Porn and My Sex Education

By Juanita Rodriguez 

When I first had sex with my boyfriend I was scared.

I wasn’t worried about how to do sex. But I was afraid of this thing that was going to come inside me.

I remember thinking it looked like a snake and I had visions of it biting me or something. Long story short, I was scared of the sex act.

Looking back, I believe that my fear was grounded in patriarchal norms that demonize sexual women. Norms that I have been bombarded with my entire life.

Growing up, I came to think of sex as something bad and scary. If a young girl like me had sex before marriage I would never be truly loved. Or I would die and burn in hell. Extreme, I know, but that is patriarchy at its finest for you.

Porn makes sex less scary?

My first time I was scared and awkward and stiff and I did not know how to get in the mood.

My boyfriend told me, “Watch porn, you’ll feel much better and have an idea of what a girl is supposed to do.”

Now, I do not want to make claims that are not true, but I am going to say this without a fact check and you can prove me wrong or right:

Men and boys are surrounded by sooo much porn and their sex drive starts up at a much younger age than girls. At least this is what I noticed while growing up.

And porn — or I should say a pornified culture — surrounds us in our everyday lives via movies and magazines and selfies and so much more. And we accept what society tells us is beautiful, seductive, and womanly and manly. But I feel like porn distorts what intercourse is. And porn exploits the notion of the dominating man.

I think that is really sad. So many women are simply dominated in an act of power of men over women. I don’t even understand the idea behind this. Porn preys on men’s natural drive for reproduction and it also preys on a women’s feelings and sexuality.

My partner directed me to porn for my sex education, so I thought that’s what he wanted. But it really wasn’t. Men, just like women, are boxed in by these notions of how to do sex.

Leaving behind ideas about sex that aren’t our own

I don’t know about any of you but before I had sex for the first time, it was a guessing game. It is more about what we think it might be like, and what we have learned it should be like — until it happens.

With time, my boyfriend outgrew porn’s ideas of what sex should be like and started focusing on me and my pleasure.

And then I grew much more comfortable with sex and let myself feel into it.

My boyfriend and I have been together for two and a half years now, and I have grown much more comfortable with the act of intercourse.

I feel like sex is about intimacy and feelings, not extreme behavior. Yes, sex is amazing, but it is amazing because it is the closest form of contact we can have with another human being, while stimulating our senses. Sex is beautiful and it is what creates life.

Porn completely eradicates that and makes men think that dominating your partner is what he should desire.

Sex is natural — just do it. There is no right way except that which is real, genuine, and which works best and for you and your partner.

This was written by one of my students who gave me permission to post the piece with a pen name.

Related Posts

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 17, 2017, in pornography, relationships, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. “I believe that my fear was grounded in patriarchal norms that demonize sexual women.”

    You’ll probably be surprised to learn that most guys are scared the first time too.

    “Men and boys are surrounded by sooo much porn and their sex drive starts up at a much younger age than girls.”

    That’s biologically wrong, and wrong in reality. My niece caused a family storm when she was out at 13 having sex at various men’s houses. A long time later on, I found out that a niece on a different side of the family was doing the same thing at 14. Much later, I found out my own daughter was sneaking out doing the same thing. At these ages boys are hardly even sexualised.

    “But I feel like porn distorts what intercourse is.”

    I guess you can feel whatever you want, but don’t don’t be surprised if other people feel something different.

    “And porn exploits the notion of the dominating man.”

    I guess you haven’t been exposed to a very wide variety of porn.

    “Porn completely eradicates that and makes men think that dominating your partner is what he should desire.”

    You seem to have led a sheltered life in the style of porn you’ve seen.

    • Thanks for adding your perspective to this.

      I’m guessing that Juanita would appreciate it too since she said:

      “Now, I do not want to make claims that are not true, but I am going to say this without a fact check and you can prove me wrong or right”

      I will be posting what my other students had to say, men and women alike, and some of it certainly agrees with your thoughts.

      I will note that when 13-year-olds have sex sometimes girls do that out of sexual desire, and sometimes not. And sexual desire can certainly arise early for girls. Certainly by age 13 or younger. But people don’t always have sex because of sexual desire either. They may do it because they are trying to boost their self-esteem – “If a man wants sex with me I must be attractive and therefore worthy.” I’ve posted writings of three of my women students who have said exactly that. Sometimes they are looking for love. One of my students wrote about that. They have confused sex with love. And it is a common motivation for sex at a young age.

      From what I have read the majority of porn is about men dominating women so I’m not surprised that when Juanita went to the Internet that’s mostly what she found. Men have written into the blog and said the same thing.

      Finally, “I believe that my fear was grounded in patriarchal norms that demonize sexual women.” She doesn’t make clear what she’s talking about here but in class – “Juanita” is one of my students – I have talked about how in gender equal, sex-positive societies women are not demonized for being sexual. In our society – in patriarchal societies like ours – women are demonized. Men don’t have to fear being called a slut for having sex, for instance. And that tends to dampen sexual interest and could make it even more fearful for young women than young men.

    • I agree that fact checks are in order. But the plural of anecdote is not data.

      • I asked my students to talk about their own experiences — and different people have different kinds of experiences. And as Juanita says upfront, “Now, I do not want to make claims that are not true, but I am going to say this without a fact check and you can prove me wrong or right”

      • I was replying to fred747 – agreeing with him that fact checking the author – as she states she is open to – would be a good thing, but I challenged his rebuttal.

  2. “Porn completely eradicates that and makes men think that dominating your partner is what he should desire.”

    Some men might think that dominating their partner is what they should desire, but I don’t know if that’s true for all or most men. Maybe many, but I think men that watch porn often just are thing of sex and the turn on of women’s bodies and what they want to do. The bi product might be men being more aggressive than they might otherwise be, but not consciously thinking to dominate the woman they are with. Some do feel they should own or pound out the girl they are banging, but others that just doesn’t register in their mind. I think strong lust can cause a man to want to be aggressive in bed too and not necessarily him wanting to dominate, but being so horny which bring out that aggressive during sex.

    For example, men lust, and it may not be pc, but I guarentee a decent non perve guy has at times when seeing a really sexy woman whether from media with a great ass or passing by a sexy woman in a skimpy bikini and it starts up his lust. Has thought or had a time where it can spark horniness and him thinking to himself not simply “damn I would love to fuck her”, but like if her ass is amazing “damn, I would pound the hell out of her ass” This is obviously consentual sex and the thought, you know wishful fantasy think of said woman having sex with him and if so, how how he’d love to go to town with her liking it of course. That horniness can spark vigorous sex and not from a place of wanting to dominate but getting so horny.

    • Thanks for sharing another perspective on this. I guess that was her experience and people often feel like their experience is everyone’s. So I appreciate both of your perspectives on this.

  3. I feel like sex is about intimacy and feelings, not extreme behavior. Yes, sex is amazing, but it is amazing because it is the closest form of contact we can have with another human being”

    It’s interesting when people are on both ends and there isn’t a duality. Can’t sex be both fun and great on the pure physical side but also with the right person or people, all what she said too?I don’t think it’s because guy’s don’t think sex is emotional or intimate or special like that. But guys more often can seperate the sex based on what they want, how they feel and more importantly who they are with. A sexy woman they lust for but she’s not that nice or whatever and not girlfriend material to him and they have casual sex. That will be that visual, physical sex compared to sex with their gf or someone they like a lot , have feelings for or love and that’s the intimate, close contact, love making she’s talking about.

  4. What is it that makes women desire a dominant man? If porn teaches men to be dominant, do romance novels teach women to be submissive? If porn is all about body parts, is that why romance novels turn people into amorphous blobs devoid of body parts?

    • Well of course not all women desire dominant men. But some do. And I don’t think it’s because of Romance novels so much as growing up in this culture which constantly eroticizes male dominance. I’ll write more on that later. Romance novels are getting racier these days from what I hear. But our culture does not eroticize the male body which is probably why eroticism directed at men is more body focused.

      • In explicit sex scenes in romance novels, very often the author shies away from describing the woman. Perhaps this is in part just squeamishness over language.

      • Maybe they shy away from describing the women so that every woman can see herself as the subject of desire.

      • Well, yes, though not really what I meant. (I was talking about body parts.) But is it really acceptable to have men that are vividly described and unique, interesting characters, but women are generic token characters?

      • Well if you are talking about how big women’s breasts are, What color the nipples are, What her hips are like, it’s pretty hard for a woman to put herself in that place.

        And no I’m not generally thrilled about men being vividly described but women not. Although when it comes to body parts it’s nice to get a break from that.

  5. Arletta Ellington

    There is always an element of fear in social intercourse. And as the writer seems to say, sex is a means of communication among others – although one that can take us closer than most: “it is the closest form of contact we can have with another human being.” The fear I have had of the sexual encounter is less connected with patriarchal male dominance and more with another – possibly patriarchal – view of sex as so elevated and holy as to make it all but unattainable. I remember my father trying to introduce me in my early teens to what sex is. What he told me was well intentioned. In quite roundabout ways, never getting even close to the real sex act, he told me of its absolute beauty. Today I know I would have fared better if he’d told me what he did, but adding that I’d better not expect every time to be as beautiful as it could be at its best. It’s taken me a lot of time coming round to this. At 70, I’m still exploring sex as the means of communication it can be. Learning the language of love seems to be a life-long journey of adventures.
    Ellington

    • Thanks for this. It’s so interesting to explore the variety of experience when it comes to sexuality. Maybe we can learn something and teach our children better.

  6. Question: Why don’t you do a pick on female sexual predators?

    Why look at all these teachers who are having sex with underage boys. I guess this is patriarchy too. I am sure it is the tip of the ice berg.

    • I have written about female sexual predators, like this post:

      Women Don’t Rape, They’re Merely Insatiable
      https://broadblogs.com/2012/05/18/women-dont-rape-theyre-merely-insatiable/

      But I have written a lot less on them because they are much less likely to be perpetrators.

      And even though men are much more likely to be perpetrators the problem isn’t man, but patriarchy. Even when women do it.

      Rates of rape are very low to nonexistent in gender-equal cultures. As a culture becomes less patriarchal the rate of rate goes down. Rape this down more than 75% since the early 1970s. And feminism is much stronger now — the belief in gender equality.

      So how is this related to female predators? The most common way for women to rape seems to be the rape of children. In this the dynamic is similar to men who sexually abuse children. Both male and female abusers were commonly abused as children, themselves, and when they become adults (physically if not mentally) they try to – at least feel like – get their power back by taking over someone else’s body.

      There is a reason why patriarchal cultures tend to be more rapes-prone. Rape is is a manifestation of domination culture. It is literally the domination of one person by another. And rape has been purposefully used to create a sense of male superiority. (Even though the reality is that rapists are less than human.)

      • Ok, if the problem is Patriarchy then why don’t Feminists are trying to do something about women’s oppression in the third world countries?
        Do feminists know what Sharia law is? What burga is?
        Immigrants from third world countries have brought their culture and laws in Europe. There are whole areas in European cities that they have declared Sharia law. Their women are treated literaly as slaves even in European nations but the Feminists don’t really seem to care. Nobody does anything about that.
        I guess Feminists believe that women from the third world countries aren’t worth fighting for.
        The day that Feminists travel to the third world countries and fight for women’s rights is the day that Feminism will restore it’s name.
        Google Sharia law and see what oppression really is

      • I do fight for them and have written articles on it, like this:

        Why Do The “Isms” That Affect Men Seem More Important?
        https://broadblogs.com/2011/02/25/why-do-the-“isms”-that-affect-men-seem-more-important/

        Did Women Create Burqa Culture?
        https://broadblogs.com/2010/09/13/did-women-create-burqa-culture/

  7. Ironically most women like lesbian porn with one woman being dominant. Women like to be with a dominant woman.
    That’s why even in pop culture and mainstream media most leading female characters are dominant lesbians. That’s why most women like Orange is the new black. Women are attracted to dominant persons regardless gender.

    • “Ironically most women like lesbian porn with one woman being dominant.” Do they? It’s possible, given our domination culture that all of us unconsciously internalize.

  8. do fight for them and have written articles on it, like this:”

    It seems like you agreed with jean claude saying you do fight for women in europe when he’s saying there’s sharia law in even europe. This would suggest that liberals have been wrong then like I was arguing about before with how open their immigration policy and since many feminists or probably all or most are liberal. That would mean feminists caring more to be PC and not wanting to seem anti-islam, helped this happen since this had to happen from open borders with immigrants who come from fundamentalist islam countries and not acclimating.

    • I agree that many feminists and liberals are androcentric – seeing the world through male eyes, having unconsciously internalized this view. And I’m planning to write about it sometime soon.

  9. Cecilia Rivera

    I concur that porn sets expectations as they appear. Whether that be in the form of hairless genitals or “wild” acts of pleasure, porn does seem to put pressure on to whomever partakes in sex. Just like Hollywood, the people are just acting and are made to look flawless. Not to say that some people do not look like the ones appearing in pornography, but it masks the authenticity and reality of people and their performance. Although watching porn may assist in making you comfortable with sex, I must iterate to not get caught up in the “Hollywood” of it all. Sex is natural, as you said. There is no right or wrong way to do it as everyone is different.

  10. I find porn to be uncomfortable. No matter how pro-sex worker I am, I still just can’t get into it or be completely ok with my partner watching it in front of me. There’s something about porn that strips away much of the reality of sex. Porn seems to warp men and women’s minds on what sex is and should be. Porn also sets unrealistic body expectations. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

    Some years back I learned about Cindy Gallop’s project, Make Love Not Porn. Gallop was attempting to make real-sex socially acceptable; she was also starting a video sharing platform. She found that porn had become our sex education and aimed to educate people on the realities of sex versus porn.

    There is a real need for this. It’s amazing how many men and women think pornography is reality. I don’t know about you but porn does not accurately depict my sex life. Porn is like a bad Hollywood movie with a low budget and bad writers. The screen is dominated by close ups of bleached anuses, big fake breasts, huge penises and complete hairlessness along with full makeup.

    I’ve had many conversations with women on the annoyance of men wanting to try something they saw in porn on us. For the record, a lot of us don’t want you to cum on us, our legs won’t bend that way and most positions in porn just hurt and aren’t fun. The main reason for this may be that porn is just that, merely for entertainment and shouldn’t be used as sex education. Perhaps we aren’t receiving enough or adequate sex education from our families and schools and that is why we’re turning to porn for sex ed.

  11. I agree that sex and the expectation for sex is different depending on your gender. The expectation for men is to have a high, and aggressive sex drive; and for women to be asexual until marriage, where women are expected to take care of the husband’s sexual needs like its a medical issue. I think a lot of people turn to porn for their sex education, especially since there are so many places in the United States where schools don’t require sex education or even medically accurate sex ed! There are a lot of problems with porn and the porn industry, especially with women and people who are gender-nonconforming. I think porn can ruin relationships, but mainly because porn desensitizes its viewers, forcing them to find more extreme content. Abuse of women is an absurdly high category of porn–I do not have a problem if everything is consensual, but the abuse of women in porn rarely shows consent. That may be “part of the appeal” but that would make the appeal rape, which should never be sexualized. If our society was more sex-positive and educated, we could move towards a better view of women and sex in society.

    • “The expectation for men is to have a high, and aggressive sex drive; and for women to be asexual until marriage, where women are expected to take care of the husband’s sexual needs like its a medical issue.”

      Sounds about right.

  12. The fears captured in this article are very real for today’s young adults, surrounded by porn influences. Sex education in school is either nonexistent or focused on the perils of sex, STD’s, STI’s, unplanned pregnancy, etc… While I firmly believe in the importance of sexual education for safety purposes, and understand the limited role that a school can play, sex is resultingly being portrayed as a scary and dangerous. The actual act of sex is never discussed, and as to anything foreign to us, we look it up. Porn is so readily available on the internet, and sadly it is all targeted towards men. Women are shown as an object of male satisfaction, where men are dominant and female pleasure is unimportant. To young adults who watch porn, with no other experience to base their beliefs on, accept this as the reality. What’s worse is the complete disconnect to the emotional aspect of sex, as if carnal desires were of sole importance. As this writer said, experience is what ultimately changes these conceptions of sex.

  13. For my first time I was scared as well. I actually did not know what to expect. I as well grew up with my parents telling me that If I have sex before marriage I would burn in hell or no man would want me after knowing I was not a virgin anymore. But, when I had sex since I do not know how my boyfriend also told me to watch porn so that I can get an idea of what the woman is supposed to do. When I watched it I was shocked because I did not realize that people did all of that during intercourse. So when we tried again I backed out because I did not feel comfortable and I felt like sex should not have been how porn said it should have. I really agree with you that “Porn completely eradicates that and makes men think that dominating your partner is what he should desire”. Having sex is very intimate and that is the closest way you’ll ever connect to anyone and porn is just ruining the purpose of what sex really is.

Thoughts? (Comments will appear after moderation)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: