Disclaimer: Whilst this article does involve some pretty hard do’s and don’ts, the kind of porn you consume and the way you consume it is completely up to your discretion. This article solely reflects my personal biases.
Like any other form of entertainment, porn has its ups and downs; while some advocate to ban it entirely under the argument that it’s too explicit and sinful, others suffer crippling addictions to it. But these are two extremes – and there are several ways to watch porn in a way that is healthy for both you and the world around you. Similar to alcohol, porn that is carefully consumed in moderation can be enjoyable and a great way to loosen up. In inconsiderate excess, however, it can distort reality and cause harm to both oneself and others. The world of porn is difficult to navigate, so here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to trying to consume it in a healthy manner:
DO watch porn with your partner(s).
For many, porn is considered something that you watch solo; it’s what lonely men wank to in the middle of the night. But this stereotype is both wrong and deeply flawed. Watching porn with your partner – assuming you communicate and agree upon what to consume in a respectful manner – can help you explore and gain insight into one another’s sexual needs and desires. And even if you don’t plan on having sex immediately after, it can, like a film, serve as entertainment and a relaxing way to unwind.
DON’T let it set unrealistic physical expectations.
With those who disagree with the concept of porn, setting unrealistic expectations is a totally valid argument against its existence; porn often exaggerates the sizes of everyone’s bits and holes in a way that sets a precedent for everyone to be perfectly proportioned and fit at every moment. However, as harmful as this may be, an outright ban is far from the best way of dealing with it. As a solution, just keep in mind that everyone’s body is entitled to love. Look around you in real life and notice all the different types of bodies.
DO use it to explore your own kinks and body.
You know you best, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to use porn as a tool for exploration. Using porn, you can explore kinks and fetishes that aren’t commonly accepted within mainstream society in a way that is private and best suits you.
DON’T let it have an oppressive or damaging effects on your self-worth.
Yes, as stated before, porn can be great…and not so great. A fair bit of porn is patriarchal, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and discriminatory in every which way. From racial slurs to the way those who are most masculine always take control of the power dynamic, porn reflects some of the worst problems inherent in our society. And while self-degradation may be a kink, it shouldn’t be one that gets in the way of your day-to-day life. If you find yourself thinking less of yourself and feeling ashamed of your own identities, it may be time to reconsider the choices you make when it comes to porn consumption.
…and especially DON’T consume porn if you suspect it’s illegal or unethical, even if it’s only acting.
If the porn you consume endorses or appears to be behaviour that is non-consensual, involves actors under the age of majority, or extreme violence, stop watching! Simply stop.
DO use it as a means of having healthy discussions regarding human sexuality.
Just like this article, porn is the basis of much healthy discussion. We can use it as a baseline to build upon. The more porn produced and consumed, the more there is to talk about. Porn reflects our society’s ideals when it comes to sexuality – and sexulaity is something that will be forever possessed by humankind. So long as we desire sex, the porn market will never cease. So rather than trying to shut it down, we can collaborate and discuss how to best go about producing and consuming it in a way this is both ethical and enjoyable.