Yes, Watching Porn Can Make Your Life Better
I recently read a New York Times piece blaming pornography for the rise in labiaplasty in teenagers, and I read an Elle magazine article that pointed the finger at BDSM pornography as a cause of physically abusive relationships.
Firstly, who the hell is paying for 16-year-olds to get their pussy lips cut off, and secondly, violence against women has obviously existed since well before the Old Testament — and Game of Thrones — were written.
I insist, my fellow millennials, porn has value!
I grow weary of those clickbait articles that blame porn for the destruction of modern society. I asked three porn stars, my friends, and one professor for their input on the value of pornography. Here’s what they had to say.
Porn shows us what human bodies look like
Sara Beth is a 25-year-old who watches porn about three times a week. “As a teenager,” she said, “I used to dislike my labia because I felt like I was too ‘lippy.’ I hadn’t seen many other naked bodies until I started watching porn.” Porn sites that are user submitted, such as YouPorn and Chaturbate, showcase a wider variety than the typical “porn star” tan and slender body types. (Although we love those too!)
Porn can encourage couples bonding
“Specifically,” said Dr. Eric Sprankle, assistant professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies at Minnesota State University, “porn use has been associated with increased sexual and identity validation, increased sexual communication, and increased sexual satisfaction when couples view porn together. It has also been found to provide individuals and couples with ideas to expand their sexual repertoire.”
“I’ve saved a few marriages between people who just needed a bridge to communicate on.” — Lance Hart
Porn star Lance Hart can attest to this: “I get frequent emails from men, women, and trans people thanking me for making the porn that I make,” he said. “Often they thank me for making pegging sexy and less scary. Apparently I’ve saved a few marriages between people who just needed a bridge to communicate on. Watching my porn together got them to speak honestly about what they want.”
Porn gives us ideas about new things to try
Bondage. Wrestling as foreplay. Role-play. Who else has found some creative inspiration by watching others?
“Watching porn turned me on to new fetishes,” said performance artist Madison Young, “opening [up a] world of sexual fetishes and kinks that I never knew existed. Seeing other women boldly express their own sexuality and kinks in a fearless and unapologetic way, gave me courage to radically pursue my own pleasure and kinky desires both on and off camera.”
If you’re athletic or just want to give yourself a compressed spine, wacky physical positions are one easy way to liven up your domestic life.
Porn brings our fantasies to life
So, I’ve never fucked my pizza delivery guy or my plumber — and most of us never will. Still: viewing an unlikely scenario can be thrilling and safe. “I enjoy webcam porn,” said Tyler, a 30-year-old, hetero male, “and I have learned that I enjoy watching pegging. I think I’d be interested in trying it someday with an open-minded and experienced partner. But I also enjoy transgender female porn, and I don’t know that I’d ever experience these things in practice. But I am able to masturbate to them whenever I want.”
“Porn can benefit individuals in relationships where a desire and/or arousal discrepancy exists.”
Dr. Sprankle adds: “Furthermore, porn can benefit individuals in relationships where a desire and/or arousal discrepancy exists. For example, if someone had urophilic interests (i.e., golden showers, water sports, etc.), but their partner was like ‘not a chance,’ porn that depicted this behavior can serve as an outlet to meet this sexual need, especially if the couple is monogamous and the need cannot be met by another person with a shared interest.”
Porn allows us to discover what we don’t like, before experiencing it
The first time I ever saw spitting in porn, I was horrified and realized that globs of saliva on my genitals sounded atrocious. So it should be no surprise that the first (and only) time that a boyfriend spit on my vulva during oral sex, I gagged, and yelled at him. It turns out I don’t like spitting! Now that I know this, I can adequately warn my IRL partners, BEFORE they ruin my day.
Porn allows us to discover what we have in common with other people
“One fangirl showed a guy that she liked a video of me doing fetish stuff,” said Lance Hart. “As it turns out, they were both into the same kinks! They hooked up right away, and are now engaged and really happy.”
Porn fills a void for those of us who don’t have [much] sex
Michelle is 39 and watches porn about twice a week. “I haven’t had sex in about a year,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to enjoy the idea of scenarios without the risks or bullshit involved in the real-world experience. Less messy, too.”
Jerry is 58 and lives with multiple sclerosis. “I haven’t been able to get hard for a few years,” he said, “and while I can pleasure my wife, it’s still nice to be able to watch porn and recall my glory days.”
Me? I just sit in front of the laptop and need little “breaks” after an hour or so of typing.
There’s no data definitively proving porn is bad
Dr. Sprankle finished me off with some wise words, “Although porn is often perceived to be a harmful and toxic substance, with some even comparing to it cigarettes, the data to support such fear-mongering claims are lacking. And while some research has shown a correlation between viewing porn and some negative health outcomes, other research has found positive correlations.”
“Porn can have value, but don’t rely on entertainment to educate you entirely.”
Oh, and one last thing, figure out if your porn is meant to be informative, or if it’s meant to be a wild visual ride.
Consider this: if you’re looking to learn how to drive a car, you’re better off watching instructional DMV videos, rather than a NASCAR race. Sex is no different; and by that I mean, please do not take all things literally. If you’re looking to be a good lover, slow down and pay attention to your instruments — aka the human body. If we’ve learned nothing else, porn can have value, but don’t rely on entertainment to educate you entirely. And please understand that kinky internet clips fall further on the side of things fast and furious.
In the end, porn haters gon’ hate, and porn star Tasha Reign had some very zen advice. “The best part of sex, is the passion that one feels in the moment. By performing I learned to be in the moment: in sex, in porn, in life. Life is short, so short, in fact, that you have to do what makes you happy.”
Originally published 7/11/2016 on Thrillist.com