If I ever have kids, I’d rather they learn about sex through porn than commercial (especially American) movies and TV shows. Don’t get me wrong – certain kinds of porn sometimes don’t teach us the best values, but at least porn has evolved to the point where it doesn’t tell us that we should be ashamed of our genitals, that only fit and conventionally ‘good looking’ people can have sex and that people with pussies magically climax when the person with a penis does.
I had this revelation not so long ago, when I became aware of how unrepresentative and basically just inaccurate love, sex and relationships are depicted on the average TV offerings. I also realised that because I watched all these false representations since I was a kid, starting my sexual life had been somehow complicated.
See, in mainstream shows and movies, heterosexual ‘sex’ scenes go something like this: the beautiful girl and the handsome guy exchange a look that somehow means they both want sex, the next minute they are kissing, they disappear under the sheets, somehow their bodies, the stars and everything else perfectly align, and before you know it, they both miraculously come together. Phew!
It’s no wonder that when I started having sex, I was quite confused the scenario didn’t go this way at all.
First, I wasn’t wet enough for his dick to go straight in. (Was that normal? In the movies it just slides right, no?) We clearly had the same TV-special sex ed because he also thought he could just go for it without any prep. Then he came, and I thought I should too, so I faked it, thinking I should be coming at the same time because that’s what Hollywood had normalised.
I was confused. Did I even enjoy it? Why couldn’t I come? I could come so easily by clitoral stimulation, but for some reason I thought that was reserved for masturbation only, and that vaginal orgasm was the way to go as soon as you were fucking someone else. It took me literally years to undo all these false learnings and expectations about sex.
So why the fuck is sex portrayed in such an unrealistic way? We’ve been doing it literally forever, and yet sex is still the last Great Taboo. And with most of the media we consume coming from the puritan US, change is slow. We’re still told, explicitly and implicitly, that you should only have sex when you are ‘in love’, that it should be an activity better kept hidden and secret, that men who want it are ‘studs’ and women who want it are ‘sluts’. With this mentality, sex on TV can then only look prudish, shameful or cheesy. And that’s what we learn!
The same goes for relationships. In most media, they are superficial and lacking in depth. We are told that every woman wants nothing more than a man to treat her like a princess, without critically examining the dynamic and how this ultimately makes her a lesser person. Why do you think so many girls are waiting for ‘Prince Charming’ and end up completely disillusioned? And it goes both ways – guys end up with a profoundly distorted view of women’s needs and their sexuality. Thank you, Disney!
But thankfully, this is changing. Series like Girls, Sex Education and Broad City are really changing the game and our vision of sex. The lead characters don’t have perfect bodies, the sex scenes are realistic, awkward and fumbling as often as they are passionate and sexy, and are generally more representative of our generation’s interests and dilemmas.
Movie-wise, LOVE by Gaspar Noe is, so far, the best porn-not-porn I have seen. I was so happy to see that finally, someone had found the perfect mix of sex, porn and cinema. The sex scenes look real, never mind just bras coming off (like, why does everyone on TV have sex in a bra?), you actaully see genitals, you feel the passion and it blends perfectly with the story. Sex is a huge part of life and it should also be a part of cinema!
As an end and side note, I am always shocked, saddened and angry when I see that violence, murder, rape and drug abuse frequently find their way onto mainstream TV shows, whereas sex is still only hinted at. The world will be in a much better place when people finally accept the legitimacy and importance of sex in our lives, both in and off screens.