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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ask The Sex Doc 10: Ethical porn, sex therapy and microphilia.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 2:54 PM

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Oh, are you new here? Here's the run-down: One IU Kinsey Institute Ph.D., one smartass, once a week. Got a burning question? That's how we keep this crazy train chugging along, so send 'em in! askthesexdoc@nuvo.net or use our magical anonymous Tumblr inbox. 


I'm a 20-something woman who is trying to be more sex-positive. So, where should I stand on pornography? I'll admit I've watched it a time or five in my own quest for orgasm and to learn about sex. But a lot of porn is fake and degrading against women, right? Where do you ladies stand on this? Do you have any "humane" recommendations? -
Anonymous, from Tumblr

S: You always want to make sure the porn stars your porn comes from are free-range and fed an organic, whole-foods vegan diet with no artificial hormones. Look for the Real California Porn seal on all the porn you consume. These days, there are all kinds of flavors and varieties of porn - not just the skin flicks of yore that featured a lot of plastic-chested women who always seem to have open mouths but never speak. You're right in that, historically, porn was meant for men to watch and the women in them were just living, hilariously-hyperbolic-orgasm-faking jizz depositories. But these days, nudie movies reflect the diversity of modern porn-watching audiences more and more, with some sites and companies entirely dedicated to porn made for a female viewer in mind. The non-skeevy porn you're after is just a Google search away.

D: In recent years, "ethical porn" has gained in popularity (at least a little bit). It's focused on performers and their rights but also on showing sex acts as consensual, pleasure, and even (at least sometimes) meaning, fun, and/or connection. Other sexually explicit films feel more like sexy storytelling than traditional porn and it's true that people can often find what they're looking for online. But I also get a sense that you're wondering how to deal with the issue in a bigger sense, not just your own browsing. In the case, you could talk more openly about porn with friends. You might ask your friends what they think of mainstream porn. Do they also feel it's violent or overly aggressive? What do they think of titles that largely portray women as "whores" or "sluts" who are having violent and/or degrading things done to them? What do you think of the trend in some films that shows women - especially young (18 and 19 year old women) playing the part of women who are supposedly offered $50 or $100 to engage in a sex act, then engage in the sex act, and then are left on the side of a road somewhere while the guys laugh? Do they find that funny? Arousing? Hot? If so, how come? Porn seems to have changed in the past decade or two - at least according to the directors and producers of porn, and the actors/actresses who have been interviewed for studies on it. There's a ton more anal sex than in past decades (one study showed that anal sex was shown in 55% of sex scenes studied whereas, according to our US data, anal sex happened in only about 3 or 4% of Americans' recent sexual experiences). Porn also tends to show far more fellatio and threesomes than happen in real life and not as much female-pleasure focused sex, such as cunnilingus. All things to ponder and talk about with friends and partners. Vote with your dollars and/or mouse clicks, friends.


My wife has intimacy issues stemming from childhood. I find myself yearning for more affection, intimacy, and sex than she's comfortable giving. Our sexual chemistry doesn't flow very naturally a large percent of the time. She seems to have some unconscious "limitations" or "rules" surrounding sex and she rarely initiates unless I communicate my lack of sexual fulfillment. Often times, she will try to turn the tables around on me and say things like "If you would just tease me more often" or "If you were more romantic, I would be more interested in sex". In reality, what she's doing is projecting her issues onto me. I do try to send her romantic and teasing texts and I do often compliment her in many ways. She'll attempt to modify her behavior for a period of time, but it usually only lasts for a week or two at the most and she falls back into what I would call a disconnected state. I cannot convince her to seek therapy to address her childhood traumas unless she is ready and willing. She has always downplayed any impact her past has on the present. Our sex was really good when we first met because it was less intimate and there was no commitment. Any advice for me? - Anonymous, from Tumblr

S: *Taps the mat* Doc?

D: It's tempting to be an armchair psychologist - and I can see that you're not trying to be, that in fact you would love to involve a therapist - but it sounds like your perspective is that your marital issues stem from her "childhood traumas". In fact, all of our childhoods shape us. They shape our needs and expectations, our desire to be rescued or our desires to rescue others or "fix" them. Whatever your relationship issues are - and we all have them - they are about the two of you and your dynamics, and not just about her. Change is hard and doesn't happen quickly and, if and when she does make positive changes, do your best to try and support and encourage her positive changes rather than focus on her slip-ups. Also check out Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch - it may give you both some ideas to chew on regarding intimacy and sex, and maybe if you two are able to embrace them, it might inspire you to check out therapy as well. You can find a good sex therapist through sstarnet.org or a marital therapist through aamft.org.


How do you address real strange fetishes with your S/O? I have a bizarre fetish (shrinking) that would require the re-writing of the laws of physics in order to make it a reality. I haven't told my S/O about it because I don't think it's worth the potential shame with no real payoff because we can't make it happen. Instead, I get my (fetish-focused) kicks from websites that cater to my interests and have normal (great sex, though!) sex with my S/O. - Anonymous, from Tumblr


S: Reader, I want to thank you sincerely for doing the impossible: introducing me to a fetish I had not yet encountered. Apparently shrinking (microphilia) is pretty much exactly as it sounds (I guess): a fetish for very small, usually palm-size shrinkydink people. So yeah, unless you track down a voodoo priest or priestess who is on some seriously next-level shit, this one will be relegated to mostly fantasy. You seem to have a pretty realistic grasp on this, so maybe just incorporate some of the costumes or hair styles (Wig shop trip!) from the characters you like into your partnered sex. I have to admit though, I'd prefer this kind of information be revealed to me with the same care, delicateness and understanding of sharing your herpes diagnosis: acknowledging that some S/Os will bolt, but someone who you've bonded with will stick around and make it work with you. Hang onto th folks you hang onto and make them the freaky Tinkerbell to your NOPE JUST KIDDING I DON'T WANT TO FINISH PAINTING THIS MENTAL PICTURE THANKSFORREADINGBYE.

D: You don't have to address your interests unless you want to. You have a website you seem to find pleasure with. If you want to share your interest with a partner one day, you can, and you may want to suss out your compatibility with the person before deciding whether this is a first or fifth or fiftieth "date" reveal. If you're dating through a pretty open-minded community like Fet Life it may be easier to reveal sooner than, say, through Hinge where you might have (possibly justified) concerns that your fix-ups could share it with your mutual friends, without your consent. Sexual feelings belong to all of humanity - and you seem to have a good head on your shoulders with a sense that you can find others like you if and when you want, and connect online, but you also get that shrinking isn't everyone's thing. You're one step ahead of many others. 

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