The (obvious) problem with porn

Lili Radloff asks for better quality pornography. Will someone please listen?


You know how people are always going on about the bad acting in porn movies? I don’t get it. I mean technically these people aren’t actors. They’re professional… er, lovers. Which means the more pertinent question should be: “why are porn stars so bad at sex?”

I was struck by this again when I watched a wee bit of porn this weekend (strictly for work purposes of course). As usual I was slightly put off by the bad lighting, terrible hair and make-up – good heavens those nails! – cheesy, very unsexy scenarios and the undertone of female humiliation (more about this later). 

Mostly I was just stunned by the lack of technique displayed by the performers and the lack of eroticism of it all. The kisses looked gross, the cunnilingus looked painful and the actual penetration looked chafey.  (Women giving blowjobs excepted – they were pretty good).

Now I’m not an advocate of the feathery-stroky kind of love-making – hell, of course there’s space in a happy sexual encounter for a bit of vigorous rubbing, slapping and mindless pumping. But scene after scene after scene after scene?  There is real skill involved in good sex, so why not show us a bit of that as well?

So why watch it in the first place?
Well, the majority of people get turned on by watching other people have sex. Go figure.  (Not me of course, I only do this for the money.) Seriously, all the ancient civilizations had versions of pornography. Yeah, yeah, I know, a rock drawing done in calf’s blood is hardly Private material, but people make do with what they have okay?

And today, of course, we have the internet. Over the last fifteen years or so porn has become so readily available that there’s practically an entire generation raised on it. With this type of sex education being the norm, I can’t help yearning back to a simpler age. You know, where people learnt about sex the fun way: clumsy exploration. 

I’ve written about creating the wrong expectations in men (through porn) and women (through romance) but that was more about emotional misunderstanding in relationships.

On a purely practical level:  If boys think a bit of nipple yanking and a couple of spanks constitute foreplay how the hell are they supposed to understand why their girls aren’t happy in bed, never mind squealing like slaughtered heifers?  (That too is quite unnecessary, porn producers.)

And on an ideological level: if you look at the mainstream, allow me to reiterate: MAINSTREAM porn bestsellers as they did in the documentary: The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, sexuality and relationships porn is now more aggressive, more sexist and more violent towards women than ever before. (Interestingly enough – fetish porn is often much less offensive than your normal frat-house barely legal crap.) In the swinging 70s porn was really about people having fun. These days the most popular themes revolve around the humiliation and degradation of women (I’m not talking harmless fucking here people, I’m talking double vaginal and anal penetration, waterboarding, induced vomiting etc.)

And we’re all getting used to it.

I say, let’s have porn! You can’t ban it anymore in any case, for that you’ll have to dismantle the entire technological framework that shapes our lives and our businesses. But somebody, for God’s sake start making sexy, skillful, fun porn. I promise you, there’s a market for it.

Agree?

Follow Lili and Women24 on Twitter.

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