The mechanics of “having sex” are fairly simple, but really “making love” and developing a good intimate relationship take some time and effort. Movies, pornography and other media tell us that sex is — or should be — easy, which is a set up for problems in a real relationship. For those who have ingested pornography, it’s difficult to have a healthy and accurate perspective of sexuality, and to separate fantasy from reality.
Pornography — The Sex Mis-educator
Pornography is a dangerous sex educator of many misconceptions. Studies are showing that because parents are not having open discussions about sex and intimacy with their children that porn and other media are being the educators. (This also applies to spouses who do not talk openly with each other about their sexual relationship.) For many people, the media are not only the primary source of sex education, but the only education they receive.
“Sex” is one-dimensional, whereas “lovemaking” encompasses all dimensions of the marriage relationship. From pornography, young people (and adults) begin to believe that what they see is real and normal.
Porn objectifies women (and men) as mere objects of sexual desire. Porn makes viewers forget the fact that sex was designed for the shared enjoyment of two people — husband and wife — who have feelings as well as differing needs and expectations.
Porn leads people to believe that men and women are both always (and equally) interested in sex. Imagine the surprise when someone finds that his or spouse needs to feel close emotionally before he or she is ready for sexual expression.
Porn is all about self-gratification not mutual fulfillment. Porn leaves out the interpersonal and emotional elements of lovemaking, focusing solely on the physicality of sex. This makes sex feel selfish, or frustrating for those who don’t want to engage in the mental and emotional connection needed in a healthy relationship.
If the blueprint of a “normal” sexual relationship comes from pornography or sexually-explicit movies, one might be surprised to find that one’s spouse has a different idea of what’s acceptable sexually, or is not comfortable with certain things. It may not even cross the media-saturated mind that one’s spouse might think any differently about sex than they do.
Porn teaches that men and women are both equally enthusiastic about engaging in any kind of sexual behavior, and that people can make demands without regard for the feelings and preferences of the other. If couples aren’t communicating, then two different sexual blueprints are likely to collide.
Pornography represents a one-track mind on a one-track adventure. Imagine one’s surprise to find that a spouse is not constantly planning the next sexual adventure, or making it a full-time obsession to devise ways to spice up one’s sex life.
Pornography portrays sex as so easy. No relationship issues. No rejection. No foreplay. No hassle. No need to be nice and considerate and loving toward the other throughout the day. Just pure, selfish pleasure and fantasy.
Porn is sexual fantasy. Porn is sex without intimacy. Sex without the context of intimacy is empty and can never satisfy.
Intimacy is Scary
Intimacy is inherently anxiety producing. It involves self-disclosure, self-awareness, and self-acceptance. It involves sharing the good, bad and the ugly about yourself. If you don’t necessarily like who you are, it’s a real challenge to openly share yourself with another.
Intimacy involves being vulnerable. It involves exposing ourselves — body, mind and soul. Sex is easy if you can just avoid the intimacy stuff! But the intimacy stuff is part of what turns “having sex” into “lovemaking.”
One of the primary cause’s of husbands being the lower-desire spouse is the fact that true intimacy can be terrifying. They’d rather not risk it. They’d rather just keep their distance. This also makes porn a seemingly-perfect escape. It’s sex without the “scary” part. Or is it?
What’s in Your Sexual Blueprint?
Think about how much influence the media have had on your mental blueprint of what sex is all about. The media-educated mind has some sexual unlearning to do, and some new learning to acquire. It requires each of us who have had less-than-an-ideal sexual education to face up to what we’ve been taught and what we’ve accumulated from various questionable sources. We’ve got some homework to do!
So while media may have led you to believe that sex or lovemaking is easy, always hot and full of romance, or should be, the good news is that with a willingness to learn about the realities of a healthy sexual relationship, and with a willingness to change, sex can become what it was designed to be — a mutually fulfilling physical, emotional and spiritual expression of love and passion. It’s worth the effort!
Laura M. Brotherson, CFLE, is a wife, mother, intimacy educator, and the author of a groundbreaking book on sexual intimacy and marital ONEness entitled “And They Were Not Ashamed — Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment.” She is co-founder, with her husband, of Strengthening Marriage, Inc., and creator of www.StrengtheningMarriage.com. Visit “Laura’s Marriage Strengthening Blog” at http://www.strengtheningmarriage.com/blog/ for more marriage strengthening insights.