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True, when my daughter came home from the first day of seventh grade sex ed, she told me that the teacher said they weren't going to talk about three things. I listened curiously; what was it gonna be? Masturbation, contraception, and pornography. Just like that, with one commitment not to teach these three topics, the teacher taught sexual shame. Masturbation, contraception or effectively sex for other reasons besides procreation, and depictions of sex for pleasure? No.


Sexplanations is the anti-shame, or at least I hope you receive us that way. I humped my red chair to model shame-free self-stimulation. I put a condom on my head to remove the shame of STI and pregnancy prevention. This is an episode about pornography and removing the shame.

To begin: What are we talking about? Well, great question, difficult to answer. I define porn as depictions or descriptions of sexuality intended to arouse. Things made to turn you on. So my boyfriend? His parents made him, he turns me on. No. So romance novels? Depends on who you ask. Romantic movies? Ah, with sex scenes that turn you on? The market is going to say no. They'd argue that books and mainstream films are intended to entertain audiences; porn is designed to get you off.

But yes, there's a lot of ambiguity about what constitutes pornography because sorting out what is and isn't pornography means accessing and discussing pornography. Not very clear, I know. But I can tell you is that if someone here possesses, makes, or sells anything that sexualizes someone under the age of eighteen, it's a prosecutable offense. As in jail time, sex offender registry, BIG fines. That includes sexting genital selfies to your sweetie. If you’re under eighteen, the law prohibits you from anything having to do with porn. It’s illegal.

But is porn bad? In the future, I’d love to cover the ethics of porn. Until then, three simple words: context and intent. Context is the situation. The story. Who, what, when, how, and where. Intent is the why. If we put porn on this grid (1:50), the context summarized is consensual or not, and the intent is malicious or not.

This isn’t just porn; this is life. And like a lot of life, a lot of porn lands here (1:59) where the actors consent to perform and be filmed, the people distributing it  consent to who has it and for what price, and the patrons consent to purchasing it for whatever consensual purposes. It doesn’t set out to harm anyone, their relationships, their sexuality; it’s porn. If you assess it as here (2:15), don’t participate. That doesn’t mean all porn is malicious or non-consensual.

Tristan Taormino is brilliant when it comes to optimizing context and intent. The pornography she produces satisfies a diverse cast of performers while titillating the audience. For example, she determines who she’d like to work with, then asks them if they (1) want to work with her and (2) who else they want to work with. In this case, have sex with. That’s not just a consenting crew; that’s an enthusiastic crew.

But porn gives the wrong impression of women, of sex, of how to treat people. And the drugs and the violence. *sighs deeply* If there isn’t consent, sober consent, then it’s not porn; it’s documented sexual assault. If there is consent but it’s still upsetting to you, don’t watch it, don’t listen, don’t engage. Porn is created to arouse. That part of the definition is clear.

If you’re concerned about porn misrepresenting sex, GOOD. The same way that movies portray things like the Hulk or Elsa’s ice castle, porn is theatrical. It’s a made-up world. Snowmen don’t talk; black widows played by an actress; putting a penis in the anus, then the vagina is unsafe.

The problem isn’t that porn is staged sex, fake sex, evil. The problem is we don’t ensure access to sex education to talk about what else sex looks like. It’s okay to like porn. It’s okay to NOT like porn. If you don’t like it, if you don’t want to experience it, then you aren’t consenting. You, not them. And you don’t have to.

Wanna change more than your own actions? Wanna change pornography? Well, if you’re eighteen or older, (1) you can pay for it. A reputable service with professional ethics is more feasible when people aren’t stealing from you. (2) Make your own. If you don’t think their version is whatever, fill in the blank, produce your own. And (3), research. Learn how actors feel about their choices. Study the working conditions and actually watch a variety of content to judge for yourself.

Pain is not from the porn. Pain is from the resistance to another person’s sexuality. It’s called erotocentrism. When you think YOUR standards of sexuality are THE standards. To mitigate this pain, stay curious.


This video is a result of the milestone goal. $6,000 raised on Patreon. Thank you to every single one of you who made that possible. And if you’re not a patron and you would like to support us in free sex education online, that one. That one, click it right there.