Guest post by MLNP.tv member, Mary Tam.
I’m a 35 year-old straight woman who started watching porn with a boyfriend in my 20’s. I had a number of complaints. I didn’t like that people would either start out naked, or be naked in the time it took me to get a glass of water. I didn’t like that the girl would generally give head for 20 minutes, and the guy would go down on her for 20 seconds (if she was lucky). I didn’t like the ridiculous faces and forced groans, the absence of genuine pleasure, the one-rhythm-fits-all pounding.
Mass-produced pornography serves as an informal education system, teaching viewers (often from a very young age) that hot sex should include spanking a girl from behind as you work up to anal, and – as Cindy Gallop pointed out in her 2009 TEDTalk – culminate by cumming on her face. There’s nothing inherently wrong with spanking, anal, or cumming on someone’s face, as long as it’s mutually consensual. But when you repeatedly put a homogenous formula out there, and it becomes the only or most accessible product, it creates a limited and somewhat dysfunctional understanding and expectation of sex.
I wanted to see if other people in my general community shared my frustrations and concerns. So I circulated a survey that contained questions about people’s experience with video pornography as well as questions about their personal sexual preferences.
Of the 159 respondents, 80% first viewed pornography before they graduated from high school, and nearly a quarter of respondents before they had even hit puberty. The survey produced a mixture of expected and surprising results. But one thing that was clear was that I wasn’t alone in my frustrations.
Over the years I had contemplated a number of ways to address this concern. I didn’t end up producing my own porn. I never got around to writing a clever book. I still dream of launching a theater project. But I did make a video. I wanted it to be inclusive, dialogue-provoking, and digestible for those who might shy away from a video about sex.
Operation Better Sex is a short, animated video that calls attention to the disconnect between how sex is presented in our culture, and what pleasurable sex really is. It is an acknowledgment of the vast spectrum of what “pleasurable” means to different people. It suggests that we “feel” rather than “act” during sex. And that we learn to communicate our desires to our partners, at least until our mental telepathy skills evolve further.
When I first started watching porn, it was before the sex-positive movement had gathered momentum…or at least before I was aware of it. Today, there is more and more amateur porn being created, which tends to have more foreplay, reciprocation, and sensuality. There are also several sites one can go to in order to find adult films that reflect real sex, such as MakeLoveNotPorn.tv. Alternatively, there are free hubs that allow users to search different genres of porn. Of course, even when you plug in words like passion, sensual, or porn for women, within the first page of search results you’ll often see clips titled something like, “teenage slut gets gangbanged”. Noooooooope, not what I’m looking for. And this blog is not long enough to get started on that subject.
Luckily, the sex-positive movement is stronger than it’s ever been. Stores like GoodVibes promote sexual health, pleasure, and empowerment in a nonthreatening environment. “Sexperts” like Cindy Gallop, Dr. Ruth, Dan Savage, Marty Klein, and Violet Blue have brought light to a multitude of sex-related topics and conversations. Isabella Rossellini put together a video series called Green Porno, that highlights various animals’ reproductive behaviors. There are more and more individuals, organizations, and businesses working to change the way sex is presented, understood, and had in our society.
This is where we come in. A movement is not a movement with out the masses. So join it…start a conversation. Watch a video. Share a sex-positive website with a friend or lover. Don’t let mass-produced pornography highjack sex only to place it in a wasteland of contrived behavior. Take back the sex. Be a paratrooper for the sexual revolution!
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