Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

Don Jon is spot-on on why you should Make Love Not Porn


I LOVE LOVE LOVE ‘Don Jon’, the movie written and directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I want everybody to go and see it. Here are seven highly subjective reasons why.

1. I’m extremely impressed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote this.

‘Don Jon’ is a highly entertaining movie that tackles a profound social issue – one of the most fundamental of our times, with some of the most far-reaching ramifications for human relationships, lives, happiness. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings Jon Martello to life beautifully; I loved his direction, particularly the cyclical, repeating motifs of life for Don Jon; but I am especially impressed that he concepted and wrote this movie. ‘Don Jon’ presents a male perspective but plays out as a film that you might have expected a woman to have written, and I mean that as a huge compliment. That’s also precisely the point: ‘Don Jon’ challenges socio-cultural stereotypes in a way I’d love to see more of (society has trouble understanding and acknowledging that women enjoy sex just as much as men, and men are just as romantic as women). This really is the perfect date movie, for everyone – I guarantee you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards, and the potential to open up really interesting, highly personal dialogues.

 2. We love you New Jersey!

‘Don Jon’ is screamingly funny, not least in the pitch-perfect characterization of the New Jersey Italian-American community. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Jon Martello personifies the Jersey Shore ‘GTL’ baller in wonderfully recognizable fashion; Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson as his father, mother and sister respectively make for some hysterical round-the-dinner-table action; and Scarlett Johansson is excellent as a Jersey Girl with her own particular recognition factor.

3. The movie takes an unexpected turn that I never saw coming.

Without spoiling anything, I will just say that there is a certain amount of misdirection going on in the trailer for ‘Don Jon’, and that I found myself riveted at how the plot played out in a way that I didn’t anticipate at all – and that I absolutely love, for reasons that will become obvious when you see the movie.

4. ‘Don Jon’ doesn’t demonize porn.

‘Don Jon’ understands and makes it clear that the issue isn’t porn. The real issue is the lack of a counterpoint – of an open, honest, healthy, truthful dialogue around sex in the real world, both in the public domain, and privately in our intimate relationships. (Because we all get vulnerable when we get naked, and sexual egos are very fragile, we can find it bizarrely difficult to talk about sex with the people we’re actually having it with, while we’re actually having it.) When we open up the ability to have that dialogue, we open up the opportunity to bring a real-world mindset to understanding that porn is artificial entertainment, and how differently you can, and should, approach and enjoy #realworldsex.

5. Gotta be said – what great product placement, Pornhub and Brazzers!

My background is advertising – so not only did I love the visual commentary in ‘Don Jon’ on the pornification of popular culture, ads included, I am also always impressed and entertained by innovative and well-integrated product placement.  ‘Don Jon’ will undoubtedly drive a shedload of traffic to Pornhub – nice one, Pornhub! In which context I should explain that MakeLoveNotPorn is ‘Pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-knowing the difference’, and the porn industry returns the favor, with a lot of interest in and support for what we are doing, as witness the number of pornstars who share their own #realworldsex on MLNP.tv to demonstrate the difference between their own on- and off-camera activities.

When I tweeted this:

Great product placement in @hitRECordJoe‘s @DonJon, @brazzers & @pornhub 🙂 #DonJonchat

Pornhub responded:

6. ‘Don Jon’ should be screened in every single school and college in America (and actually, the world).

I’m serious. The message of this movie is exactly what needs to be communicated to every adolescent, male and female, in America today – and one of the things that impressed me about the direction and the editing is that, although the subject matter is very frank, what you actually see has been carefully framed and cut to not be overly graphic. The film makes its point without shoving it down your throat (as it were, heh heh). As such, I can promise you there is absolutely nothing in ‘Don Jon’ that the vast majority of teenagers have not already seen (if you think otherwise, parents, you’re kidding yourselves). One showing of this film in school would shortcut large amounts of much-needed education and provide the perfect jumping-off point for many much-needed conversations. I strongly urge anyone who can, to make that happen.

7. ‘Don Jon’ is bang on message with MakeLoveNotPorn.

MakeLoveNotPorn was inspired by the fact that I date younger men, and realized six or seven years ago that I was encountering, very personally and intimately, exactly what ‘Don Jon’ highlights: today’s total freedom of access to porn online, combined with society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex, results in porn becoming, by default, the sex education of today. ‘Don Jon’ dramatizes exactly what we’re tackling: as with the majority of young men (and many women) today, Jon ‘Don Jon’ Martello’s sexual development has been driven by porn rather than human sexual interaction, with unfortunate results, including a preference for porn over actual live sex. The movie demonstrates very clearly the fundamental difference between the two, in a way that I suspect will prove revelatory to many dedicated porn fans in the audience. This is the first mainstream movie to address this issue head on, versus an increasing number of documentaries and TV programs, and to do so in both a highly entertaining and extremely moving way. Go see it.

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