Is porn making guys worse in bed?

Dear Door Guy:

The guys I’ve been with in the last few years have pretty much convinced me that men who’ve been single and fucking since the proliferation of internet porn have some really fucked up ideas. I refuse to side with the fundies—it’s in no way a moral issue for me—but bad porn is creating a loss of core competencies, and generally making boys stupid. They’re perfectly kind, smart, respectful gentlemen, but they seem to think that the average woman actually likes all the weird shit Russian porno girls moan over. 

It’s great that they’re all vigorous and creative with positions, but, honestly, switching up every two minutes, every damn round, is exhausting. Fish-hooking hurts (and isn’t sexy). Long-ass blowjobs, heavy on the deep throat, are expected, but reciprocating is not. And vage seems to be running an extremely distant second to butt stuff. Sorry, but as a human lacking a prostate gland… just not as much fun.

Lastly, it is awesome and wonderful and amazing it is that AIDS is no longer be a death sentence. That being said, I can’t believe I’m arguing with grown-ass men who thinks he can just pull out. Put a goddamn condom on and quit whining about it!

Current dude is worth keeping around, but I need to stop having unsatisfying sex. What is a reasonable and tactful way of correcting a plethora of bad habits without sending a guy into an insecurity tailspin?

—I Miss Sex In the ’90s

Dear Miss Sex In the ’90s:

Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Cruz, would it? If it is, I’ve never been happier in my life. If it isn’t —well, I’m going to pretend it is anyway.

So, anyway, Heidi—can I call you Heidi?—the problem you’re experiencing is definitely a lack of core competencies, or, more to the point, an essential example of what we in the Door Guy Guild call “The First Law of Swayze”: When given the opportunity, people are going to act like complete, unabashed, “it’s all about me!” idiots.

I don’t care if it’s a 16-year-old boy or the smartest woman physicist in history, a 25-year-old actress or the junior senator from Texas, people’s capacity for stupidity is endless. It’s the scientific concept of entropy on a sociological level. I know a member of the Door Guy Guild who once laughed in Queen Amidala’s face when she yelled “Don’t you know who I am?” at him, and she went to Harvard, for fuck’s sake. When in doubt, people will not communicate well, will believe whatever props up their own fragility, and will, in general, coast on a raft of thoughtlessness and overwhelming inability to check themselves from being utter goddamned morons.

This is a problem in all facets of life, not just drinking and sex. But it’s especially bad in sex. Porno is not an instruction manual, your partner is.

Don’t get me wrong—there are straight women who do get off on every single thing you’re complaining about. There are straight dudes that enjoy sweet vanilla sex. (The same applies to GLTBQ folks, but Heidi, I figure getting into that might make your head explode.) And everyone has kinks and fetishes—well, everyone interesting and worth fucking in the first place—but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about people’s inability to separate reality from fantasy, and people’s inability to think about, and talk about sex, in a responsible, thoughtful way.

What you’re describing is a nation of fools with easy access to incomplete information, which honestly, is what got us into the shitshow we’re experiencing right now, because folks like the guy I’m hoping is your fake-incest-, ass-eating-, mommy/daughter/boyfriend-porn-loving politico husband have created a world where we’re not taught how to talk about sex, where communicating about needs is abhorrent, and where, essentially, fucking has become two (or more) people flailing about trying to get it right in the world’s worst example of “fake it till you make it.” Instead, you have people—men most egregiously, but women too—who can’t figure out that what they see in porn is only pretend, and that making it a reality involves actual communication with their actual partner(s). Way to prove fundies and a generation of women’s studies majors right, idiot boys!

You know what’s a turn-on? Two (or more) people who are comfortable enough with themselves and each other actually creating their own unique sexual relationship. This can happen in a lifetime. If done correctly, it can happen in a night. It can involve fish-hooking. It can involve snuggling. It can involve anything you or your fella (I hear they use the word “fella” in Texas) want, as long as you talk about it.

And when you talk, you find ways you’re compatible. You also run the risk of finding dealbreakers. I—being a cis Door Guy myself—have known women who refused to talk about sex. Like, they wanted to have sex, but didn’t want any acknowledgement of it as an act between two people. Just shut the fuck up and do it. That’s a dealbreaker for me, and good luck with that. But I’d rather know about a dealbreaker beforehand and not waste my time.

Point is, people get off on all sorts of things. Compatibility is not plug-and-play. You’ve got to be smart and thoughtful, which is an uphill battle. But it’s better than the alternative.

So ask yourself: Is dude actually worth keeping around? Obviously you think there’s something worthwhile there (although you didn’t describe it). But from where I’m standing/kneeling/laying down/on top/on the side/upside-down/that one move that never works in real life/wherever—if he’s so fragile that your relationship won’t survive an insecurity tailspin then maybe it’s time to move on to someone else who can actually handle an open and honest sexual relationship.

If you’re committed to sticking it out for good reasons—for the kids, or because he wakes you up with surprise breakfast in bed, or because you’re hopeful that by 2020 he might be a presidential contender again—then you both have to willingly build that communication from the ground up. That’s hard and scary and involves risk, and if he’s as deeply sad as his sweaty little eyebrows seem to indicate whenever he’s on TV, then an insecurity tailspin might be unavoidable.

It’ll be tempting to suffer silently, but perpetuating that pattern is absolutely the worst. Just know that this situation won’t fix itself in a day. It might not fix itself at all. But whether you’re the wife of a prominent politician with a really creepy voice or just a woman looking for a man to enjoy sharing some time with (in and out of bed), it’s up to you—and all of us—to stop being so fucking stupid, and to stop being so stupid about fucking.

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