Porn and Fantasy

Like other forms of media entertainment, pornography offers up fantasies — only these fantasies are of sex, rather than say, romance or superheroes. And fantasies, sexual or otherwise, vary as much as people do. Some people fantasize about winning the lottery, while other people fantasize about being professional ball players or astronauts. Even if we know that these fantasies are not likely to come true, it can be fun and exciting to imagine an alternative reality. Fantasy is all about imagination — in our fantasies, there are no limits to what we can do.

Sexual fantasies are no different. When masturbating or even when having sex with a partner, a fantasy can make things more exciting, by bringing something different and new into the mix. And the world of online pornography makes available a whole universe of sexual fantasies to a public audience. While many of these fantasies follow common cultural themes such as misogyny or racism, there are also a million weird and wild fantasies that people have imagined beyond what we might consider “normal” sex. Whether it’s sex with an alien, or a wedding that turns into an orgy, the sky is the limit in the world of online porn.

Pornography lets people privately try out fantasies to see if they fit and explore aspects of their sexual desire that might have been impossible to discover before porn came along. It can be very liberating to acknowledge your desire to yourself, whatever that might be. And getting over the shame of your desire is one of the first steps to producing a sex-positive world. What’s important to remember is that pornography is offering up fantasies, not realities. Just because you enjoy horror films, doesn’t mean you would actually want to watch someone get murdered. And just because you enjoy watching, say, misogynistic pornography, doesn’t mean that you think women are objects or should be treated violently. At the same time, if you fantasize about being treated badly or like a sex object, that’s all right too.

Sometimes, we fantasize about things that we would never want to happen in “the real world.” It can be exciting for some people to imagine having no power at all, while for other people it can be exciting to imagine having a lot of power and feeling invincible.  What you need to remember is that consent — both in pornography and in real life — is key to exploring your fantasies in a healthy way.

Go to next page: Understanding Consent

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