Sex Isn’t All Porn, and We’re Not All Porn Stars

A totally unimaginative cherry…

This from a guy on Jezebel’s “How Guys Lost Their Virginity” article: “Losing my virginity was like watching the hottest porn ever, but instead of having roughly 40% success at imagining that the porn guy is me, I had 100% success at imagining that the porn guy is me.”

I’m really happy to see a major feminist website like Jezebel taking guys’ sexual experiences seriously, and I think it’s fabulous that we’re getting firsthand accounts of something that should be just as momentous for young men as for young women, but which is rarely presented from the male side of the coin. That’s not done often enough. But the quote above makes me sigh really loud because it implies that guys aren’t taking their OWN sexual experiences very seriously. I mean, yes, ok, so most people in America coming of age now probably see porn and experience sex that way before actually engaging in it themselves, but… Aaaah, porn is not normal sex! It’s not! It’s soooo different! Losing your virginity, unless it’s actually FOR a porn film, is not like being in a porno! If it is, then you’re basically handing over your own reality to some (probably) sleazy guy in LA who’s following a script of rote repetition made to sell to the unwashed masses instead of even trying to have a real, honest, firsthand experience of a huge moment in your life.

On the one hand, I kind of love how entertainingly meta this idea is. This guy is owning his status as a child of the pseudo-reality generation for whom video games, pornography, and online interaction actually form a large part of lived experience, and that’s actually fascinating. But living one’s own life experience through the filter of what one has experienced in virtual reality seems to cross a certain line when it comes to sex, and certainly more so when it’s one’s first time having it. Sure, it’s great to put yourself into someone else’s shoes sometimes, but since when did “the porn guy” have a more authentic sexual experience than you? How do you think the woman he was with would have felt if she knew she was being looked at through the eyes of someone who can only contextualize sex in relation to porn?

I wonder if that guy’s first time was well lit. If he and the girl both “opened up” for a nonexistent camera. If they did ten different positions. If he came on her face. If they followed the standard make-out/oral/oral/missionary/cowgirl/doggy/reverse cowgirl/popshot formula. If they used their imaginations at all. It’s times like these that make me appreciate Cindy Gallop’s MakeLoveNotPorn.com even more. All porn is sex, yes, but that doesn’t mean all sex is porn.

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