5.04.2012

Does It Matter That Women Fake in Porn?



I just read a post on Blogher called Why Is It Harder to Suspend Disbelief When We Watch Porn? The blogger has a female friend who occasionally acts in pornography, and when the friend was asked if doing porn was just like a job (as opposed to exciting or super sexual), the friend said it was more like a job. This got the friend thinking.

Is it really all that big of a deal that women don't orgasm in porn? We aren't bothered that people in a drama aren't actually falling in love or aren't actually killing each other in an action movie. People in movies and plays are acting for our enjoyment. Why is porn any different? Almost all porn is aimed at depicting male fantasy, and of course a male might be interested in seeing a woman obtain orgasmic pleasure from his every touch. Why are we so worried that women act as if they are orgasming while acting in a porn that is aimed at depicting this type of male fantasy? The author poses these questions and ends saying she is unsure how to balance her sense that there shouldn't be a problem with suspending disbelief in porn "with encouraging healthier views of female sexuality. And male sexuality, for that matter. Any thoughts?"

So, as is my nature on these subjects, I do have some thoughts. The blogger, in my opinion, is right that there is nothing inherently wrong with suspending one's belief about the actual pleasure that is received by the actual actors in a porn flick. I'm also with her about the fact that just because a woman doesn't orgasm from a particular Situation X depicted in porn, that shouldn't mean that Situation X shouldn't be depicted. Hey, a variety of fantasies and styles for depicting those fantasies is a great thing. All that said though, I believe we should absolutely be concerned about whether or not women actually orgasm in porn.

Men do orgasm in porn. Ignoring certain kink genres, male orgasm is a must in mainstream porn. We don't have to suspend disbelief about that. Yes, they take breaks during the sex and do other things that we audience members aren't privy to. It certainly isn't perfectly realistic on the male side either, but when the time comes...they actually orgasm. I don't have stats, so I'll just say that in mainstream porn, the vast majority of depicted male orgasms were elicited through an action that actually does elicit orgasm in men...and the vast majority of depicted female orgasms were elicited through an action that would not cause an orgasm in women. There is a HUGE imbalance, and this is important because porn is an important piece of sex ed for the masses. As much as people "know" that women usually fake orgasms in porn, these incorrect images are still extremely powerful and misleading. The ideas porn gives us about how women physically get to an orgasm leak from porn into our movies, TV, books, music, and eventually embed themselves in the minds of men, women, boys, and girls.

Porn, like it or not, is an important teacher, and it is giving us a mis-eduction about the female orgasm. Women are not physically less capable of orgasm than men, yet only about 30% of women claim to reach orgasm almost always with a partner. The male number is nowhere near that low. I believe (and I've actually made a movie that partially focuses on this...It's called Science, Sex and the Ladies and it's the whole reason this blog was started) that this discrepancy has everything to do with the types of activities we accept as normal in a sexual encounter. The clit...not the vagina...is the female organ of sexual pleasure. Porn stinks at getting that idea across, and as a result, a lot of couples out there are having sexual encounters that easily gives men orgasms, but rarely gives women orgasms.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that if we as a culture care about getting women the kind of access to their orgasm that men have, we should also care about showing more realistic depictions of female orgasms in porn. Once there is more balance between real male and real female orgasms in porn, then I will have no issue whatsoever suspending my belief. Thanks for starting an interesting discussion Rebecca Kling!

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