Love & Sex

The Naked Truth

Porn: Helpful or Hurtful?

Ah, yes. The magical internet land of BBW, BBC, DP, ATM—you name it; where uncensored content designed for the sole purpose of getting you off (yes, just you!) is at your fingertips. That’s what it is these days, but porn, aka depictions of a sexual nature, actually date back to prehistoric times. Or so says Wikipedia, anyway.

Clearly the desire to see others express themselves sexually has always been around. Dare we call it primal? But “porn” is a word we still tend to whisper or, on rare occasions, we say it out loud—or we claim we’ve never seen any at all (cool story, bro). Wherever you tell people you land, a May study put out by the Institute for Family Studies says that “roughly six in 10 Americans report having watched porn at some point in their lives, including more than one in four who have watched it in the last month.”

Essentially, most of us watch porn, but is this oh-so-accessible fantasyland making our real sex lives feel like some sort of dystopia? Let’s see what the readers have to ask about that.

What negative effects do you think mainstream porn has on “real life” sex, i.e., violence, unrealistic expectations, and so on?


Funny story: I just got back from a week-long girl’s trip, and one night we were sitting around the campfire, had a little too much to drink and were reminiscing about disappointing sexual experiences. My friend shared a great little morsel about getting titty-fucked by this dude a few years ago. He was straight up fucking her sternum, not paying attention to any of her erogenous zones, and when all was said and done on his part, he had the audacity to ask if she came. It’s OK. You can laugh. I did.

Talk about unrealistic expectations! Yet, if you’ve ever seen titty-fucking in porn, you know exactly why he thought that would happen. Porn is a great tool to increase sexual pleasure and to experience fantasies, but it should come with the disclaimer that it by no means depicts real-life sex. A playful yet illuminating exercise might be to sit down with your partner, or friend even, and watch an X-rated video together. Compare notes at the end about what felt realistic, silly, scary, comfortable and so on. Keep in mind, this exercise isn’t about showing off what you know, it’s about leveling the playing field and shedding light on disparities you might never have known were there. I’m a big believer in opening up lines of communication in a lighthearted way every time you can.

Also, I’m SO jazzed you used the term “mainstream porn” in your question. Regular readers know I’m a sex worker and proponent of platforms like OnlyFans, which puts consent—and money—in the hands of creators. Negative things like violence, human trafficking and lack of consent are much more common in the mainstream porn industry. As simple as it sounds, if we all chose to start paying for porn on platforms that pay creators and value consent, the demand for the mainstream stuff could potentially evolve, as well as some of its more fantastical and negative effects. Paying for porn is the future.

What about porn, along with sex toys, makes people less incentivized to go search for connection?


This generation has two new drugs of choice: convenience and instant gratification. Ask a millennial. Shit, ask me! I’m currently trying (and failing) to end my yearsssss-long addiction to DoorDash. (I’m literally DoorDashing right now).

But really, why put yourself out there when you don’t need to? Why carve out the time, make the effort or even worse—expose yourself to being hurt when you can just get your sexual needs met by modern-day technology? I totally get it, but you might be missing out. Have you ever experienced that comedown period after watching porn or having a meaningless hookup? Sure, you just got your rocks off, but suddenly the happy hormones are gone and replaced by a feeling of emptiness. It’s OK to listen to that feeling. There isn’t much more fulfilling in this life than human connection, so it’s OK to give yourself permission to seek that out. And remember, this isn’t about choosing one or the other. You can have all of it. A connection with a real-life human is something that cannot be duplicated, but it certainly can be enhanced with tools like sex toys and porn.

I think porn is both a helpful tool and hurtful reality check. It can feed a primal desire, but it can also ignite some deep insecurities. It is not your enemy, but don’t get it twisted—it’s not your best friend, either. And don’t forget, the mainstream porn industry is and has always been catered to the male experience, so if you find yourself wondering why your girl didn’t cum from getting titty-fucked, it might just be time to come back down to Earth.

Layla Asher is a local sex worker on a mission to spread radical self love to her community and the world. Have further questions after reading this? Want to ask your local sex worker their expert opinion on something? Let’s start a sex positive conversation that keeps respect and confidentiality at the forefront and judgment a thing of the past. Please submit your questions to and include an alias that protects your anonymity

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