Generation Porn

A young woman tells how the consumption of pornography has influenced her sexuality and relationships, distancing her from the truth of her body. Convinced to believe that "porn is sex and sex is porn", her only desire is to please and look cool, accepting male violence as normal.
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As in second-wave feminism, the subject of sexuality has returned to the attention of girls. Intensely practised in the 1970s, that territory was later abandoned in order to invest energies in other themes, first and foremost that of work. In the meantime, pornography has spread, especially since the birth of the web, reaching unimaginable levels of diffusion, heavily influencing the free search for pleasure of girls and adolescents. While for boys the models borrowed from pornography consumed compulsively from an early age are informed by increasing violence and contempt for women's bodies, for girls the standard is one of submission - or, on the contrary, domination - of their bodies. on demand-, willingness to please regardless of one's authentic desires, which are lost in the attempt to show oneself coolforced exhibitionism and a desolate unhappiness. We have already dealt with this here , here e here. This time it is a young woman speaking from the columns of The Guardian.


Based on her own experience, a 26-year-old British woman reveals what many of us assume but dare not say.

Surrounded by porn from a young age and forever we don't realise how it has totally shaped our lives, in and out of the bedroom. It influences the the way we and the men with whom we then entered into relationships, they see our bodies. Porn implements a code of behaviour to draw on and learn from.

When men on screen do a lot of violent things to the women they have sex with, the effect is always the same: the women arch their backs and moan louder.

"It didn't seem unrealistic or unexciting to us because it corresponded to the world we were already learning to live with. Like when we laughed at the kids at school even when their jokes weren't funny."

And again: "People behave as if porn has created the a world in which women's desires are put at the service of men, when in fact it is an expression of that world'.

Porn stars become a physical prototype to be copied. In order to be hairless from the eyebrows down, we women practice the full body hair removalwith all the various discomforts of pubic hair.

We were born in a time when mainstream feminism seemed to associate almost everything sexual with liberation and any criticism of porn as puritanical. To be 'cool' you have to refer to porn in a conversation and especially in a conversation with guys: 'I thought if you didn't like hardcore things - pulling out hair, spanking - it was because you were boring in bed. So I pretended to like them".

Yes, because they are the male model and its pleasure to prevailand we have all too well learned this priority, which makes us accept any uncomfortable and not entirely shared situation. Our whole personality is actually built around this desire to pleasea desire that leads us even to pretend.

From porn comes porn and we easily find ourselves dependent, a real dopamine rush that hits 'like a kick in the teeth' and can start to eclipse our sex life.

"Porn takes something that was previously considered niche and shows it again and again in a mainstream context until it becomes normalised".

In 2019, a BBC survey found that more than a third of UK women under 40 have experienced 'unwanted slapping, choking, gagging or spitting' during consensual sex. Many people blame porn, including the Center for Women's Justice who stated: 'It is likely that this is due to the widespread availability, normalisation and use of extreme pornography'.

But this is not the real point. Rather, violence against women has to do with a society that encourages men to put their own desires above those of women.

In 2019, research commissioned by the British Board of Film Classification noted that more than half of 11- to 13-year-olds admitted to watching porn, rising to 66% of 14- to 15-year-olds. Sex education has not changed much, and in a world that has become even more digital, teenagers are at real risk of receiving completely the wrong messages about porn and sex. They seem increasingly inclined to think that porn is sex and that sex is porn, and this is confirmed every time they open the phone and look at it without anyone at school or at home telling them anything different.

In 2020 the British government has updated official guidelines on relationships and sex education for the first time in 20 years. Now compulsory from primary school, the education includes topics such as consent, abortion and domestic abuse. There are also digital cultures of sex and relationships, including sexting and porn. Disappointing, though perhaps predictable: there is no mention of pleasure.

It has to be communicated that porn is not real, that all bodies look different, that very often you have to show your partner how to touch you, that there is a lot of trial and error in a relationship and that it is not that easy to reach orgasm. Porn is not a behaviour manual. It is important to ask many questions also when talking to our friends. Already one arises at the interviewee:

"Recently, I thought about growing pubic hair., I don't even know what colour they are. And I thought about how strange it is to be so far away from my body and not even know what its natural state is".

Laura De Barbieri

full article here


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