Rated Maybe

Porn. When I was a kid, I thought porn was for boys. Then I got older, and I realised that most of it was for boys, because I was certainly not into it – or if I was, that was completely embarrassing.

Sometime after puberty I made friends with a couple working in porn, which forced me to re-evaluate what I thought about the industry. She was his boss, and together they wrote an ‘adult film’ that was nominated for a Porn Oscar (AVN). It was a satire of a Leo Dicaprio film and that’s the only hint I’m going to give you, because the last time I brought up my tenuous connection to the “glamorous” world of porn writing, my then-housemates all disappeared to watch. My friends’ off-screen chemistry resulted in some pretty cheesy but fun scenes, so score 1 for porn.

Maybe writing porn could be the ultimate turn on for a couple. But that doesn’t change the fact that most porn is not made for the female experience, right? I don’t mind if my partner watches porn, but some part of me worries that if I saw him watch scenes that are clearly derogatory towards women, I might not like him as much. Or, I may think that is what he wants, and feel like I need to provide it during sex. Which is just not something I want to think about.

The new world of virtual reality is making this couple landmine even more difficult to navigate. Now you can watch porn and feel like you are really ‘in’ it (bad pun). Does that make it more like cheating? What’s the difference between someone who has virtual porn and someone who has a lifelike sex doll? Is violent and sexist porn making people more sexist and violent, or giving them a healthy outlet?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and with the speed that new technology is developing in the adult entertainment industry, I’m probably not even asking the right questions. But as I was writing, I asked my boyfriend these questions. We didn’t agree about most of the answers – but it felt good to talk about it. 

Eva Gabriel

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