Pornography influences our sexual expectations.

We can’t talk about sexual expectations without talking about pornography. Like other movies that feed us an image of what sex can or should look like, pornography can have a big impact on how we picture sex. Pornography has changed forms over the years, and it’s much more pervasive than ever. Decades ago, you might have found someone’s stash of magazines somewhere and gotten a view of people’s bodies, sexual arousal, and sex itself. Other, racier, magazines and video tapes showed you stories about how sex went in the imagination of their creators. Now, you can be exposed to a huge variety of video material at your fingertips. There are huge catalogs of porn in every conceivable category. If you have seen any of it, it has shaped your expectations whether you want it to or not.

Pornography is not sex ed.

Watching porn is a prevalent way people think they are learning about sex. Except porn isn’t sex: it’s entertainment. (It may be other things than that, too, but I’m not going to get into an evaluation of the value/health/morality of porn in this post.) Not only is porn highly produced, with extensive preparation, enhancements, and selected camera angles, it is also based in fantasy and faking. These aren’t, generally speaking, real people in real relationships and real situations. These scenes, looked at in the most generous way, are exaggerated to appeal to someone’s eroticism, scripted to accentuate certain aspects of sex. They are a caricature of sex.

You need to understand the difference between porn and reality.

If porn is where you or your partner “learned” about sex, you’re going to run into problems when sex meets real life. Certainly, what’s shown in pornography is there for a reason; any slice of it is enjoyable for some segment of the population. But what porn presents is not how sex needs to be. Or how sex should be, unless it’s exactly what you and your partner both want. Porn gives you one view of sex: it’s not the only one. There are almost certainly things that you can learn about your erotic desires from watching pornography, but it is important to separate that insight from the expectations you have for sex with your partner. If you don’t understand the difference between the fantasies being enacted in a photograph (or on screen) and the variety of ways sex can happen between two people in real life, you can end up with a distorted view of what sex is and what other people want. This informs your expectations, and you might view “regular sex” as inadequate or view yourself as inadequate if you can’t perform like the porn stars.

Consider the pornography you or your partner have viewed. How has it shaped your expectations? Talk to your partner about what turns you on about what you’re watching, but then work together to create encounters that work in real life and work for both of you. Find other sources of information to get an idea of what realistic sex might look like (books, other movies, websites like omgyes.com). Be willing to challenge your ideas about what everyone else is doing and how sex should work.

https://youtu.be/hG02cZ-uvGI

You might also enjoy: 

Your expectations are the problem

The sexual avoidance cycle

When sex is disappointing

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