Porn facts

What are the real issues….

Now we are no big advocate or defender of pornography, however there are a lot of myths floating around in the media about the effect that porn is having on young people. We know that porn is something that young people are concerned about (we get lots of emails telling us so and asking us questions). It can upset and cause young people to feel lost and confused – but by allowing these myths to cloud the arguments we are missing the real point. In this section we will make every effort to make things a bit clearer…

Is porn addictive?

To date there has not been a signal piece of recognised research to show conclusively that porn is in any way addictive or causes any sort of psychological harm to people who watch it.

Everyone in porn looks the same…

If we asked you to draw a picture of a typical porn star I would pretty much guarantee your pin-uppicture would look a little like this…

In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. Look in Heat magazine or The Sun and you will see lots of women that look like this, however surprisingly porn these days is actually quite diverse as it caters for every taste imaginable.

Most of the arguments that are thrown at porn, are instead more fitting of ‘celebrity culture’ in general.

The majority of porn stars these days don’t have huge fake breasts (in fact studies show that the average boob size of a porn star is a modest 34B), again this is something you are more likely to see from the likes of Katie Price or the TOWIE cast.

Porn is not realistic representation of how sex is in real life… where’s the intimacy?

However much we would like to, porn can’t be lumped in one basket. Just like with war films where some are very genuine and realistically show what it would be like to be in the middle of a real life battle – others are all about effects – big explosions, massive stunts as the hero gets shot 50 times and still kills all the bad guys and gets the girl as the titles roll…. porn is no different.

Some is highly unrealistic – everyone is not engaging in orgies with everyone they meet on the street – with lots of fake moans and fingernails. Some scenes show sexual positions or acts that show a lot to the camera rather than being concerned with what might actually be pleasurable in real life.

Equally there is a much wider variety of content – and much that shows real intimacy between the performers, especially as a lot of content is produced by real couples posting their own videos online.

The fact is porn is not all the same – it depends on what you are watching.

Porn by its very nature is exploitive and abusive to women?

A lot of the language that is used in terms of women and porn is highly abusive, with women referred to repeated as ‘sluts’ or being ‘used’ which is a huge black mark against the industry. However, a lot of popular music also refers to women as ’hoes’ and ‘bitches’, so porn is not the only influence here and this is a much wider problem. – read this to find out more about sex and the words we use.

However the sex industry is one of the few in which women make much more money than men. Some of the biggest porn producers are now women, and studies show that in fact female porn stars have higher self-esteem and job satisfaction than the average population.

The fact is like with any line of work some people feel exploited and mistreated – this is the same as if you work in catering industry or work in an office. Why should sex work be any different? There is this idea that people who work in the sex industry do it because they are forced or have no other choice and there are people that this is true for, but the vast majority do it by choice.

The majority of female porn star are in control of what they are willing to do and who they chose to share a scene with.

Some people find the notion of selling sex as offensive and abusive in itself. However, just because it is something you find offensive doesn’t automatically make it wrong or abusive, in fact it belittles the women that are involved by choice.

Porn helps create a rape culture:

Unfortunately all the evidence would suggest otherwise. Countries that have higher porn usage have lower rates of sexual offences. Indeed, places where porn was once banned or highly restricted that have now allowed pornography to be more easily and widely accessed have seen a dramatic drop in their sex crimes.

Is porn to blame…?

Many of the arguments levelled at porn can equally be applied to other aspects of society – everything from the music industry to celebrity culture. However much people might like to blame porn it is certainly not the root of all our problems when it comes to sex.

In would seem the arguments against porn are less of a factual issue and more of a moral one.

Does this mean that watching porn is without its problems… certainly not.

One of the biggest issues for young people watching porn is that it’s seen as something they ‘shouldn’t be doing’. When they see something that is confusing or worries them they feel unable to ask anyone for help.

The trouble is that if you have a question that came from watching porn – to be able to ask the question you kind of have to admit that you have been doing something you shouldn’t in the first place!

Because pornography is something we don’t talk about openly, except to say how awful and damaging it is – we leave many confused young people feeling isolated and unable to ask for help.

However uncomfortable adults may be about these things, the fact is young people are naturally curious about sex. They want to know how to do it, what goes where… not to mention get turned on. The problem is that many young people feel guilty about looking at porn, or feel like they are perverted for doing it. We get so many questions asking for reassurance because young people are finding things that turn them on and having a fiddle.

By making porn especially and sex in general something that is taboo and we shouldn’t talk about, we leave very little room to talk about the issues that porn may raise and here lies the real danger.

Remember if you do have any worries or concerns you can always send in a question to us here…

 

© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt

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