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Porn Stars Discuss The Effect Pornography Is Having On The Way We Have Sex

"What has been lost is the intimacy, the fun, the attraction, the exploration of a new partner or pleasing a partner in a new way."

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BuzzFeed News spoke to porn stars Jessica Drake and Steven St. Croix about how online pornography is affecting the way young people think about sex and whether it can be a force for good in sex education.

Drake is the director and creator of the Guide to Wicked Sex DVD series, which St. Croix stars in.

Why do you make your instructional sex DVDs? Are they an attempt to show real-life sex isn’t like the sex shown in porn, or are they just a general educational tool?

Jessica Drake: The reason I chose to create my series is because I saw a need for realistic sex education out there. I wanted to create a sort of hybrid between porn and sex-ed; to show people the difference between sex in porn and off-camera sex. And I wanted to provide knowledge and inspiration, and get people turned on.

Steven St. Croix: I think a large portion of the consumers of adult material would like some of the name talent to speak about sex in a way where one can learn to be a better participant.

Do you regularly get people asking you for sex advice? And if so, what do they usually ask?

SSC: Men are funny about asking for advice. There is this consensus that if you are a man, you should know what you're doing in the sack. But more often than not, our parents don't usually shoulder the task of talking frankly about sex, even in a clinical way, and definitely don't talk about it in a strictly pleasurable context.

But some guys do ask for advice, usually about stamina and resisting the urge to orgasm too soon.

JD: Yes! That is the other reason I started the Guide to Wicked Sex line. At the appearances I do at strip clubs or conventions, people tend to hang around after and ask me sex questions. Or when I'm doing workshops or seminars, afterwards people would always come up and ask questions about sex, so I saw that there was a need for more information.

The two most frequent questions I get about sex are how to give a better blowjob, or how to have anal sex.

Do you think porn is having an impact on the way people feel sex should be performed, and is that putting unnecessary pressure on young people?

JD: This is a great question! First, porn definitely has a purpose. I'm still making porn and performing in movies – I enjoy what I do! At the same time, it is really important that we help people differentiate between "porn sex" and "non-porn sex". Some couples are very experimental in their sex life; some are into extreme sex, some women are into extreme sex, and I think it's very important not to discount the sex people want to have in real life. It's also really important that people can distinguish between real-life sex and porn-sex.

Sex is easily accessible today with the technology we have, and we really have to be conscious about this. If parents have kids, and think they're not searching out porn, they are mistaken! The most important thing we need to teach young people is that porn is fantasy, and I think it's really important that parents incorporate this when talking about sex.

SSC: Porn definitely has influenced how people engage in sex. The industry has at times turned sex into an Olympic-style/CrossFit marathon of trying to knock the other person into the next "dry county". What has been lost is the intimacy, the fun, the attraction, the exploration of a new partner or pleasing a partner in a new way. They need to know sex isn't all about that.

Can the reverse also be true though? Can porn be a force for good in educating people in sex?

SSC: Not in a politically eccentric society that hangs on to puritan belief systems publicly but engages in "devious sex acts" behind closed doors. Education about sex, I believe, should be the sole task of parents, not the state.

JD: I think that porn in its fantasy form can be good when introducing new things in the bedroom to spice up your sex life: watch movies together, or watch by yourself. It is a great way to roleplay, too; I've had couples tell me that they watch a movie and then act out a scene. But the thing about porn is that you're not seeing what goes on before the camera comes on – you're not seeing the extra lubing, the prep work etc, so I don't think using porn as a step-by-step instructional is what you should do.

What is the key to a healthy sex life?

JD: Communication is really important. You can communicate your wants, desires, and fantasies to your partner. Also, masturbation is important to a healthy sex life; you learn what works for you and then share it with your partner.

SSC: A healthy perspective on one's own life and respecting others is a good start. Healthy habits, avoiding self-destructive thoughts and behaviour, as well as understanding there are different strokes for different folks in regards to sexual tastes.

Do you think porn could one day be incorporated into sex education taught in schools?

JD: To some degree yes, and I think it should be. I would love to see a realistic demonstration of someone putting a condom on someone for example; I think that would be helpful. I think it's also important to be able to identify fantasy versus reality.

SSC: No.

What do you think is the biggest thing currently missing from sex education classes?

JD: I would say pleasure-based sex-ed. I don't like the abstinence programme; it's proven not to work. If you tell young people not to do something, they will most likely do it. We should be a bit more realistic – people are having sex because it feels good and because they like it. We know that sex is great and feels good, so now we have to ask ourselves, how do we make it safe?

SSC: The biggest thing would be that current sex ed does make concessions that reflect this generation's experience with how we go about getting laid. It has always seemed to me to be strictly taught as a means of reproduction without accepting that it is fucking fun!

You can find out more about the Guide to Wicked Sex series here.

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