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Does Porn Sell the Idea that Women Don’t Mean It When They Say “No” to Sex?

By June 10, 2019 No Comments
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We get it—porn is just sexual “fantasy.” But what if the warped “fantasy” version of women shown in porn is normalizing toxic ideas about female sexuality, and cheating generations to come out of appreciating healthy ideas about women and sex? Because, spoiler alert, that’s exactly what’s happening.

In an age when women are gaining more influence in our society, it’s hard to believe how porn can be promoted as being a positive thing for women and an accurate, flattering portrayal of what they’re really like. (And men, too, for that matter.)

While many people have helped to destroy stereotypes about women in so many parts of our society, we seem to have missed one major source: pornography. And while men are also objectified and massively misrepresented in pornography, let’s talk about women for a minute.

Consider Before Consuming

Degrading objectification

Porn sells harmful ideas about women, and they’re actually dangerous for both men and women. Consider what kids are seeing on the regular, these days.

Girls in the upcoming generation are seeing porn, and thinking that unrealistic, airbrushed depictions of the female body are how they are supposed to look, or the exaggerated depictions of sex are how they need to act in a relationship to be a worthy partner.

On the other hand, boys in the upcoming generation are seeing porn, often as their first exposure to sex in general without a frame of reference. Because of this, they too are heavily influenced by it and trained to think porn sex is what real sex is like. How is this healthy?

Men and women, boys and girls, are continually influenced by the pressures porn puts on them, and the misinformation it spreads. We figured it was time to call out these lies about female sexuality and spread the truth, for the good of both women and men.

RelatedHow Porn Dehumanizes Women Through Sexual Objectification

The problem is, porn displays women as simple sex objects who don’t say “no” to sex—even when it’s abusive, painful, humiliating, or degrading—are always willing to please the men/man (or woman) they’re with, and do whatever he or she wants. Her needs, desires, emotional state, and physical state don’t come into play—it’s always about the “other” person, or people.

Is this a healthy depiction of consent and what real sex is like, without conversation, communication, and negotiation included? We don’t think so, either.

Complex sexuality

Let’s get scientific for a moment. In 1966, sexuality researchers Masters and Johnson published a book called Human Sexual Response. They proposed a linear model (like a timeline) for sexual response, moving through four stages: excitement/arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. In 1979, another researcher named Kaplan added the concept of desire, and condensed the stages to three: desire, arousal, and orgasm.

People Are Not Products - Black

While these models were largely helpful in understanding male sexuality, and what works with men in the bedroom, they have posed problems for understanding female sexuality. These models assumed that male and female sexual response are the same, the same idea porn claims. The problem is, many studies have since shown this to be false. Many women don’t actually move through these stages sequentially or progressively, and at times may skip one of the stages. Do we ever see that portrayed in porn? No, likely not.

RelatedStudy: Australians Know Porn Degrades Women, But Still Watch It

In 2001, another researcher named Basson created a new non-linear model for female sexual response which took into account things like emotional intimacy, sexual stimuli, and relationship satisfaction. He found that most women in long-term relationships did not experience spontaneous hunger for sexual activity, but it was often brought on by a desire for emotional closeness. Again, that’s not something that porn takes into account, does it?

RelatedHow Porn Damages Your Sex Life

Explicit lies

Let’s take this science, and apply it back to what porn shows about women.

Porn typically shows women as being immediately aroused and ready to have sex in any encounter—even and especially when it’s painful/abusive/humiliating/degrading. But, as we see in the research, this is usually not how real life plays out. An old saying that your parents probably know is that men are like lightbulbs, and women are like ovens. Lightbulbs light up immediately when you flip the switch, but ovens take time to warm up.

It’s pretty obvious that popular porn genres, like “teen getting punished,” or “extreme brutal gang bang,” don’t take into account the woman’s emotions or state of arousal, let alone her safety or human dignity.

RelatedPopular Porn Site Reveals Women Search For Hardcore Genres More Than You Might Expect

Porn sells the toxic idea that women are always eager and ready to have sex, and that they are very easy to arouse. They never have bad days, they never turn down sex, they never need a break or need time to recover from tearing or bruising, and they never need time to emotionally connect with their partner.

To break it down into simple terms, this creates false expectations of women during sex, selling the idea that they should have sex drives that are always in hyperdrive, regardless of the circumstances or relationship.

This can easily set up porn consumers to have unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of them.

Normalizing Abuse Isnt Normal

Why this matters

While porn portrays women as being simple sex objects that do whatever they’re told, in reality, women have real, unique sexual desires of their own. Sex in a relationship is healthiest when it’s based on intimacy and communication, not just one partner getting their way and the other being unsatisfied, hurt or humiliated. We know this is a “duh” statement, but in our porn-obsessed society, it needs to be said: women are real, complex human beings who deserve respect in and out of the bedroom.

When this is understood and appreciated, it can help build authentic love for real, complex relationships and help decrease the demand for simplistic and unrealistic porn.

RelatedOne Simple Rule That Could Stop The Demand For Sexual Exploitation

If society stops demanding to see women as unthinking, unfeeling sex objects, we believe there will be fewer willing performers and consumers, and the industry will eventually stop providing the content that fits that demand. We must unlearn everything that porn has shown about women, because they are worth more. You with us?

To see the female version of the letter below, click here.

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