Young Boys and Pornography

Earlier this week I was asked:

"Why does pornography exist? It is purely a degradation of women. Younger boys are watching this, and getting a messed up view of women, which will contribute to future rapists - this is a bit broad and vague, but I'm sure you're able to pull those conclusions too?"


I think pornography is degrading to those who do not do it by choice - real choice, having no other choices doesn't count.
I agree that younger audiences are gaining access to porn, mainly due to the internet.
I don't think pornography contributes to creating rapists. I think lack of respect for other human beings does.

I think pornography creates a distorted view of sex and sexuality more than a distorted view of women only, mainly because men are also hypersexualized, and the whole scenarios are those of sex on command fuckmachines rather than human sensuality and sex.

What does create a distorted view of women is mainstream media, which gives images of women that come quite close to those seen in pornography - look at Axe (Lynx) commercials, look at the KFC Man vs. World ad campaign, look at PETA's Veggie Love campaign (what the fuck). Those images are the ones we are actually exposed to on a daily basis, we are not scouting them out for a particular purpose, while pornography itself has to be sought out.

It is perfectly legitimate for models to be hypersexualized for Victoria Secret, Sports illustrated, FHM, etc, but then the same poses are used by less known women for less known magazines or brands, and they are slutshamed - why? This could be another article of its own, so back to porn.

The purpose of pornography is sexual arousal, so glamorization and exaggeration is understandable. The same cannot be said about selling cars, selling food, selling animal rights - but the oversexualization and distorsion goes unnoticed because it isn't really porn.

"I think comparing with adverts is borderline, though those aren't okay. Porn is a separate issue which is making boys a lot more sexually frustrated I can imagine, and at an early stage. Did you hear about the 14 year old guy in Manchester who has been sexually assaulting women?"

Yes I've heard of that, it's mental, but we don't know him, and we can't assume that it has anything to do with porn. Anyway, I actually think pornography is good for sexual release.

"Okay so is having porn available good or bad? Is the consequence of it not being available good or bad? My point is that it should never be the first introduction to what sex is for young boys"

Okay well I see your point, but the porn itself isn't marketed to young boys, they just look for it, find it, and expose themselves to it, like alcohol, and cigarettes, and anything. The real issue is that sex education is not strong enough to give a good basis of sexual knowledge to younger people. The reality is that if younger people had more information about sex and it weren't such a taboo until a certain age, pornography wouldn't be seen as a beacon of information. Other than watching it for arousal, younger people watch it out of curiosity, for things they have never seen before and have yet to experience. The attitude itself isn't unhealthy, its not perverted. The unhealthy attitude is withholding sexual information from them, when they should be being given tools to build a healthy relationship to sex early on. You and I consume porn differently from them because we know it is entertainment, and we know how things are. Their consumption stems from a place of lack of knowledge. 

Sex health education in a lot of places is reduced to "don't do it, and if you do, use a condom". No wonder most first times are disastrous. You know what I found out recently? That girls are not supposed to always bleed the first time, it is a myth perpetuated for the sake of pushing sex onto a girl even when she is not physically ready (lack of lubrication causes the bleeding), and to be honest, I would know, I didn't bleed my first time.

After few more exchanges regarding how informative this had been for him, the conversation ended.

I guess my conclusion is that pornography in itself is not harmful - the attitude towards it is. The acceptance of oversexualized images in mainstream media, followed by a demonization of images in pornography sends out a very confusing message to younger people, who might end up blurring the lines between one and the other.

As for images actually depicted in pornography - that'll be covered in another post^^

Note: The PETA ad was banned, but the highly sexualized campaign was not.

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  1. I believe there is two distinct issues within your article which I acknowledge you have noticed. The first being broadly equality for women the second is porngarpghy addictive and damaging to young boys and girls?’. I know that victoria secrets or the peta maybe be degrading but to call it porn is plain wrong. It does not elicit the same neurological response within the brain that porn does on a adolescent mind.

    Unfortunately pornography can and is very harmful within itself. Little scientific research has gone into it’s affects. But the studies have all pointed firmly in one direction. That pornography alters the brain profoundly on a chemical level. I can atest to this on a personal level.

    I had expouse to porngarphy at a very young age and I am dealing with the consequences of that now. I can only say from my personal experience has created social anxiety, lack of motivation and lack sexual desire amongst many other issues. After completely stopping the use of porn the effects are lessening. My outlook towards women has become much less misogynistic, interestingly. An irrational contempt has faded away, I think hatred maybe too strong of a word. I can honestly say I didn't even know I had any misogynistic views.

    Often overlooked and adding to your points is how I believe children watching porngraphy is a form of child abuse. Many people might scoff at this idea. But nobody would subject a child to it in real life, would they?

    I think it's important to add that is porn is simply not real. Sex and intimacy are extremely complicated there emotional attachment before and after, eye contact and smell for instance. Never before in human society have boys been able to view a 1000 vagina's in hour. The male brain simply was not designed for this.

    Lastly I would like to mention how I believe it is strange how porn is seen as masculine within male culture. A right of passage almost. How very wrong that this.

    1. I don’t understand what you mean by “equality for women”. I didn’t call Victoria secret/PETA ads pornography, I called their images pornographic. I also didn’t say that the images are degrading; I was making the point that we legitimize some while not the others, purely based on their social standing, which isn’t fair – if you read the article, one of the first things I say is that I don’t think porn is degrading.

      While it is unfortunate that you had that particular experience with pornography, you might not speak for a majority. I was also exposed to pornography quite young (around 7 years old), as I stumbled across it and later tried to find more of it due to curiosity. I never experienced any of what you experienced – and neither did the friends I have referred to previously. Attributing all your social anxieties to porn would be reductive (though might be accurate), and again, is not representative of all porn consumers. There are so many different factors to take into account that I will not get into them here.

      I can understand if you are referring to children being forced to watch pornography by adults, but beyond that, I don’t think a child seeking out pornography classes as child abuse.
      I also wrote that pornography isn't reflective of real sex. And I’ll just add a little note, with the invention of photography and video, we are exposed to so much more of the world at the same time, this isn’t just a phenomenon of pornography.

      I don’t believe it is strange, that porn is seen as a rite of passage. Like I say, adults try to keep young boys as isolated as possible from sex, which is ultimately impossible due to the sexualized nature of the society we live in (primarily talking about the West here). Porn is seen as a collective discovery of this world that adults are trying to hide, and also an important tool in the development of masturbation. Ideally, porn wouldn’t have to play this role, but unfortunately, we are still far from an education which acknowledges that sexual development starts at a very young age, a younger age than what is nowadays considered “socially acceptable”.

      I do think that the pornographic industry is problematic, from how they treat their employees, to their questionable dynamics and ways of obtaining material, but I don’t think pornography in itself is harmful. People need to change their own ideology and form of consumption rather than try to censor porn. It’s like blaming videogames for violent behavior - the games are not the problem.

  2. Gary Wilson great porn experiment. The affects of porn.


    1. I can't take the video as a legitimate information source for the following reasons:

      *One of the first things he mentions is how conducting a study on usage of internet porn is difficult because they cannot find people who do not use it - so the information given here is highly speculative.
      *He acknowledges that the studies he does refer to are not exclusively on internet porn addiction, but on internet addiction as a whole, where internet porn addiction is included
      *He refers a lot to excessive usage of internet pornography - which is not what my article is about in the first place. Excessive usage of any kind is harmful, and that is news to nobody.
      *There is no context provided for the anecdote quoted by Gary Wilson

      Content aside, the comment section is disabled, which is not the case with all TEDxTalks videos, so it gives no room for debate or rebuttals.

      Thank you for sharing the video.

    2. He is just being honest with regards to most people young men watch porn that doesn't mean he's not correct. I never meant to ridicule your article, just to help you understand that young boys who watch porn will always use it to the excess.

      I can provide all the anecdotal evidence and further studies on brain changes done by Cambridge university.

      Well lots of people have vested interests in discrediting this theory. A bit like tobacco lobbyists. there is lot's of money in porn. He actually address the issue of people trying to discredit him. Plus people may not like to hear it. Interestingly he's not selling anything. He has a website to discuss.

    3. I feel like you have completely missed the point of the article - "just to help you understand that young boys who watch porn will always use it to the excess" - first, I doubt you've got evidence for that, second, you don't need to explain to me the dynamics of seeking porn out. Rather than pornography as a whole, the focus of the article is on the stigmatization of young boys' relationship to pornography. Instead of sticking to "porn is bad and young boys abuse it" - think about why they do - which is what the article is about.

      His video provides no new information, no alternatives, and no substance (in my eyes), so I find no interest in it in relation to this article - doesn't mean he is incorrect (though I do think he's lacking a considerable amount of information, which he acknowledges himself). Someone going up on stage saying "young people watch porn online and it is bad" is far from engaging. I will say this again - I don't think the issue is with pornography, it's with the usage of it and the attitude towards it.

    4. I wasn't trying to undermine you opinion which are very valid. I may not fully understand some of the points put across I will admit. I think what you say about better sex education and a somewhat more honest approach towards children is paramount .Its exactly the right thing to do. I really just wanted to help you understand porn can be dangerous on it's own.

      Of course boys won’t always but people who take cocaine don’t always end up addicts but lots do. It’s as dangerous as any drug. Who knows maybe i’m the minority. But I wonder how many boys are addicted to porn.

      I found it engaging because its true. This is serious issue with regard to young boys. Unfortunately the reality won't be fully know till much later time. More research needs to be done I will give you that.

      I think there are issues with both. I could prove it to you but would prefer to talk privately.

    5. You aren't helping me understand anything, you're just giving me your views, which are different to mine, so respect that instead of attributing my opinions to a lack of understanding.

      You're posting as anonymous so I can't discuss this with you privately, I have no way of doing so. If you do want to continue the conversation (from a non condescending point of view) you can message me here or on my Facebook page - Feminist Things

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/11/naomi-wolf-porn_n_4428180.html

    More evidence that porn can be dangerous in itself, is coming out. Naomi Wolf has distinguished this issue from a moral one I would like to add. All I know is for many young boys no amount of teaching them about sexuality will help them view porn in moderation.

    It may be controversial and only a personal theory but could excessive porn use be the reason girls are now doing better than boys at school? I think so much of the vitriol targeted at women and feminists on the internet is actually due from spiraling porn abuse. You could argue it has a lot to do with other things as well though.

    1. Your consistent derailing of the topic of my article to that of porn abuse has succeeded to bore me. Most things are bad if not consumed in moderation, which I have stated in the article itself. Your comments suggest that you are only indulging in your own inadequacies and frustrations, and the material available that seeks to rationalize them. You have already admitted that you failed to fully understand what the article is about, so I suggest you go back and read before you use the comment section as a platform to expose your "research", which in itself is very poor (yes, I have watched the videos and read the articles you posted). This will be the last you hear from me about this topic.