One Tweet Sums Up What We're Missing About Sex When We Watch Porn

Porn: good or evil?

There's reason to praise porn when it can help couples tap into sexuality. Others have firsthand experience of adult entertainment nearly destroying their sex lives. Tales of both liberation and addiction abound.

While the debate around whether or not porn is good for us may never end, one thing is certain about the false impressions it gives us. As one Twitter user on Thursday put it:

Where's the love?

Getting off on the wrong foot: Of course most porn doesn't claim to be a romantic comedy, as its purpose is relatively straightforward: to get people off. But porn dissociates "getting off" from the more emotional elements of human sexuality — and when it comes to sexual connections, there's more than the physical at play. A 2014 study from the University of Michigan cited four different factors contributing to sexual satisfaction, including emotional satisfaction and the satisfaction of your partner.

Porn doesn't only leave that out; it might set the tone for what sex is. Being raised on screens means that younger generations' sexual awakenings are uniquely digital, with many millennials discovering online porn and masturbation before ever having engaged in sexual activity with someone else.

"For many young people, the first orgasm they have is with a product," Wendy Maltz, sex therapist and author of The Porn Trap, told Mic. "And if a person gets sexually conditioned to a product, then the stimulation takes precedent, and satisfaction from real connection is limited."

A limited view of sex: That limited digital take on sex includes little lead-up — as Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, once told the New York Times, "On the Internet, the average attention span is three to five minutes" — as well as a physical connection that includes just a few choice body parts."

"The focus is on body parts and stimulation, close-ups of genitals, even, often without any indication of facial features at all," Maltz said. "Those types of elements can add adrenaline and offer a spike in arousal, but they take viewers farther away from something that could translate into having better relationships."

That perception of sex is just one factor at the root of the orgasm gap, if men and women don't have the same understanding of what actually gives pleasure. Then everyone misses out.

Keeping things in perspective: The key thing to remember is that porn as it exists today should be taken with a grain of salt: as unrealistic entertainment, and little else. As Rashida Jones wisely stated while promoting her documentary Hot Girls Wanted at the Sundance Film Festival, there is "a difference between sexuality and sexualization."

Maintaining the distinction between owning one's sexuality and merely sexualizing the images we see across a computer screen is likely a good place to start in using porn responsibly.

And if it ever does feel like it's negatively affecting your sex life, there's hope. After all, even Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character in Don Jon was eventually able to overcome his porn addiction and embrace real human intimacy.

"There is a way out," Maltz told Mic. "It's not easy, but you can always recondition your sexuality towards things that are more conducive to a loving relationship — if that's what you want."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Nicolas DiDomizio

Nicolas DiDomizio is a Staff Connections Writer at Mic. Prior to Mic, he was at MTV for 3 years. He holds a masters from NYU and a bachelors from Western Connecticut State University. Contact him at nic@mic.com.

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