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Dear Daughter, Let's Talk About Porn - Love, Mom

03/06/2014 12:19 EST | Updated 05/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Cariñas,

When I was your age -- please don't stop reading, I promise this isn't one of THOSE lectures! -- the closest thing to porn I had were the Cosmo sex tips. I remember looking at their pink Kamasutra drawings and thinking, "Ahhh, so that's how it works!"

That said, I'm still not too old to realize that my pre-teen experience would be in the vast minority compared to others' these days. And that is neither good nor bad. The world evolves! I am sure ours is not the first generation shocked by this phenomenon.

Which is why I want to have this talk. I know as your mother it seems like my job is to mortify you, but I swear I just want to be there with you, supporting you and watching you grow into your amazing selves.

So this is the porn talk. By now you know what sex is (and what fun THAT talk was!), and in all likelihood you know more about porn than I imagine.

What's the big deal? Why do we need to have this talk?, you're probably thinking. Fair enough. This is my reasoning: sex is a universal human experience, and a private one, which means I wanted you to hear about it from the people closest to you. But over the decades, porn has increasingly become part of the sexual experience, and I don't want to ignore it. Even of it's of no interest to you, you should hear me out, if only to indulge dear old mom.

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1. Porn is fantasy.

Mom, do you think we're stupid?, you're thinking. And yes, I sound incredibly patronizing. Hollywood movies are fake, WWF wrestling is fake, beauty magazines are fake, and porn is fake. I am glad you know this, I am proud that you see the world around you with open eyes and aren't afraid to think critically.

Like when you were five, and you came home from school to tell me that you noticed all your teachers were women and why was that? It was the same day I noticed that a grocery bag labelled "famous authors" only had men on it, and I was wondering how people can out about their modern lives and not notice these things, not be offended by them, not speak up. Is sexism that ingrained? And then you said what you said and it made me laugh and believe maybe I'd done a good job teaching you to question the world around you.

But I digress -- enough with the proud mom stories.

2. Just because it looks good doesn't mean it is in real life, and that's OK!

Yes, porn is fake. It has to be -- it's a movie! It's sex that is staged, performed, credited, marketed. But what I want you to understand is that it is also fantasy, meaning that sometimes it's OK to enjoy something that you have no interest in outside of watching a movie about it. For instance, I love watching medical dramas, but barf on cue if someone approaches me with a needle. The fantasy is great, reality not so much. Dive into the fantasy these two (or more!) naked people are indulging in. Enjoy it, but never feel like this is any representation of the sex most people have. Because trust me, it isn't.

3. Be aware what parts of your life porn touches.

If you're watching it more than studying; If you would prefer it to your favourite hobbies or hanging with your friends; If the thought of your computer breaking upsets you more than that of your boyfriend/girlfriend breaking up with you... Porn is a part of sex, a part of youth, and a part of pop culture, but much like those things, it's not everything!

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4. If you want to watch porn, watch good porn.

This is actually more of a directive. There are, however, suggestions below:

(**Links NSFW, obviously.)

-Make Love Not Porn

-Candida Royalle

-Show Me How

-Andrew Blake

-9 Songs

-Shortbus

-Jennifer Lyon Bell

-Anna Span

-Expert Guides by Tristan Taormino

-Innocent Pictures

-New Sensations Romance

-Ovidie

-Xfemmes

These are just a few of the movies, sites and filmmakers that are part of what I like to call the 'Good Porn' genre. What does this mean? It means films that have a positive view of sex, where women's sexuality is celebrated in particular without resorting to stereotypes or single-dimensional characters. These films are visually interesting and often have plots and dialogues. Most importantly, you'll know it's good porn when it inspires -- not shame or confusion (which so often accompanies first experiences of sex at your age) but rather joy, curiosity and lust. Because that is the life and sex you deserve to have.

Lots of love,

Mom.

(NOTE: all these films as well as Erika's complete works can be found online at Lust Cinema.)

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