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Being Anti-Porn and Pro-Sex is Not Only Possible, It’s Necessary

Porn divides people in relationships, stunts sexual pleasure, and messes with consumers’ arousal and sexual function. Wouldn’t that make it sex-negative?

By September 3, 2021No Comments

When most people think of the term anti­-porn, they tend to automatically think that means anti-­sex. Images of people shaming others for their sexual relationships probably come to mind when people picture anti-porn organizations.

But when it comes to Fight the New Drug, that’s not what we’re about.

We are all about infusing more sexiness into the world. One reason why we raise awareness on the harmful effects of porn is because research shows how it negatively impacts the sexual health of individuals and hurts intimate relationships.

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What makes FTND so sex-positive?

As humans, we are wired to sexually connect with another person and express deep feelings through physicality.

We are a pro-healthy sex and a sex-positive organization because we view sex as something that’s a natural and normal part of romantic relationships.

Sex is an extension of expression and love, and it’s an essential part of committed, loving relationships. It should be freely discussed without awkwardness or shame attached. We value consensual relationships, and consider sex as a healthy part of life that consenting partners can enjoy.

While all of that is healthy, research is showing how porn does not contribute to sexual health in relationships.

Related: Why Quitting Porn Is Like Giving A Sex-Positive Gift To Your Relationship

Pornography is an overly-produced and unnatural product people use to satisfy a natural desire, if only temporarily. Much like eating food is a need we all have, this doesn’t mean a frequent diet of Twinkies is a natural or healthy way to satisfy hunger.

Ironically, despite porn’s promise of improving consumers’ sex lives, there is growing evidence that porn consumption is linked to sexual dysfunction. Research indicates that compulsive pornography consumption is directly related to erectile dysfunction,Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs6030017COPY  sexual dysfunction for both men and women,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  problems with arousal and sexual performance,Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J. A., & Ezzell, M. B. (2016). Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 983–994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2COPY  difficulty reaching orgasm,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  and decreased sexual satisfaction.Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64COPY 

In one neuroscientific study on compulsive pornography consumers, researchers found that in 11 out of 19 subjects, porn consumption had lowered the consumers’ sex drive and/or ability to maintain arousal in real-life sexual encounters, yet were still able to sexually respond to porn.Voon, V., et al. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), e102419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102419COPY 

Related: 3 Reasons Why Not Watching Porn Is Sex-Positive

As we said, while sex is natural and normal, porn is something entirely different. Make no mistake, porn is a product. Pornographers have a lot to gain by driving traffic to their sites, so they dress up their product to grab your attention. That “dressing up” is exactly what makes porn so unnatural.

Conversely, love and real relationships pave the way for the best and most meaningful sex that humans can experience, much more than porn can.

So with all this information in mind, how does that change the definition of what’s actually sex-positive and sex-promoting in relationships?

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Authenticity is sex-positive.
Porn is not real. It’s literally pixels on a screen made by a stranger that is acting, has been edited, photoshopped, and altered. There is nothing real about it.

Love, however, is very much real and very much satisfying. While the fakeness of porn can drive partners apart and bring comparison in the relationships that will kill passion, love and authenticity only serve to pave the way for satisfying sexual health.

Real love is sex-positive.
Porn cannot love you back and meet your needs. Porn leaves consumers more lonely than before because it’s just a reminder that they don’t have a person to share real-life intimacy experiences with.

Love is the most worthwhile pursuit in the world, while porn is just an empty waste of time and energy. Love opens the door for more meaningful sexual encounters with your partner, while porn drives a wedge between partners.

Trust is sex-positive.
Porn introduces secrecy and shame in a relationship, and ultimately dissolves trust. Partners often feel betrayed when they learn their loved one seeks out other people’s naked bodies, leaving distance and frustration in the partnership.

Porn damages relationships and destroys intimacy, but trust encourages safe and consensual sex within relationships.

Care is sex-positive.
Porn doesn’t care about you, aside from what’s in your wallet. The porn industry’s only goal is to keep you coming back for more so they can continue making money off of your clicks and views. Porn couldn’t care less if it ruins your life or relationships while you seek more and more of their product.

Real, caring relationships physically connect and consider the value of people as more than a collection of body parts to be used and discarded.

Related: 5 Essential Sex-Positive Traits That Mainstream Porn Doesn’t Support

Focus is sex-positive.
Porn will not focus on you, while a committed partner will have your back and love you through life. Porn offers a few minutes of self-focused pleasure, and then disappears as soon as the web page is closed.

The performers will never know consumers’ names, and porn producers only want to give the illusion of connection. But it’s not real, and none of them are committed to any one consumer, but focus and fidelity and knowing your partner only has eyes for you is more than sexy.

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Porn is not truly sex-positive

Some might think, “porn is sexy and sex-positive to me,” but we would ask the following question to those people: if porn is so sex-positive, why does research continually show that it harms the sexual health and satisfaction of its consumers?

Given how porn divides people in relationships, stunts sexual pleasure, and messes with consumers’ arousal and sexual function, it’s clear porn is anything but sex-positive, once you look past the surface.

Related: “No” Means “Yes”: 6 Messed-Up Ideas About Sex That Porn Normalizes

So, is being anti-porn sex-positive? We think the answer is obvious.

The kind of sexual “intimacy” porn offers is nothing more than empty sexual stimulation, while real intimacy offers so much more. Real connection is a world of satisfaction and excitement that doesn’t disappear when the screen goes off. It’s the breathtaking risk of being vulnerable with another human being. It’s inviting them not just into your bed, but into your heart and life.

Real intimacy is about what we give, not just what we get. It’s other-centered, not self-centered. Intimacy is understanding someone at a level porn never attempts, and having the life-altering experience of having them listen—really listen—to you in return. It’s seeing yourself through other eyes, and caring about others as much as you care about yourself.

We are pro-sex and anti-porn.

And we say, keep it sexy.

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