Vancouver
2 min

Porn’s joys and pitfalls

Instead of using porn to celebrate my sexuality, my use was reinforcing an unhealthy self-image

Growing up gay, I learned to depend on porn as my only resource for sex education.

When I was younger, the images I found in magazines and on the internet introduced me to the world of pleasures men could give to one another. I learned about various positions, fetishes, what different parts looked like and how to manipulate them for maximum effect. 

There were some unfortunate consequences from learning about sex through the fantasy world of porn. For example, I developed a few hang-ups about the many ways my body didn’t live up to the god-like ideal of the chiselled, well-hung image of a porn star.

I may have also learned to be a bit more vocal than necessary at some of my partners’ apartments during some late night encounters thanks to pornography’s many examples of good moaning and groaning.

However, these and other preconceptions about sex eventually dissolved upon engaging with real partners, with real bodies, in real and not-so-tidy sex.

The world of amateur porn helped me to see that not everyone needs muscles, a six-pack, and an eight-inch cock to be considered sexy. The amateur contributors on XTube come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities and they span the gender spectrum.

Seeing so many varied people celebrate and exhibit their sexuality gave me proof that the rules of attraction are just as varied. And, thanks to all the boys who continue to post videos of themselves for the public to enjoy, I learned that even one’s desire can be a sought-after quality.  

However, over the past year, despite all of the wonderful things that porn has opened up to me, I’ve noticed that I have been spending more time viewing porn but with much less enjoyment. Whereas I’d previously enjoyed porn at the end of a busy period of other activities, or with a partner to enhance our play, my use has become isolating and more compulsive.

I began to spend hours, at all times of the day, devouring images of guys and checking for updates on my favourite sites in the constant pursuit of perfection.

This seemed to start shortly after I’d gotten dumped on three separate occasions last year within the span of six months. Those happened to be my first attempts at dating since a particularly rough breakup of a three-year relationship. The pain of all this rejection discouraged me from the dating scene and, in my depression, I turned to ‘lubing and tubing’ to cope. 

Searching for image after image of perfection, I was putting my desires on a pedestal while completely dismissing my own sexuality. The one-way relationships I formed with the anonymous images on my computer screen kept me safe from rejection but instead of the joy of sex, it was fear and self-loathing that fueled my habit.

Instead of using porn to celebrate my sexuality, my use was reinforcing an unhealthy and negative self-image.

Giving in to self-pity, I forgot about the many colours of the sexual landscape and focused only on what I thought I couldn’t have.

Having recently returned to the dating scene, I’ve begun to explore my desirable qualities (sexual and otherwise) with a real-life partner.  Spending time with him helps me to appreciate qualities that are unique to me that I had taken for granted.

I have more work to do in developing my own sense of self-worth but I feel that I’m more likely to do that in the real world rather than escaping to an ideal fantasy world where everyone is perfect and no one gets hurt.