We have entered an era where women globally, are speaking up against injustice. A powerful collective roar has seen the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement shake systems of power and expose previously unspoken pains for all women who have been raped, violated or sexually harassed. For some, this has been therapeutic; for others, this is only the beginning of the healing journey.
Without taking some very important ‘next steps’, #MeToo will miss out on addressing pornography as a key driver of gender inequality and sexual violence. Pornography perpetuates messages of male entitlement to women’s bodies and feeds into this sexist culture, but we have quite a way to go before there’s collective acknowledgment to address harms in their entirety. It’s surprising that it’s taking so long to join the dots, especially given the porn industry’s blatant promotion revealing how sexist, violent and hateful they are. If you read on, be aware that some things may be triggering or offensive.
Take for example, this promotional text from an online industry newsletter.
We start with ultra-tramps (a good thing!), proving their marvelously sleazy ways, initially with a gagging, choking, rolfing double blowjob/deepthroat that has enough spit in it to fill a gallon-sized carton o’ milk.
Everywhere else, this would be deemed misogyny & abuse, but in pornland, it’s advertising.
Amateur Teen Sex Movies: Slutty Young Girls Love to Fuck! Watch Amateur Teen Sex Movies for Young Pussies Being Pounded by Big Cocks.
HD Teen Porn: Free Sex Videos with Young Pornstars and Amateur… Skinny fresh bodies, with soft, perfect skin, tight ass, and perky natural titties. Teens are cock-crazy, sexhungry little wenches looking for fucking fun.
Or what about this promotional text about anal sex:
Watch this little whore get double dick in the anal like nothing, she just loves dick more than anything and shit must fall out of her ass! — anal has nothing but the best anal …
Or perhaps this promo for Redtube, a common site for teens to use:
Watch TeensLoveAnal – Compilation Of Painful Anal Sex on Redtube, home of free Anal porn videos online.
You might think that I had to search high and low to find these examples, but no, the porn industry brag about their hate-speech openly. All except the first example was found by doing a simple search for ‘teen sex’ and ‘anal sex’ on google. Clicking no further than the Google search page, the text is for anyone to read and links to an endless supply of videos that contain mainstream hardcore porn. As I stated in a recent eChildhood update, mainstream hardcore pornography regularly depicts choking, slapping, derogatory name-calling, incest, bondage, group and rough sex.
Asides from the obvious, why is this such a big deal? Children and teens (without filters on every device they use), have free and easy access to pornography. Some young people try to replicate anal based on what they’ve seen in porn and end up with injuries. Research indicates a high percentage of heterosexual young women who engage in anal are coerced due to their partners pre concept of what to expect. A small percentage of women enjoy anal sex; many more report pain and indicate no desire to try it again, yet anal is completely normalised in porn. Regular viewing is linked to sexually abusive behaviours and teaches young men to have an attitude of sexual entitlement; young women struggle to recognise their own abuse.
I’ve had medical professionals share with me the baffling number of young teens, as young as 12 and 13, presenting to emergency wards with anal fissures and other internal injuries (including due to fisting and inserting objects) because their boyfriend has replicated what they see in porn. These outcomes result from the influence of ‘porn anal’ sex, which is where young people get their ideas and information from. This is not ‘veiled homophobia’ as I was accused of recently. The industry is toxic, meaning that it’s no better for gay teens, lesbian teens or questioning youth. If in doubt, search for mainstream ‘gay porn’ or ‘trans porn’ and notice the high focus on anal when many do not participate in anal sex, rape themes, incest, age-power differentials, hate-speech and sexual inequalities. Lesbian porn is most often a production of male fantasy, not a respectful and diverse representation of those within this community. I’m not suggesting to watch it – just analyse the text that openly promotes abuse within all categories and diversities. Whilst women are the main targets, it doesn’t take long to find hate-speech and sexual abuse in all genres of porn when switched on to its existence, as opposed to denying its existence when switched on with an erection.
The porn industry is a sexist, racist, discriminatory and abusive multi-million dollar machine, only interested in hooking consumers and driving profits. All that makes us human pays the price – relational authenticity, vulnerability, intimacy, empathy and connection.
Kids having access to hardcore pornographic content at the click of the button is the biggest violation of children’s rights that the world has ever seen. It is well overdue for the porn industry, like the alcohol and tobacco industries, to be forced to implement measures such as Age-Verification to prevent minors accessing their product. We need this as a minimum, along with every other Digital Child Protection Buffer we can implement for the protection of our kids.
From my own professional experience and feedback from clinical psychologists, educators and other colleagues I work with, for the most part, parents globally are asleep at the wheel regarding awareness about the ripple effect of internet porn on kids. Most parents are unaware of how much of a devastating impact pornography is having on children and teens unless their family has personally been faced with mopping up the mess of things such as peer-on-peer sexual abuse due to kids copying what they see in porn, sexual harassment in the playground or addiction. Education is our best antidote while we wait for people to wake up. Slowly, governments around the world are recognising hardcore mainstream pornography as the public health crisis that it is – an issue that parents can’t be expected to solve on their own.
However, the industry keep spinning their propaganda and rush to defend porn every time a new state or nation takes a stand with a public health approach. Most rebuttals lead with a patriarchal focus on masturbation. Pro-porn activists attempt to deny there’s a public health crisis by focusing on whether porn addiction exists, despite the millions of users who claim it’s a problem, or the overwhelming number of research articles that link the use of internet pornography to erectile dysfunction. They also conveniently ignore the fact that the World Health Organisation acknowledges compulsive sexual behavior in the upcoming ICD-10, used far more universally than the often cited DSM-5 which didn’t include sexual compulsivity in its 2013 update.
Yet in all honesty, if erectile dysfunction was the only concern, most of those unaffected by this condition wouldn’t bother so much. No. Porn isn’t a public health crisis because of the state of erections. Porn is a public health crisis because of the degradation of humanity and power inequalities it perpetuates, the violence against women it normalises, the overwhelming impacts on children, the trauma suffered by partners who discover their loved ones use of and addiction to porn, the industry survivors who suffer PTSD from violent scenes, how it feeds the atrocity of human trafficking, and the ways that it impacts mental health. Our children who should be placed first, are most often placed last due to adults thinking their rights to view porn takes priority over children’s rights to protection and safety. For the sake of relationships and all that makes us human, we must consider the public health impacts through a critical porn analysis approach.
The full weight of toxic porn culture will keep hurtling towards our kids at breakneck speed until we embrace a massive shift in conscious awareness and implement concerted efforts to slow it down and reverse the effects. It’s time. It’s time to build upon this powerful collective roar and shake complacency regarding the harms of pornography, particularly on our children.
For those wanting to be a part of this collective roar, here’s two initiatives I’m contributing to that equip and mobilise community to respond. Australian parents, professionals and community members can stand with us at eChildhood and pledge for a world where kids can grow up without being harmed by accessing graphic, violent online pornography. And parents globally will benefit from the Culture Reframed Parents Program.
I urge you, commit to doing more and become part of the solution. In words inspired by Dr. Gail Dines, the alternative is to hand our kids over to the porn industry.
If you or loved ones are struggling with pornography’s impacts, you need to know that you are not alone. Click through for educational information, resources and links to online support services.