Everything is so fast now, isn’t it? We’re all rushing, desperately trying to find a bit of time to do the things we really want. I have five children and I work as a freelance journalist and writer, and believe me, time is a scarce commodity around here. Sometimes, I feel like my entire life is on supercharge. So much stuff to do, so very little time to do it.
And in this rush-y, stressy, speedy world, the pleasures of sex can sometimes get entirely forgotten. My favourite time to have sex is in daylight hours, ideally mid-morning, When the house is finally quiet and my body’s fully awake to the day, not yet worn down by the daily grind of deadlines and school run, to say nothing of the hours I must obviously clear to dedicate to my Instagram addiction. But there’s nothing like an orgasm before my morning coffee to guarantee the rest of my day is productive - and this is where porn comes into my life.
There. I’ve said it: I watch porn regularly. It helps me enjoy my body, and to be really frank, when time’s short, it helps me come more quickly, too. It’s made me more confident about asking for what I want from sex, and it makes me feel sexy. This is a good thing in a long-term relationship, since sex can often be difficult to locate somewhere at the bottom of the endless to-do lists.
Among my closest friends, I’m know I’m not alone in sometimes watching porn, although very few friends will openly admit it. Maybe this is because porn has, to put it mildly, a difficult, dirty reputation. Sex sells everything from ice-creams to fast cars, but talking about porn as something you enjoy remains taboo. Instead, it’s often referred to in terms of “addiction” or obsessive use, a malign influence corrupting the minds of innocent young people.
So before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight: I know porn can also be dangerous in the wrong hands, and I know it can be exploitative, and I know it could be blamed for giving young people a distorted view about what sex involves. However, I also vehemently believe it’s the responsibility of parents to educate children about what is expected in a good relationship, and that includes sex. If children are learning about sex from porn, then it’s the parents’ responsibility to take those screens out of their kid’s hands and have a frank, open conversation about sex, however uncomfortable that makes everyone feel.
Because dismissing it outright as an evil is also a knee-jerk reaction akin to suggesting that enjoying the odd glass of wine will lead to a life-time of alcoholism. There are varying degrees, just as there are different sorts of porn, and I don’t think that needs spelling out. I also generally steer clear of the mass market sites but like anything made by Erica Lust, including Lust Cinema and XConfessions, and also sometimes watch Lady Cheeky and Bellesa, which is porn with a feminist angle, focussing on female lust and pleasure.
Because in the hands of consenting adults, porn can be sexy, liberating, pleasurable and just straightforward fun. Watching porn makes me more open to sex. It makes me think about sex more often, and want it more, too. And within those speedy, relentless demands of real life, sex is often the thing that gets forgotten, especially in a long-term relationship. So I’d go so far as to say that porn has actively enhanced my sex life, and so made my marriage a happier place, too. Really, what’s not to like about that?
Clover is the author of The Wild Other: A Memoir of Love, Adventure and how to be Brave She is writing a memoir of motherhood, due out in spring 2020 with Transworld. Follow her on Instagram at @clover.stroud