot about the kind of sex so many of us are not having. I have heard both men and women talk about how uninterested they are, or have become, in sex.  Humans have a need to connect and be connected. We search for that in others, and sex is one of the more intimate ways in which we connect with our partners. I find it difficult to understand how someone could become disinterested in something that can be an intimate portal to another person. Sexuality is such a sacred thing, and discovering it with someone else is an amazing experience. I am aware that some people have lower sex drives than others, but I have to wonder if the disinterest some show has more to do with never having experienced really great, deeply involved and connected sex.

On the other side of the coin, I have listened to individuals speak of sex in such a way that I have become engrossed in the beautiful ways in which they describe the experience. I have read the way some describe soul awakening experiences through sex, and these are not the kind of stories you’ll read in Playboy or Hustler. Those renditions, and often fictional stories, are titillating, no doubt, but they are stories of naughty encounters that often lead to shallow sex. These stories do not speak of the kind of sex that completely strips you and leaves you open and vulnerable.  There is something deeply erotic about becoming so entangled in another person during sex, and I wonder how many of us miss this opportunity because we are entangled in our own negative thoughts, or unrealistic expectations.

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I have experienced great sex, but I also wonder if there isn’t something more to the things these new age people are preaching when it comes to sex. Have I really reached the peak of great sex, or is there another level to be explored? Have I truly let my guard down and discarded the fantasy? The idea is that sex is not this purely physical thing. This is a researched and demonstrated fact in sexual interaction. The enjoyment of sex is a largely mental thing, and in that understanding, really great sex requires a very strong mental connection to the person we are with and to what we are doing. If we consider this fact, it means that any kind of sex we are having could potentially be really amazing.

I believe the point is to openly explore our sexuality and become comfortable in it. The point is keeping the focus on the feelings and not on physical appearances, or insecurities. It is about letting our minds take the lead instead of intensely focusing on the physical motions and mechanics. It is about being completely present in the moment. If we could avoid the habit of comparing, fantasizing, and nit-picking, could we all be having amazing sex?

If we were busy becoming a good sexual partner, and fulfilling our partner sexually, would any of us have the time to be investing in the fantasy?

The thing that has puzzled me the most in exploring the ways in which our culture views sex is that so many of us engage in searching out the fantasy, and neglect the partners standing in front of us. We overlook these sexual beings in our lives while entertaining an unrealistic idea of what sex and a sexual partner should be. I cannot help but ask, if we were busy becoming a good sexual partner, and fulfilling our partner sexually, would any of us have the time to be investing in the fantasy? For that matter, would we even want to? It stands to reason that if we are busy tending our own gardens, we are certainly too busy to be worried about comparing it to or digging around in someone else’s.

Maybe it does not require sleeping with the beefy, sexed up guy, or the overly made up temptress in tight clothes at all. It is entirely possible that letting go of the fantasy, and really appreciating the partner one actually has could lead to much better sexual experiences. Perhaps it means looking past all of the physical changes and challenges we experience over the years, and understanding that we are still incredibly sexy precisely BECAUSE of the years we have together. The potential for great sex is more promising because of the history shared. I argue that this is better than the fantasy because it is tangible. Each is simply waiting for someone to open their minds, and give them the kind of sexual experiences most people only read about.

If sex were more about a meeting of the minds instead of the physical composition of two bodies, perhaps every kind of sex would be an amazing encounter between two people. It would be a simple matter of being completely focused on and in tune with what was currently happening instead of being completely disconnected from it. Perhaps it is as simple as allowing our minds to go dark of everything we think we know about sex, and being fully present in what we’re doing with the person we are with.  What the sex looks like really doesn’t matter anyway because looks can be deceiving.

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