Sex, advice and video tape

We’re surrounded by sex in the media. Movies, music videos and even magazines, sell sex and sexual suggestion almost constantly. But hey, if all of this sexual imagery around us gets us thinking and knowing more about sex, that’s not such a bad thing, right? I guess that could be true, except that much of what the media teaches us about sex is untrue and occasionally dangerous.

p. One of the biggest problems with movie sex, from the perspective of real people trying to have good sex, is that, in the movies, they never talk about anything. The tension builds between the hero and heroine while they save the planet or whatever until they finally kiss, rapidly ripping each other’s clothes off and getting down to business without many words to get in the way. Before you know it, they’re naked, hot and nearing climax, all in silence except for the occasional moaning.

p. All of us who live in reality, however, know that sex should never happen without some conversation first. In fact, it’s probably not going to be good if you don’t communicate well. Movie characters never discuss who has a condom or pause for a moment in their passionate embrace to grab one from a purse or drawer. They skip the foreplay, the build-up and all of the other great parts in the middle and go from the first embrace to the climax in 60 seconds flat.

p. Also, our on-screen lovers never talk together about what their partner might want sexually. Their turn-ons, techniques and tricks are never verbalized, each player just magically knows what to do to win the game. The problem is that, in reality, lovers can’t usually read each other’s minds, especially not the first time in bed, and in order to have healthy, satisfying sex you need to communicate, about what you like and don’t like, and what you really enjoy.

p. Another problem with the movies is that they always seem to have mind-blowing sex. I mean, I understand why the movies producers do this — I certainly don’t want to watch Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have awkward, clumsy sex on screen. But, as we all know, not all sex is great sex — not even close. Sometimes we have bad sex, awkward sex or just plain boring, mediocre sex and that’s pretty normal. From our constant media exposure, however, it’s easy to feel like we should all be having earth-shattering sex, from beginning to end — with a simultaneous climax in a few minutes.

p. So, what can we do about these dangerous media myths about sex that have been fed into our brains by Hollywood? Just being aware of the ridiculousness of the situation we are watching goes a long way. Also, if you are feeling like being a little more proactive in your quest to break down the impacts of the media in your own sex life, try rebuilding the media in your own image, literally — try making your own movie.

p. Making and then watching a video of yourself having sex with your partner(s) can be a surprisingly hot and eye-opening experience. At first, the idea of watching yourself have sex can induce cringing levels of awkwardness, like the painful process of listening to your own voice on your voice mail message, except worse, because you’re naked and moaning. However, almost everyone I’ve talked to who has tried it has decided that, despite their initial aversion, it actually wasn’t so bad to watch themselves in action.

p. The actual recording itself shouldn’t be that hard. If you are feeling very brave and artistic, you can recruit a friend to operate the camera, thus getting the best angles and lighting. However, in most cases, just setting up a camera on a nearby table or dresser so that it has a good clear shot of the bed will work just fine. Then, do your best to ignore it. Once you’re in the moment with your partner, you’ll probably forget all about it, anyway.

p. Then, later, sit down together and watch your movie. Sure, it’s not going to look quite as good as those scenes in the movies, but, then again, no one was interrupting to fix your hair or reposition your legs at a better angle for the audience, right? It’s a interesting experience because it gives you a chance to see what actual sex looks like. You might have a funny expression on your face or move your body in an awkward way, but it’s real and what felt right to you both at the time.

p. You’ll probably look better than you feared. Frankly, that’s hotter than fake movie sex. At least you actually got off and the actors most likely did not.

p. You can check video-cameras out from the Swem media center, so I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Next time, instead of going out to a movie, stay in and make one!

p. __Kate Prengaman is the Flat Hat sex columnist. She’s putting herself up for auction March 1 in Lodge 1 from 9 to 11 p.m. to help kids in Losho, Kenya. She’d love for you to come bid on a date with her … for the kids.__

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