Love & Sex

I Did It For Science: Female-Friendly Porn

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Hypothesis:

I am not a porn watcher. Ever since my parents discovered my middle-school best friend and me doing searches on Yahoo! for dirty words, I’ve had bad feelings about pornography. Every time I've seen porn since, I've always ended up feeling as though I’ve eaten a whole box of cookies — sick to my stomach and wondering why I went against my better judgment.

On occasions when my silly drunk friends want to watch porn, I giggle along with them at first. But after a few minutes, I always start to feel bad. It all looks so fake and sleazy, nothing like what I want sex to be like. I know whoever I'm watching is getting paid for their performance, but I still feel like I'm taking advantage of them, or, stranger still, they are taking advantage of me. The overtness of it all makes me feel as though porn is meant to be the be-all and end-all of sexuality. If that's the case, then maybe it means I don’t like sex, period. And that really freaks me out.

This hangup of mine wouldn't concern me if I weren’t such a frequent masturbator. It’s been a major pastime since I was a little girl; and for most people, watching porn and masturbation go hand in, uh, hand. Moreover, I proudly consider myself sexually liberated — a woman in control of her sexuality, not some sexless conservative housewife. It was okay in my teens, but as I moved into my twenties, being a girl who was “into porn” became almost chic in my circle of enlightened friends. Sex columnists tout porn for women, magazine articles claim that one quarter of porn searches were done by women, and yet I still remain outside the loop. Could I really be more conservative than those millions of porn-loving women? There's only one way to find out.

Materials:

• PornHub.com

• Vibrator

• Two hands

• Open mind

Results:

I decided to start with PornHub.com, for two reasons: I had a boyfriend and friends who I knew visited it, which made it feel at least a little familiar. Also, while PornHub itself is massive, it’s but a drop in the ocean of internet porn. I was terrified of what I’d find if I just started entering phrases into Google.

In addition to sticking to PornHub, I was also going to try to stay within the “female friendly” category. As condescending as that name was, I imagined female friendly porn to be exactly the kind of porn I would like: centered around female pleasure and devoid of anything on the more violent side. The site’s sidebar advertisement featured a girl being choked and pounded so hard her body bounced involuntarily, and that was exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid.

Once inside the supposedly female-friendly zone, I instantly gravitated to the girl-on-girl category. I decided on a clip featuring two blonde friends, which I believe was called “I’ll take care of you." According to the blurb, one of the friends had just been dumped and was seeking comfort, communication, and probably some head from her friend. Was it a cheesy porn cliche? Yes. And yet, inexplicably comforting. 

I started watching the scene, my vibrator at the ready. Any minute now they would stop talking about the not-so-cute blonde’s breakup, tears would be dried, and I’d be watching some full-on faux-lesbian porn. Five tedious minutes and one awkward transition later, the blondes were making out and before long, the unattractive one was getting some head. This aroused me considerably more than her crying had. The noises she was making were still robotic and not very well acted, but the honest effort of her friend’s mouth made up for it. I grabbed my vibrator and went to it. Surprisingly, it did the trick. Twenty minutes in, and I was off to a pretty good start.

Watching lesbian porn, however, still felt like cheating. The aggressive, male-oriented part of porn was what made it intimidating. To really do what I’d set out to do, I needed to see some dick.

Here’s where I got a little lost. The sheer quantity of heterosexual porn was mind-numbing. Hundreds of videos. Thousands, in this one section on one website. So I panicked and and clicked on something called “Yoni Massage.” It was exactly what you might imagine “female friendly” porn to be: a whole lot of soft lighting, Indian chanting, and an aftershave model giving a lady with shiny, perfectly tousled hair a back massage. Then, they launched into a passionate make-out session.

Since I’d seen a PG-13 movie before, I immediately jumped ship and went to the first clip I found without an extended intro. This was the porn that I’d seen — and been turned off by — before: an enormous man fucking a blonde woman from behind, on a shabby green couch in a room that was in desperate need of a vacuuming. It’s unclear what about it was female-friendly, unless the squalor meant she was liberated enough to skip her stereotypical cleaning duties for some hot lovemaking.

After the tedium of the last clip, I was pleased that they got right to it. Unfortunately, the trade-off was excessive shrieking by the blonde and a constant flow of expletives from the guy; “nasty bitch” was a tame favorite. I retreated.

But I didn’t give up. Over the course of the next couple of days, I kept at it, being careful to choose a high proportion of the sort of slow-tempo, “nasty bitch”-free porn that didn’t freak me out. I'd started watching videos all the way through. I was getting desensitized, and I didn't mind it. After a certain point, porn I liked was arousing. Porn I didn't wasn't, but at a certain point, it was all just a bunch of naked people doing crazy things. And naked people are fun.  

Towards the end of my experiment, I stumbled across a scene featuring five men and one women — still in a category claiming to be friendly to women. As a woman who went on to watch that scene, I can tell you — “friendly” is the wrong word.

The physical unease I felt seeing one woman attempt such a limit-pushing scene — and pretty obviously not enjoy it — wasn’t nearly as bad as the mental discomfort I felt. I knew what I was watching was disturbing — and yet didn’t immediately want to turn it off. Part of me wanted to stick it out in dedication to the experiment, and also because, objectively, I knew this wasn’t as bad as it could get. Even weirder still, my intellectual objections apparently didn't mean much to my body, because a few freaked-out minutes later, I came.

It left me feeling surprised and weirdly humiliated. What was wrong with me that my body and my mind were so out of sync? I decided to take a break and give myself some space to refresh and recharge.

The next day, however, I found myself alone in my apartment. I knew my roommates wouldn’t be home for hours. The heightened level of privacy was more than I could resist. I settled into bed with all my materials, and began, once again, to click around on the site. I wasn’t repulsed, but it wasn’t long before each clip began to look exactly like the one before and I began to feel as bored as the girls on the screen looked. As the clip I was watching drew closer to its inevitable end, I hit the pause button and did something only a girl would do in the middle of a series of cumshots: I thought about my feelings.

Before the previous day’s DP disaster, I had been on a porn-watching roll — and I didn’t hate it. In fact, some of things I watched, I really liked. Having these back-to-back disappointments, however, was making me question myself. Maybe it had all been a fluke, something I liked because it was new and exciting, but now, after delving a little too deep, the thrill was gone.

Tentatively, I retreated back to a classic “female friendly” clip and watched a gorgeous man go down on an okay-looking girl on the edge of a marble hot tub. And I came. All was right in the world.

Conclusion:

Obviously, I can no longer say I have no interest in porn. While I did need to give myself a reason to start watching it, once I started, it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, and some of it I genuinely liked. If I had to pick, I would say the videos I preferred were the ones that depicted sexual acts I’ve experienced in my own sexual life. When I’m watching something I’ve had fun experiencing, say, oral sex, I know what it feels like, and that helps.

Ultimately, though, I doubt porn will become a regular part of my masturbation habits. Somewhere in the middle of all this porn-a-palooza, I gave myself the night off and went old-school by reverting to my old technique — imagination. I tried to conjure something original, but all I saw was a montage of the porn I’d been watching. I’m not saying I won’t come back and visit, but if watching porn means sacrificing my usually vivid imagination, I’d rather not make it a regular activity.