Porn: How Much (or How Little) Does it Influence Your Sexuality?

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It has A LOT of influence, in the way that it influences others

I'm a straight girl and I've crossed paths with porn a couple of times. I've watched it occasionally but don't really feel like it's shaped my sexuality at all. However, I've had plenty of conversations and experiences - some odd, some hilarious, some just sad - that came about because of porn. Pretty much all of them have been with friends my own age (I'm 19) and have centred around the lack of honest, ethical portrayal of female sexuality in porn.

Quite a lot of my sexually active female friends have had sex with guys who got most or all of their sex ed from porn. One of them slept with a guy who attempted to go from vaginal sex to anal sex without any preparation, without any lube, and without asking or ever having talked about the possibility before. When his partner acted shocked and upset, he seemed amazed that it was 'such a big deal' because 'they do it all the time in porn and the girls like it'. While this story is the extreme, a lot of us have dealt with guys whose understanding of female sexuality and female bodies is very flawed. Almost all of them think that vaginal sex or anal sex are the only kinds of sex worth having, and that there's something wrong with either the girl or his penis if this doesn't cause her to have a screaming orgasm. Most of the guys in question are genuinely surprised and a bit contrite when their frustrated female partners explain that our bodies don't work that way.

The other big one is the way porn portrays female bodies. There is a specific look that seems to be 'in' - tall, leggy, skinny, long hair, and no body hair at all. Sure, porn exists which includes women who don't look that way - but most of it has been relegated to the 'fetish' category, so that the scene revolves entirely around the fact that the woman is chubby, or has natural pubic hair, or looks butch, or whatever. There is basically zero porn that depicts normal people having normal sex while happening to possess bodies that differ from the ideal. If a fat girl is having sex on the screen, the guy is spending the entire video talking about cake and McDonalds. If the girl has pubic hair, you can bet she also has arm hair, leg hair, armpit hair, and the entire damn scene begins and ends with the guy 'worshipping' her hair and talking about how hairy she is. Nobody would be into that unless they had a body hair fetish - and so they watch 'normal' porn instead, and internalise the idea that pubes are something weird or gross. Which comes back to haunt us, young women who choose not to go through the pain, discomfort and expense of removing ours, when we encounter guys who think we're gross or slovenly or 'must be crazy feminists or something'.

This rant is getting a little long, so I'll mention one last thing, which is the portrayal of lesbians in porn. Which requires only one word: yuck. Several of my lesbian friends resent to an incredible degree the way their whole sexuality is portrayed as something that exists for men's entertainment, and I know a lesbian couple who keep a tally of the guys who've asked them for a threesome. At last count, twenty-three.

Peace out Scarleteen - great website and I hope this was an interesting read ;)
talle53 - 19/F/Aus.

Hey talle! Such good points. I hear a lot of people talking about how many other body types are represented, I even heard someone say that porn "democratises" the body. But as you say, a hierarchy really can be seen. It's troublesome to have non-typical-porn-bodies (i.e. the majority of bodies) treated as oddities to enjoy only as marginal fetishes.

I had to answer this poll with the "something else" options simply because my situation is/was rather extreme....

I am a 19 year old male (an age group and gender that could use more representation on this site *ehm*ehm* just saying :P) and my sexuality is pretty complicated. For me, puberty started with a rather large and exclusive introduction to gay porn. And when I say start, I mean it literally; the first time I saw an image depicting gay sexual intercourse was around age 10-11, back when I really had no concept of what "sex" was, at a time when I was only just able to ejaculate. Paired with this discovery (which was a Google blog btw, something I stumbled onto completely by accident), I grew up well into high school as that stereotypical "nerd," where my life consisted primarily of academics and other solo activities. In addition to all of this (and then I’ll piece it all together) - it wasn't until the age of 15 that I first saw a naked woman in a straight, movie sex scene...yea, my parents were that strict with what movies I could watch and what I was exposed to, despite not filtering access to a lot of gay porn sites.

This scenario, combined with my early exposure to gay porn basically led me to associate all sexual experience with gay sex/activities. While basically conditioning myself to associate with a gay sexuality, I experienced a disconnect between the physical component of sexuality and the relationship or emotional component. For me, ejaculation/orgasm resulted from gay sex, but at the same time, I wasn't attracted to men in the way that felt 'attracted' to women. When I was a freshman in high school, I ended up dating a few women (mostly because I felt like I was 'suppose' to, but also because I genuinely liked them), and found myself imagining and liking the idea of having sex, or a physical relationship. However, I was never able to explore this part of my sexuality because it was sort of taboo for me at the time, and sexual activities were heavily pro/demoted as being bad and dangerous. As such, I finished out the late stages of puberty finding and associating pleasure in gay sexual activities/sex depicted in porn, which drove me to look at guys in my life differently (but at the same time, not being 'attracted' to them in the sense that I would get nervous around a guy/friend who I could imagine having sex with, the same way that a girl may get nervous or act around a guy she liked and vice versa, a nervousness or 'spark' that I sort of felt around a select few women DESPITE imagining more pleasure with gay sexual activity...if that makes any sense).

Obviously there is a lot more to this story, and if the paragraph above continued trying to express my sexuality and experiences all in one scope, it would just deteriorate into a bunch of rambling and disconnected, run-on sentences (something I may do at a later time, but in a more organized manner). However, the short summation of all of it is this; I grew up through puberty and most of high school associating the discovery of sex and physical relationships with gay pornography, while at the same time being completely isolated from discussing sexuality with anyone else, or even sharing the experience of discovering sex with my peers (teasing, questioning, expressing, etc). As such, pornography has had a massive impact (if not a defining one) on my sexuality and sexual preferences. In the absence of being exposed to porn, especially so young and so exclusively gay, I feel that my sexuality could, and would be, very different.

Hey anon... I'm one of the 'male' volunteers active at the moment! We are here! To clarify, a majority of the questions we get are from young women, this dictates for a large part what content we create, as much of it is answering the questions that people ask. I think a lot of that is to do with how many societies put the burden of sexual health on women (you'll notice sexual health interchanged with women's health SO much), and also dealing with pregnancy is so very often a concern for those with uteri.

I would be weary, also, of misreading our gender neutral articles as directed to women (you may not personally do this, but it happens), it's really easy to make that mistake... especially given that we're often programmed to see "sexuality" and imagine what's being written isn't for men.

However it's always important to do better. If you'd like to suggest any particular topics you'd like covered do come ask the questions.

Also, back on topic, your experiences with porn sound really interesting! Thank you for sharing... It sounds like you're doing really well to work out your sexuality under some quite difficult circumstances. Best of luck

I started watching porn when I was in elementary school and by the sixth grade began masturbating. I'm now eighteen years old and on average watch porn and/or masturbate several times a month. most of my friends at the beginning of high school were having sex, some with multiple partners.
I am pretty sensitive and emotional so I take certain involvement with people very seriously, my intimate involvement is at the Tippy top of the list. I have yet to find anyone who I'm actually comfortable having sex with though I have thought about sex with different people. My friends half jokingly and half seriously express their concern for whoever my first sexual partner will be based on my openness to talking about sex and my mental willingness to experiment with different sexual acts. I think this is because I have been watching porn for so long, I know it is okay to try different things with a partner you are comfortable with. I've also seen and gained an interest in different sexual acts.

I first saw porn when I was in 3rd grade, (my bro exposed me to it) before this shock I had come to the conclusion that women also have penises because I was too stubborn as a child and liked to find things out myself(apparently). I was also pretty shy so I had plenty of crushes on girls but I imagined sex to be something different. So, after that run-in with my brother my mom tried to give me "the talk" properly. Of course I was shy and didn't want to talk. Which I should have... because my earlier misunderstanding never came to light. So I ended up, when I finally got a "private" computer of my own, looking up things and finding transsexual things. I liked them but this lead me to be confused about my sexuality. So now I am out of high school almost independent and I think I am bi dominant hetero not sure because I am still discovering what I like (more what I don't like).I am still coming to terms with the fact that I had a few crushes on the same sex but, shrugged them off as embarrassing moments at the time. I am still not sure about my sexuality to this day. I probably would have started trying to discover myself faster if not for other events which is unrelated...

Personally, I believe a way you were raised or a way you see something as a child can definitely affect the way you grow up thinking and feeling. Have you heard the song "Same Love" by Mackelmore? In the beginning he states how in the third grade he thought he was gay due to a preconceived view. For example, if a guy likes to decorate, he's gay, or if a woman has boy cut hair, she's a lesbian. See what I'm saying? What you thought as a child is still bothering you to this day. It is very possible that you are bi-sexual, and if you are that is just fine. But it is also extremely likely that your mind is not allowing you to get rid of these thoughts and feelings that you had because it's tying to tell you that you are something that you are not. Been there and done that. I struggled with that for years. BUT, I know now that I am 100% straight, and that I also had a preconceived idea of what I thought. My example, was I thought girls were really pretty, and I knew lesbians were attracted to other women, so I thought that that was what I was. I was confused and didn't know how to compartmentalize my thoughts and separate reality from misunderstanding. But with age and experience and situations, i've come to realize who I am. That will come to you in time, too. Best luck and wishes and prayers to you.

I'm an interesting case because I am a demisexual. Even though I am 21, I have never had sex due to the fact I have never found someone I have truly loved or felt comfortable enough with to engage in sex. However, I still get horny quite often, and porn along with masturbation has been an outlet for me since 8th grade. So while I watch porn quite often (and preferring male gay porn, which I find quite intimate), I don't think it has affected me at all, because I still haven't even had sex yet.

I am exactly the same! I am 20 years old and have never felt attracted to someone enough to be able to comprehend having sex! It took me years to finally accept that I am who I am, and I'll be ready to have sex when I find the right person!

So, I'm bi. I am very aroused by females and makes, not at all. But as far as sex goes, I want a guy. I'm a virgin and when I watch hentai and masturbate, I like females, usually being toyed by men. Yeah.... I'm screwed up as far as my taste in porn goes. //saidbynobodyever

It's really weird, cos I think I'm turned on by females but i wouldn't want to have sex with a girl...I'm confused!

I think that's pretty normal, at least from my perspective. I'm a 20-year old, straight female, and I usually can enjoy female pleasure because I understand and enjoy it myself, while men in pornographic situations are often far too domineering/detached for my tastes. But in 'real life', I definitely am straight.
Either way, I wouldn't worry about it to much! Act as you normally would and just pursue what you enjoy most, even if that differs from setting to setting.

I'm a female and I get off by watching lesbians having sex. Not 'butch' ones though, not to sound rude. But it just turns me on a lot but I don't have a desire to have sex with a girl. I am straight and I would only have sex with guys

A lot of women actually put them self in the womens position (imagining whats happening to the ladies in the show as whats happening to you) and with two ladies, theres more to identify with.

I watch porn frequently as well as masturbate (2-4 times a week) but as a Christian and a young woman who wants to become a doctor, i refuse to let my "sexual fantasies" become a reality until i am happily married and have achieved my goals.

I feel like it lets me explore parts of my sexuality that I don't want to act on. Like, I'm a lesbian, but I actually really like gay porn (mostly in the form of words and drawings, even animated stuff, its like I like the idea more, or like the idea of the feeling? Idk.). I have absolutely no want to sleep with a guy or do anything at all sexual with a guy, even kissing, though; i am a little bit bi-romantic, if that counts for anything.
But even though its nothing that I want to actually do, I still feel like liking that porn is a part of my sexuality, in a way.

I watch it or read it, and then when i out of control i masturbating until ejaculating, but i only do it when horny or bored, but it doens't really affected my life

same here

I watch a lot of Dane Jones porn, which is really good to me, and the men and women are all different and feel real and its sensual. On occasion I do watch the typical stuff or fetish, and I feel like all of it gives me an idea of what I want when I have sex. Where I'd like to be touched, how I want to be touched, other details like that, I see in porn then I'm curious as to how I'd respond to that and if that really works the way it does there.
Its also what I usually use to get myself really aroused before I masturbate, because sometimes thinking isn't enough.

So all in all, porn influences me quite a lot, and I think that's just fine.

Porn had been introduced to me when I was younger to incidents I would prefer not to say, but I started to masterbate because of it at around 6-8 years old. It was on and off for a bit, until I was about 9 or 10 then was forgotten about until the age of 12. I was frequently watching porn at this point, but had no sexual interest in was sort of a past time...I started to begin puberty when I was 13 and then it started to stir up strange feelings. I watched porn on an almost regular basis and masturbated regularly as well. I first watched just whatever looked interesting but then started to develop my own tastes......All the while I had been with girls here and there as I am bisexual but never been with a guy, but a while ago I had recently discovered that I like things that would fall under BSDM tendancies. But I feel that if I had not watched porn or read erotic literature then I would have had to wait even longer to find out who I am and it would have took longer before I was comfortable with my own self and my own sexuality...

Porn for me was like an alarm clock - I stumbled cross it when I was young, like ten, and started watching it. It was nothing sexual, I was just curious at the time and it was interesting to watch. Then I hit puberty and it became sexual. I masturbated, a lot, and felt guilty, A LOT, because guys hardly ever turned me on, but girls were so soft and pretty and everything about them turned me on. This is how I figured out "hey, I'm bisexual, aren't I?" but I swing more towards girls. I'm just capable of loving both men and women, and it doesn't necessarily mean sex all the time. I'm so happy with this it's crazy, so, yeah, I'm happy I stumbled across porn that day.

I also stumbled across porn when I started exploring the internet a bit more. Truthfully though, it didn't really help me. I felt really guilty, because when I started puberty and it started to feel good watching it, I felt like I was a perv or something. I was like 11 years old when I started puberty, and I looked it up on the internet instead of talking to my parents or something. For a few years, I was sort of nervous all the time because I thought that porn was exactly what happened in real life, and it really scared me as a kid. After a while I started to get turned off by porn, so I haven't looked at it since. But it definitely made my middle school and late elementary life hell, sexuality wise.

That One Whovian.

It was actually through porn (well, more specifically, erotica) that I discovered I was bisexual and am only recently comfortable identifying as such. Straight porn has never done much for me and I used to be really ashamed about my turn-ons but I'm a lot more open and comfortable now.

I personally have never been able to get especially aroused from "vanilla" porn, of the typical variety that most of the teenage boys I know tend to watch. So I generally tend to seek out a specific kind of (kinky/bdsm) porn, because that's what gets me off. I know one of the purported dangers of porn is that it can create unrealistic expectations. However, it's pretty evident that the porn I watch is not really close to reality in any way. One thing I do get a little concerned about from time to time is becoming overly dependent on it, and not being able to give myself an orgasm without it.
Also, and I know this isn't uncommon, but I think it is interesting to note that as a heterosexual girl, my favorite kind of porn is probably gay male porn.

i'm the same way. even though i am a heterosexual girl, i find myself really turned on by some really intense kinky/ bdsm gay porn and occasionally the male and female. i'm aware of and totally don't want to encourage the issues that can be related to bdsm, but sometimes that can be thee hottest thing!

as a heterosexual girl.. i like lesb porn

i am a girl and i do indulge in DIYs only sometimes but after its over i feel a bit guilty..
i am quite sweet and simple and i dont think someone who knows me would ever believe me doing such things!
does this happen to anyone else too?

Same for me

That's totally me I'm quite reserved and quiet in public, but when I'm alone or with my boyfriend its a whole other story.

I have tried to watch porn. Really, I have. But, as a lesbian I have never been able to find porn realistic or sexy for me. Lesbian porn is made for straight men, not queer women. This means that it generally tries to mimic straight sex and deny the idea that women could actually prefer to be with other women.

I am a pansexual FTM (female to male) transgender, currently pre-op and dating a woman. I always disliked the porn industry's use of females as no more than objects, so I tend to avoid industrialized porn. I much prefer exploring my girlfriend's body than being told how I should treat her (and I admit I like to be dominated, anything wrong with that?)

What I support is the artistic pornographic industry, which can be just as stimulating as video pornography. It does not take advantage of women or use them, it can be found for any number of kinks, and is completely safe and produced by people who like it just as much as you do.

I almost always get off using and enjoy reading (gasp) fanfiction porn of all kinds, and looking at explicit fanart, but "real" pornography tends to make me really uncomfortable because of how violent or degrading it is. Things like fanfiction, and sometimes original amateur fiction, have helped me discover a lot of kinks I have and what I like, but when I search for the same topics on "real" porn sites, it usually turns out to be not at all what I am looking for. The non-official porn (even the kind with violent themes) has had a huge influence on my sexuality, but the official stuff just makes me feel abused, somehow.

Please pardon the phallic pun :) I learned about sex from my dad's Hustler stack. I was set up for bad expectations, but I found a book about whole body whole spirit pleasure shortly afterwards so I never really absorbed the idea that sex is about my pleasure at her expense. I did find that coitus is important to me, I know it's obviously not the whole shebang, and I do have some lingering size insecurities, but I think it's most likely important and true for almost any penis-bearing animal. I also find my imagination, my wants, and my porn to be largely in line. I may be one of the few guys that doesn't really care for lesbian porn; if there's a hand around a throat, non-happy tears, ropes, whips/crops, smacking, or violent-looking pounding, I never visit that site again.

As for whether it influences me socially, I already had a hard time communicating with others nonverbally and nonexplicitly, so I feel it's helped keep me sane while I learn workarounds to my nonverbal communication difficulties.

I found porn by accident a while ago and I was confused, so I asked my parents what it was and they said it was just people having sex on video. I now expect that they just didn't want to get into it. Ever since I found it I have been watching and looking at it off and on but ever since I hit puberty, I've been watching porn A LOT especially when I get turned on or want to jerk off. I sometimes feel bad about. But I have asked lots of classmates about and most of them say that they watch it too and there's nothing to be ashamed of. I guess it has sort of impacted my sexuality but not much. I do get turned on by most porn whether it be gay, lesbian, or straight porn. But yeah, it's only impacted my sexuality a little bit.

-David Ernest

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