Human sexuality is a very complex thing.
And speaking of complexes, the judgments we make on others’ sources of sexual arousal typically come from our own deeply rooted sense of right and wrong. (Don’t believe me? Think of a time when you were offended by someone else’s turn-on. Why was it “wrong” to you?)
Fantasy can be an escape from societal norms. Our ability to work out our frustrations or investigate taboo areas is actually healthy in an active mind. However, when fantasy becomes reality, another set of rules must come into play. Ultimately, as long as no one is being exploited or hurt, sexual practices within an infinite range of possibilities are perfectly healthy and exciting.
Erotica and pornography are often tools to fuel these sexual behaviors. Be open-minded to your lover’s turn-ons. When you both share your innermost thoughts about sex, don’t be quick to judge your partner. And be aware of the difference between fantasy and real-life sexual activity. (i.e., Many women have rape fantasies, but that doesn’t mean they want to be raped in reality. Many straight men have homosexual fantasies, but have no intention of acting on them in real life.)
Keep communication open and honest. It’s an easy passageway to a much richer life together.
Erotica vs. Pornography
The general consensus about erotica versus pornography is that erotica serves to encourage overall sexuality and pornography serves the sensational, or more animal side of sex—the act itself, as opposed to the entity.
Erotica can be expressed in the form of literature, such as novels like D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover or erotic journals like (the now-defunct but still available) Yellow Silk. Erotica is also found as photos, film, paintings, bookplates, illustrations, dance compositions and more. It stresses the general titillation and overall sense of arousal that sexuality brings over (but not necessarily in exclusion of) the bang of orgasm.
Pornography, on the other hand, is generally a hard-core visualization of one or more sex acts. Because porn is mainly visual, it tends to be expressed through film and video, photography. Pornography comes in written form, but the difference between it and erotic literature is generally the language used—more slang, and more focus on the act of sex itself.
It is also said by some that pornography stands apart in that, unlike erotica, it exploits women by turning them into sexual objects as opposed to sexual partners. This point is hotly debated, especially as more women directors become involved in the pornographic film industry.
So, it’s an ongoing debate. What you need to know is what works for you and your partner. Sometimes it’s not one or the other, but a healthy balance of both…or neither!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that a man catching his female partner looking at porn most likely won’t have the same consequences as a woman catching her male partner doing the same. Can we agree for just the length of this section? Good. Then I’m addressing this tip to women finding their men indulging in pornography.
Problem 1: You didn’t even know he looked at porn.
Solution 1: Now you know. Okay, he could have told you, but it’s not so easy for most men to admit they’re lost, never mind that they like to watch women in bikinis break into spontaneous sex with each other while washing a BMW. It’s not exactly smiled upon in our struggling egalitarian society.
Problem 2: If he has you, why does he need it?
Solution 2: He doesn’t need it; he likes it. Men are visual creatures, as I’ve mentioned previously. If he’s watching porn now, chances are he did before he met you. The closer you get as a couple, the more it may drive him to a comfort act from his singlehood. It’s probably nothing more serious than that.
Bonus Tip: If you walk in on him, please don’t flip out. That’s not going to get you anywhere. Apologize and leave him to it. Most men will want to cover themselves, literally and figuratively. At least offer him the rest of his private time, and table any conversation you may want to have until later.
If you have concerns with pornography and are troubled that a) he’s getting turned on by what you perceive to be the exploitation of women, or b) that he’s spending more time watching porn than he does making love to you, you have every right to talk with him about it. Just not at that moment.
If you have no issues, my favorite option is of the “if you can’t beat it, join it” variety. It’s certainly a great way to show he doesn’t have to keep secrets from you. And it’s fun.
Introducing Erotica and Pornography
One of the best ways for a couple to introduce erotica and/or pornography into their sex lives is to shop for it together. Have a discussion beforehand about what turns you both on. You may want to make a list separately and then generate a new one based on your mutual interests.
You may find that each of you has one or two “must haves” that you don’t share (i.e., Japanese anime, light S&M, amateur porn). In this case, consider adding one of each to your mutual list.
Shop together online or in a sex shop, and add one or two items that cover mutual interests. For the other’s “must have” perhaps you can rent a film, for example, instead of purchasing it until you warm up to the idea (if you ever do). The important thing is to use these as sexual aids, not replacements for areas that may be lacking in your sex lives. Any problems you have should be dealt with through discussion alone or in the presence of a trained therapist.
So, you’re into sex videos and s/he isn’t. Well, happy day, there’s a meeting point halfway between: Educational Sex Videos. Developed by experienced sex professionals (doctors, not porn stars), these videos often use real-life couples to act out educational sex tips that serve to improve the sex you have with your partner.
By watching these videos together, you’ll have the opportunity enjoy the voyeurism of sexuality while both of you view it as a learning tool toward empowering your personal relationship.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Emily Bartran