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Porn has been warping my perspective on what satisfying sex looks like

Hi! I'm Olive and I love words.

I use them to write stuff like books and articles.

I use them to  perform stuff like speeches and spoken word pieces. 

You can learn more about me at www.olivepersimmon.com

Intimate, loving porn is crucial if we want to have good sex lives

It's a Saturday afternoon. I'm sitting in a dark warehouse in Brooklyn. It's the second annual Pornfest, and I'm about to watch NSFW videos surrounded by a room full of people.

“Let me be clear. We are pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-education,” Cindy Gallop says, brushing her electric blonde hair out of her face. She's the reason most of the audience is here. She's a brilliant speaker and a charismatic woman in her 50s, not to mention sexy as hell. Gallop is the founder of the website MakeLoveNotPorn, and it is revolutionizing the porn industry.

Let's get a few things out of the way here:

  1. I'm a woman.
  2. I watch porn.
  3. I like porn.
  4. I have my favorite websites and categories (cunnilingus, pegging and cartoon at the moment).
  5. I haven't had sex in a gazillion years. I'm mentioning this in case you're picturing me as a sexual savant who walks around in see-through tops and represents the liberation of female sexuality. Not quite.

I'm not at Pornfest because of my overwhelming devotion to porn. After my first book, Unintentionally Celibate, came out, I was in desperate need of a rebrand. I've been in a dry spell for longer than I care to admit. So, I'm at Pornfest doing research for my second book, The Quest for Coitus, which is about the journey to get my mojo back. I have no expectations of what I'll learn here but I figure I should start somewhere.

"People are terrified to talk about sex," Gallop says. She's right. There's a stigma around talking about sex. Despite being thirty, I'm still sheepish to tell "adults" about the topic of my book. I'm afraid that any respectable person over the age of 40 will somehow hear the word sex and think I'm not a good a person. It's totally bizarre because sex is as primal as eating. Despite this, it's a topic that remains behind closed doors.

Our inability to talk about sex is a serious problem. "Because we're afraid to talk about it, hardcore pornography has become sex education," Gallop explains. "It teaches us that all men want to cum on a woman's face… and all women want men to cum on their face. This is why I created MakeLoveNotPorn. To provide an alternative point of view. ”

Here's what makes Gallop's website so different from others:

1. It's real people having real sex

Unedited, from start to finish. There's foreplay and joking. Cats jumping on beds. Weird sounds. Attempts at crazy positions that end with someone falling off the bed. Real people cumming quietly or loudly or making faces that look all scrunched up like they are in a lot of pain. Most importantly, it usually looks like both people are enjoying themselves.

2. It's fully consensual and legal

There's a thorough screening process. Every video gets watched by a team that ensures that both people are fully consenting adults and want their video on the internet. This gets rid of that awful nagging feeling that creeps up when it looks like something was filmed on a closet cam.

3. The content producers are compensated fairly

Regular porn stars are usually compensated per video. That video is shared trillions of times, without any sort of further compensation. As a subscription service, MakeLoveNotPorn actually pays its people.

I like all of this. Mostly because it feels likes guilt-free porn watching. It's amateur porn at its finest.

But it dawns on me that I'm about to collectively watch porn with a room full of strangers. I'm worried that I'm going to become aroused by the videos, like that's something I should be ashamed of. It's as if I should be able to platonically watch people have sex and then academically discuss it.

The video begins. It's an attractive couple. They look like they just walked off the L train in Brooklyn. They like to joke and experiment with all sorts of positions and sex toys. They're likable, relatable. They look like they're having awesome sex.

At one point, the woman is using a strap-on, but it's way smaller than anything I've seen in regular porn. She has to stop a few times to make adjustments. He looks like he's enjoying it. No one is cumming on anyone's face.

I AM aroused, but somehow it's different than what I expected. It's not making me so outrageously horny that I want to hump the closest thing I can find. It's making me crave human connection. It feels like the difference between sloppily kissing a stranger at a bar (hardcore porn) and finally kissing someone you really like after months of anticipation. In the rain. While he strokes your face. There's something deeper about the couples on the screen. It's an authentic expression of human intimacy.

I'm sitting next to my attractive friend Rohan. His wild, curly hair is one of his best assets. I'm overwhelmed by my need to touch him. I want to put my hand on his.

I realize this is how this porn is different. It makes you see how human sex is. It makes you desire that need to be touched and loved and to share and give and take.

That's not to say there's not a time and a place to watch hardcore sex. That can be enjoyable too, but something weird starts to happen to your brain when that's all you see. It can shape your perception of sex and intimacy. Suddenly normal, real-life sex seems like it's not edgy enough. Or fun enough. Or somehow just not enough.

Gallop's endeavor is creating an alternative perspective. It offers a different conversation. It's an education about what it means to have sex in the real world.

And sure, sometimes someone cums on someone's face.

But sometimes someone falls off a bed.

Intimate, loving porn is crucial if we want to have good sex lives
Image: SheKnows


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