10 ways porn perpetuates myths about men and sex

Intense manscaping and injections of Caverject are just a few of the ways porn stars are far from your average dude

Topics: AlterNet, Pornography, Sex, porn stars, men, myths,

10 ways porn perpetuates myths about men and sex
This article originally appeared on Alternet.

AlterNet We recently told you our biggest grievances involving women in mainstream porn. Making a comparable list for men, however, proved to be harder (sorry) than it initially seemed. Partially because, in mainstream straight porn, which is produced, funded, run, and directed by men, the focus is almost entirely on the porn actresses. Rarely do we get sweeping slow pans of pectoral physiques, zoomed in facial grimaces, or the come-hither eyes that women make at the camera. While we do often glimpse extreme penetration closeups, with its accompanying, and at times mesmerizing, ball pendulums, little attention is paid to much else.

Further complicating our attempts is that very few scientific studies on porn have been done (except in the realm of addiction and why no one will think of the children). But! A peer-reviewed Porn Studies Journal is slated to come (sorry again) in 2014, so perhaps this will change soon. In the meantime, some of our stats come from self-proclaimed “idea detective” Jon Millward, who crunched numbers from the Internet Adult Film Database (like IMDB, but for smut) which boasts data on 151,946 titles and 129,831 performers/directors, but as is to be expected, much of Millward’s data focuses on the ladeez.

Despite these obstacles, when it comes to the topic of men, porn still gets a lot wrong. Here are the 10 biggest male myths we find hardest to swallow (not sorry about that one, actually).

1. Only one erogenous zone exists.

In mainstream and especially hardcore porn, men are often reduced to little more than walking, grunting penises who experience no other pleasure except from their deep-V diver. Like RoboCop, but for sexual purposes only. Again, since the onus is on the women in porn, some disregard of male bodies is to be expected. While we don’t expect to be regaled with the pleasures of their watercolors hobby or anything, a little attention could be paid to other erogenous zones, like nipples, necks, thighs, asses, and even balls, which are largely ignored, in porn as in life.

2. Size is subjective.

While no hard or even soft data exists on the average penis size of porn stars versus the average Tom’s Harry Dick, the porn-star-penis-as-huge trope is certainly prevalent and used to sell a variety of pumps, pills, and other penis-enlargement doodads, banking on men’s insecurity and Photoshop to hawk their wang wares. But just as technology can make Smurfs three-dimensional, porn cinematography can make a penis appear larger than it is, with lighting, camera angles, makeup, and even the placement of one’s penis next to, say, a diminutive porn actress. Everything looks big when you stand next to a girl who weighs 80 pounds.

3. The everlasting boner.

In typical porn scenes, men are required to bang longer than the Salvation Army drum on the Easter Day parade, i.e. for 30-60 minutes or more. Despite what you may have heard in Boyz II Men songs, non-porn intercourse typically lasts between 3-7 minutes. As Seymore Butts toldForbes: “The most difficult part about being a male porn star is the hard-on. They have to get it up and off on cue essentially and all the while in between maintain [it] for two to three hours. This must be done under the most difficult of circumstances, including not being attracted to their female co-star, having sex in the most uncomfortable settings, i.e. on hard surfaces, cold/hot weather, etc., and/or having to stop frequently for direction or shot setups.” Male porn performers also use Caverject — a drug injected directly into their penis to maintain those impossible erections, bringing new meaning to the phrase “working stiffs.”

4. Mo’ money shots, mo’ problems.

If sex acts in porn were relative, then we’d all be giving and getting a lot more facials. According to Millward’s porn study, 87 percent of porn actresses will “take a facial” at least once in their careers. For comparison, 62 percent will do anal, 31 percent swallow, and a mere 6 percent will be fisted. The money shot is the most common way to end a porn scene. As with all things, of course there are probably some men and women who enjoy capping off their night with a little sperm in the eye, but it’s also safe to say that the vast majority do not.

5. The jackhammer.

Porn would have us believe that the only tried and true way to fuck a woman is to pound her so hard that the cervical force and momentum spontaneously cause her to travel back to the Triassic period to bring back a tooth from a Therapsid with which to conquer our reptilian overlords in 2057. Really hard, in other words. Of course, a good deep-dicking can be enjoyable (and even preferred!) from time to time, but every time? And for an hour? And no breaks to drink Gatorade laced with speed to keep up the fervent drilling to China? Also, no one ever sweats. Maybe that’s why they keep all the dry ice around.

6. Very little variety of roles for men.

While women can be a wide variety of stereotypes (the randy MILF, the randy sorority girl, the randy babysitter, etc.) the profiles of men in the International Adult Movie Database are sadly bland. They either do boy/girl scenes or they don’t. Even when they do get to play an actual role, it is often the uninspiring pizza delivery guy (“I ordered extra sausage!”), or some kind of repair man. “You know what this sink needs? Twelve inches of reinforced steel pipe. C’mere ladies.”

7. Neither here, nor hair.

Like women in porn, the standard for male porn stars is to partake in bushwhacking (as well as scrotum-shearing, chest-clipping, and rectal-region hair removal). This manscaping, and other body hair removal, is for aesthetic reasons: to make one’s penis appear larger, smoother and cleaner. While non-porn male deforestation has certainly seen a rise (there are a bevy of articles on the topic, major razor brands have launched all-body shavers for men, salons are offering more male services, etc.), there isn’t much research on its overall prevalence. But, a 2008 study from Australia found that 82 percent of gay men and 66 percent of straight men removed their pubic hair at least once, although the largest percentage of both groups said they did it “rarely.”

8. It pays to be gay.

While there are few cultural rewards for bisexual men, except perhaps in the realm of increased hair products, in porn at least, there are definite financial benefits. Gay porn pays about three times as much as straight porn. For this reason, many straight male porn performers have done gay porn, enough to spawn the term gay-for-pay. We can’t say the same for non-porn dude experimentation, as much as we wanted Brokeback Mountain to become a phenomenon.

9. Porn stars weigh less and have more piercings.

The average male porn star weighs 167.5 lbs, 27 pounds less than the national average for men. It makes sense that porn stars would be in better shape than many, considering the physical demands of say, the Standing 69 or the Lawnmower. Aside from weight, however, attractiveness of male porn stars seems more often than not based largely on… how to put it… the quality of the wood. One time we watched a near-elderly man, who looked like a penis with eyes, nail his hot secretary and the sight was so ghastly it almost turned us off porn indefinitely. Speaking of appearances, male porn stars also are more likely to have at least one tattoo (9.5 percent more than average), and a body piercing (13 percent more than average).

10. Male porn stars really get around.

Male porn stars are far more prolific than your average dude (duh), but also considerably more than female porn stars, when it comes to number of partners. Millward again: “The 10 most prolific male performers, on average, have slept onscreen with 1,013 different women each (45 a year for an average career length of 22.4 years). Whereas the 10 most prolific women on average have slept with 148 different men (eight a year for an average career length of 17.7 years). The most prolific of them all, Tom Byron, has slept with 1,127 different women. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, non-porn men have an average of seven sex partners.”

Anna Pulley (@annapulley) writes about sex and social media for SF Weekly, AlterNet, After Ellen and the Chicago Tribune. She's also attempting to lead a haiku revival on her blog, annapulley.com.

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