Sexual Health Week: Let’s Talk Porn


 

This week is Sexual Health Week – an initiative run by sexual health charity FPA. Sexual Health Week is always a great opportunity to learn about your own sexual health, get info and advice from sex educators, charities and medical experts, and take a bit of time to explore the impact that sex has on your own life.

This year, the theme of Sexual Health Week is porn, and FPA Charity has been busy answering frequently asked questions about porn as well as providing tips for parents about how to talk to children about porn and sexual health.

As a sex toy company, we’re really keen to see more people having conversations about porn and masturbation – we think that porn can be a fantastic addition to your sex life (along with sex toys like PULSE III and the Queen Bee!), whether you’re watching it on your own or with partners. So as our contribution to Sexual Health Week, we wanted to give you three reasons why it’s good to talk about porn…

3 reasons to talk about porn

1. Watching porn helps you articulate what you want in bed

Let’s face it, sometimes you don’t even know exactly what you want until you see a glimpse of it somewhere else. Even after you’ve got an idea for a new sex trick or kink, it can be difficult to articulate it if you’re shy or nervous, or unused to talking about sex. Porn – whether that’s videos, photos, drawings or erotic books – can be a useful tool when you want to share your desires with your partner. Sending them something and saying ‘hey, I’d like to try this – what do you think?’ can be a neat way to articulate what you want in bed.

2. Watching porn can be excellent as part of sex

It’s often said that watching porn can be excellent foreplay. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while you’ll know that we don’t think ‘foreplay’ is a great word: so much of what we usually think of as ‘foreplay’ is actually part of sex itself – there’s no law that says this or that thing should only be part of the build-up, and never the main event itself.

But whether you’re having solo sex or enjoying porn with a partner, watching videos or reading erotic stories to each other can be a really exciting thing to do. Top tip: if you’re comfortable watching each other’s porn and masturbating together, doing this will help you learn lots about your partner’s fantasies and desires – as well as how they like to touch themselves.

3. Watching porn can spark important conversations about body image, sexual health, and other things

If you’re more worried about the possible problems with porn than the benefits, you might be surprised that we haven’t yet mentioned any of the criticisms often levelled at porn. The fact that porn can be beneficial doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its flaws – like all forms of entertainment, porn is often riddled with tropes and messages that can cause harm.

Body image is a good example: in porn, most of the people you’ll see will have a particular body type. Slim, likely young, mostly hairless, and athletic. Where there is diversity in porn – older performers or disabled performers, for instance – they’re usually being specifically fetishised for their age or disability.

But just as there are movies that don’t rely on offensive tropes to tell a story, so there are some fantastic porn producers and performers making content that doesn’t dehumanise or degrade the people who make it. There are some great suggestions for ethical porn in this article by Violet Blue, as well as some good tips from Jiz Lee on how to be an ethical porn consumer (hint: it starts with paying for your porn, rather than relying on ‘free’ tube sites).

Watching ethical porn, and having conversations about the ways in which porn can be inclusive and body-positive, is vital to ensure that the future of the porn industry is sexy and not harmful.

As well as the broader conversations about the industry, talking about specific porn tropes can help us address our worries about the sex we see in porn versus the sex we have in our own lives. Porn performers are professionals, who are having sex as performance – we should no more expect to have sex in exactly the same way as them than we should expect to be able to cook like a TV chef. Justin Hancock, who runs the sex ed website Bish, has written many articles for young people about porn that aim to relieve the pressure they may feel to live up to the performers on screen.

Porn as part of a healthy sex life

Porn is such a huge industry that it’s impossible to give a conclusive answer on whether porn is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for your sex life: it’s going to depend a lot on the porn you watch and your relationship to it. But while the porn industry may have its faults, it’s clear that for many people porn provides an outlet for their sexuality – giving them inspiration, helping them communicate sexually, and sparking important conversations both in and outside the bedroom.

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