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7 Differences Between Sex in Porn and Healthy Sex

Here are some common misconceptions porn consumers held about sex in comparison to findings from sexological science.

A recent study exploring young people’s perceptions about sex found that the more someone consumed porn, the more sexually illiterate they tended to be.Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., Herbenick, D., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography vs. sexual science: The role of pornography use and dependency in U.S. teenagers’ sexual illiteracy., 1-22. doi:10.1080/03637751.2021.1987486COPY 

Here are some common misconceptions porn consumers held about sex in comparison to findings from sexological science.

Porn Sex: Rough sex (i.e. sex involving gagging, insults, etc.) is the norm.
Real Sex: Most people prefer gentle, affectionate sex.Herbenick, D., Bowling, J., Fu, T.-C. (J.), Dodge, B., Guerra-Reyes, L., & Sanders, S. (2017). Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLoS ONE, 12(7), Article e0181198. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181198COPY 

Related: 10 Things Porn Gets Completely Wrong About Real Sex

Porn Sex: Women climax easily through vaginal intercourse.
Real Sex: Most women don’t climax easily through vaginal intercourse alone.Herbenick D, Fu TJ, Arter J, Sanders SA, Dodge B. Women's Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94. J Sex Marital Ther. 2018 Feb 17;44(2):201-212. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530. Epub 2017 Aug 9. PMID: 28678639.COPY Shirazi T, Renfro KJ, Lloyd E, Wallen K. Women's Experience of Orgasm During Intercourse: Question Semantics Affect Women's Reports and Men's Estimates of Orgasm Occurrence. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Apr;47(3):605-613. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1102-6. Epub 2017 Oct 27. Erratum in: Arch Sex Behav. 2017 Nov 10;: PMID: 29079939.COPY 

Porn Sex: The bigger the penis, the better the sex.
Real Sex: Sexual satisfaction is not dependent on a partner’s penis size.Lever, J., Frederick, D. A., & Peplau, L. A. (2006). Does size matter? Men's and women's views on penis size across the lifespan. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(3), 129–143. https://doi.org/10.1037/1524-9220.7.3.129COPY Stulhofer A. How (un)important is penis size for women with heterosexual experience? Arch Sex Behav. 2006 Feb;35(1):5-6. doi: 10.1007/s10508-006-8989-7. PMID: 16502148.COPY 

Store - General

Porn Sex: Women commonly “squirt” fluids when they climax.
Real Sex: Few women “squirt.”COPY 

Porn Sex: Most women love anal sex.
Real Sex: Most women do not enjoy anal sex.Herbenick D, Bowling J, Fu TJ, Dodge B, Guerra-Reyes L, Sanders S. Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181198. Published 2017 Jul 20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181198COPY 

Related: Consumers of Extreme Porn Tend to Prefer Porn to Real Sex

Porn Sex: It’s common for men to pursue many sexual partners rather than having a committed sexual partner.
Real Sex: Men are more likely to have monogamous sex than sex with many partners.Levine, E. C., Herbenick, D., Martinez, O., Fu, T. C., & Dodge, B. (2018). Open Relationships, Nonconsensual Nonmonogamy, and Monogamy Among U.S. Adults: Findings from the 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. Archives of sexual behavior, 47(5), 1439–1450. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1178-7COPY 

Porn Sex: Men don’t enjoy “romantic” sex as much as women.
Real Sex: Men enjoy “romantic” sex as much as women.Herbenick D, Bowling J, Fu TJ, Dodge B, Guerra-Reyes L, Sanders S. Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181198. Published 2017 Jul 20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181198COPY 

Related: Why Porn Did the Opposite of Educating Me About Real Sex

Porn spreads a lot of misinformation about sex, and many consumers internalize toxic sexual narratives without even realizing it.

Each individual has unique sexual preferences and boundaries, so ask your partner—not porn—what they like!

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