Sex and Salt Lake City

The safety lessons of porn

So I was scrolling through internet porn today, as one does, and I came upon a video that was so timely. A young woman walks into an apartment unannounced when a male, wearing an N95 mask, stops her.

“Step Back! Where’s your protection?!?!?”, he shouts all animated and alarmed.

She acts all cutesy and says: “Oh c’mon, you know I’m safe.”

He’s insistent and goes on about how even if a person has been tested they may not always be safe to play. To that, she juts out her bottom lip, sways from side to side, and pouts. The porn music makes a shift as he reaches into his back pockets. From one he pulls out a condom, and from the other, he pulls out an N95 mask. He then dramatically places the condom on himself and the mask on her. From there the music shifts again and the porn goes like most other porn scripts, except for the two keeping their masks on the entire time.

As an educator, it was corny, sure, but it was also so necessary and normalizing. The truth is we are in the middle of an incredibly horrible pandemic. The numbers are rising daily and many of us can now name a few people, if not ourselves, who have been sick. Despite this fact, we are still humans, sexual beings, and for many, libidos have not decreased. For many, the confinement and restrictions have only increased the desire to connect with others sexually.

Let’s be honest, this adjustment to limiting our get-togethers is tough on most of us. Before Covid, I hosted a couple of cuddles a month at my house as well as a party or two that was often sexual in nature. It was only months ago, but it honestly feels like years. I know many who can relate.

So how do we get our touch needs to be met? Is the porn I watched this morning a good indicator of how to play going forward? Well, unless you’re only playing with someone in your immediate, intimate circle, then yeah.

Here’s the thing, most of us are pretty well-schooled in how to prevent catching the flu, a cold, or an STI. Most of us have are also schooled on how to mitigate the chances of contracting or passing on Covid. But for whatever reason, many are still resistant to taking precautions with this one.

While it may be true that most people don’t get “that sick.” Most people will only feel like they’ve had the flu or a nasty cold. Personally, I don’t even want to experience a cold or the flu, and getting sexy with someone isn’t worth it to me. Unfortunately, we don’t have very good role models in our leadership regarding how to go about the world, let alone play, safely, so we all have to assess our own risk factors and make decisions for ourselves. The sucky part is like many things in life, the decisions we make for ourselves oftentimes affect others.

So, back to the sex. After watching the Covid porn, I sat back and considered how clients and friends are managing sex play right now. It appears that many people are assessing how one handles Covid precautions as a good indicator of how one handles STIs. Personally, I love this.

Safer sex talks have become more and more commonplace. It’s not unusual to ask or be asked if barriers are desired when playing and about the results of a most recent STI test. Adding to that conversation should be: “What are your social practices right now?” “Do you have a small social circle or are you attending parties?” “How many other partners are you seeing and what, if any, barriers (masks included) do you use?”

These may seem like nosey questions, but let’s be real, when the sex brain takes over it’s easy for us to become less risk-aware. We are our own best advocates. We are our own best resource for knowledge of our risk tolerance. We are our own best lover and protector of our bodies. If we’re not looking out for ourselves, it’d be foolish to assume someone else is.

So yes, the porn was corny. But let’s be real… Most porn is corny. Regardless of the masks both people in the porn still got off — or at least writhed around and made all the porn vocals leading us to believe they got off. And had either one of them had anything contagious their chances of passing it along were less?

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a Clinical Sexologist in Salt Lake City. She can be reached at [email protected]

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a graduate level Clinical Sexologist, with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Doctorate Degree in Human Sexuality. As a Clinical Sexologist, she believes a large part of her job is to be a sex enabler. Through counseling, workshops, and hands on exercises, she assists others in achieving the level of sexual function they desire. She enjoys the study and research of not only what people are doing sexually, but how they feel about it. Dr. Laurie divides her time between Los Angeles California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to seeing clients in either of her offices or via skype, she is President for the non-profit, Sex Positive Los Angeles inc. (SPLA) and recently began a chapter in Salt Lake City, (SP-SLC). Her non-profit offers sexual education and support programs throughout Los Angeles and Salt Lake Counties. Rounding off her work, she is an IPSA certified Surrogate Partner Therapist working with clients and therapists in a triadic model to assist in bringing clients comfortable with their sexual selves. Dr. Laurie can be found in various publications; radio, podcast, and television interviews. For individual consultations or appointments please contact her at [email protected] Welcoming and affirming of all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all sexual and relationship expressions.

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