What you see isn’t always what you get

It seems to me that every time I turn on the television or watch a movie these days I am instantly bombarded with images of sex scenes, sex-crazed teens, and the constant reminder just how un-sexy real life actually is. The representation of sex in media such as songs, music videos, television shows and movies is just insane. It doesn’t accurately depict what sex is like in real life and it creates unattainable expectations about sex in general.

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Think about it. When was the last time you tuned into your favourite show or movie to see two people being completely honest about their feelings during sex? That maybe they don’t really feel confident about how their body looks, or how they don’t feel secure being naked and exposed in front of their partner. Have you ever seen a sex scene that exposed all of the awkward silences (or noises) that can happen during sex? No of course not. Instead we see perfect lighting, no unwanted body hair, and tight, tanned bodies moving in perfect harmony. This isn’t what happens in real life. In real life there aren’t scripts, make-up artists, lighting techs, or directors hanging about to make sure everything goes perfectly. Sex in real life can be great, sure, but it can also be painful, embarrassing, thrilling, and a million other things that aren’t represented in most media. Don’t base your expectations or knowledge of sex on what you see on TV shows or movies because it is all smoke and mirrors; it’s not what sex is actually like. Sex is different for each person, each time it happens. It may not appear to be as magical or perfect as it is in the movies and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t base your expectations about sex on what you see in TV shows and movies; this will only lead to disappointment. Instead, appreciate the moment you are experiencing, because unlike what you’re watching on a screen, it is actually happening to you.

Another thing about the way sex is represented in the media that doesn’t quite sit well with me is the way most girls and women are portrayed. When I was in high school, I would watch various CW shows and wish so much that I could look and act like the beautiful girls on the shows. Sure they had some problems- it was a CW show after all, but everything worked out for them. They had boyfriends, or at least some hot pool guy that they could hook up with, and they always seemed so confident. When they had sex, it always looked perfect. They never worried about looking stupid or fat, or being bad in bed. This set up a completely unrealistic standard for anyone to live up to and definitely only made me feel bad about myself. I couldn’t live up to those girls I saw on TV because those girls weren’t real. It is important to know yourself enough to know the things about you that make you special and unique. You may never be as tall or as blonde or as self-assured as the girls you see on television, but that’s okay. You are going to be yourself, which is something no one else can be.

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 Let’s look at another common trend we see in many popular television shows. The girls in these shows are all hyper-sexualized to the point where they have sex practically every episode. However, if their characters have too much sex with too many partners, they are labeled sluts or whores, and everyone just accepts that. The shows never look at guys as being promiscuous, but instead glorify them for having as many sexual conquests as possible. This has become such a common theme in television shows and movies for so long that it has extended to a common social norm where guys can have as much sex with as many people as they please, but if a girl acts the same way then she is a whore.

This double standard has been around for such a long time that people think that it is okay to have this opinion. Well, it’s not. Both guys and girls should be accountable for their actions. The focus should be on creating safe and healthy sexual relationships, not labeling people for how many (or how few) sexual partners they have had. It is so important to remember that these shows and movies aren’t real. Not even so-called “reality shows” are real. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the standards these shows and movies create. Even if you can’t control what goes on in them, you can control how you think about them, feel about them, and react to them. 

 

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