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10 Bad Habits People Learn by Emulating the Sex In Porn

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Updated February 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

When people try to learn about sex by imitating the sex in porn, they can pick up some pretty unsafe techniques. Although there is certainly some porn that shows hot and healthy habits, there are also a lot of ways that people have sex in porn that can cause some real health problems. Below you will find ten ways that actors commonly have sex in porn that can lead to unfortunate physical or emotional consequences.

10. Coming In Someone's Eyes

The "facial" -- a man orgasming on his partner's face -- is a not uncommon (forgive the expression) climax when people are having sex in porn. Although it's less common in real life, it's important to know semen in the eyes can cause real health problems. Both the genitals and the eyes are mucosal surfaces, which means they are susceptible to many of the same pathogens. Several common STDs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, can lead to severe eye infections -- or even blindness.

9. Using Your Fingers To Penetrate Someone When You Have Long Nails

Fingering and fisting can be a hot addition to your sexual repertoire -- many people enjoy manual penetration of the vagina or anus. However, when engaging in these activities, long fingernails can be dangerous. Not only is there a risk of scratching your partner, but the bacteria that live under fingernails can cause an infection.

It's generally a good idea to use latex or nitrile gloves when penetrating your partner with your fingers or hand in any event, but this becomes significantly more true if you have long nails. It is possible to pad long nails with cotton inside your gloves. However, if you're going to have a lot of sex with your hands, you may just want to cut your long nails off.

8. Not Using Sufficient Lubrication

When people are having sex in porn, one thing that you rarely see is either partner pulling out a bottle of lubricant -- for either vaginal or anal sex. Although there are some questions about what the best type of lubricant is for anal sex, it is generally accepted that proper lubrication makes both vaginal and anal sex safer.

Lubrication not only reduces the risk of tearing -- which can increase the risk of infection -- but it also often makes sex more pleasurable for both partners. One caution: You probably want to avoid using lubricants containing nonoxynol-9, particularly if you are having a lot of sex. There is a chance that they may actually increase your likelihood of acquiring an STD.

7. Using Spit for Lubrication

If you've been trying to learn about sex by watching porn, you can probably be forgiven for thinking that most people use spit for lubrication instead of an actual lubricant. However, this is a bad idea for two reasons. The first is that spit simply isn't that good of a lubricant, and it's difficult for most people to make a sufficient amount of it. The second is it's possible that saliva might be able to transmit certain STDs -- although that risk is not well-established and probably low.

6. Going from Anal to Vaginal Sex (or Vice Versa)

In some ways, switching back and forth from anal to vaginal sex without changing condoms, or for that matter without wearing condoms at all, is one of the worst habits that people can learn about sex from watching porn. The rectum is not a clean environment, and getting fecal bacteria and parasites in the vagina is not good for a woman's health.

If you do want to have both vaginal and anal sex in a single sexual marathon, wear a condom and put on a new one every time you move between orifices. It's good hygiene and helps protect your partner's health. Making sure you're using a clean barrier is also important if you're penetrating your partner with fingers or a sex toy.

5. Going from Anal Penetration to Oral Penetration

The bacteria and viruses that may be present in the rectum can cause serious systemic illnesses -- including several forms of hepatitis. By moving an object, including a penis, from the anus to the mouth, you are risking your partner ingesting any pathogen that would be found in their feces. It's just a bad idea. Wash up well, or change condoms, after you've put something in someone's anus -- particularly if you intend to then move it to their mouth.

4. Not Using Condoms For Intercourse

One of the first things that most people, although apparently not most porn producers, learn about sex is that if you're going to have intercourse, practicing safe sex can reduce the chance of contracting an STD. That means using condoms for intercourse and doing so every time. This is particularly true when you are having sex with new or casual partners and are uncertain of their testing status and recent risky behavior.

3. Having Unprotected Oral Sex

Even people who don't learn about sex from porn often assume that oral sex is safe sex, but in reality unprotected oral sex can put you at risk of numerous STDs. Fortunately, you can make both fellatio and cunnilingus a lot safer by using barriers, and anilingus can be made safer with barriers as well.

2. Performing Any Unprotected Act with Multiple Partners

When you're looking at how people have sex in porn, you often see the star of the film having sex with one partner after another, or with multiple partners at once. When that sex is unprotected, it not only potentially exposes that person to any STDs that one of the partners might have, it potentially exposes those partners to each other. This is true for oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

1. Not Talking Before You Have Sex

There aren't many pornographic films where people talk things through before having sex. That's a shame, because in real life negotiation is incredibly important.

There are many things people talk about before having sex -- such as screening history, feelings about safe sex, and recent risky behaviors -- that understandably aren't shown before sex in porn, but there are other issues that should be brought up more often. For example, it's always a good idea to discuss whether your partner is interested in particular sexual acts before engaging in them. Even if the act in question seems unremarkable to you, it might be a hard limit for your partner. Upsetting or frightening someone during sex is a great way to ruin both of your evenings.

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