The World Loves Porn

I was sitting down this week to prepare for a school staff professional development day when I did a quick check on the latest porn-use-data. It turned out that I was in luck. Porn Hub, the world’s biggest pornography sharing website and the largest pornography site on the Internet, has just released their summary data for 2017. Now I’m not often speechless when reading about the enormity of the porn industry but today was different. Today, I took a moment to contextualise what I was reading. I took a moment to stop and think, and I realised that the world may never bounce back from the devastation that is currently occurring.

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In the last year alone, Porn Hub had 28.5 billion visits. YES - that is not a typo. B.I.L. - BILLION. On ONE website! Around 100 billion videos are watched annually on the site, with the average length of video watched being about 10 minutes. To add to this, over 4 million videos were uploaded. Data transferred by the website was 3,732 Petabytes. (For those of you like me, who don’t know what a Petabyte is, it is a really big amount of data. To put it in perspective, this one porn website, in one year, transferred more adult content than would fit on every iphone currently in use).

Popular media outlets and even Forbes Magazine continue to make light of the world’s love of porn. Heck, even Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has boasted of his role in bringing Playboy to Australia.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

At what point will people join the dots? How many famous men need to behave badly before we question what cultural phenomenon is leading to such distorted sexpectations and behaviour patterns? Porn is saturated with masculine dominance, gender bias and violence against women. It feeds the user a sexual script based on sexual self-gratification, with little or no consideration of the central character in the sex scene (usually a female).

My home country of Australia is right in the middle of the porn-loving epidemic. Australia, with its isolation and small population, is well known for performing well in comparison to other countries. Porn use it seems is no different, with Australia the 8th ranked country by traffic on Porn Hub. This shouldn’t be such a surprise with research* released last year finding that in a survey of Australians aged 15-29, 100% of young men and 82% of young women had viewed pornography. What is even more shocking is that 84% of the men and 19% of the women in this research watched it on a weekly or daily basis.

Think about that.

To put it simply, today’s generation of young people will have no chance of making love without their idea of sexual intimacy being directly influenced by porn.

Most authors cite that on average people are first exposed to porn between 8 and 13 years of age. The usual age people get married these days is in their early thirties. This adds up to twenty solid years of sexual programming with little or no reinforcement of the tenderness required for healthy love-making. Porn allows the user to be desensitised to aggressive sexual acts and neurologically reinforces a distorted, selfish idea of sex. Is it any wonder people find it hard to act appropriately or show temperance with regard to their sexual urges?

Most porn habits are a bi-product of unrestricted internet access coupled with a natural sexual curiosity and desire. Add to this the inbuilt sexual reward system of the brain and we get a problem. Escalating usage rates and the huge amount of porn consumption is testament to the fact that easy access is a key factor in the explosion of porn use.

Like the world’s realisation that our sugar rich diet has led to an obesity epidemic and reduced physical health, we need to accept that the pornified sexual diet of our young people is a major health crisis. As a result of pornography, we are entering an era where many people will never be able to have a healthy marriage or experience the richness of sexual intimacy, complete with beauty, tenderness and fulfilment.

 

 

 

*Young Australians’ use of pornography and associations with sexual risk behaviours. Megan S.C. Lim, Paul A. Agius, Elise R. Carrotte, Alyce M. Vella,Margaret E. Hellard. Aust NZ J Public Health. 2017; Online; doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12678 

941 participants (683 females/258 males), cross sectional sample, online survey.

 

Images: Title Photo by Ian Dooley on Unsplash. Me Too Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash