Empowerment, Sex

The Other Trinity: Porn, Men, and Me

There are times when I’ve felt like porn was the third party in the relationship. Sometimes it served as the backdrop for what he and I were doing on the main stage. Other times, it was more like a mistress that he felt like he needed to conceal.

I’ve had to deconstruct how I feel about pornography, because it’s an undeniable part of our culture. It’s hard to find reliable stats on porn, because much of that information is published by social and religious conservatives with their own agenda. All I know for sure is that it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and it uses a lot of internet bandwidth. We’ve also normalized it to the point that we’re finally beginning to consider its greater implications. Some say it kills love.

Does it?

I know that it amplifies any disconnection that already exists between two people. I’ve had that rather hollow experience of trying to feel a guy’s heart while he’s glued to the bombshell getting pounded on screen. Not only was he completely disengaged from me and how I was feeling, but he wasn’t in touch with himself, either. He couldn’t even sense his own heart, so how could he feel mine? I decided at that point that I was 100% done with being little more than an orifice for any man who isn’t able to meet me at a deeper level of awareness.

I’ve also been with someone who consistently chose his relationship with porn over making love with me, because that was a lot easier for him. He didn’t have to show up emotionally. He didn’t have to face all of the suppressed fear, pain, and anger that would likely surface if he turned to me instead. Porn wasn’t going to trigger any of his issues. It seemed safer and easier to swallow (pun so intended).          

Then I’ve had that all-too-common awkward moment of walking in on a guy masturbating to porn. I was in my 20s the first time it happened, and I just laughed at him. He felt shamed, I felt smug, and it’s one of those situations I wish I could go back and handle better. The second time it happened, I was older, wiser, and with a different partner. I simply asked him if he wanted to continue solo or if I could join the party. He switched off the screen, and we enjoyed each other. No fuss. No drama.   

I can honestly say that porn doesn’t trigger any feelings of jealousy or inferiority inside. I don’t compare myself with other women, in real life or on screen. I know who I am. I know what I bring to the table, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There is no competition. That’s not the issue for me.      

As a feminist and Goddess spirituality guide, I’m more concerned with how sex is portrayed in most of the porn out there. The thoughts running through my head during a typical porn scene would be something like: “Wait! She is SO not ready for that! Where’s the foreplay? Where’s the connection? You’re not even looking into her eyes. Okay, that does NOT feel good to any woman, ever. She’s not actually enjoying this. Those sounds are pain, not pleasure. Why can’t you tell the difference? Why don’t you care?”

I’m bothered that scenes like that become the template so many boys internalize in their teen years, and then it takes a ton of work and patience to help them deprogram as men. Even if they desire more love and connection, they don’t know how to get there after years of poor cinematic examples and heartless hook-ups.    

It’s extremely frustrating for women who channel a lot of Goddess power, have healed their deepest sexual wounds, and are tired of partners who are still on training wheels in terms of intimacy.    

I’ve wondered what would happen if all porn were more conscious and sensitive to how women’s bodies actually respond…if it at least honored what women need, instead of kowtowing to the typical dominant/aggressive male fantasy. Would that change the template? Would it stop the objectification of women’s bodies? Would it paint us as fellow human beings with hearts and souls that deserve so much more than something resembling animals mating in the wild?             

I can’t condone the exploitation that goes on in the industry, either. I’ve heard too many guys try to justify it by saying, “They want to do this, and they’re getting paid. Where’s the harm?” Unfortunately, not all actors end up there willingly. Some are trafficked, misled, coerced, underpaid or not paid at all, and blackmailed. The personal accounts by former porn stars are rarely glamorous. At least choose your porn wisely and go for the fair trade options. That would be a tiny baby step toward undoing some of the damage.   

Does porn kill love?

No, not on its own. It’s just one more barrier we can use to avoid the intimacy we crave so desperately but are so afraid to let ourselves have. It’s just one more wall we can put up so that we don’t have to be wide open, raw, and unpolished with each other.

I don’t think porn is disappearing anytime soon, and turning it into a scapegoat won’t fix the underlying issues. It’s still on us to get better at how we talk about sex, honor our boundaries, respect our bodies, and relate to each other in honest, more fulfilling ways, both in and out of the bedroom.

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “The Other Trinity: Porn, Men, and Me”

  1. I love this: “tired of partners who are still on training wheels in terms of intimacy.” your writing is on point. I like the idea of keeping porn, but changing it, and making it more conscious! I feel like that’s a real possibility.

    1. I believe it’s possible, too, but it would take more women getting into the industry as directors…and men being a lot more conscious and selective about the type of porn they’re viewing.

Leave a Reply