Porn.

A few months ago, when I asked Twitter for ideas to blog about, porn was mentioned again and again (mostly by women). Perhaps some were joking, thinking I’d never go there (more fool them!) or maybe it’s one of those topics that is so polarizing it creates great debate. And we all know I love a debate. But before I begin I’ll just say now that I’m not going to dig too deep here. If I go down that route this will become about exploitation or sex trafficking and we’d be here all day and this post would turn into a Panorama special. So bearing that it mind, let’s continue.

Porn. Are you appalled by it? Do you watch it regularly? Whatever your feelings, chances are you’ve seen it. Personally I don’t have any particular strong feelings about porn. I’m more on the side of Live and Let Live than Christian Mothers Against… I’m of the opinion that what consenting adults choose to do behind closed doors is their business but there’s no doubt that porn is a hot topic and not necessarily the way you’d think it might be.

porn1

Porn addiction is being cited as one of the main contributors to marriage (relationship) break ups. In a 2004 testimony in front of the U.S. Senate, Dr Jill Manning shared her research that revealed 56% of divorce cases involved one of the party having an obsessive interest in internet porn. There was another case in 2003 where 350 American divorce lawyers reported that “in two thirds of their cases internet porn played a significant role in the divorces”. Sobering statistics. But you could argue that if a couple were not getting on well then it’s not all that surprising to hear that internet porn is being used. Which came first? Did the porn break up the marriage or did the porn only appear when the marriage starting floundering?

In 2009, The Daily Mail published an article entitled  ‘A few clicks of the mouse, and internet porn destroys yet another middle-class marriage…’. Isn’t that just the most Daily Mail headline ever? Hah! It went on to say that internet porn addiction was increasing at an alarming rate and that middle class men in respectable, well paid occupations were the ones using it to escape the stresses of daily life.

They also claimed that:

  • 12% of all websites are pornographic
  • 25% of all search engine requests are pornographic
  • 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic

I should think those figures are higher now. ‘Sex’ is the most-searched word on the internet. I’m not remotely surprised by this. So why is internet porn being blamed for destroying marriages? Is porn such a dark seedy secret that if you were to find out that your partner had been watching it you’d lose the plot? Well, that was the case for Lynda Holmes (70) who upon finding her husband of 50 years, Gordon (78), watching internet porn, attacked him repeatedly with a meat tenderiser. When she was arrested and questioned by police she said she had seen ‘red mist’ and that her husband ‘hasn’t touched me for 10 years’. Later she told officers that it ‘should be murder’ because ‘how dare he?’ watch porn. The grandmother of three pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Well, it would appear that Gordon isn’t the only man who likes porn but has lost interest in the real woman in his life. This is similar to when I talked about hentai in my Let’s Talk About… post back in December 2015 where Japanese men were opting for computer game girlfriends over the real thing. Real women can be hard work after all. They need time and attention and have lots of opinions about what is and isn’t acceptable in the bedroom. Whereas the fantasy porn woman loves everything. There’s also the risk with porn addiction that once you’ve seen one (or one hundred…) you’ve seen them all, so the viewer gets bored and starts looking for more and more extreme or hardcore content. This leads to them requiring a lot more to get the same rush they used to. Behavioural Therapist Andrea Kuszewski says “if someone relies too much on a certain type of stimulus to get excited , it might make it difficult to get aroused in the absence of that particular stimulus”. In short, if a person watches too much porn they are more likely to be unsatisfied with the intimacy they share with their regular partner.

Above all else the success of internet porn lies in how easy it is to obtain it. All the things that may have deterred someone from buying pornography before have now gone. You don’t need to go to a shop or reach up to the top shelf or even pay for it. Like most things in today’s society it’s all about instant gratification.

Now without wanting to sound too like Mrs Lovejoy I am a little concerned about the effects this may have on today’s children.

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In November 2015 I wrote a post about waxing your privates (you can read it here) and apologies for repeating myself but here’s an excerpt:

“A few months ago Channel 4 aired a documentary entitled Sex In Class. Belgian sexologist Goedele Liekens (my new girl crush) visited a school in Lancashire to hold sex education classes with 15-16 year olds. In one of the lessons she put up large posters featuring female genitalia and asked the boys which one they preferred. The vote was unanimous, they liked the hairless one. One boy went as far as to say he’d ditch a girl if she refused to shave her pubic hair off. It became apparent that these boys were learning about the female anatomy from porn. It was also obvious that they were clueless but that’s schoolboys for you.”

The influence porn is having on teenagers is easy to see. British schools teach their students about biology and safe sex but they don’t seem to talk about relationships or intimacy or mutual respect. Boys are growing up watching porn and have impossible expectations whilst girls are suffering from self esteem issues in trying to live up to them. I fear this may lead to a lot of relationship problems down the line.

Our kids are growing up in a time of unprecedented access to information. With smartphones, internet TVs and tablets the norm most youngsters are able to look up almost anything. As an example, when my daughter turned 11 years old we bought her a mobile phone as she was starting secondary school and would be walking there and back each day. When we bought the phone we opted for the child package. This meant the phone was hardwired (forgive my antiquated techno speak) to not allow her to view adult content. No pop ups, only age appropriate purchases and perhaps most importantly she wouldn’t be able to access adult sites such as porn or gambling. All very responsible, yay us. Then she started high school and within a week had been shown porn photos by one of the boys in her year using his phone. Just because you’ve tried to do the right thing doesn’t mean that everybody else has. YouTube and Instagram, two apps my daughter uses, both have rules about content yet she’s accidentally seen adult images/clips on both.

I’ve had the porn talk with our daughter, who is now 13. I’ve always believed in talking to her about everything. I really don’t see the point of waiting until they’re 16 which is when they’d rather stick pins in their eyes than talk to their parents about sex/puberty/whatever and by then it’s too late anyway. Sitting there and saying “Don’t watch this because I say so” is a pointless exercise. Free will and curiosity will win the fight in the end and then you have a child that’s emotionally scarred from watching something hardcore or violent. But of course they don’t tell you because they worry you’ll be angry. And around and around we go… so my approach has always been to explain things in the most age appropriate way possible and go from there. My daughter knows about the existence of internet pornography and she knows that she shouldn’t be viewing it at her age.

We’ve even had the fetish talk which was mostly met with a nose wrinkle and then hysterical laughter. Too young for the fetish talk? Avoid it altogether? Easier said than done when 50 Shades of Grey is on every screen at the local Odeon. I’d rather she heard it from me in a controlled way rather than piece together information from the chitter chatter at school and God forbid, end up thinking it’s perfectly acceptable for a boy to cane the living daylights out of her. Even if it is Jamie Dornan.

After that chat she jokingly asked when she could watch the film and without missing a beat my husband replied “When I’m dead”.

50-shades

No amount of harping on about the negative sides of porn will do away with it and I don’t actually think it should. I believe it should be monitored and safeguards put in place but you can’t uninvent the wheel. We need to focus on educating the next generation that porn is simply dramatized sex, not a guide to realistic relationships.

My parents lived in Amsterdam for a time. We walked through the red light district, I went to the sex museum for a laugh and hardcore porn is aired on TV at breakfast time – not that we all sat around watching it like some weird pervy version of The Waltons you understand! We changed the channel but still. But you know what? Porn addiction isn’t really a problem there. Prostitution is legal. Holland have some of the lowest teenage pregnancy and sexual crime rates in Europe. So is this all just a huge amount fuss over nothing? Are the British just hung up about sex in general? Food for thought.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. wilvo says:

    Interesting post.

    Porn taught me about computers, how to clean a keyboard, a screen 😊

    Seriously though, I’m in a committed relationship, and sometimes I watch porn. I don’t watch anything particularly weird, I don’t find the need to find more extreme porn to satisfy me, my tastes are quite normal, or to use a fetish term, vanilla. Like most things in life, everything in moderation.

    I share your concern about kids though, without strong parental guidance porn can be very harmful to adolescents.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Super, you’re back!

    I have no problem with porn – but I do think that most porn is dull and plotless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Bestille says:

    You make good points here. We just posted about porn not being so bad via science.

    Thx

    Liked by 2 people

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