Sexual Intelligence

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32 Helpful Things You Can Learn From Porn

Porn--a fantasy--also contains many valuable lessons that sex educators teach

Pornography is not meant to be sex education. It’s fiction, period.

Nevertheless, with the enforced ignorance of abstinence-only sex “education,” most families’ and couples’ discomfort discussing sex seriously, and mainstream Christianity’s taboos about sexual reality, most people find themselves needing more information about sexuality.

If they’re fortunate, they manage to find a smart book or two, a reliable website or two, and maybe even an enlightened, open-minded, communicative sex partner. Anyone lacking all three who wants sex information inevitably turns to porn, whether intentionally or unconsciously.

Unfortunately, many young people don’t realize that porn is not a documentary. Lacking porn literacy or media literacy, they’re ignorant about editing, off-camera preparation, and other normal features of film-making. While some people assume that sex is—or should be—like what they see in porn, every good sex educator cautions against this. The most recent set of caveats comes from my good friend, journalist and sex educator Michael Castleman.

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While I agree with most of his excellent article (I’ve said similar things myself over and over), let’s not forget the helpful things consumers can learn from porn.

This is NOT, NOT, NOT to say that everything people learn from porn is good. Puh-leeze—any 17-year-old who thinks his next girlfriend is dying for anal sex or a chance to blow the pizza delivery guy is in for a shock. And it’s always too bad when men think most women climax from 90 seconds of intercourse (although the antidote is pretty straightforward: simply telling a guy ‘that’s not me,’ no apology necessary).

That said, here’s a reminder of helpful things that porn can teach us about sex.

WAIT, ONE MORE TIME: I know, I know—porn also contains many inaccurate, even egregious lessons. But if we take them seriously—and, fortunately, not every porn consumer believes the fantasies of porn—let’s also take the following positive helpful lessons seriously. Many of these are positive lessons sex educators have been teaching for years:

  • Men can touch their penises during sex
  • Women can touch their vulvas during sex
  • Sex needs lube
  • Spit works for lube
  • Some women sometimes desire sex without romance
  • Telling each other stories can make sex hotter
  • Men can climax using their own hand
  • Some women think about sex in advance
  • Women sometimes insert the penis into their vagina
  • Men sometimes insert their penis into a vagina
  • If the penis comes out during intercourse, you can simply put it back in
  • Some women like fellatio
  • Some women like cunnilingus
  • Some men like fellatio
  • Some men like cunnilingus
  • Some women like anal sex
  • Some men like anal sex
  • Some women use and enjoy vibrators and dildos
  • Some men like their balls squeezed during squeezed
  • Pregnant women can be sexual
  • Whether during intercourse, oral, or manual sex, the clitoris can be important
  • The volume of ejaculate is not related to penis size (or anything else)
  • Sex is more than penis-vagina intercourse
  • Some women have orgasms
  • Some older women are sexual
  • Older women can be attractive to younger men (and vice versa)
  • People can have sex with people of different races
  • People can smile and talk to each other during sex
  • People can indicate to each other what they like during sex
  • Some women shave/wax, others don’t
  • You can happily ejaculate outside a vagina (onto a leg, chest, butt, belly, lower-back tattoo, or your own hand)
  • WHATEVER your sexual fantasy, you’re not the only one who has it

Marty Klein is a certified sex therapist and licensed psychotherapist. He has written five books and 200 articles about sex; his TV appearances include 20/20 andNightline. more...

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