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Breaking Up with Porn & Pop Culture's Obsession for Penetrative Sex

Breaking Up with Porn & Pop Culture's Obsession for Penetrative Sex

If I’d tell my 13-year old self that sex is more than just penetration, she’d laugh right at me. That’s understandable, given how the notion of ‘losing one’s virginity’ has been heavily perpetuated by a whopping majority of early American cinema. I am one of the many teenagers who spent a good amount of time watching these rom-coms and coming-of-age flicks. The famous trope of being the most good-looking guy/girl who’s had a ton of casual sex is a common sighting on your Netflix even today. But, does the definition of sex end at that?

Virginity is a social construct, and a term coined to ease the patriarchal woes of having control over women’s (basically anyone with a vulva) body and sexual existence. It’s less about the scrunchie-like part in your vaginal opening, AKA, the hymen, and more about the social position of women and the subordination of their bodies. Thanks to the invariable volume of pop culture we have been exposed to, the idea of being a virgin has been closely associated with one’s self-esteem. “If you’ve not experienced penetration, you’re a virgin, and you haven’t had sex yet”, they said and we believed for eons. Media, particularly films have contributed to a cishet (read: penis centric) and ableist view of sex – a ‘full blown’ sexual experience being defined only through penis-vagina intercourse (PVI). This has often left out so many queer storylines to take the limelight. And, don’t get me started on the missing condoms and lubes.

From Sense8 (Netflix)

From Sense8 (Netflix)

Female pleasure has been largely misrepresented and no, penetration alone doesn’t always guarantee those toe-curling, screaming orgasms you’ve seen. Don’t believe me, trust the numbers: as per some recent research, approximately 75 percent of women cannot climax through intercourse only and do need some extra play with the help of toys, hands, mouth, etc. Add to that the heavy load of mainstream porn and how it carried forward the idea of sexual objectification and performative sex. The concept of pleasure for vulva owners had been missing for years and the little conversation around sexuality was deeply flawed in popular media. Laurie Mintz, sex therapist and the author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get It, also called out media and pornographic references for generating “inequality in the bedroom” and pushing forth a “cultural over-privileging of male sexuality and a devaluing of female sexuality.” Recently, I watched Gehraiyaan and was positively taken aback by how they hinted upon oral sex for Deepika’s character. That was a welcoming change for mainstream Bollywood cinema, especially when the landscape is finally tilting towards prioritizing sexual equity.

From Gehraiyaan (Amazon Prime Video)

In modern times, there has been a drastic change with OTT content such as Sex Education, Easy and Special, that have brought about more realistic and diverse representations of what sex actually looks or feels like. Be it the importance of outercourse, oral sex, or queer and disability/neurodivergent positive sexual depictions – such healthy examples often help in validating our view of sex and its flexibility in real-time. 


From Special (Netflix)



From Sex Education (Netflix)

A lesser acknowledged aspect of sexual intimacy - kink - has often been colored as being just about ‘torture’, ‘domination’ (thank you, Fifty Shades of Crap). Love and Leashes was released on Netflix and turned out to be a fresh take on how kink and BDSM practices can exist in an intimate safe space. The film beautifully captured aftercare, a crucial component of the post-sex scene, and was a feminist delight. Being a part of the BDSM community or just being kinky, often comes with added baggage and a large side of stigma. When pop culture throws such good references our way, it proves to be significantly helpful in familiarizing laypersons with what it might look like in the real world.


From Love and Leashes ( Netflix)

The word sex almost never translates into masturbation, and it’s often seen in parallel to or as a result of frustration caused by lack of sexual intercourse. This attitude has been amplified by numerous pop references that often treat solo-play with second-hand embarrassment. Like every Aimee-loving fan of Sex Education, I absolutely enjoyed the scene where she goes down town and takes her ‘wanking’ very seriously. The way she experiences a series of emotions followed by a not-so-smooth orgasm feels too close to home when we are experiencing our bodies for the first time. And like her, Aunt Sassy too wakes up every day and chooses self-pleasure. Just a dollop of our classic, all-natural, and water-based DTF Lube and some fingers (yours or someone else’s, wink-wink) — that’s all you need to show your coochie a good time! Feeling a lil’ frisky or bored with the hand treatment? Don’t ya worry, you can trust the good vibes our personal massagers OG and Lit would bring to your huha home. 



From Sex Education (Netflix)

Be it phone sex with your partner of long-distance or going solo for your own pleasure – the beauty of sexual experiences lies in how dynamic and fluid they can be! You define your own MOJO, and take time in finding what works out and gets you going! Till then check out our sassy world and take matters in your own good hands, boo! 

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About the author

Anuja Razdan

Anuja Razdan (she/her) is our creator in residence + mental & sexual health advocate, who studied her Masters in Psychology from Savitribai Phule Pune University. Being a queer cis woman who is aspiring to practice as a psychotherapist in future, she hopes to essentiate a queer affirming, intersectional feminist, pleasure-positive and kink allied approach towards mental health—on a personal & professional level. All-in-all, she’s your quintessential dog lady with a blue typewriter, living three blocks away, probably writing about you.