news

Porn is not what it used to be.

Gay, straight, bisexual, bondage, hardcore, lesbian, MILF, college and more I cannot bring myself to write.

It’s porn and, if you were keen enough and had the fortitude of a thousand bulls, you could download thousands upon thousands of gigabytes of it right now from the Internet. Some of it manufactured by studios, some made by your regular citizens in front of a webcam for nothing but the sheer delight of performing for a world filled with voyeurs.

Welcome to the land of porn: the mega industry that’s hijacking our sexuality according to author Gail Dines. Her book Pornland takes a look into the seedy underworld of porn – I mean, every last detail of some pretty surprising sex acts – in the name of research. Let’s take a look:

“Although we are surrounded by pornographic images, many people are not aware of just how cruel and violent the industry is today. PORNLAND shows how today’s porn is strikingly different from yesterday’s Playboy and Penthouse magazines— how competition in the industry and consumer desensitization have pushed porn toward hard core extremes.”

There are legitimate arguments that Dines makes. Porn, for the most part, is unequal. It’s mostly (but not exclusively) geared toward straight men and shows women as sexual objects. Dines argues that for an industry that has become the de facto sexual education program in America (and elsewhere), it’s planting the wrong message in young boys’ minds from the get-go. After all, many have watched hours of sex with absolute strangers before they ever cop a feel for the first time in reality.

And it’s not the kind of shy, awkward sex you (usually) get with your first time and therefore not much of a beacon of reality.

But it gets worse. Gail argues that the ‘vanilla flavour’ porn of the industry boom in the 1970s is now so passe. You want a straight man and a straight woman having normal sex? Wow, the 20th Century called and wants its sexual predilections back.

Porn smashed the ‘crass ceiling’ when fast Internet speeds took off and it desensitized the hardcore users. Now, as Gail argues, porn voyeurs are searching for more and more content that pushes the boundaries. Anal sex? So yesterday. Gail highlighted sex acts like ‘ATM’ (no, not the bank version, it’s also an acronym for Arse-To-Mouth whereby the man has anal and then oral sex with a woman immediately afterwards, causing some unsavoury health implications for her), violent sex, double and triple penetration and even beastiality as the new ‘norm’.

Apparently, an increasing number of porn-jaded people want to be shocked, and regular sex just ain’t going to cut it anymore.

Fair points, sure. But the sisterhood wasn’t having a bar of it after watching Gail Dines articulate her argument on the ABC’s Question and Answer program last night. They took offence at Gail’s scattergun attack of all men as, apparently, sex crazed robots sent from the future to kill us all. Leslie Cannold, also on the program, said ‘the kind of feminism I’m involved in needs men’.

ADVERTISEMENT
.

Dines also argues porn is the harbinger of doom for society, individuals and sex lives. She links it to sex crimes and assaults and poor sexual relationships in couples.

Indeed, this may be true in some cases.

The scientific studies, however, are inconclusive on the benefits or lack thereof, of porn. One meta analysis of several studies found that in all societies and locations where porn use has increased (and dramatically, too), sex crimes have stayed stable or decreased. Other studies suggest that porn may indeed be healthy to relationships, making couples feel comfortable and at ease with their approach to sex and sexuality. Others still found they aggravated sexual identity.

There’s no denying porn is everywhere. The multi-billion dollar industry is so influential it has been the major decider in the technology format wars, first between the BetaMax video format and the VHS, which won, and lately between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The free hand of the market has never been so racy.

Two American neuroscientists, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam have pored over millions of websearchs, of erotic videos, stories, personal ads, and tens of thousands of digitized romance novels and aside from having one hell of a time they’ve come up with some really interesting findings in a book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire.

According to their research:

1. Men form their sexual interests during adolescence and rarely change, women are dynamic in their interests and change frequently throughout their lives.

2. Women look at porn online but they’re less likely to pay for it. On average only 2 percent of all subscriptions to pornography sites are made on credit cards with women’s names

3. Women search for the word sex more than they search for the word porn

4. The single-most popular search term users entered into PornHub (the most heavily trafficked porn site) is “mom.” Shudder.

Here’s some of the QandA episode so you can judge the showdown for yourself:

So, what do you think? Does Gail Dines have a valid point? Do you watch porn or steer clear of it…and why? Do you worry about the proliferation of porn (how easy it is to view and how much of it there is to see) affecting the sex lives of the next generation?

For another take on the “porn effect” listen to Cindy Gallop from Make Love Not Porn

Tags: pornography
00:00 / ???