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Why I have given up on porn

The journey of an industry that is making an entire generation shit at sex and hate their bodies


If you had come to me a year ago and asked me what I thought about porn, I would have said something like "it's great, it allows women to use their bodies in a way that they please and is also one of the most diverse industries with a place for people of any gender/ ethnicity/ body type etc. plus who wouldn't get super turned on by people shagging inside your laptop- its a win-win." Cut to me today and I have done a full 180. Let's be honest, I always knew deep down in my heart that it probably wasn't great, but after having done some (slightly worryingly deep considering the current state of my dissertation) research into the area I am ready to go on a full on an anti-porn tyrade.

Aside from the standard arguments that it is unrepresentative of real bodies/ real sex and is entirely constructed for the male gaze, I have developed some more deep seated gripes with the industry. Numero uno, vaginas. For all those heterosexual men out there, they will on average be exposed to porn for the first time at age 11. This is also most likely the first vagina they will have seen in their sentient memory and these vaginas that are being shown in porn will continue to be the only ones they see until they are sexually active at circa 16. This means that they will have 5 whole years to engrain the images of those perfectly tucked and hairless vaginas into their minds. This is a shit tonne of time considering that, to quote Germaine Greer, adolescent boys have 'semen that runs like tap water.' The fact that on mainstream porn sites you have to type in the keyword 'unshaved' in order to be given images of pubed-up vaginas is not only a very disturbing fetishisation of pre-pubescent vaginas, but also gives the impression that hair is not the natural state for women and is a niche fetish. Not only is the hair an issue, but there has been a steadily increasing trend of labiaplasy in the UK where girls as young as 9 are optionally going under the knife in order to make their labias look like they do in porn, or, even worse, are being admitted into hospital after trying to cut their own labias.

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Admittedly this might be a tad OTT but you get the idea- post-pubescent women grow hair

Asides from the incredibly damaging effects of body image and the increasing instances of body dysmorphia that have arisen from pornographic images, there are well recorded studies of how porn can impact your personal sex life. There are recorded case studies of people, due to becoming so used to their position as a spectator of sex, when in a real life sexual experience need to visualise pornographic scenes in order to get aroused. And that is if they can get aroused at all- recent studies have almost conclusively linked premature ED and low libido to over use of porn. Whereas some comment that they go to porn to learn about different sexual practices and experiences, porn is actually making you shitter at sex. This isn't even taking into account the issue of the 'iron grip' where men get too used to their own hand to be able to ejaculate from any other source.

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Putting this in as a gentle reminder that WOMEN WATCH PORN TOO!!

Especially worrying is the so called 'Coolidge Effect' of porn in which in order to seek pleasure, novel sexual experiences need to determined. This leads regular porn users to become bored with 'mainstream' videos and lead them towards more taboo breaking concepts. Porn hub recorded that for 2018 'step mom' was the fourth most searched term on the site with the 6th being 'mom'. This greater inclination towards incest porn then has the reverse effect of damaging the watchers as they find themselves fantasising and obtaining pleasure from scenarios that in a non-porn context they would find disturbing. I mean I don't know about you, but I have found very few people who openly admit they would like to screw their own mother.

I do understand that when you are having a dry patch and need something to get you going, porn is a simply and easy way of accessing some new sexy friends to watch going at it, but are the long term and broader damaging effects really worth it? There is of course ethical porn which gets away from some of the issues, particularly to do with body image, but I want to call into question the health implications of the entire industry. Surely it is better to shut the tab, turn off incognito, get out there and switch putting your energies from porn searching into making those sexy times with real live people.