Friday, 25 January 2013

Hey, nephew

"Cindy Gallop: "Pro-Sex, Pro-Porn, and Pro-Knowing-the-Difference"

So, this is the conversation I will NEVER EVER have with my nephew, because it'd be wildly inappropriate and it'd embarrass the hell out of him. But I sure as hell wish that someone would.

So Thomas ... let's talk about porn. You've probably seen some already, and if you haven't it won't be long, whatever your mum believes. Friends, older kids ... somewhere. There's a whole lot of it out there. You might find it exciting, or confusing, or scary, or upsetting. And you'll see more of it as you get older. Which is why I want to tell you some stuff you need to know, right NOW. 

First of all, IT'S NOT REALISTIC.

I don't mean it's not real like a cartoon, I mean it's not real like a Hollywood movie. Porn actors ... well the clue's in the name. They are ACTORS. In fact, to be honest, they are more like stuntmen and -women. They go in front of a camera and do their job (which yes, means having sex), and the director makes a film that he hopes lots of people will want to watch. So he picks actors who are way better- or more impressive-looking than ordinary people and can do things that most ordinary people can't do. And then those actors will need to be made to look even better for the camera - I mean it: special diets, having all their body hair stripped off, taking medication and having plastic surgery. So from the start:

  • Don't think you ought to have the same sort of body as a porn actor when you grow up. You won't.
  • Don't think girls ought to have bodies like porn actresses. They won't. They'll have lumps and bumps and flobbly bits. They will come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They will have hair in all sorts of places, like up their bottoms. This is normal.
You know what? People don't have to look great to have really great sex. Real sex is about doing what feels good for everyone involved, not what looks good.


Which means that it's faked up in all sorts of ways. All movies are made to look more exciting than real life - porn is just the same. You might watch James Bond drive a car over a rooftop, jump it into a lake, drive out, slide it under a passing juggernaut and then leap out as the car rolls down a cliff and explodes. Is that how you drive a car in real life? Hell no! Is that how ANYBODY could drive in real life without a load of stunt setups and explosives and stuff? No. 

People in porn movies do it in a way that looks dead impressive. That takes a lot of practice and talent. And of course directors cheat with the camerawork and editing - you can't tell that everyone stopped and had a glass of water because they were feeling thirsty, or got to midday and stopped for their sandwiches and a rest, and sat round telling jokes and talking about what was on TV last night, because they don't film that bit.

Don't think you should do all or any of the stuff in porn movies in real life. What you see isn't the best stuff, it's just the stuff that looks most dramatic. Real sex is not an Olympic-level gymnastics demonstration!

I could give you a list as long as your arm of the things that happen in porn films that aren't realistic - but I'm not going to because your mum would get real mad with me. Let's just say, if you need to know, this is a good place to start.
  • Don't think you ought to try out everything you've seen.
  • Real-life sex isn't about looking good, it's about having fun together.
  • Real-life sex isn't about showing off how great you are or how experienced. It's about finding out what works and feels good for you and them. Everyone is different, so what works for one person will not work for the next. You have to take it slowly and experiment.

Blimey - PEOPLE IN PORN MOVIES DO IT SO SERIOUSLY, because that's what looks cool for the cameras. In real life sex involves lots of giggling and smiling and putting up with stupid things like tripping over your socks or farty body noises. Yeah, you can get to be really good at sex, with practise. But you need a sense of humour and patience and to be laid-back when it doesn't go perfectly. And it involves lots and lots of TALKING.

PEOPLE IN PORN NEVER TALK AND THEY NEVER STOP TO LISTEN. I don't mean dirty talk - some people in real life really like that, some don't. I mean things like  "What do you want to do next?" and "Does this feel nice?" and "I would really like X, how do you feel about doing that for me?" In real life you are not having sex with a robot who likes everything and does everything and always responds the way you think they should. You are having sex with an actual human being with thoughts and emotions. You have to look after each other. So that means being honest and kind.

  • Real-life sex is not a performance, it's more like a game you play together.
  • You MUST talk to each other and make sure everyone is happy with what's happening.
  • You've got to organise things. Like making sure you are safe before you start and no one's going to end up pregnant. But that's another chat altogether...

Okay, I've gone on too long and you've probably stopped listening.
If you remember one thing, let it be this -
  • Porn is made to be entertainment for adults. That's all it is - entertainment. Don't believe everything you see in it. DON'T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.
If you want to ask me questions about anything, feel free.
And in three years time I'm going to have the same conversation with your little sister.


Jo said...

Oh, this is perfect. I feel choked up, somehow. I hope you do get to have this conversation with him one day, even if it's not right when you should be able to - it's what every kinky auntie should be able to impart to impressionable nephews and nieces.

I remember being 17 and getting my concert ticket signed by the 40 ish bass player from Belly. She wrote something like 'always keep your butt crack shaved' and at the time, I thought, you WHAT, now? Ha!

Janine Ashbless said...

Ha! That's brilliant!

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get reply Jo - I'm being horribly ill at the moment. Oh god I need a bucket...

Janine Ashbless said...

Thank you Jo, btw!
I felt nervous about posting this but I wanted to do it for ages. And then Chris Unity Bowness pointed me at Cindy Gallop and it all just coalesced.

Teresa Noelle Roberts said...

That is brilliant. I wish your nephew and everyone's niece and nephew of an appropriate age could see it. I mean, both of my nieces are adults, though young ones, and I still think it would be helpful!

Madeline Moore said...

Nicely done, Janine. My youngest saw a pop-up blow-job when she was, oh, 8 years old. She pestered me, "Why is it called a blow-job? She's not BLOWING on it?" The whole thing made me feel terrible. I didn't know at the time why. (a corruption of the word 'below' so I said, 'Look, if it's a picture of a woman's mouth and a man's penis, it's a blow job, okay?'

I actually did the old feminist thing with my kids, though I was a little scared, and got a mirror and pointed out (not by touching!) the clitoris, etc. They were not traumatized. I was, slightly, but I felt very strongly that my girls should know these things.

I didn't.

I told them, "You will break hearts. Your heart will be broken."
They have both had this experience. My eldest tells me EVERYTHING. She is, at age 25, a sexual sophisticate. My youngest tells me NOTHING. She is, at age 22, a happy lesbian.

It's horrible how young kids are when they see porn. In fact, I've read that they are maturing faster because of the stuff they see and read. And the chats are full of kids who've never had real sex having cybersex constantly. I don't know what that does to their perceptions of real sex when it finally happens.

I remember when I announced, "Okay. I don't care, anymore, if you're having sex or not. But as Madeline Moore, I care if you're having GOOD sex or not!"

I'm happy to say that the eldest is definitely having great sex. The youngest, I believe, is finally experiencing sex with a partner who is of the gender she prefers, but she did enjoy her few years playing with the boys.

I think parents need to really educate their kids about sex, just as I feel they should educate kids about the possibility of a God, even if they are atheists. Kids need to be informed by parents, not by schools. Or . . . of course . . . by hip aunties!

xoxo feel better soon.

Madeline Moore said...


Last 2 sentences should read: Kids shouldn't be informed by schools, they should be informed by parents. Or . . . of course . . . by hip aunties.

xoxo Mad (author and writing tutor, sigh)

Janine Ashbless said...

She lives! And has returned online! Thank you all for you supportive comments.

I'm not a parent, so I don't have to shoulder the responsibility of of dealing with my underage kids discovering sex, whether via the internet or in the flesh (and believe me, I'm relieved that I don't have to!). But I do feel strongly that we ought to empower children to deal mentally with this assault of imagery ... some of which would make an adult blench. We can't pretend it isn't there, we can't pretend our kids won't see it just because we have brought them up well. They have to be educated and given some sort of defense, or it's going to mess with their heads.

It is not good enough for adults to be embarrassed and leave it to schools - and then complain like crazy when schools do tackle the subject because it is "stealing their innocence". That is such hypocrisy.

Like it or loathe it, use it or do without, I don't think we can afford the luxury of being scared of porn. It is not fair on the next generations.

Madeline, it sounds like you've done a great job! I am very happy for your daughters!