MEDICAL XPRESS – People have different definitions, but here’s mine:
Sex positivity is the radical, all-inclusive belief that each person’s body belongs to that person, and they get to choose what they do with it and how they feel about it.
Internet porn is a much-debated topic. I’ve heard people call it inherently sexist, say it has led to the exploitation of performers, that it’s psychologically damaging to children.
I’ve read defenses about the ways in which porn can be healthy, feminist and autonomous.
What is your position on internet porn?
Porn can be all those things. And it can also be a fun addition to individual or partnered sex, or a way to introduce a new idea to your partner, or even a way to learn about yourself. For adults.
“Learning about sex from porn is like learning to drive by watching NASCAR. Those are professionals on a closed course with a pit crew.”
Apart from the potential for harm to performers you mentioned, especially women and trans performers in mainstream porn, the worst consequence of the instant availability of endless porn online has made it a replacement for actual sex education.
By the early 2010s, college students were asking me questions about their bodies and how sex worked, based on what they had learned from porn. They thought they were broken because their bodies didn’t do what bodies in porn did.
My advice about Internet porn is that if you decide you’d like to watch it, you should pay for it, just like you’d pay for a magazine.
And just as you might buy coffee based on its alignment with your values—the eco-friendly option, the fair trade option, etc.—buy porn that is ethically produced, gives performers true choice about what they do and don’t do ….
Emily Nagoski is the author of Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.She has a PhD in health behavior with a minor in human sexuality from Indiana University, and a MS in counseling, also from IU, including a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute sexual health clinic. She has been a sex educator for twenty years and currently works as the inaugural director of wellness education at Smith College.