Sex Chain (ok, maybe it’s not the best title but read anyway…)
Today, I’m starting a chain… of no pornography. I’m not obsessed with pornography, but I, like most men with access to the internet and a personal computer, look at it on a semi-regular basis. On the one hand, porn is a way to realize our fantasies and visualize them. Men, it’s been studied, are much more visually stimulated than women. So porn serves the function of appeasing men and our visual needs for stimulation.
The internet has made it incredibly easy to find and watch porn, with no consequences. Incognito mode, private mode, clear history, delete cookies. Porn lives on nearly every platform on the internet and with so much money in the porn industry, they haven’t skimped on SEO and innovation. There’s porn on Instagram and Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. Google it. Porn in VR and porn conferences. The biggest problem with porn, and the reason to cut it out of your life is that it’s destructive. It’s destructive to relationships, to sexuality, to your career, even. That’s because at its core, pornography plays into gender bias and reinforces misogynistic ideals that women are (sex) objects and they should be treated as such. And the boundaries between what porn tells us and what we do in our lives gets very blurred.
The internet, as Louis CK put is, hates women. And the way we’re influenced by seeing women treated as objects, sex slaves, degraded, and valued for being such, has such a profound negative effect on how we see women not only in other forms of media, but in our daily lives and jobs, and especially in the bedroom of our own homes. Speaking from experience, I know that the things that “they” do in porn, are almost never realistically pleasurable to a real experience with a real woman. And the idea that we don’t need to communicate with our partners because we know best because we have decades of experience (watching porn) and not understanding that every woman is different is so harmful to our own sexual lives and personal relationships. Plus, our own desires become shaped by what we see online, even if they’re not personally pleasurable or what we believe.
We, as humans, try and mimic the people around us and fit in to be “normal” and when we see porn so often, it becomes normalized. So the sex acts that regularly happen in porn end up being the ones that we think are “normal” and we should be doing because everyone else is… even if our partner doesn’t find them enjoyable (let alone pleasurable) and even if we don’t, either.
So today is the beginning of a chain. The best way I know how to keep habits going is to make a chain. Let’s see how long I can keep this one going. And with length comes depth: having deeper conversations and understanding about my own sexual relationship. Deeper introspection about what I like and what I want, and what my partner wants and likes as well. Taking that energy that was being put into porn and redirecting that into my own relationship and sex life will only benefit us both in the long run. So here goes another link in a hopefully long-running chain.