“Can I Come on Your Face?” The Problems of Porn

Last week, I
was sitting in the living room of my apartment when I
heard moans coming from the direction of my bedroom. Naturally, I got up to investigate. As I stepped into my room, the moans only got louder. As anyone
with a sense of curiosity (and a take-home midterm to avoid) would, I pressed
my ear against the wall. It’s worth mentioning that I have new neighbors, and they really like sex. They do it in the morning, at 3 a.m., in the shower, when they
get home from work, with the TV on, and while listening to old Maroon 5 hits from the
early 2000s. Usually, I put in my ear buds and try not to think about the fact
that fornication is happening literally six inches from my head. But this time, curiosity got the best of me and I kept listening, and that’s when I heard it: “Oh, yeah, baby,
can I come on your face? Be a good girl.” To which the response was an
enthusiastic “Oh, yeah!”

I know that ‘Facials’ is a category
on PornHub, a pornographic video sharing website, and there was that one time last year my ex accidentally came on my ear while
I was giving him head, but my neighbor’s sexual request seemed
unusual. It got me thinking about how today’s easy access to Internet
pornography has changed sexual expectations and the kinds of things people are
willing to try in the bedroom. Were men asking to come on their partners’ faces 20 years ago? Did people still have pubic hair then? Were men more varied in
their oral sex techniques? Indeed, my most satisfying sexual experiences with men (and
women) haven’t mirrored the sex I’ve seen in porn whatsoever. As I
browsed PornHub in attempts to find realistic porn that I could write about
for this week’s column, I was disappointed to see one bizarre reenactment after
another.

I feel that I can safely say that
teenagers who are interested in learning about sex and turn to porn will be
very confused when they actually have sex in person. First of all, people have pubic hair,
vulvas have labia of varied size, texture, and color, and penises are not all 10 inches long. Secondly, foreplay is an important part of getting aroused.
Chances are, women are not going to get wet when they see a man standing in the
doorway—don’t flatter yourself, boys. Also, gay porn very rarely shows the steps that usually lead to anal sex, like using fingers to ease into it. Not all men have six-pack abs either,
and—I’m sorry to say this—gag reflexes exist for all genders. 

In the ‘Lesbian’-category porn I watched, I
found myself cringing at the length of the actresses’ fingernails as they
daintily moved their fingers in and out of each other. Lesbian porn, at least
on PornHub, is clearly made for a heterosexual male audience, and depicts sex
between two women as careful, feminine, and clean. While this may be the case
for some, my own experiences with another woman have been just as intense,
sweaty, and messy as sex with any man. Neither my partner or I were wearing a
fresh face of make-up, and our entire bodies were not the same shade of tan.

While these depictions of bodies
and sexual interactions that I’m describing may seem obviously unrealistic, they can develop false expectations that many of my friends (myself included) have encountered in experiences with different partners. I
had an exceptionally kinky partner, for example, who asked me if he could slap
me in the face, and I know that many of my female heterosexual friends have
experienced men holding the backs of their heads while they perform oral sex. The prevalence of depictions of women being dominated in porn can foster the problematic expectation that it is what all women want in bed. 

Pornography depicts the fantasies of many, but may also be skewing our
perceptions of realistic bodies and sex in general. My neighbor seemed to
really enjoy it when her partner ejaculated on her face, and there was probably
communication about that act before it happened, but I can’t help but wonder: Would it have happened if porn
weren’t so readily available? Next time you decide to watch porn, keep in mind
that it is a fantasy being acted upon, and not real sex.

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