Understanding Sex and Pornography in Adulthood

Feeling lost or confused when it comes to your relationship with sex and pornography? You’re not alone—and it’s not your fault.  I want to chat about something many of us struggle with: outdated perspectives on sex and pornography. Basically an outdated emotional operating system. Imagine running your shiny new iPhone 15 on the iOS from 2003. Sounds like a recipe for glitches, doesn’t it? Well, our views on sex and porn can be a bit like that old, laggy software if we don’t make intentional updates.

Why the Update is Needed

Remember that feeling when you first encountered porn as a kid or a teen? It could have been anything from “ew, gross” to “???” to “hmm”. While that might have been an age-appropriate reaction back then, clinging to that same emotional framework in adulthood can create issues. Whether it’s guilt, shame, or a distorted view of what healthy sexual dynamics look like, running on that old emotional software just isn’t cutting it.

Common “Bugs” in Your System

Let’s say, hypothetically, during a coaching session, a client admits to feeling confused after watching something on a porn site. Totally understandable. Porn evokes a lot of emotions for people. And often, the opinions of it come from others who are underinformed, opinionated, or misinformed about what purpose porn can serve for some people. There certainly are a bunch of folks who see this as a moral issue. You could say confusion (or really any emotion) is a symptom of an outdated system that developed as a result of the input at an age that lacked the understanding nor had the language to process complex sexual themes like one finds in porn.

Time for an OS Update

Okay, so how do we go about “updating” our emotional understanding of these topics? Start with the basics: education. Not the kind you (didn’t) get in fifth-grade sex ed, but comprehensive, grown-up information that encompasses the diversity and complexity of human sexuality. Consider this your new “user manual,” if you will. 📖

The Role of Mindful Consumption

We update our phones and computers to protect against viruses and optimize performance, right? Similarly, being mindful of what we consume—both in terms of media and education—can serve as that much-needed antivirus program. Take control of your content diet and seek resources aligned with your values and sexual health needs. This is about conscious consumption, folks.

From “Gross” to “Growth”

If you’re holding onto views about sex and porn from when you were 13 (or even 23), it’s okay. The good news is operating systems can be updated. With new information comes new understanding. A shift from “gross” to “growth” can take time, but remember, every system update starts with the decision to upgrade.

Your Journey, Your Pace

Nobody is requiring you to jump from version 1.0 to 10.0 overnight. Just like any tech upgrade, there might be some bugs along the way, and that’s totally okay. The key is to remain open, curious, and non-judgmental as you navigate through these upgrades. Your sexual well-being will thank you. 

If you want help upgrading your OS, check out my upcoming membership “The Oasis,” where you’ll get the guidance and support you need to build a healthy relationship with sex.

It can be intimidating to start exploring sexuality as an adult — especially if it means challenging ideas around pleasure, exploration, and consent, which have been previously ingrained. But think of this journey as an adventure: one where you’ve got someone you can trust who is ready to share what will serve you in adulthood. 



p.s., What’s one thing you’d like to ‘update’ in your emotional operating system about sex? Think about it, and if you’re ready for the next step, ‘The Oasis’ is here to support you.

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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