Hey Perv- Are there recurring themes in porn?

Have you ever thought about the themes that show up over and over in porn? Why/how fantasies are made is no simple topic.  One concept on fantasies is that people begin constructing their sexual frameworks during childhood where some person, scene, behavior or inanimate object becomes sexualized. You've heard of rule 34 of the internet? There is porn of it.  But why do the same ideas appear over and over in porn? 

Much of our sexual framework is built within the time period and culture (and subcultures) in which we live.  What we value is good and pure is also prime fodder for fantasy and sex play as much as the things we've decided in our various societies are taboo and immoral. Step-mothers and sexy nurses there to make you soup AND get you off- sounds like a pretty typical fantasy to me. Seeing that acted out visually in porn (which is just a genre of film, by the way) is sexually stimulating for some, where others might be as turned on by role-playing such a scene or just talking about it (it's called narrotophilia). 

The work lies in developing sexual ethics with regards to fantasy, whether your fantasy life involves using porn as a tool or not. While fantasy in your head is usually healthy, sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of porn that shows the actors in, well, not very compelling roles.  The result is the dumbing down of the sex lives and fantasy lives of the (mostly) men who watch it.  I don't suggest porn is dumb, but I suggest that 30 minute sitcom isn't maybe the same caliber of fantasy play as like... Game of Thrones, which isn’t the same caliber as like Shakespeare.

When themes get dumbed down and show up over and over, this sort of thing turns into a trope- like a played out idea. The porn tropes exist in gay porn, as well.  The most hyper-masculine, burly men as horny dads, carpenters, army dudes- the common variable between the tropes in both straight and gay porn? Straight porn tropes seem to show women as hyper-feminine (body types, shapes, etc) and gay porn tropes? It's all hyper-masculinity. So somewhere along the way, we start to get this cartoonish yet idealized image in our our minds about what sexual women and men look like, how they behave, their roles, etc, which can have lasting effects in the ways we are sexual with one another.

And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


"Hey Perv" is a new series devoted to frank, modern takes on human sexuality curated by Michael DeMarco, PhD, LMHC, LMFT, Board Certified Clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Therapist in New York, founder of MyTherapist New York and TherapistPracticesNYC. .