Porn is a great place to figure out what you like — and more importantly, what you don't like. It can also help encourage body positivity and embrace masturbation (hey, it's healthy!). Can you be a feminist and watch porn? Of course! Here's why porn can actually be good for you.
1. You learn what you like (and share it with a partner).
Watching porn helps you figure what and why things turn you on — or off. If you like something, find more in that category and see if it works for you. If it doesn't, find out who the performers are and see if they do it for you. Find someone or something that gets you hot and bothered and think about why. If you are into a particular porn star, support their work (even if, like me, you're broke AF). Send something you really liked to a partner (or partners). It's a great way to start a conversation about what kinds of sex you're interested in and show them what you want to try. I was seeing this guy for six months. I asked if that was what he was into, and he said he didn't know. A grown man didn't know what kind of porn he was into because he was "in and out in 10 minutes" and "didn't really think about it." So he wasn't able to explain what he wanted or even liked. Watching porn with critical thought could have made this dude's life a little better.
2. It can promote body positivity.
Rule 34 exists for a reason. Representation matters. While the porn industry has massive issues with the line between representation and fetishization, there's always space to see a body that looks like yours having sex. I advocate for critical consumption of all media — especially porn — and that includes looking at bodies that resemble your own. XXX porn fights repressive representations of genitalia. Vaginas are wonderfully diverse in shape, size, and color. Porn, with its close-up shots of labia and clitorises, allows viewers the opportunity to see genitalia that look different from their own or the ones they saw in middle school sex ed classes. And all those lovingly shot blow jobs? You guessed it — a great time to learn that penises can curve left or right, be pink or brown or black and any color in between, and can still get off and get someone else off. Porn normalizes genitalia in its diversity.
Porn proves that anyone interested in having sex (with a consenting adult) can — and can be hot while doing it. Curvy, thin, queer, straight, trans, kinky, and vanilla all engage in sex and prove the viability of representation.
3. It encourages masturbation!
There are a ton of health benefits. "Procrastibation" is a great way to waste time while achieving something. More importantly, it's a great way to figure out what kind of touches you respond to and enjoy. Super into clitoral stimulation? Tell your partner! G-spot or prostate play? Again, let your partner know! Knowing how and what you like is key. Porn is a regular part of masturbation rituals, so go forth, watch porn, and get yourself off.
4. Porn is one of the few industries where women are paid more than men.
A woman about her money is great. There are conflicting reports about exactly how much more they make, but women in porn can make double their male counterparts. I am here for supporting women making their own money. Yes, women in porn can be feminists; no, not all porn is degrading to women and femme people. These figures also represent gender-conforming mainstream porn points of view, and not everyone making porn falls into these categories, but let's celebrate the little victories. I know there is still so much progress needed for gender-nonconforming bodies, but in a world where white women make 74-82 percent of what men are paid and women of color even less, it's important to acknowledge the areas in which we've made progress.
5. You can still be a feminist and watch porn!
I've met too many young women who buy into the idea that all women in porn are being exploited. Yes, exploitation is very real, yes, human trafficking is a huge issue, but many women in porn have chosen to be there. Read their stories, and think about the implications that assumptions lead to. Dare I say, make them real people, with real complicated lives? Better yet, find performers you like on Instagram and Twitter. Find people who jive with your politics, find people who actively identify as feminists, and support their work. Look at the work performers do outside of porn, and consider even thinking about them, their passions, hobbies, and politics after you cum. Walk the feminist talk, liberate your sexuality, and support people doing what they love for a living. That's feminist as hell.
So for all of this, I say we start talking about porn. What we watch, what we like, and why we like it. Honestly, where's the harm in well-informed people who are able to articulate sexual interest and desire? Sounds pretty great to me.