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There's More to Sex Than a Cum Shot to the Face: What Men Should Unlearn from Hardcore Porn

No, porn does not turn men into crazed sex fiends. But it's clear that pornography has affected the way we view -- and have -- sex. Here's how to counter porn's effects.

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Last week at the Ted conference, Cindy Gallop, a self-described “mature, experienced, confident older woman” and successful ad executive said in a witty and much tweeted- and blogged-about four-minute talk (Robin Williams even did a 10-minute stand-up routine based on it) that in her personal experience, porn has significantly “distorted” the ways young males think about sex.

She gives one (very funny) example in her talk (NSFW) of just what porn has wrought – it involves the facial department. And because she is, as aforementioned, a “mature, experienced, confident older woman,” she feels it’s her responsibility to speak up, especially on behalf of younger women who might mistakenly think they have to put up with the new status quo if they want their guy to put out.

Gallop, who likes to date and have sex with “younger men” in their 20s, sees the need for some “reeducation, rehabilitation, and reorientation,” which she’s willing to provide. And because the myths are so widespread (sorry), she says it’s going to take a concerted effort to counter them. So she’s launched, a Web site she hopes will counter the specific myths propagated by the porn industry, with the realities, and also stimulate, um, debate.

She’s up against a lot. She blames the “puritanical, double standards culture, where people believe that a teen abstinence campaign will actually work, where parents are too embarrassed to have conversations about sex with their children, and where educational institutions are terrified of being politically incorrect if they pick up those conversations. So it’s not surprising that hardcore porn has become de facto sex education.”

But, she says in her talk, that her site is “absolutely not about judgment. This is not about good and bad. Sex is the area of human experience that embraces the vastest possible range of proclivities. It is also not a judgment of hardcore porn. I am a fan of hardcore pornography. I watch it regularly myself; although my overriding criteria when I select it is to choose something that does not overly resemble open-heart surgery. But because the porn industry is driven by men, funded by men, managed by men, directed by men and targeted at men, porn tends to represent one worldview. It tends to say this is how it is. And what I want to say is, ‘not necessarily.’”

She says she was “extremely nervous” before and during the talk -- mostly because even though she’d told some friends about her idea, she worried other people wouldn’t respond well. So she has been especially gratified by the response: and not by the media response so much as that of young people and their parents.

A number of “young people,” have said and emailed reactions like, “Oh my God! I love it. That is absolutely what I’ve encountered myself.”

“Parents were particularly struck by it, and a lot of them said to me that they’d forwarded the site to their 16-year-old daughter or 18-year-old son. I think they particularly welcomed the fact that they could forward the link on without needing to have the conversation themselves, which is precisely why I began the site.”

She’s also had a “huge amount of submissions from people sending in their own porn world/real world ideas,” from countries around the world.

One of the last emails she received was from a young Moroccan man who wrote to say, “Thank you so much. Young people in Morocco are like young people in the U.S., they are heavily influenced by porn. Now at last I can tell my friends how to make love to a girl, thanks to your wonderful Web site.”

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