Trimble: Porn fosters unrealistic expectations

By Leah Trimble

If I were a boy, my life during puberty would’ve probably been very different. I imagine… If I were a boy, my life during puberty would’ve probably been very different. I imagine myself sneaking around with a few best friends, trying to find my father’s stash of old Playboys so I could enjoy some “me” time later.

But I suppose my conception of adolescence is outdated. Now, everyone frequents their favorite websites, hoping their mom doesn’t walk in.

Porn hasn’t changed much, of course — naked girls, naked boys, all with their “specialties” — but the way people access it has. With the advent of the Internet, pornography has become more ubiquitous than ever. And that’s a problem.

Technology, according to The Guardian, owes more to pornography than most people think: Products like videotapes and DVDs became a hit in part because of their popularity in the porn industry. Pay-per-view succeeded because companies had such a good run providing adult films in hotel rooms. Soon, technologies like 3G may benefit from the same phenomenon.

Although it has suffered economically during the recession, the predicted $13 billion-plus porn industry is hardly in danger of collapse. Forbes Magazine reported in September that four percent of the million most trafficked websites in the world are sex-related. Men and women will never stop looking for that certain video or picture to get them off.

In short, almost anyone who can navigate the Internet can access porn. Unfortunately, the more you watch, the more you’re hurting your real sex life by creating false expectations for yourself and your partner.

I don’t hate porn, but there’s a line. Watching it every once in awhile is one thing, but there’s a point at which you reach perv-status. If you’re watching porn in public, in front of people or even for more than two hours a week, it’s too much. And although watching some porn with your partner can spice up your time between the sheets, watching too much can make sex uncomfortable for him or her and less exciting for you.

Simply put, pornography misrepresents sex. Men and women who become addicted to pornography, especially at a younger age, start to believe that most of the actions they see onscreen are characteristic of normal sex. I hate to break it to these people, but normal women don’t fling objects out of their vaginas or walk into a room and have sex with 12 men and women at once (though I suppose it’s possible).

When people harbor such unrealistic expectations, their partners can feel slighted, not to mention self-conscious about their own performance. Unfortunately, we might not even realize that we’ve developed these expectations.

Dr. Ursula Ofman, a Manhattan-based sex therapist, spoke to New York Magazine in 2003 about porn’s ubiquity and the problems it’s caused her patients. “I’ve seen some young men lately who can’t get aroused with women but have no problem interacting with the Internet. I think a big danger is that young men who are constantly exposed to these fake, always-willing women start to have unreal expectations from real women, which makes them phobic about relationships.”

Porn addiction is especially damaging considering we could be putting that time and energy into a fabulous, sexy relationship of our own. No one wants to be one of those weird people that spend time online wishing instead of hanging out with their friends.

Although we can access porn on a variety of devices wherever and whenever we want, no one should ruin their own sex life as a result. Instead, we should appreciate real sex, where men and women don’t need to do ridiculous things to succeed in the bedroom. Porn should be used to improve bedroom activity, not replace it.

Contact Leah at [email protected]

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