7 Sex Myths You Should Never Believe Based On Porn
Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
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Porn can be a way to learn about your sexuality and all the other sexualities out there, and if you have fun watching it, power to you. But a problem occurs when we treat mainstream porn as sex education. There are a lot of myths spread by porn, so like movies, TV, and any other form of entertainment, it's important not to interpret what you see on your favorite porn site as reality.

You might think this goes without saying, but people watched over four and a half billion hours of mainstream porn in 2016 alone, according to Pornhub's data, and it's hard for all those videos not to influence how we behave in real life, especially when we start watching them at a young age. A case in point: 53.8 percent of guys in a DrEd survey said they got inspiration for new positions from porn. Again, that's fine, as long as you don't expect your partner to bend and twist in all the ways a porn star does — or be into all the things porn stars seemingly are.

Here are some things you should never believe, for your partners' sake and your own, just because mainstream porn suggests they're true.

1That Most Women Can Orgasm Through Intercourse

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I recently stumbled across a Reddit thread in which a man asked if it was possible for him to have intercourse with a woman for half an hour without her coming. Um, yup. If you're ignoring the clitoris, it's more than possible. It's probable. Unfortunately, porn gives off the impression that you can just stick your penis in and fireworks will go off. In reality, only about a quarter of cis women orgasm just through intercourse. Everyone is different, so some women might, but it's important to ask your partner what turns them on and gets them off rather than relying on what you've seen in porn.  

2That Women Can All Have Multiple Orgasms

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After a woman appears to orgasm in porn ("appears" being the operative word), she appears (note that word again) to come again and again like rapid fire. You rarely see a couple stop to let her recover. But in reality, less than half of women have multiple orgasms, according to the OMGYES Study of Women’s Sexual Pleasure. Many find that after the first one, the clit becomes too sensitive to be touched comfortably. Mainstream porn promotes a double standard that says heterosexual sex is over when a man orgasms (see item #4), but if a woman does, she has to keep going until her partner is pleased. But people of all genders sometimes need a break, and that's perfectly fine.

3That All Women Like To Be Dominated

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Porn promotes a stereotype that's prevalent throughout society and applied to all sorts of things beyond sex: that all women secretly want a man to control them. Whether female porn stars are being held down, ordered around, insulted, or physically hurt, porn depicts female degradation as the default rather than a very specific practice that should be discussed in advance.

A disturbing University of Arkansas study found that 88 percent of popular porn videos included physical aggression, and only five percent of the women in the videos expressed any objection to it. There's nothing inherently wrong with S&M, but it should only be practiced with a code word and both parties' enthusiastic agreement.

4That Sex Is Over When A Man Comes

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The iconic "money shot" that closes out porn videos signals that since the guy has had his moment of bliss, all is well with the world and everyone can go home now. But there are plenty of reasons sex may stop before that happens or continue after it. People can get tired or lose interest (let's remember consent can be revoked at any time), and someone's partner may still be turned on. Defining the duration of sex by the actions of a penis is totally sexist and narrow-minded.

5That If A Woman's Enjoying Herself, She'll Be Loud

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A mainstream porn video would feel incomplete without wake-up-the-neighbors moans, groans, shrieks, and squeals, usually on the part of the woman. But you know most of those noises are fake, right? Porn stars are actors. Giving your partner feedback is helpful, but don't feel like this feedback has to come in the form of porn-star noises. A simple "that feels good" is plenty! And if your partner's not loud either, it doesn't mean they're not enjoying themselves.

6That Most People Look A Certain Way

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The same way the fashion industry has idealized thin bodies, mainstream porn has idealized large penises, small labia, and (also) thin bodies with conventionally placed curves and muscles. But porn actors represent a small subset of the population, and people of all different body types can have great sex.

7That Sex Devoid Of Human Connection Is Enjoyable

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What a remarkable number of porn films have in common is that the people look like they either hate each other or are totally disinterested in each other. And hey, I'm not bashing casual sex — or even sex between enemies, if that's your thing — but good sex requires basic consideration for your partner. It's not OK to treat a stranger like they have no needs or feelings, so why is it considered OK to treat a sexual partner that way? No matter how casual a relationship is, we all deserve to feel like we're appreciated and cared for.

Of course, it's fine to have sex that resembles porn sex, but that shouldn't the only option on the menu. So don't feel bad if your sex life looks nothing like what you see in porn. And please, dear lord, do not watch mainstream porn to figure out how sex works.