Blaming Porn for Bad Sex

Men who act like oafs in bed are idiots, and need lessons in being a gentlemen, in and out of bed. But let's stop blaming this age-old problem on pornography, and place the responsibility where it truly lies - on a lack of sex education, poor communication and assumptions by both men and women that great sex "just happens." Read More

I like your fair minded approach to this charged topic.

David,
I like your fair minded approach to this charged topic.

"BOTH people in bed are responsible for themselves, and for communicating with their partner. This is one of the key points missing in most porn."

Sex, like all forms of relationships is about communication, or the lack thereof.
Porn posits a scripted sexual dialogue.
And, may not make for a worthwhile model of mutuality.

Since I am a child and adult psychiatrist, the world of play comes to mind in this conversation about sex.

In the sandbox, if one kid takes over, it's not always so great for his or her playmate.
But, when they mutually create play in the here and now, it can go on forever.

To me, we are grownup versions of these children.
Our play is through our imagination, erotic zones and through love.

Mark

ps: Read the posts on my blog. They are excellent. And, you would agree with some of them.

https://my.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201403/are-t...

Thanks Mark

I appreciate your comments. My link to your article wasn't to necessarily disagree with your thoughts, but solely because I got a notice that you had referenced my writing in your blog, just as I was corresponding about the issue.

cheers.
david

Couldn't agree more

David - thanks for this piece. Just to clarify - MakeLoveNotPorn is entirely gender-equal, because as you say this is a two-way street (I talk to many men who say, 'My girlfriends are doing everything they see in porn, and it's getting in the way of a real connection'). Also, again as you say, MakeLoveNotPorn is not anti-porn, because the issue isn't porn. The issue is the lack of an open, healthy dialogue around sex in the real world, which if we had it, would, amongst many other benefits, also mean people would bring a real world mindset to the viewing of artificial entertainment. Our tagline is 'Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference', and our message is simply 'Talk about it' - precisely as you emphasize.

More detail here in my SXSW talk on 'The Future Of Porn':

http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/news/2013/cindy-gallop-celebrates-real-l...

and on our blog:

http://talkabout.makelovenotporn.tv/

Thanks Cindy

I'm thrilled to hear from you, and very happy that you enjoyed the piece, and my reference to you/your site.

thanks again for what you do, to further the conversation in a non-shaming manner.

cheers.
david

This is one of the few

This is one of the few intelligent and accurate articles on this website. Then again, it's also one of the few that's actually written by someone with a Ph.D. - ironic considering the name of the site.

Please help me understand

Please help me understand this…

You said:

“However, I’m skeptical of the degree to which porn is a scapegoat. It's a distraction, and a simplistic answer to blame porn alone for these problems.”

Then you said:

“This suggests to me that the real complaint here is an age-old issue of sexual communication and reciprocity between men and women.”

Stay with me here, then you said this referring to the previously quoted statement:

“Today these problems are blamed on porn.”

And finally, then you said:

“BOTH people in bed are responsible for themselves, and for communicating with their partner. This is one of the key points missing in most porn. Most porn conveys a fantasy, that earth-shattering sex can occur without communication, undue effort, and without a whole lot of thoughtfulness or insight (romance literature and romantic movies typically present the same fantasy, in less-graphic ways).”

So porn doesn’t show good sexual communication but it is more like an excuse than a reason for “the real complaint” that “is an age-old issue of sexual communication and reciprocity between men and women”?

How skeptical are you really? People are watching bad bed behavior in porn and then mimic that in their own lives. Seems simple enough.

“A man who acts like this has never been taught to be a gentleman, and is an insensitive lout who need serious help understanding relationships, sexuality, communication and how to have a reciprocal experience in bed.”

You say these men have never been taught to be gentlemen, but what is teaching them to not be gentlemen? Who or what is teaching them how to treat a woman in bed? I’m not saying it is solely porn either – sure some parents and our culture may not do a great job but neither explicitly show how its done quite like porn which is watching the actual act of sex. I had the birds and bees talk with my parents once but they didn’t show me what how to interact and do it. I’ve watched raunchy movies but they don’t compare to the scenes of pornography. So if it’s my first time to have sex and experience the act for myself, where are my preconceived notions or expectations coming from? Sure some men could have neither of these but is their first innate action to start degrading the woman in front of them or hurting them with sex?

Or are you saying our natural inclination is to act like porn stars or use bad bed behavior if we aren’t taught the right way and don’t watch porn? Point is our ideas come from somewhere. I didn’t know that anal sex was a thing until I watched porn. I tried it on a past girlfriend because I had seen it before. Had I not seen it, I would never have known to try it in the first place. I asked her if I could, she said okay. Ended up hurting her badly. We communicated and things still went wrong. Porn still influenced my actions of asking her and my wanting to try it in the first place but communication doesn’t completely solve the problem. Bottom line, I’ve tried this and other things because of watching porn. Not proud of any of it, and I no longer desire to do anal since I’ve stopped watching it. No one knows what he or she doesn’t know. So how does one know what they know? We know because we learned it from somewhere.

Mary Stopes admits that men bring misconceptions they learned from prostitutes, and I’m sure this still is true today. Porn is a misconception too, no? Therefore those watching porn have a skewed idea too when they approach the real thing. This isn’t some far-out-there claim.

“Today these problems are blamed on porn. I agree that men, and young people in general, desperately need real, modern, practical education about sexuality and relationships.”

You act like porn is an excuse, but why can’t it be a reason? What’s wrong with it being a reason? People are influenced by lots of things (e.g. media, Hollywood, etc.) especially what they purposefully consume. Garbage in, garbage out. Tons of men are watching bad bed behavior so what do you expect the result to be? Or are you saying porn has no affect on a man?

Well Said!

I agree with much of what Dr. Ley says about the need for communication and personal responsibility. However, I do feel like he is glossing over the very real impact of having myriad models of unrealistic/negative sexuality so readily accessible.

This article is utter bollocks. An academic in an ivory tower

I'm a recovering porn addict and I can state categorically that my porn use negatively affected my marriage by normalizing behaviors that I first learned from porn.

It was from porn I learned about anal and talked my wife into trying it. When she finally relented, it was physically painful for her. I'm ashamed to say it didn't make me stop. This is going to sound horrible, and it is, but it was actually exciting to feel like I had enough 'meat' to make a woman hurt. See, all the most exciting stuff is when there's force and pain involved, but only for the woman, you understand. A real man is supposed to do the hurting, not get hurt. I know this is true because nearly every porn clip shows it as such and I've never seen real people having sex so how could I compare?

Needless to say, I'm divorced. The porn use got heavier, my interest in real sex waned because it felt so utterly bland. She wouldn't submit to the fun stuff I wanted - and eventually needed - to get off. No self-respecting human is going to submit to that kind of contemptuous treatment from her partner. Trouble is, I only know this now. Realizing it back then would have my wife and young daughters still part of my life.

my reply.

social media plays a huge role in the destruction of healthy relationships and sexuality. To me this is a huge distraction that takes away from the beauty of a healthy sexual relationship. As long as people have social media and porn how can any relationship survive? As long as men have the option to have something new and something better at any given moment the relationship will eventually cease to exist because what woman in their right mind will tolerate such behavior? People wonder why the divorce rate is so high.... blame it on temptation and the need for porn. As for both people needing to speak up I am in total agreement. sex is a two way street if a man won't take the time to make sure I am satisfied why should I give 100% in bed. It doesn't work that way for me. It should always be reciprocated. true story.