With such ready access to the internet, watching porn has become a hobby for many people.

The ability to stream it anytime, anywhere has created confusion between what is real sex and what is porn’s constructed versions of sex – all of which are essentially entertainment. As such, watching porn can set unrealistic expectations for all genders when it comes to how to act in the bedroom.  

Unlike real sexual encounters – which can be quiet, clumsy and awkward –  porn presents idealistic and fantastical scenarios, problematic consent (or lack thereof) and over-the-top orgasms. It also leaves out a lot of things that are unavoidable during sex like wiping up, communication or not reaching climax.

For full transparency, we’ve listed 20 things you don’t see in mainstream porn – something to remember before comparing your own experiences to those on the small screen.

  1. Consent. It’s the most important part of any sexual encounter and must always occur before anything else. It’s also sexy – your partner should enthusiastically want to have sex with you, and respect your boundaries in the process. Porn stars should verbally consent on camera for the scene they are shooting, and sign a contract that indicates they consent to being filmed and having their image shared online.
  2. Real, body-shaking orgasms. Something the porn industry hasn’t nailed yet is a realistic female orgasm. Sadly for women, they are shown in porn to have speedy orgasms from intercourse, without foreplay/oral. For most women, this would be unsatisfying and even painful in real life.
  3. Lubricant. We don’t see how much lube is used during porn, if at all. The stars are fornicating in front of a camera crew and a director, so lube is essential to keep both parties going to the finish line. Lube should also be a must for anal scenes.
  4. Anal prepping. In porn, anal sex is framed to look like a walk in the park, with easy entry and enjoyable penetration for both parties. This isn’t reflective of reality. Anal training, generous lubing, wipes, clean-eating and butt plug prep are all requirements for a flawless anal scene. Something to remember when spontaneity strikes!
  5.  Awkwardness. Let’s be real, sex can be awkward! Fumbling with clothing, weird questions, shame and insecurity can all come into play. Porn doesn’t embrace the awkwardness that comes with sex; it airbrushes it out completely.
  6. Peeing after sex. Unless the scene incorporates peeing as a kink, the act is taboo and rarely shown. In fact, peeing after sex is very necessary for women’s sexual health. It clears any bacteria, preventing UTIs and making both parties feel more comfortable post coital.  
  7. Love. Most porn stars are paired together based on looks or popularity, not by connection or chemistry. It might look idealistic, but it wouldn’t feel half as good as being with someone you know and care about.  
  8. Wipe down. Sex is messy business, even messier in porn! You will never see an after-sex wipe down or clean up on camera.
  9. Water/pee breaks. Even porn stars must hydrate and go to the bathroom during a sex sesh.
  10. Shyness. Porn stars are usually professional actors who are very comfortable in front of the camera. They are trained to appear sexually confident and present as secure within themselves. For regular humans, being shy is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
  11. Communication. Just like consent, we don’t see a lot of communication during sex on screen. There is rarely a verbal exchange about changing positions, bringing in sex toys or putting on a condom – let alone safe words during BDSM.
  12. Condoms. A lot of porn doesn’t highlight the use of condoms because it’s not considered ‘sexy’ – but that doesn’t mean that protection isn’t key. STI testing is a requirement of working in the porn industry, and porn stars are required to get tested every 14 days. Female actors can also be on the pill or have an IUD, which isn’t communicated either.
  13. Pubes. Despite being totally natural, we rarely see pubic hair in mainstream porn.
  14. Vaginismus. This involuntary female muscle spasm prevents vaginal penetration. It’s perfectly normal if it occurs, but it is never seen on screen.
  15. Erectile dysfunction. Just like vaginismus, males’ erectile dysfunction is never shown on screen, even though it is a very common occurrence.
  16. Period sex. Period sex is very taboo in porn, which contributes to the social stigma around this perfectly natural monthly occurrence.
  17. Arguments. Like the lack of communication, we don’t see open dialogues in which couples disagree or argue about anything.  
  18. Foreplay for her. 20 minutes of oral sex is too long of a time to include in a porn video, but for many, this is how long they’d spend getting their female partner ready for the big deed.
  19. Real pleasure and arousal. Like foreplay, real arousal and pleasure take time! Much of the pleasure we see in porn is acting.
  20. Sex toys. Butt plugs, vibrating bullets and anal beads are usually only seen within certain categories. Anything that heightens the partner’s pleasure (for their own sake) isn’t normally shown – it’s all about putting on a show for the viewer.

Porn is not real life and shouldn’t be considered a benchmark for ‘real sex’. Sex is about connection and intimacy – both concepts which are yet to be embraced by the porn industry.

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