unSEXpected: Talking about Porn 

A black and white image of a woman standing in front of a large, white light. She is posing seductively, with one arm resting on her head and the other hand on her lower back.

We don’t really talk about it much anymore. At least not in depth. It’s been mentioned in passing once or twice. In car rides and Maccas runs and couches and late-night chats, our conversations circling around “I’ve never really watched it, to be honest” or “I’d watch for research purposes”. They wither out quick. 

We don’t really talk about it much, but I worry sometimes. About the ethics of it all and the consequences, during talking stages and first dates and when I’m taking off my clothes. In the quiet moments especially, when it’s just me and the possibility of someone new, I worry. 


Pornography is content that has been created with the intent to turn you on. And the internet is full of it. On whatever device you’re reading this from, you can find x-rated pictures, videos, steamy podcasts, naughty Book-Tok’s best-sellers, pesky pop-up ads, and more.  

It’s harder to avoid porn than it is to find it.  

But, despite how much content there is online, how much do we actually know about porn and its effects? 

Some pornography use can have good consequences, such as: 

  • Watching porn can be a useful tool for sexual exploration, both individually and with partners. It can help rekindle a withering flame, or simply inspire your creativity. 
  • Making porn can also be a useful tool for sexual exploration. It can be an incredibly empowering activity, with a focus on self-confidence and self-love. Plus, it can be an amazing bonding experience for partners.  
  • In some circumstances, with discretion, porn can be educational. Although porn is not a reliable form of sexual education, it can provide a useful visual aid.  
  • Ethically sourced, consent-based porn can illustrate healthy sexual dynamics.  

Some pornography use can have terrible consequences though, such as: 

  • Porn can set unrealistic expectations of bodies and what pleasure looks and sounds like. These can trigger or add to body image and self-confidence issues. 
  • Porn can propagate traditional gender roles and gender inequality. 
  • Porn can display gender violence and fetishization, and can trigger dangerous kinks and fetishes.  
  • Porn can create emotional distance between you and your partner. 
  • Porn can leave long-lasting physical consequences that require treatment.  
  • You can become addicted to or dependent on porn. 
  • Among other awful practices, porn that is not ethically sourced and unregulated can involve underage, non-willing or coerced participants. 

    I’m not anti-porn. I’m pro being mindful of the content we produce and consume.  

    When I admit that I worry about x-rated adult content, it’s because I know firsthand what the negative consequences can look like. Someone I once knew had an unhealthy relationship with porn and lost their impulse control because of it. I was the one that got physically hurt by it. 

    Even if porn isn’t that big of a deal for you or your partner, there are some conversations that might be good for you to have. If nothing else, it’s a very interesting conversation topic. 

    Some questions to consider are: 

    • How do you feel about porn?  
    • How would you describe your relationship with porn? 
    • What kind of porn do you prefer? 
    • Where are you getting your porn from?  
    • Do you know if the porn you use is ethically produced? 
    • What kind of porn do you watch? 
    • Where do you stand with Deep Fake and AI-generated porn? 
    • What are your thoughts on the industry?
    • When did you start using porn? 
    • Would you like to incorporate porn into our sex life?

        Whether you’re thinking about your personal use or your partner’s, if you feel even a little hesitant about porn and its possible effects, I suggest chatting about it. 

        What’s the worst that can come from an honest conversation?  
        The truth.  
        Which can be terrifying, and difficult to deal with, but, ultimately, necessary.  

        When in doubt, just talk it out. 

        Additional Resources 

        If you’d like to read some professional opinions on the matter, you might find this article interesting. It’s not lengthy, and it has a lot of great resources linked within the text.  

        There are SO many Ted talks about porn. And they’re all interesting. Just to link a few,  
        The Porn Paradox” – by Megan Johnson  
        Let’s Talk Porn” – by Maria Ahlin 
        Porn: A Shift in Mindset” – by Jenna Haze 

        That’s all from me this month, folks.  

        Stay safe, stay informed, and stay sexy xx 


        UnSEXpected is a Glass column dedicated to the things we learn about sex and intimacy through conversations with friends. If you have any unique, funny or interesting stories you’d like to share, please get in touch! It’s the team’s goal to make this column a fun, safe and diverse space.

        Konstanz Muller Hering
        Konstanz Muller Hering

        Konstanz (she/ they) is a Meanjin/Brisbane-based writer and QUT Creative Writing graduate. Konstanz was a Glass editor, and now contributes as an alumni.

        Articles: 21

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