Is sex in porn the same as sex in real life? And is it even fair to make that comparison? After a two-minute video, which used food to illustrate the differences between the average person's sex life and the sexual experiences often depicted in pornography, went viral, it set off a fascinating discussion about "porn sex" vs. "real sex."
In a recent interview with The Awl, adult film star Stoya -- who is known for her eloquence, writing and hilarious Twitter account on top of her work as an X-rated actress -- explained why making such a black-and-white distinction between the two worlds sort of misses the point.
Stoya told Bijan Stephen, when he asked her for her take on the "real sex vs. porn sex" debate, that our collective conception of "normal sex" leaves out a whole lot of sexual preferences that "normal" people have:
Thanks to a combination of the perceived anonymity on the Internet, and the ability to connect with people all across the globe -- oh and the search indexes -- it’s pretty obvious now that this concept of “normal sex," which is two people having sex in a handful of not really very articulately specified positions, to completion, and by completion I mean the ejaculation of a man; I think one of the serious problems with this concept is that it doesn’t take into account lesbians. Or it doesn’t take into account two people who have vaginas, who like sleeping with women, but who are not lesbians. Because so on and so forth. It’s this very concrete, narrow idea of sex -- it’s not the kind of sex that a lot of people are interested in having. And I’m sure there are people who do like their sex very, for lack of a better word, vanilla. That’s great and that’s wonderful, and they like things simple, I guess would be a good way to describe it? And that’s great for them. But there are also all of these other people...
Of course, sex in pornography is performance -- a performance meant to generate revenue and titillate customers -- so it is inevitably different from the experiences most people have in their non-commercial bedrooms. But making sweeping generalizations about what porn looks like and what "real" sex looks like may obscure the many desires and preferences people have in both worlds.
As Lux Alptraum wrote in an Aug. 8 piece for Medium:
In the same way that all porn directors aren’t crafting the exact same vision of sex, all people aren’t turned on and titillated by the same things in the bedroom. Given the breadth of human sexual experience, there’s likely far more diversity within the porn sex and real sex camps than between them.