Porn Evolution

Before Internet porn, there was some risk and effort for boys to get a hold of printed porn. I remember hearing about guys having special stashes in tree houses or in the woods where all the boys in the neighborhood could access their porn from the unofficial lending library. The risk was getting it to your room or out of your backpack and under the mattress without getting caught by a parent or sibling. Acquiring a rental porn video was a major event of negotiating with someone of age, using a fake ID or knowing someone behind the counter. The risk for shame and humiliation was serious back in the day.

Thirty-three years old seems to be the general cut-off age for guys who came of age with Internet porn. Obviously, high-speed Internet landed in some parts of the country sooner than others, but boys were pretty crafty in finding access once it was available. While parents and educators have been busy respecting the private masturbation habits of boys, Internet porn has taken over as the primary source of masturbation fuel. Internet porn is easily accessible and irresistible for most. It is rare to meet a college-aged man who hasn’t looked at Internet porn. Occasionally, I hear about or meet a guy who does not look at Internet porn. These guys are usually a little embarrassed by their fame as the “guy who doesn’t look at porn” in their fraternities or on their athletic teams. In general, it is rare to find a guy who chooses not to engage in Internet porn at some level.

In this country, the average age that a boy looks at porn is 11½ years old. I have heard so many parents claim they are certain their son doesn’t look at porn because he told them he doesn’t when they asked him directly. Almost all the young men I have interviewed laugh at their parents’ naiveté. Their feeling is that their parents don’t really want to know what they are up to. They tell their parents what they think parents want to hear. They also claim that the chances are low that their technologically limited parents could figure it out. They go on to say that parents would probably not bother trying to check their internet history because they wouldn’t know what to say or do if they found out the truth. I have heard parents claim that masturbation is normal, and it is not their business how their sons are doing it. Masturbation is indeed a normal, healthy and biologically necessary practice, but it is time for parents to realize that Internet porn is fueling unrealistic sexual expectations for young men.

Fantasy is what masturbation is all about, but live, free video on the Internet has now replaced what once required some imagination. Reading erotic literature and looking at photographs requires imagination to create the fantasy in one’s mind. Video provides the whole story and some high impact images for the viewer. I have learned through interviews with college men that porn images tend to stay in one’s mind. A good number of young men admit they have reached a point where they can’t get off without viewing porn and others say they can’t keep the images of porn out of their minds while they are having sex with a partner.

Porn is problematic for a number of reasons: It objectifies and degrades women in hetero porn, it reinforces role expectations in gay porn; It desensitizes the viewer to extreme sexual behaviors (which become expected and seen as normal), it creates expectations about how partners should respond and appear physically, studies have shown that regular heterosexual male viewers have more violent and negative attitudes towards women, and porn warps overall expectations.

Both gay and straight porn skew ideas about the roles of men in sexual encounters. Penis size is probably the most obvious factor contributing to feelings of inadequacy for the viewer because many male performers in porn have seriously large penises. The way the performers ravage their partners both vaginally and anally is misleading. Numerous gay men have told me that porn makes anal sex look easy and comfortable when in fact it is a “process” that requires preparation, pacing, communication and a good supply of water based lube that won’t break down a condom.

The indirect impact of porn on women is less obvious. I hear from men that it confuses them when a female partner asks to be hit or have them come on their face. I have heard from a number of men that such requests from a woman gives them bragging rights among their guy friends, but it doesn’t feel quite right. Men have told me that they wonder if women think that it turns guys on if they act like an instiable porn star. The confusion of men who describe their female partners’ performance-style sex leads me to believe that a solid number of young women think men consider it hot if they are super aggressive or willing to be objectified. Women who perceive that male partners expect or hope for porn-like experiences and oblige to those expectations are more likely to make the male pleasure the priority rather than mutual pleasure.

Faking orgasms is a common occurrence for young women. The two most common justifications for faking orgasms are: 1.They think they are incapable of orgasms, or 2. They want their partner to feel good about himself/sexually adequate. The orgasm experts and sexologists agree that with the right information, all women have the capacity for orgasm. The notion of women putting the sexual needs of their male partners ahead of their own leads to dissatisfaction for both partners. While the intention of making a guy feel good about himself seems kind, I know that most men feel tricked and hurt by being duped. The obvious answer is to communicate clearly, but this is a rare choice.

Despite the standard banter we hear about men being selfish sexual partners, I have found that most heterosexual men I have interviewed are not only interested in but obsessed with how to sexually please women. Men assume they are supposed to know, and women assume men know. Men would have much more success if they spoke up and admitted what they don’t know. Women would have more sexual fulfillment if they spoke up and guided their partner. In all-female groups, women openly complain about how so many men have sex like a jackrabbit while the other women in the group nod in agreement. Interestingly enough, I get the sense from these groups that very few women speak up to their partners when they are uncomfortable or dissatisfied. Women should value their own pleasure as much as their partner’s and communicate their needs more clearly with specific guidance. Sexual dissatisfaction is almost always rooted in lack of communication.

It is difficult for a man to feel sexually adequate when his partner’s body and responses don’t match what he has viewed in porn for years before he had a partner. The women in porn are waxed from anus to navel, have surgically altered labia and wear red make-up or have a tattooed inner labia. It is common for these performers to be screaming with “pleasure” and squirting across the room.

Some men naively consider their use of porn as temporary. They think they are just buying time until they get a long-term partner, hook-up more or get married. Masturbation should be a lifelong practice to maintain sexual health, to get through dry spells and to augment a healthy sex life with a partner. Easily accessible Internet porn is hard for men to resist because it is private and efficient. When dependence on porn becomes a part of one’s masturbation life, it is hard to break the habit. In most of my presentations to college students, my advice is to first talk with their partners openly about their needs and expectations. I also suggest they try a three-week porn detox and use their imagination to masturbate. During this time, I ask them to take note of the images that fill their minds. Many young men readily admit that porn clutters their minds with distracting images, and when they choose time away from it, more healthy images return. Cheers to cultivating the “Spank Bank.”

 

4 thoughts on “Porn Evolution

  1. Great article. Girl’s are also viewing porn sites and missing the boat on reality. Parent’s do need to check the history button and see what their kids are viewing, and have communication on what is show and what is healthy sex. I can’t wait to see your next article.

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