PORN SURVEY: Top comments

“Don’t accidentally and drunkenly share it on Facebook. Very bad idea.”

Cambridge comments porn results sex ed Students survey undergraduates

The third and final (we promise) part of The Tab’s (tackiest yet) venture into the exciting new world of Google form-generated journalism.

While most students filled out the survey in a minute, hundreds of you took the time to provide semi-philosophical treatises or personal accounts of the effect of porn on your life. All up, it amounted to tens of thousands of words – the equivalent of a small novel.

Why watch?

While most students were in favour of watching porn, reasons for doing so varied.

There were the obvious responses:

  • “I like wanking.”
  • “It allows me to just enjoy myself by myself.”
  • “Masturbation is good, and often a bit of inspiration goes a long way. What better than to watch deliberately recorded sex rather than jack off to your imagination, which could perhaps be even more misleading.”
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#inspo

Some Cantabs gave more sophisticated, quasi-educational reasons:

  • “I also know that if I’d never watched it, I’d probably have been a lot more clueless about the actual ‘ins and outs’ of sex, and indeed the female ‘anatomy'”
  • “I was raised in a conservative Christian home … It was useful in that it normalised some things (e.g., the idea of homosexual interactions) which, until then, were wholly foreign.”
  • “Because everyone has sexual needs and you shouldn’t need a person to get the post-orgasmic hormones and endorphins flowing. Orgasms also work as a much-needed stress reliever.”
  • “I learnt how to perform a blowjob, and I get good reviews.”

One even found an actual, surprisingly legitimate, academic reason for watching porn:

  • “Backroom Casting Couch is really great for criminal law hypotheticals (does deceiving a girl about the potential of a job change the nature or purpose of the act so that the consent is vitiated and it amounts to rape).”
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Revision? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

And then there were the genuinely downright concerning answers:

  • “It allows me to prepare me for my victims”
  • “It’s easier than actually finding women.”
  • “It’s great fun. I especially love the videos where a woman gags on a man’s cock and she’s wearing a bunch of makeup because she’s a really slutty whore and the makeup starts running down her face because she’s giving really deep deep throat. I also enjoy female porn stars with enormous fake breasts.”
  • “I run a porn website, but I don’t make any money from it, I just do it for shits and giggles.”

Why not watch?

More morally censorious students tended to give elaborate answers as to why they thought porn was always or sometimes wrong:

  • “It’s essentially voyeurism, you wouldn’t sit in the same room as two shaggers so why do it online.”
  • “Only peasants watch porn – real shame.”

Several thought porn was fine in theory, but were concerned about the realities of the porn industry:

  • “Solely because of the power dynamics in the porn industry, the act of watching people having sex is fine – but there so much more than that, porn can be linked into human trafficking and dodgy consent, so by default I’d avoid it. Also the treatment of women is very dodgy a lot of the time and a lot of the lesbian porn is aimed at the male gaze, which I understand is about the market they’re appealing to – but as a girl who likes girls it’s kind of shit.”
  • “As I grew up (‘cum of age’ pun) I found myself more and more disgusted by the dead eyed look in most pornstars faces as well as the looming thought that these women (and men who knows) were part of a sexualised grotesque carnival.”
  • “Racism and violence is endemic within mainstream pornography. Gay porn perpetuates harmful stereotypes to an extent as well.”
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King Corn.

A recurrent theme was women who felt that their partners had watched too much porn – or too much violent porn.

  • “I have been with guys who have clearly watched way too much violent porn and have a completely warped view of sex. One guy seemed really nice, then he pressured me to have anal, pressured me to let him finish on my face, kept smacking me and calling me names, and used a knife to cut my clothes off. Was quite scary and really made me feel like he didn’t respect me at all.”
  •  “Rough sex and objectification has become a norm expected of me in certain sexual relationships I’ve had, e.g. one guy insisted on calling me a slut and was confused about why I then was upset.”
  • “I have never watched porn. But I have had sex with people who have and developed their expectations for sex through watching porn. This made my sexual experience with them … less than pleasant.”
  • “I had a messed up ex who used to make me watch porn with him to show me things that I was doing wrong, or what I wasn’t good at. I ended up watching more of it try and learn what to do better. Now I know more about it being fake. But it was very damaging to mine, and his, perception of sex.”

Some students thought it had affected their self-image negatively and felt that porn set false standards for sex:

  • “Feeling pressure to be ‘sexy’ in particular ways, perhaps always more focused on achieving male orgasm than female orgasm. Also went through a period of watching porn 2-3 times a day and being very focused on that, always felt ashamed of it and terrified my parents would find out.”
  • “It definitely makes guys expect a lot from blowjobs. Some guys really seem to want you to act like you’re in a porno – yet don’t seem keen to reciprocate after you’ve spent 15 mins sucking them off.”
  • “[It’s like] I could be being held to the standard of a porn star when I’m just an average, imperfect woman … It actually put me off having sexual intercourse until fairly late … because I was so anxious that I wouldn’t be enough – that my boobs or genitals were abnormal, that I wasn’t pretty enough etc.”
  • “The way I view women is highly sexualised in my thoughts and any intimacy I have with them now leads me to be turned on sexually without any control over this.”

Special mentions

Several comments deserve special mention for treading the very thin line between a plausible look into some alternative sub-stratum of human existence and possibly just taking the piss.

  • “Once my brother sent me a link to pterodactyl porn which was really fucking weird but also hilarious and I don’t understand how anyone could get off to that shit.”
  • “I also believe the rancid smell of cum-soaked tissues in my bin has impacted on my relationship with my bedder but these are minor details. I have faith in Christ and recognise myself as a fallen sinner, so as long as I try to avoid temptation I know that I will avoid metaphysical consequences regardless of how often I succumb – formed from the dust of the ground as we all are.”
  • “I LOVE WATCHING PORN IN A QUIET, SECLUDED SPOT IN THE UL. THERE IS THIS THRILL THAT I GET: AT ANY POINT, I COULD GET CAUGHT TOSSING OFF TO ‘CAPTAIN JACK GIVES SAILOR GEORGE A POUNDING’ AGAINST A BACKDROP OF HISTORY AND INTELLECTUAL ENDEAVOUR”
  • “It makes me feel dreadful shame but it also encourages me to take regular showers to wash off the shame and guilt and self-loathing so I expect it is good for my hygiene. I brush my teeth and things though, so maybe the regularity of my washing has nothing to do with pornography.”

For more insight into the porn-watching habits of Cambridge students, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Thanks to all the students who submitted comments, especially to the few hundred who gave very thoughtful and personal answers, many more of which could have been included in this summary (shame about our ban on long-form journalism).