Porn Is Not Coming for Our Sex Lives

Apr 6, 2015
Op/Ed
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sex lives

A favorite activity of mine in college was suggesting that we watch the high-budget porn film Pirates to friends and new acquaintances when they came to my apartment. Pirates was a delightful pornographic romp on the high seas complete with a world domination plot, plenty of maritime innuendo, and the occasional use of candles during coitus. Pirates, you see, was also a period piece. Once during a party we were throwing, my roommate and I put it on in his bedroom so that a handful of our guests could see what we were gushing about.

While most people were as entertained as I had hoped, one guy left as soon as the first sex scene began. When I followed him out to make sure we hadn’t made him uncomfortable, he assured me that it had not been offensive. When I asked if he was sure, he revealed that his new girlfriend insisted that he never watch porn because she considered it a form of infidelity. Ever the lady, I asked, “Then what do you masturbate to?” He revealed that masturbation too was forbidden because his girlfriend considered acting on sexual desire outside of their relationship to be cheating. In a moment of uncharacteristic restraint, I didn’t launch into a tirade about how her rules were repressive and unrealistic. I instead went back to make sure I caught my favorite candle penetration scene and mentally congratulated myself for not being nearly as prudish as I imagined.

sex lives

Ever the lady, I asked, “Then what do you masturbate to?”

Though this was an extreme case, porn often plays the villain in conversations about what constitutes healthy sexual desires and relationships. Lest anyone think the anti-porn crusades ended decades ago, an article headlined “Has Porn Ruined Our Sex Lives Forever?”—which described six uniquely ruinous aspects of porn—was published just last year.

 

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