Prev Next

Rachel: That Time I Watched Porn


And Got Horrified

Rachel: That Time I Watched Porn | A Practical WeddingRachel: That Time I Watched Porn | A Practical Wedding

Most of the new conversations I start with Eric begin with the following sentence: “So I read this article today…”

I read a lot of articles. They make me think. Sometimes, they make me want to try things. Like, you know, new recipes. Or workouts. Or BB cream. But then a few months ago, some article or another made me want to try watching a porn with him. Much like going to CrossFit or making croque-monsieurs, there’s only so many times you can read about how awesome something is before you want to try it for yourself.

I can honestly say it would take an act of God to make me try CrossFit, but porn? Surprise, surprise, but that’s a much easier sell with me. I guess we all like to #getafterit in different ways.

Anyway, I think my desire to watch a porn with Eric simply was borne out of curiosity. I don’t know how, exactly, but I somehow managed to make it to the age of twenty-eight without ever having seen a pornographic movie.

It wasn’t really like I was avoiding porn; I just never had a really good reason to watch it. That isn’t to say that I’ve been too busy having crazy amounts of sex all of my adult life; it’s more just a matter of preference. This kind of goes back to me preferring to have the TV off…that includes when I’m getting myself off. And when it comes to fantasies, I’m cheap, lazy, afraid of computer viruses, and, well, I’m a writer—so even if I lack a partner, I’ve never lacked an imagination. Basically, I just really never had a reason to seek porn out.

Because I’d never seen porn, I didn’t have very strong feelings about it. I know a lot of feminists do (and I also know these feelings differ pretty wildly), but on the topic of porn, the most I could really muster was a shrug. I consider myself sex-positive—that is to say as long as there’s safety and consent is involved, I see no reason why anyone should be ashamed for thinking about sex, wanting sex, having sex, or enjoying sex. Kinks? Experimentation? Vanilla sex? Psssh…I don’t give a shit what you do or don’t do. So, when it comes to porn, as long as there’s safety and consent involved, I was always kinda like, What’s the big damn deal?

It didn’t help that all of the people who I often hear speaking out against porn were people, who, well, people preach “family values” and then viciously go after anyone or anything they believe doesn’t fit in with their idea of what that means. The people who believe porn is corrupting America also believe gays and slutty women are corrupting America, so…they don’t have a lot of credibility with me.

So when it came to trying this thing with Eric—which is recommended pretty frequently by all different kinds of people as a fun, sexy thing to try—I thought, “Sure, why not suggest this?” So I asked him in the same way I might say, “Hey, wanna make this spiked homemade hot chocolate this weekend?”

“Hey, wanna watch some people fuck on TV?”

Eric’s response was pretty similar to his response to his approach to all other things I suggest: “Sure, why not?” When it comes to nearly all aspects of his life, he’s a very go-with-the-flow kind of person. This makes him fun to live with, cook for, and bang.

So one night, we decided to see what DirecTV Cinema had to offer on all of its SexxxxyChannels. (I may have added a few Xs in there. Not sure, because the grammar rules of porn are different than the grammar rules of the real world. Or I suppose they’d call them “rulez.”) We looked through all of our options and all the descriptions seemed pretty equally…well, I don’t want to say “boring,” exactly, but they told us very little. All of them seemed to be pretty mainstream; no kinks or fetishes were mentioned. It was, as far as I could tell, the most basic, run-of-the-mill porn offering you could get, and trying to decide felt like trying to decide between “cream” and “eggshell” colors of paint. Eventually we just chose one and moved on.

Despite the stereotypes about terrible storylines, there was no pretense of a plot. Fine. I don’t need to be told a story. (Or, well, if I’m going to get a story, I want it to be better than what we’ve come to expect from porn.) They got right down to business.

And I got RIGHT DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF BEING HORRIFIED.

I honestly never predicted I’d have that reaction. I mean, I know what sex looks like, right? So this is just going to be some people having some sex, right? Yeah…no. I mean, maybe. But. WHAT? The entire time, I just kept thinking, “But…but…that’s not how sex looks!”

And, “WHY DOES SHE KEEP MAKING THOSE NOISES BUT NOT GETTING OFF WHEN IT’S BEEN A REALLY LONG TIME?”

And, “Hey! Hey! That looks painful!”

And, “OH MY GOD WHY IS HE CHOKING HER WITH HIS DICK? THAT WOMAN IS GAGGING! SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE!!!”

Now, before I continue, I have to say—if you like watching porn or you participate in porn, I have no problem with that. I am totally willing to accept that my personal preferences for what constitutes “sexy” or “attractive” are not something everyone is going to agree with. But what really shocked me—and I know anyone who has seen mainstream porn before is going to roll her eyes at this—was how completely unrealistic it was. It was basically like someone had told me they had made a documentary about my childhood, and then put on an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo. Like, I knew it was going to be, uh, glamorized, but I didn’t expect that it would be a complete and total deviation from my concept of reality.

Finally I said to Eric, “Uh…but…is this…normal? Like…it’s so…AGGRESSIVE? And…um…that just looks so…painful?” I was trying to figure out a way to say this calmly, as I did not enjoy feeling like a pearl-clutching prude.

He looked a little confused by my question. Then he said, “Yeah…I guess you’re right? That’s just kind of…how it all is?”

“And people just ignore the fact that this looks super misogynistic, and is not what sex looks like for a lot of people?” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, frowning. “It is kind of terrible.” He said this in a way that implied he had already worked through this and made peace with it, and then forgotten about it. It was the same reaction he would have a few months later when I was disgusted by the copious amounts of blood and over-the-top violence in my first watching of The Godfather: like I was the crazy one.

“BUT TEENAGERS MIGHT WATCH THIS!” I said. “WHAT IF A TEENAGE BOY SEES THIS AND THINKS THIS IS HOW HE SHOULD TREAT GIRLS?!?!?!”

Nothing says adulthood quite like your first “But think of the children!” moment.

And I hated that I had this reaction. I really didn’t want to find myself on the same side as anti-porn politicians. I’m a cool feminist; I’m down with porn, right? But at the same time, I couldn’t get past the problems that a film like this—again, pretty “vanilla” as far as porn goes—posed to anyone watching who didn’t have a fully formed idea of what sex is like when there aren’t cameras rolling. I don’t think that all porn was like this…but I was troubled by the fact that the most accessible stuff was.

I knew that one video wasn’t enough to draw any definitive conclusions on porn. Perhaps I just needed to find something that was created by women for women. The other night, I found myself once again saying to Eric, “So, I read this article today…” and went on to tell him about two women who are killing it writing dinosaur erotica. Like every  interesting article I read, this led to further investigation; an hour later, I was reading Taken by the T-Rex, where a woman has sex with a dinosaur. And I’m glad I did. It’s good to know that despite what I saw in that movie, someone is finally making porn that’s realistic.

Photo from Rachel’s personal collection, shot by her friend Caitlin of twentyfivetwentysix studios.

More in Sex Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Jessica B

    Yeah, that’s not good porn, that’s cheap porn.

    I’d suggest looking at the titles progressive sex stores have–one in Minneapolis has a rental program, so you can try different things out and see what turns you on more. Anything that can be bought with Cinemax probably isn’t worth the time.

    There was “historical themed” porn featured on a feminist blog a few years ago (I forget which blog), and that seemed awesome. Like costume porn mixed with actual sexy sex. And a diverse cast. Or you can always search for “home movies” or amateur porn. That’s what my husband likes and it’s a lot more realistic (obviously) because it’s just home sex videos.

    • Amy March

      But how do you know those home movies aren’t functioning as revenge porn?

      • Jessica B

        You don’t. Just as you don’t know if the “professional” porn companies are actually checking their actors for HIV or paying their female stars the same wages as their male stars. There are problems with everything. The nice part about the home sex videos is that it is all consensual (if not, there are authorities who can follow up on it), and for the most part it’s real people doing real stuff.

        • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

          Yes. Also, I mentally justify watching potentially-though-hopefully-not-revenge-porn with the following thought process:

          1. The concept of it being “revenge” for others to see is predicated on the assumption that those seeing it would be grossed out, disapprove, and/or think the parties involved should be ashamed of themselves (who are we kidding, herself).
          2. I, on the contrary, am watching in a spirit of celebration and, um, enjoyment. I’m not judging the participants, I’m here for the same reason they were: for some fun sexytimes.
          3. Therefore, I am not fulfilling my end of the revenge bargain and don’t feel bad for watching any more than I think the participants should feel bad for making the video in the first place.

          • AshleyMeredith

            I would have assumed that the revenge aspect of it was based on one party or the other not actually wanting the video seen. And that seems more disrespectful to me than anything that happens in a “pro” video where everybody’s, by definition, on board with what’s getting shown, even if it’s distasteful. Unless I’m missing something here?

          • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

            No, I get what you’re saying here. I guess I’ve always come at it purely from my own perspective: if I found out that someone had put private videos or images online without my consent, I would feel completely violated by that person, but my only issue with anyone who might stumble across the material later would be if there was some indication that it was nonconsensual (e.g. in the description) and they went for it anyway. I would never purposely access porn that struck me as noncon, but in the absence of anything that points to that, I tend to assume the best case scenario.

            You do raise a good point, though, and I realize that given there is often no way to know where each one falls on the heck yeah/revenge scale, I will have to give some more thought to how I approach “amateur” porn. Thanks!

    • http://www.agaishanlife.com Revanche

      That was totally my reaction. I don’t think I’ve ever watched it before either (you’d think I’d remember…) but reading the reaction made me laugh a little.
      I suspect that’s because you were watching bad or cheap porn? Not that you go to porn for realism, kinda like wrestling? but there’s a lot of stuff (in all genres) out there and I guess my rule of thumb is 90% of it isn’t good.
      It’s like when I read bad writing: What? What? why did you write that? It feels bad on my brain!

      • Rachel

        The wrestling comparison is really good! I feel like had I thought that going in, my reaction would have been way different!

    • D

      I”m not a regular porn watcher, but my FH did share a good place to find amateur porn, or really anything. bing.com/videos! Its a great source if you know what you like, although you do have to sort through some weird things. Sexy pictures are usually more helpful for me than actual videos though.

      • Jessica B

        tumblr porn gifs are a big turn on for me, probably for the same reasons as photos being a turn on.

        • Erin

          Same, Tumblr has ushered in my porn re-awakening. And I never worry about viruses or anything weird as long as I don’t click away from the site (whether or not that’s a legitimate thing to not worry about remains to be seen, but so far in my experience nothing evil has crawled its way into my computer).

          Tumblr has a fabulous selection of sensual porn, beautiful photos and gifs, in addition to videos, you just have to find the right blogs. Most of the amateur stuff doesn’t do it for me (not a big fan of the home video look), but the ‘hobbyist’ low-key pornographers with good music and editing skills can produce some great stuff.

          Plus, joys of the internet, you can find ANYTHING you like. ;)

          • Anon

            Care to share some good ones?

  • Becca

    Yep, you pretty much wrapped up my feelings about porn too, and why, despite being sex positive in every other way, I just can’t bring myself to watch it. If a guy treated me in real life how women are typically treated in most pornos… needless to say, that relationship wouldn’t last two seconds. I acknowledge that net everyone would agree with me on this.

    • Emma

      And what’s with how loud all the women are, groaning, etc, for the entire sexy time? No wonder boys expect all girls to make lots of noise! I have to think that boys who watch porn before having sex (prolly all boys) must think all women are loud and crazy and will gaze into their eyes the entire time will giving a blow job! Sometimes I’m loud, sometimes not, but I NEVER look my husband in the eyes when giving a BJ.

      • Emma

        Ok, not all boys expect ALL girls to make noise. I tried to edit my comment, but the Click to Edit button isn’t working.

        • Angela

          This is why I have issues with 99% of porn. It’s created for men, and totally unrealistic, and it DOES shape the expectations of boys about how sex is. Sex that lasts for 60 minutes? Ladies that love sperm on the face? Loud noises? Bare bushes? All of that comes from porn, and more and more, I feel like the men I’m with think that that’s REAL.

    • Basketcase

      Having been to a sex show in Amsterdam (we were there, it was what you did), and having almost all the moments Rachel mentioned, I dont think I can do porn.
      So many turns to my husband, saying “that really doesn’t look comfortable / pleasant”. My inner feminist was appalled.
      We still had some of the most rampaging sex ever that night, and wound up pregnant from it…

      • Jenn

        I was in Amsterdam recently and before getting there I was positive I’d end up at a sex show, but after just taking a walk through the red light district at night my inner feminist (which I didn’t actually know existed until that point) made a dramatic appearance and I decided against it… Purely because I felt awful for the women in the windows (and yes I know some of them are there by choice, but when you overhear a customer trying to haggle one of them down from €10 to €6 for 20 minutes it becomes a depressing reality), and figured a live sex show would just make me feel terrible for whoever was in it. I’m still glad now I didn’t go.
        As for porn – I’m not for or against it, I know it definitely has it’s uses but then it can also be borderline abusive and is mostly horribly unrealistic. They did a sex ed tv show here in the uk a whole back and they showed teenage boys ten sets of breasts, one of them was cosmetically enhanced and the other 9 were ‘normal’, and every single boy picked the cosmetically enhanced breasts as the ‘correct’ pair because that’s what they thought they all should look like and that is owing to their pornography experiences.

  • Anon

    Your reactions made me laugh. Not because they’re ridiculous, but because they’re so true! I’ve been watching porn since I was like 14 and I still do that if I catch a bad one. “Wait, why is he hitting her cheek with his dick??? Do people actually do that!?!?”

    It’s cool if you’re not into porn, but if you want to give it a try again, there’s a lot of really excellent stuff out there. Violet Blue has some good listings.

  • APracticalLaura

    “Nothing says adulthood quite like your first “But think of the children!” moment.”

    hah, I love this!

    and thank you for posting something so frank and open! :)

    • Shiri

      This is exactly what I was about to say! Because that’s what horrifies me about porn, too, that it is one of the few images of actual sex we’re putting out there, and it is terrible for women.

  • Laura C

    Perfect. My first/most exposure to porn was in college, when a professor assigned us to read and write a paper analyzing magazines intended for the opposite sex. It wasn’t specifically a porn assignment, but I think many of the women decided to make it that. In some cases in part to make the professor uncomfortable. IIRC I did a comparison of a Swank and a Playboy, and there was a lot of “she’s doing WHAT with that lollipop?” and, yes, “that doesn’t look fun.”

    Funny story, when my now-fiance and I had been dating a few months, maybe the second time I met his housemate, she somehow worked it into the conversation that he doesn’t watch porn. Like, this was something she definitely felt I should know.

  • A

    Yup, not a porn fan. I tried, a bit, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t have any real issues with the idea (assuming consent and safety, obviously) but it actually turns me off mostly. I found a love of hentai comics though, that can turn me on at least 50% of the time. The animation takes the weird fake reality of it all down quite a bit, and you can supplement with your imagination to get somewhere. I mostly don’t read the “dialogue” because there are some very strange things that a large majority of either Japanese sex culture or the hentai I’m exposed to get into. They also like to hammer the point home (if you know what I mean) of the fetish or whatever they are basing the comic on, so if you don’t like the idea they will keep bringing up the fact that this person getting banged is the main characters (insert person here: teacher, student, old friend, friends mom etc).

    There is a lot of skimming before something good pops up also, but I assume that is true of regular porn for the regular watcher.

    • Meigh McPants

      If you’re pro-illustrated sexytimes, I just saw a link on Oh Joy Sex Toy to Slipshine (http://orgymania.net/ , NSFW) which is apparently a whole website of porn comics.

      • A

        You just made my world… :)

      • Joanna

        My favourite source of porn:
        http://filthyfigments.com/enter.php?redirect=/index.php

        Female comic artist making some really nice stuff there, and a bit of variety too, although it does require a paid subscription. I have yet to find any other porn I really like.

        • Joanna

          Oh and my partner watched porn as a teenager. Because I am very reserved and took a while to develop a sexual identity (even after we got together and started experimenting), I would have to say yes, porn CAN screw up teenager’s view’s of sex and relationships.

  • Meigh McPants

    Yay for persevering past the awful porn! I think the more people who demand non-misogynist, body-positive, non-fake porn, the better the industry will become for women – consumers and performers. I’d second the “try something that can be found in a nice sex store” route, or something recced on your fave sex-positive blog. On the interwebs, there’s also stuff like Indiepornrevolution.com (obviously NSFW), which is woman- and queer-owned, and the Feminst Porn Awards (http://www.goodforher.com/fpa_2013) the nominees and winners of which are likely to be better than your average skinemax movie. Also, thanks for writing about this! I’m not like “Everyone must watch teh pr0n!” (tbh I don’t really watch it often myself) but I do think there’s a lot of value in removing the stigma of porn and naked bodies and sex in general, and I think supporting independent and feminist pornographers is a good way to do that.

    • AnonCat

      I definitely agree with this. I would generally say “I don’t like porn” and maybe even a little “I get those people who say that porn ruins teenage boys because I’m still unteaching my fiancé stuff he learned from pron that’s actually not fun at all.” At the same time, I’ve seen some hot, progressive queer porn. I’ve never seen any okay straight porn that didn’t make me cringe. And I’m basically in the “sex positive, but almost all porn people watch is degrading as heck! What is this crap?”

      I love queer porn and erotic stories and comics, but porn? No thanks.

  • Ruth

    Thank you for writing such frank posts that always make me smile in recognition! I had watched a few mainstream porn flicks over the years, just to see what people were talking about, and had a reaction very similar to yours. Then, after I met my now husband, he shared with me that he enjoys some porn – I was interested in what he liked, so I asked to watch some of his favorites, and I shared my own favorite erotica stories with him. A lot of the porn we’ve watched together is BDSM porn – while it’s more ‘out there’ on the one hand, in terms of activities being done, I have found it to be a lot more sex positive and surprisingly feminist. The reactions of the women performers seem much more genuine. Plus, they have out-take interviews with the performers afterwards – it’s fascinating hearing these women talk about what they actually experienced during the scene, vs. what it looked to me like they were experiencing. Now granted, I think the reason they started doing the interviews is because a lot of the activities in these BDSM pornos are intentionally painful, and so it was important to establish that the actress was consenting and not being tortured, etc.. But to me, as a feminist, it was the first time I’d ever seen a woman in porn having a voice, speaking up about what she enjoyed, what was rough, how she felt about the whole experience. I’d love to see the vanilla porn world show women having such agency.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    Meanwhile, I’m turning my head sideways trying to read the tattoo.

    • Rachel

      Oh! So I got it on Dec. 31, 2009, right before I ran a marathon and when I was just feeling on top of my game and like 2010 was going to be a pretty awesome year…I just really wanted to commemorate that feeling somehow! The tattoo says:

      Valetudo (health, good health)

      Venustas (loveliness, charm, beauty)

      Voluptas (passion, pleasure, delight, satisfaction)

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        What an excellent NYE activity.

        • Rachel

          It really was! I normally hate NYE like a LOT, but this was kind of the perfect not-going-out-but-doing-something activity. I could see myself doing it again this year, to be honest…it’s been another one of those great years and I think 2014 is going to be amazing too. :)

          • MK

            That’s really you? That’s beautiful!

      • Blimunda

        Tattoos that commemorate feelings are the best :)

  • Catherine

    this was AWESOME. loved it Rachel! “BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” so true! hahaha. this post made me giggle so many times, and also feel relieved…cause i have watched porn and wanted to make sure it wasn’t sercretly what everyone else was doing…

  • Catherine

    Oh and I’ve gotta say..my idea of porn is The L Word. Pretty much the only porn I like…I think I’m about too sensitive or something to get off to other people..I just want it to be me and my partner..I guess I’m a little prude at heart..

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    I’ve only started a touch into porn and dirty reads/vids, but I LOVED Caitlin Moran’s chapter about porn in How To Be A Woman. I’d like to try some feminist porn, please and thank you! (And thanks to commenters sharing links and resources!)

  • k

    I find it interesting that you have found that the people you hear speaking out against porn were “family values” (religious?) types. Maybe it’s my age, but when I think of people speaking out against porn, my first thought is Andrea Dworkin, and my second is Catherine MacKinnon.

  • NicoleT

    Great article; I definitely loved the all caps reactions! I like to think of porn in more general terms: less videos of people screwing and more any erotic material that you take in (watch, read, look at) for the purpose of physical/mental pleasure. With this (possibly too broad) definition in mind, I think it is incredibly important for everyone to have some personal contact with porn. Maybe it’s the Pirates of the Caribbean porn film, really good fanfiction sex scenes, or late night perusals of Deviantart. Whatever it is, finding out what you like and don’t like and, more importantly, WHY you like or don’t like it gives you self-awareness that is difficult to get otherwise. Sex has some heavy baggage attached to it. When you’re in a sexual relationship, you could find that you have a mental approach to sex that doesn’t jive with how you want sex to be (for instance, you like BDSM, but you were raised to abhor it, so you’re trying to like normal sex to satisfy the inner guilt). Open communication with your partner is definitely important for a healthy relationship with sex and each other, but in order to have those conversations, you need to know what you like and don’t like in the first place. If you know what you like and why, it’s easier to talk about it and possibly help your partner with any issues he/she has too.

  • Emily

    “BUT TEENAGERS MIGHT WATCH THIS!” I said. “WHAT IF A TEENAGE BOY SEES THIS AND THINKS THIS IS HOW HE SHOULD TREAT GIRLS?!?!?!”

    Nothing says adulthood quite like your first “But think of the children!” moment.
    Ha! Hilarious. Also sadly true.

    Just going to throw these (NSFW) links out there:

    Literotica
    Beautiful Agony. Contributors are paid upfront and get royalties for views, too.
    Recommendations from Violet Blue

    • Emily

      Sometimes I forget my comments are bright blue. Awkward.

    • AnonCat

      I am so over literotica. It is so hard to find anything decent. I love published books of erotica, but literotica is full of “omg her 54DDDDDDD b00000bs” and “he jackhammered her hard until she came screaming” and other ignorances of female anatomy.

      • Melissa

        I’m inclined to agree, to a point, on Literotica. It was my first porn as a teenager, and I devoured it. But once you’ve developed a taste for quality writing, finding the gems becomes harder and harder (pun only slightly intended). What’s great about Literotica are the forums. Lots of great advice from sexually active, and often sexually liberated, people.

  • MK

    While it may have been vanilla, not all kinds of vanilla are the same: your hand-scooped ice cream from the local shop isn’t gonna taste the same as the frozen “yogurt” you can get from McDonald’s.

    You got the widely available low-quality stuff.

    If you ever dare to try again, I recommend “X-Art.” I love that their shots are beautiful, they use couples that are passionate about each other, and they are, well, arty. And also sexy.

    • Christina

      My FH brought home some x-art after me challenging him to show me some porn that I didn’t find disgusting. It’s actually really good, I was surprised.

    • Rachel

      I love this comment!

  • http://myneuroticgirlfriend@wordpress.com Sarah

    I loved this.

    Also, I’m a cool, sex-positive feminist and I am pretty anti-porn. Just throwing that out there. You can be both.

    I’d probably revise my opinion if I saw feminist, non-violent porn that didn’t alter people’s expectations about sex and bodies, and if there weren’t so many people who struggle with keeping their porn habits healthy and respectful. I’m fine with “watching people [in consensual situations with equal power and mutual understanding and respect] fuck on TV.” I’m no ok with porn as we know it.

  • Rachelle

    Can we talk about how hot that picture is for a minute? Damn, girl!

    Great, honest article and I think all of us can relate to those “adulthood” moments.

  • A

    I had the same “let’s try this” experience with my partner recently. It took something like an hour just to find a video that didn’t actively turn me off. (We were looking at free stuff online.) I remembered finding the soft porn that aired late at night on Oxygen titillating when I was a teenager, so I wanted something like that. Preferably a) generally realistic, b) not misogynistic, and c) not like ZOOMED IN ON PRIVATE PARTS AT ALL TIMES. Also, wondering whether the people on screen are being coerced and exploited is decidedly unsexy, and there were red flags here and there. I don’t need a sophisticated plot, but some videos started mid-action with things thrusting and penetrating all over the place, and I’d turn to my partner like, “This is the beginning?!?!”) Googled “feminist porn”, “couples friendly”, etc….no dice. Eventually chose the least bad option we came across, which was a woman giving a guy a massage and then herself, and so on…but, as we both remarked afterwards, it was odd that the guy was basically a corpse except for the boner. Rigor mortis? Maybe it’s necessary to pay for the good stuff…but all told, I think I just prefer real life to anything I could see on a screen.

  • Katey

    Dan Savage linked to this video in response to a question from a mother about her son watching porn, called “Porn Sex vs Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food”.

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/q64hTNEj6KQ

    As a result of the Internet, teenagers (boys and girls) are often seeing what you describe as their first introduction to sex. Pretty frightening and important for parents to address.

    • Josie

      Dan Savage also refers to porn as “Kabuki sex,” which I think is a good way to think about it: it’s an extreme, almost caricatured version of sex, made for entertainment purposes. It’s not REAL sex; it’s not intended to be. I think it’s important for teens viewing porn to understand that distinction.

    • Itsy bitsy

      That video is possibly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Like…. ever. I showed it to as many people as I could without getting too weird.

  • Anon

    So my husband and I decided one time that we wanted to build a pillow/blanket fort in our living room (one of the reasons I love him) and then it became a Porn Fort, where we got all cozy inside and then, well, watched some porn. We do this occasionally and I recommend it! I think it makes the whole thing a bit less serious, which helps us laugh at some of the absurd stuff out there.

    We have found some decent things, though. I tend to gravitate toward more of the “amateur” stuff because there is a higher likelihood of it actually being real people having real sex who are maybe even in a real relationship with each other. I can’t handle the cinemax stuff.

    We’ve also had some luck looking up old school porn from like, the 70s and 80s. The situations are just as ludicrous, but at least people look a bit more natural? One time we found this totally bizarre and hilarious x-rated version of Alice in Wonderland. Amazing and horrifying all at once.

    There is one woman director (I can’t remember her name right now and can’t look it up ’cause I’m at work) who is from…Buenos Aires I think, and she has some pretty good stuff. Nicely filmed, woman positive, not too over the top.

    • Emily

      Porn fort?! This is adorable.

    • http://www.ruthvincent.com Ruth

      Totally inspired to build a pillow porn fort with my hubby now :) You guys are awesome!

    • Rachel

      Eric and I actually built a fort a couple years ago…your fort sounds WAY better!

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

      OH MY GOD! SOMEONE ELSE HAS SEEN THE ALICE IN WONDERLAND PORN???!!!!!!!

      I have very little experience with porn, but a few times my college friends and I put on porn at a party for a laugh, and I found that Alice in Wonderland one and HAD to see it. It was the only one that mentioned production values in the back description, and the concept seemed so out there. It was indeed both amazing and horrifying.

  • Anonforthis

    I worked for a porn company for ten years, so I’ve seen a LOT of porn, all flavors. Most of it isn’t good, because it does follow the same ridiculous male fantasy template. I tend to prefer written erotica and fanfiction (usually m/m, but it depends).

    For me to really enjoy video porn, I need to be confident that the person performing is completely consenting (whether it’s a consensual scene or not) and enjoys it. Admittedly, these are kind of fuzzy concepts – so I tend to buy porn based on the performers and/or companies that produce it. It’s important to me that I believe the performers aren’t coerced, whether by circumstances or people. I would not buy, nor do I enjoy, the BangBus or Girls Gone Wild type movies.

    FYI – I identify as queer politically, am a lady currently monogamously married to a lady, and generally rate myself about a 2 on the Kinsey scale sexually.

    A couple of recommendations:
    The Crash Pad (http://crashpadseries.com/)
    Pink and White Productions (http://pinkwhite.biz/)
    Tristan Taormino
    Candida Royalle – isn’t really my cup of tea, but much more female-positive than typical porn

    Performers I feel meet the criteria above:
    Stoya (http://stoya.tumblr.com/)
    Belladonna (http://www.enterbelladonna.com/)
    Sasha Grey (http://www.sashagrey.com/)
    Jiz Lee does (http://jizlee.com/)
    Madison Young
    Nina Hartley
    Annie Sprinkle

    A really good roundup of queer/self-stated feminist porn (they often go together) is here – I knew this article would come in handy sometime!: http://www.autostraddle.com/you-need-help-the-quest-for-awesome-porn-155575/

    And in case anybody is into fanfiction…a couple of really great ones
    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6435092/1/Turn (Harry Potter – this is on my Kindle and I regularly re-read it – excellent writing and story, plus great smut!)
    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4842696/1/Reparations (Harry Potter)
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/417080/chapters/693220 (Sherlock)
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/762638/chapters/1427532 (LOTR)
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/139680 (10 Things I Hate About You)

    Also, The Leather Daddy and the Femme is a FANTASTIC book.

    • anonforthistoo

      That Sherlock fic….nngh…thanks for the recommendation!

  • Nikki

    There’s a movement somewhere.. where they were talking to young men about porn and how that’s not how sex really goes. I’m too tired to try to Google it, no telling what I’d come up with…but it is being addressed in some small form.

    And there was responses from some of the young men, some were thankful, some surprised. Women also weighed in.

  • Jenny

    In case anyone finds this interesting. I thought it was an interesting, if not balanced, take. And talks some about the but what about the children concerns.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html

  • http://www.accordingtokate.net Kate

    Please don’t base your opinion on porn on just one bad movie. I think it can actually be quite good sometimes, and fun to watch with a partner if it’s the right kind for you. Might I recommend you look up some “DaneJones” porn on youporn.com? I find it quite palatable and even a turn on sometimes. :)

  • Anonforthis

    So, I’m a little late to this party, but I’d love to see if anyone can relate to my experiences.

    I’m a liberal, feminist, sex positive person. I also happen to really love the awful, degrading, misogynistic variety of porn you found so distasteful. I find it distasteful, too! In theory, anyway. In reality, I find it really hot….and I have no idea why. Everything about it is repulsive to me on an intellectual level. But for some reason, the raunchier and more demeaning it is, the hotter I find it. Maybe it’s the tension between knowing it’s “bad” but finding it a huge turn on.

    Obviously, I recognize the problems with the porn industry, how mainstream porn perpetuates harmful stereotypes about women and sexuality, and the serious problems that can come about in relationships because of porn. I used to feel a bit guilty indulging in my raunchy bad porn habit, but I’m coming to accept that all of the intellectualization in the world can’t make my mind/libido change what it wants.

    What’s funny is that my husband enjoys romantic, feminist, real-people-in-love porn. Meanwhile, I’m furtively rubbing one out to the nasty stuff. He knows I watch porn, but we’ve never watched any together, so I’m not sure he realizes how raunchy/misogynistic/horrible the porn I like really is.

    • http://www.accordingtokate.net Kate

      I tend to think that as long as it’s legal and involves consenting adults, there are no wrongs or rights when it comes to turn ons. If it floats your boat, that’s awesome. :)

    • anonnnn

      YES. Thank you. I try and find vids where it looks like she’s into it, but I get off on the degrading, raunchy stuff. I usually turn it off before the come-on-her-face part, because that’s a little over the top for me, but yeah. I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t into the lovey dovey natural stuff.

    • Annonny

      Totally same boat. I mean, I like the “nice” stuff, too, as long as it’s HOT…. but yeah. In theory, I know it’s problematic. In practice, as long as she looks like she’s having a bit of fun I am aaaaall about it. (Also, I think we’re in the same partner-likes-lovey-porn boat, too. Funny how that happens.)

  • anonymusss

    Echoing others here in that you can’t judge it all by one laughably terrible mainstream video. There’s lots of consensual, realistic porn out there (and tumblr is awesome if you’re more into pictures/gifs). Another place I usually find female-friendly stuff is the r/chickflixxx on reddit. You can also make requests and intrepid porn-hunters will usually deliver!

  • Pingback: On the table: NY for work + NSFW()

  • Itsy bitsy

    Just to throw this out there:

    https://makelovenotporn.tv

    This website came about from a TED talk about the issues with porn-vs-real-life. I haven’t actually been to the site since they started putting up videos so I can’t vouch for the content, but it might be an interesting place to re-try the watching-people-get-it-on thing.

    • http://makelovenotporn.com/ Cindy Gallop

      Thank you so much for recommending us :) #realworldsex

    • Rachel

      Yes! I have been following MLNP since they were in Beta and though we haven’t watched any videos yet, I LOVE the concept!

  • amy

    I completely respect how you feel about porn but if you are up to giving it another try I suggest you do a little research first. As you learned not all porn is created equal, http://tristantaormino.com/ is a great place to start. There is porn for everyone, it is just a matter of searching it out. Happy hunting!

  • AnonForThis

    I had such a similar reaction!! I like my sexytimes full of stories and I did manage to find some stuff that has at least a rudimentary story… you know like “they just got engaged” or “just found out they were pregnant.” It makes me feel rather traditionally female writing that out but seriously having some CONTEXT for the sexytimes was so important. (Unlike scenes of random penetration in the basement…) Thanks for the good links here, ladies! Will be exploring later!

  • Centauress

    As someone who writes centaur porn (like, a whole saga! Gotta pay the ivf bills somehow, yo) straight to kindle, can if just say how mad I was when I realized I hadn’t thought of dinosaurs? Dammit, I say. Dammit!

    On a more serious note, though, a) YES SO MUCH PORN REALLY IS THAT HORRIBLE UGHHH and b) your photo there is gorgeous and c) if you find sexy book erotica, there’s always the option of reading aloud to each other in bed

  • Rachel

    I had a similar eexperience – asked my boyfriend to find some. And what struck me was that Porn Sex is BAD SEX! I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  • Jessica B

    This is relevant to the conversation: http://hystericalliterature.com/