Internet porn.

Posted by: on Oct 28, 2013 | No Comments

Workplace+porn

Both men and women use porn. A snapshot 1000 reader survey carried out by the Sun in 2009 revealed that 88% of men watch porn every day. Not much of a revelation really. What was surprising was the fact that 66% of women also admitted to using porn and needless to say that statistic was the headline of the story. On closer examination that figure turns out to be something of a con because 57% of those women watch porn with a partner and the survey failed to establish whether, given the choice, they would have preferred to turn the telly off. The Laumann report estimates that men are 4 times more likely to have looked at sexually explicit material than women and generally speaking, most (but not all) men are relaxed about using pornography. The added stimulation porn provides, makes for a quick and easy orgasm, and as long as men realise that it won’t teach them anything about ‘real’ sex then it doesn’t do any harm. Or does it?.

At least one study suggests that exposure to pornography may decrease the perceived desirability of an available sexual partner. Kenrick, Gutierres and Goldberg (1989) did an experiment where they asked men and women to look at nude pictures from Playboy and Penthouse and then asked them to rate the attractiveness of their marital or co-habiting partner. A second group of  men were asked to view pictures of abstract art and then rate the attractiveness of their partners.  The two groups rated their partners very differently. The men who had been exposed to the nude centrefolds rated  their partners as significantly less attractive than the men who had been viewing abstract art, whereas the women’s ratings of their partners were not adversely affected by the stimuli at all. Presuming the first group weren’t married to ugly women and the second group weren’t looking at dreadful art, the experiment suggests that exposure to erotic or pornographic media which focuses on unusually attractive people, may create unrealistic expectations about what an average person looks like naked. This in turn can decrease sexual desire for ‘real life’partners

Psychotherapist and fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Phillip Hodson believes that “porn is not problematic if both partners are in agreement about usage”, and says it “has it’s uses in helping to treat certain sexual dysfunctions”.  Often porn use is a private matter, in the same way that vibrator use is for a women, and if it is contained so that it has no impact on the relationship, then it should simply be viewed as a way of alleviating personal sexual tension. A degree of autonomy and separateness is important in any healthy relationship and it is important that couples don’t try to police each other’s private fantasies. When it comes to masturbation – and let’s be honest, that’s what this is all about – women may prefer to use a vibrator and their imaginations, while men need to have pictures in front of them, but they are both simply different means to the same end.

Many women do feel very conflicted about the porn industry and they find it impossible to override unsettling questions about the motivations of the female participants to allow themselves to see porn as harmless pleasure. Men argue that women are not being exploited because they make the choice to work in porn, but porn is rarely a choice that educated women make, and rarely an industry most men would like to see their daughters or their sisters working in. Women argue that even if an actress has consented to having 3 men simultaneously penetrate her, women who see that imagery feel violated, exploited and angry.

Still, it’s one of the very few industries – maybe the only industry – where, women can actually earn more than men. Jenna Jameson made more than $30 million in revenues in 2005, and she is now a global celebrity in her own right. Worldwide, pornography generates an estimated 7 billion dollars a year, more than the legitimate film and music industries put together. Porn films outnumber regular films by three to one, grossing 365 million dollars a year in the US alone. Eighteen million Americans buy a total of 165 different porn magazines every month generating about half a billion dollars a year, while British porn magazines sell 20 million copies a year, grossing approximately 500million pounds.

Porn may now have a life of its own but English professor Carmine Sarracino, co-author of “The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here’ believes that it shares the same angry, guilt ridden (filthy/dirty/nasty/sluts/whores) view of the human body and sexuality as Puritanism, the only difference being that porn “transgressively revels in what the Puritans righteously ran away from”.  Which is interesting because an analysis of credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider by Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Business School discovered that US States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more porn subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed.

Essentially, porn is a choice which more and more people are making. But the danger in making that choice, as Phillip Hodson rightly points out, is that  “men are essentially lazy creatures with a drive towards sexual satisfaction which tries to find the shortest distance between two points. Internet porn just makes that all too easy.” Real life sexual relationships require physical effort and emotional investment and when a person decides that it is easier to satisfy sexual urges with a laptop, primary relationships inevitably suffer.

And relationships are suffering. According to Relate, almost 40 percent of UK couples with problems blame pornography, at least in part, for their relationship difficulties. And a US study carried out by Jennifer P Schneider for the Journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity which investigated the effects of cybersex addiction on the family found that 52.1% of addicts had ‘decreased interest in sex with spouse ‘and in 68% of couples one or both partners had ‘lost interest in relational sex’. Unsurprisingly, in the US, the Internet is a significant factor in 2 out of 3 divorces, 
according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

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