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Porn and Romance Novels As Sex Education

April 5, 2012

The argument is often made against porn by claiming that men develop unreasonable expectations and perspectives in regards to sex. Perhaps this is true, to a point, as viewers are unable to see the “magic tricks” that happen off-screen. On the other hand, most people in America do not have adequate comprehensive sex education. As a result, many people, whether consciously or otherwise, use porn to teach them about sex. Porn shows positions, function, attitudes, and gives permission to enjoy. While clearly an actual course on sex is preferable, one role which pornography plays in our society is that of teacher.

While Rick Santorum spews lies about the “wealth of research” proving the evils of pornography, an erotic book is taking over the shelves and Kindles or the world. Fifty Shades of Grey is the preoccupation among women. The pages are filled, not only with steamy sex, but also bondage and power play. Considered “mommy porn” and Not-Safe-For-Work, women, especially those who are married with children are using the secrecy of Kindles and the like to read about the firm body of Christian Grey.1 Turn this book into a movie (as they are in the process of doing) and you have a porno with a plot.

Heaving bosom and throbbing cock.

Both Fifty Shades of Grey and Up and Cummers are both pornographic fantasies. If those watching online porn learn about sex and relationships from those films then what are the readers of books like Fifty Shades of Grey learning? When talking about the early age at which boys start to watch porn (age 14 on average), there is often talk about how these boys are learning unrealistic ideas about what sex is. Around the same age, girls begin to read erotic romance novels. Repeated studies have shown that “adolescent girls were not able to separate fact from fantasy.”2 Porn and romance novels follow templates. Porn films have repeated sequence of actions and positions (blowjob, vaginal, anal, blowjob, money shot on the face). Romance novels are all based on the same general plot (love at first site/finding the soul mate, hero is horny while the heroine is shy, she learns to accept her desire for him, they face and overcome an obstacle proving that they are indeed soul mates (repeat as necessary), they make passionate love) We have all heard this plot repeated in novels and chick flicks and many believe that this script is based on reality. The girls who could not separate fact from fantasy “believed that they would eventually find their one true love if they adhered to the guidelines set forth in the stories they read.”

Listen to a few episodes of Dan Savage’s podcast and it wont be long before a distraught woman calls in wondering if she should dump her boyfriend because she found porn on his computer. The same woman most likely has a few romance novels on her book shelf. We all have our fantasies. We all have our releases. For most (if not all) men that comes in the form of online pornography. For women it comes in written erotica.

Lets stop demonizing men for watching porn when women are using their erotic imagination just as much. Let us then focus on providing other means of sexual education and appropriate expectations for sex and relationships. The problem is not porn and erotica. The problem is that porn and erotic have been forced into a role in our society for which they are not fit. It is the role of people, be that professionals, organizations, friends or parents, to teach (and be an example for) realistic expectations, appropriate treatment of people, and the role of sex. Porn is not to blame for the failures of our culture. Porn is only filling a role that we, as a culture, are to prudish to deal with.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

1http://www.nerve.com/news/books/womens-reading-lists-are-smuttier-than-ever-thanks-to-e-readers

2http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/schools/cas_sites/communication/pdf/thesis07.bun.pdf

http://www.ricksantorum.com/protecting-families-women-and-children-through-enforcement-federal-obscenity-laws

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100288781

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2012 10:47 pm

    I agree about demonizing men’s proclivity for watching porn. Television, movies, etc. are always talking about how men have to get rid of their porn when they get a girlfriend or get married, because the female partner has problems with it. (At the same time, a handful of references to couples enjoying porn together are made, but they seem to feel like the anomaly, not the norm.) I’ve never understood that. Why should my partner need to “confess” to having porn and then dispose of it? It’s more important that we communicate about it.

  2. June 15, 2012 3:47 am

    Really interesting posting! However, I’m not sure if I agree about the comparaison between men watching porn and women reading erotica. Whilst clearly a lot of women do, especially with these new Grey books that everyone seems to be eating up, I have serious doubts that it is any way to the same extent as male consumers in the porn market. Whilst it seems to me that pretty much ALL young boys explore the world of porn, thereby learning about sex from it, as you suggested, I have not heard about many pre-pubescent girls taking up erotic romance novels on a regular basis. Certainly, when I was that age I was more interested in Harry Potter and such…

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