Although many viewers of mainstream erotic entertainment like 50 Shades of Grey are probably guilty of running from the cinema to their bedrooms (or wherever their fantasies allowed), a 2014 study from the Public Religion Research Institute concluded that most people “simply don’t approve of porn.”

Pornography has been and continues to be a contentious debate in our society. Although porn is widely viewed by people in all walks of life, many still believe that viewing erotic material is morally wrong. Why do some people feel guilty, yet still tune into the groaning and grinding on porn websites?

The issue with this kind of erotic entertainment isn’t necessarily the sexual acts depicted, but rather the issues of consent and power dynamics underlying mainstream porn.

With titles like Three Men and a Little Whore or She Needs the Cash, He Needs the Pussy, it’s hard to ignore the pervasive objectification and humiliation of women. Most porn largely follows a storyline of male domination and can often come across as extremely misogynistic, especially when it comes to disrespecting and arguably abusing the bodies of the female actors.

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting or enjoying porn, domination fantasies, or any BDSM interests. People shouldn’t be marginalized for not adhering to what society deems as conventional sexual norms. However, the importance of pushing boundaries and exploring kinky practices is that it encourages discussion about issues like consent and communication. Porn videos often fail to show any form of communication or negotiation between the actors.

As such, people need to be educated on these taboo issues if we ever hope to shed this widespread squeamishness about eroticism. On his blog, sexologist Charlie Glickman asks, “How is anyone supposed to know that some activities require practice and skill to do them safely? How are people going to learn the difference between consensual, negotiated, and bounded fantasy play and real-life humiliation and abuse?”

Still, the same study which emphasized the guilt felt by many porn-viewers also emphasized a general disregard by most people to have legal restrictions on pornography. Hence, ending our guilt will not be achieved by banning or restricting porn, but rather having better education concerning relationships and sexuality.