Thoughts On The Porn Sex Vs. Real Sex Video

Some of you may have seen the porn sex vs. real sex video going around recently. By using fruits and vegetables to stand in for human genitals, it cutely addresses some of the misconceptions about sex that people may be getting from watching pornography.

But the video is worth discussing for the assumptions it embeds, too. As blogger flexibeast points out, the video doesn’t define porn (so it could include amateur as well as professionally-produced entertainment), and assumes that only people with gender identities matching their genitals are involved. Additionally, there is very little discussion of same-sex and multi-partner sexual encounters. Based on the video, one might assume that transgender people don’t exist, that lesbians are nearly invisible, and that other points on the diverse sexuality spectrum (asexuality, kink, polyamory, and so on) are rare if not nonexistent.

In this video interview with sex educator and porn actress Nina Hartley (warning: it starts to play the video right away when you click it!), another important point emerges: that porn performers represent that spectrum. They’re people who are acting in porn, and their at-home sex lives don’t necessarily reflect what happens on the camera. My favorite quote from the interview is:

Pornography is a paid, professional performance by actors. It is a fantasy, it is not meant to be a rulebook and guidebook or a how to as a general rule. And it goes to show how poor our sex education is in this country that people are reduced to looking at an entertainment medium for information about the body.

Yes, yes, and more yes. I also think that in addition to needing more comprehensive, truthful sex education, young people need to be taught better media literacy and critical thinking skills. I have a hunch that we’re indoctrinated at such an early age to become good little consumers that we get used to looking at all visual culture like it’s an advertisement. This would, of course, apply to porn, which is advertising a certain way of having sex (intentionally or not).

There’s little harm in using brightly colored fruits and veggies to talk about sex; let’s just keep in mind that conversations about sex are necessarily going to be complex because, as humans, we’re complex.

About Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.