What Porn Does to Intimacy

Even if I have a one-night stand, it's going to be better sex if I've made an emotional connection along the way.
Two gay men holding each other in a very tight embrace

Compartmentalizing the physical act of sex from the emotional side of sex is nothing new among gay men but when the physical and the emotional combine, the fireworks fly and you have the best sex ever.

In his article for the Huffington Post, “The Real Reason Why So Many Gay Men Are Single,” Mike Alvear writes, “Maybe that’s why so many of us gay men are single for so long. If we could direct our sexual desire from physical to the emotional we’d lead more fulfilled lives.”

We are constantly bombarded with images and messages about sex and what is or should be of interest to us in a partner. We are hyper-sexualized and over-sexualized. We are torn between selecting someone who is either looking for sex or looking for a relationship. Scrolling through Grindr, Scruff, Adam4Adam, Jack’d or any other hook up app we struggle navigating, managing, and attempting to determine what we’re looking for. Sometimes we might even lower our physical standard just to get off and then what happens? Many of us feel guilty about it later, oftentimes rejecting any future contact from the guy we hooked up with. Then, low and behold, we have the same thing happen to us. It can become a vicious cycle. Why can’t we look for a relationship with sex? Why must we chose one or the other? Or at least be honest with ourselves and the one(s) we’re with about the real deal.

A 2014 study of 15,360 men for Sigma Research on behalf of UK sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust was recently released (Gay Star New). The most common reason for people not being happy with their sex life is “I’d like a boyfriend or a lover or a partner.” What!? This indicates to me that many people desire an emotional connection and believe it would help them be more happy with their sex life.

Other reasons for not being happy with their sex life included “I’m not having enough sex with the person I’m with at the moment” or wanting more sexual partners. So clearly others are looking for more sex and more sexual partners.

Christian Cintron writes in his article “The Madonna-Whore Complex: Gay Edition“, “Oftentimes, guys are quick to dismiss a man who is sexually forward or knows what he wants as a whore. He is not looking for the same thing. But, how can men compromise a sexually-forward sub-culture with old-school, heterosexual dating rituals? Do you wait for three dates when you could meet 10 guys at a gay bar who will try and have sex with you? Who decides the appropriate amount of time to wait?”

So on the one hand guys want more sex but at the same time they reject those who might be more sexually promiscuous when it comes time for a relationship. Or they believe relationships do not equate with having enough sex or good sex.

With so many Tumblr pages of hot guys tugging their tools, performing their acts, and being their own video celebrity, I can only think that gay men are looking for a porn star; whether a real porn star or a homemade one. The trouble is this all comes back to the physical nature of the connection and not the emotional connection. Porn stars focus on the physical act, not the emotional or intimate connection that is possible during the physical act.

I’m a human. I’m a person. I want to connect with others. Even if I only engage with someone on a physical level one time only, I want to make sure there is an appropriate amount of emotional or spiritual give and take. Only then will we both enjoy our time together on a deeper level we’ll both feel good about our experience. I wholeheartedly agree with Christian Cintron’s statement and wish I had written it first, “If your sex partners don’t even care who you are as a person, why should you even bother trying to connect?” I want good sex and that means finding or creating a connection.

If pumping and dumping is your thing, that’s fine. I’m not here to judge on that level, but wouldn’t it be a better and more positive experience if there was a connection. That connection comes when you offer respect and are truthful and honest about the situation and activities you’re engaging in and treat your partners as people.

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Men & Sexuality

John is a thinker and a doer. He's a whiz at working through policies and procedures but loves taking time to explore the urban environment in which he lives and calls home. He also appreciates getting his fancy tickled.

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