How Watching Porn Made Me More Confident In Bed

When I was in middle school, I’d often watch General Hospital with my mom and grandma. While I was by no means watching porn, the sex on TV was portrayed as explosive. Gorgeous bodies, gleaming with sweat, clinging together, moaning in intense pleasure. All sex scenes were like this, of course.

At this age, I wanted to write romance novels when I grew up. The reality ended up not that far from the goal; I write lifestyle content that often ends up including sex tips and advice. But in those early years, when I was incredibly inexperienced – I hadn’t kissed a boy until well into high school – and I was filled with endless curiosity about the great unknown.

I began my formative years with the delusion that all sex is, also, like it is on TV. And while, of course, this would ultimately lead to disappointment when I had my first sexual encounter (well into college), my fascination with the sensual realm was born on those “love in the afternoon” daytime serial forays. And it continued when I entered my teen years and would mass read all the Harlequin Desire paperbacks at my local library. I always felt like I was doing something deliciously naughty.

And while I wasn’t using those novels as erotica, I was very much using them for inspiration. I got lost in those pages, picturing myself at the hands of the strapping guy who was bad for me (but oh so good) and it shaped my desires and attitude about sex in real life for years to come.

Over the years, when curiosity (and believe it or not, research for my writing) led to me occasionally viewing porn, it was along the same lines. I wasn’t watching it for reasons of arousal – though of course, when it’s good, that happens – but rather to explore the realm of sexuality. Much like with the romance novels that sparked my career path, porn is a way to simply, observe and learn. It’s a way to see what you like and what you don’t like.

If something in erotica or porn intrigues you, you may try it in real life. If it turns you off, you’ll know to throw the brakes on before it ever happens. It can be a sort of kickstart to a new road for you and your partner to explore, but it can also keep you off a path you absolutely don’t want to be on.

Learning about sex is always a good thing, and it can make you feel more comfortable in bed, too.

And truthfully, I think porn can be sort of hilarious sometimes. Some of these scenarios are completely unrealistic and the acting is often pretty darn terrible. But you can still learn about sex positions and experiences you’ve never tried before — or even heard about. Remember how you learned that language way quicker when you studied abroad? Same thing here. Sometimes the best way to learn things is to watch them in action.

There’s a belief that porn is subjugating to women and geared toward men, but perhaps that's mostly mainstream porn. There’s endless amounts of porn out there – and there exists a porn for every body type, every fantasy, every interest. Something out there can cater to your desires, even those secret fantasies you have yet to share with your partners. And this is a way to explore those desires in a safe and private way, without fear of judgment.

And, you know what, watching it with a partner? It’s even better. It can be incredibly hot and inspirational for you when you are together. It’s a way, even, to discover new sexual fantasies together. You may get new ideas from what you watch together, or just have more fun that night while you are watching it. It may even help you two communicate about sex better. Either way, it can help you feel more comfortable in the bedroom — and that is always fun.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Image: Aly Walansky