Porn.

With the vast majority of men and a large amount of women watching porn, it’s surprising that the subject is still taboo. Most people subconsciously know that the industry is damaging for the actors/actresses- but many don’t grasp the sheer impact of it on the watchers. Porn has undoubtedly shaped the newest generations, specifically their sex lives.

For the purposes of convenience in this post all people with vaginas are referred to as women and all people with penises are referred to as men, as the porn industry is extremely cisnormative. However, it must always acknowledged that not all people with penises are men and not all people with vaginas are women!

Why is porn so great?

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In moderation (just like most addictive acts and substances), porn can benefit masturbators. It can help you get in the mood, aid the imagination and can be a great accessible stress reliever. For those that are not as creatively inclined, seeing sex can be great for visualisation. It could also give you some tips and tricks to try with your next partner, perhaps a new position to try! For women porn can stimulate the ANS to make you wet and rush blood to your vagina, and for men stimulate an erection- possibly for people who have a hard time relaxing and getting into masturbation. For the majority of watchers, porn is an amazing stress reliever. It can help you unwind after a long day, or relieve some pent up stress/frustration. For those who are infrequent masturbators, porn can not only help get in the mood but also help with really letting go; and indulging in your sexuality. I would absolutely recommend porn in moderation for those who are into it! You also should never feel bad for watching porn, as it’s not sinful or wrong- never let anybody tell you otherwise than this. Porn can be beneficial within limits, but there’s still many issues that need to be discussed.

Is it like real life?

Most professional porn is in no way accurate to real life. It must be considered that there are sections such as amateur and soft porn which are alot more accurate, and that not all stars are canonical. Firstly, the people involved look similar to a very very small percentage of the population. The majority are perfect breasted women with virtually no visible labia/hair and ‘tidy vaginas’ which are incredibly rare. It may even be more rare to see men with dicks longer than 7″(9.7% of the population). This can create ideas that men should have penises that look a certain way and that women should have vaginas that look a certain way, yet genitalia come in millions of different colours, shapes and sizes. The majority of men, 55.9%, have penises smaller than 6″. The majority of women have irregular and large labia, with most women (65%) sporting their pubic hair and the average cup size in the UK being a C cup. This pressure from porn to have little or no labia and a ‘tidy’ vagina has lead to an increase in labioplasties and vaginoplasties– surgical procedures to remove or reduce the labia and to tighten the vagina. Most women (71%) also won’t cum just from penetrative sex. They also probably won’t squirt, as only 6% of women are even able to. It’s important if you watch mainstream porn to remember that your partners will probably not mirror the stars on your screens; and to not project those expectations onto them. 

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Secondly, the actual sex is normally in no way accurate to real life. Key moments that show the intimacy of sex are not normally shown, such as communication, the occasional laugh/giggle if something goes wrong, and getting distracted by kissing your partner. Real sex is typically alot shorter, more intimate (less so for one night stands and casual sex possibly), and is no where near as glamorous or clean. Most women will also not swallow, unlike most porn stars. There’s also a terrifying lack of safe sex in porn, which may have contributed to the decline in condom use over the years (in fact, many people in the porn industry have fought to make sure that condoms are not required in porn movies because they assume that audiences don’t think condoms are sexy). In porn more ‘radical’ positions are used in order to get the best angles, normally a limited or non existent amount of missionary sex as it makes for a terrible watch. They might not be as pleasurable, and a great deal less intimate. There’s also a huge amount of anal sex, whereas in real life only 40% of 20-24 year olds have dabbled in it.

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For lesbian porn (the most popular category on Pornhub for women and the 8th for men), the sex is normally even more unrealistic. Everybody knows the storylines are complete drivel, perpetuating the male gaze with every video. The sex the women have is mostly for male pleasure, with acts such as ‘tribbing’/’scissoring’ looking attractive but in reality making both partners feel very little. For gay porn, it’s normally the same. The ‘tops’ usually have huge penises, with sex heavily exaggerated.

How does it affect sex drive and can you get addicted?

There is a multitude of evidence that high porn viewing correlates with a decrease in sex drive, and other sexual issues. Increasingly, physicians and therapists are reporting men having erectile dysfunction- with erections hard to achieve/sustain. From Naomi Wolf’s amazing book ‘Vagina’-

“Masturbating to porn delivers a strong short-term dopamine boost to the male brain, which, for an hour or two afterward, lifts mens’ mood and makes them feel good in general. This effect works along the same neural circuitry as, say, gambling or cocaine use. But, just as gambling or cocaine use can trigger addictive behaviour, so can porn use when it becomes part of what Dr Jim Pfaus calls an ‘OCD-type response’ of chronic masturbation to porn”

As masturbating to porn delivers this short boost of dopamine, the chemical behind our most sinful behaviours, it allows both men and women to get addicted. This is as they crave the same rush, and over time it gets harder and harder to achieve the same level/be satisfied with say, just one ejaculation. This can lead to chronic masturbation and erectile dysfunction as, as shown in the e-book ‘The Porn Circuit’-

“A person who uses a pornographic image or story and masturbates for the first time begins a learning process of how to respond to porn in the future. With repetition the brain responds not only to the initial stimulus, but also to related stimuli. After a person becomes sensitized, very little is needed to trigger a response; a superhighway is connected to the rewards circuitry. This superhighway has many entrance ramps; sexual cues are seen everywhere and sexual fantasizing comes easy.”

In the 60’s porn was labelled as sexually liberating by the revolutionaries, but the irony is that instead porn can diminish libido and depress the penis/short-circuit the vagina as The Goddess Array is neglected.

Why is anal sex so popular?

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Anal sex is more and more common in modern porn, for a variety of reasons. The increased need for stimulation due to high use of porn calls for more and more extreme acts and images, such as anal sex/BDSM etc. The OCD type nature of a chronic masturbator means that the next time a man sees the same image, it is less likely to turn him on as much. This calls for different and more stimulating images, such as the emergence of fanatsy rape scenes and other violent acts. One of the more stimulating images is anal sex, which has seen a sharp increase over recent years. This is due to pressure on women by their male partners (as a result of the porn-induced desensitisation), and by society to ‘retain their virginity’. This has lead to an increase in anal fissures (tears in the anus) from bad and rough practise, as anal in porn is typically badly lubricated, without a condom and violent.

Much of the information for this post comes from two highly recommended books, ‘Vagina’ by Naomi Wolf and ‘The Porn Circuit’. ‘The Porn Circuit’ can be downloaded free, but remember to support your local small bookshop when reading ‘Vagina’!

New posts will be uploaded every Sunday on sex/relationships and everything in-between; and any questions or dilemmas can be submitted to thepresssureblog@gmail.com.

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