MLK Jr. Middle School students used to play a game called “Slap Ass Friday” and it used to terrify the girls. Every Friday, boys would approach girls and slap their butts without their consents. Liana Thompson and her friends were targeted by boys, and it continued into high school. Thompson felt she had to keep her discomfort to herself and just deal with it. She felt that she couldn’t be angry about the sexual harassment and said that she just had to laugh it off. It got worse when she attended Berkeley High School: she was catcalled, stalked, and was asked to perform sex acts. When female students complained to their teachers, the male students were given slaps on the wrists. Thompson reminds us that sexual harassment being ignored in high school paves the way for rapes and sexual assaults to happen in college. When students brought up their experiences to the school board, they were dismissed and students felt like they weren’t being heard. Male seniors created “slut accounts” where males posted sexually suggestive pictures of female students and posted sex acts that the students supposedly had done. The account was eventually removed, but the school board said that the students had to prove that the allegations were false, which furthers slut shaming and rape culture, and another account was later put up in its place. According Revolario Keith, a bisexual woman and former student at Berkeley High School, she’s had poor relationships with men and excellent relationships with women. “I think the biggest long-term effect is the normalization of sexualizing women and also objectifying women and normalizing sexual harassment and even … that girls should be grateful when they’re sexually harassed — I think it feeds into your perception of yourself as a vessel for the male gaze, that sexuality validates you as a human being,” Revolario Keith said.
According to GQ Magazine, porn is ruining people’s sex lives. Prior to the 2000s, the main opponents of pornography were hard-core feminists and religious institutions. Thanks to No Fap, a group of people who are against PMO (porn, masturbation and orgasm), a study has been done on the effects of pornography. As of 2013, there were 75,000 members and now there’s a few hundred thousand. 53% of subjects developed a porn habit between 12 and 14, and 16% started watching before they were 12. 59% of subjects watched 4-15 hours of porn a week, 42% of male college students watched porn regularly, and 64% said their tastes in porn became more deviant, thanks to the Coolidge Effect (when men are exposed to new sexual partners they can have stronger, quicker orgasms than men who are exposed to the same sexual partner). It’s why Hugh Hefner has to masturbate to porn even though he has sex with many sexual partners at the same time. 60% of no-fappers have increased sexual function and 67% have increased energy and productivity.
Pierce Nahigyan wrote an article about how millennials are having worse sex lives than their predecessors due to porn. Nahigyan talked to a young woman at a party about how she loves sex but hates what it’s become. She had sexual partners who said horrible things to her, wouldn’t use condoms, were too rough, did not care about her sexual pleasure, etc., and she asked him how he felt about porn. When he laughed and said it wasn’t too important to him because he had a girlfriend, she didn’t laugh and said porn contributed to her poor sexual relationships. He realized she was genuinely upset and that porn was a problem. Nahigyan had two siblings and a conservative single mother so his computer access was limited, and he spent most of his time driving around with real women, so he never really got addicted to porn. Instead of being part of subculture, porn has bled into the mainstream culture. 17.5% of Japanese men 16-19 had no interest in sex or an aversion to it, and 11.8% of 20-24 year olds reported the same. One man said that it’s not like he didn’t enjoy sex, but said that having sex with someone was a “bother”. In Japan hentai and sex dolls have made men more into masturbation and fake sex than real sex. Dr. Kitamura, a doctor who studies ED, has found more patients that are younger than 50 and that they’re so into the online world that they’re not going out to have sex with real people. According to Naomi Wolf, an anti-porn activist, “[Pornography] is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as ‘porn-worthy.’ Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.” Porn has lead many men to become sexual anorexics, which means they have no interest in sex and develop anxiety surrounding sex. Women are slowly becoming the dominant sexual party because men are becoming neutral to sex. Only 4% of websites online are porn, but porn sites have 450 million visits a month, more than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined!
Life Site News talks about how porn is making people miserable. Dr. Robert Jensen, a psychologist who says that porn is ending masculinity, gave some of his feedback in an interview. Jensen says that men haven’t really though about what porn is doing to them. Jensen sees porn as a plague on women’s rights and relationships. Some quotes from the article will be listed below:
“And that’s one of the ways we need to speak about this. Not just to talk about the sexual exploitation industries, in the way that they injure women—and they do injure women in all sorts of ways—but also the way they leave us men in very constrained, confined, and in the end incredible roles…The effect of these sexual exploitation industries and then violence more generally on women is pretty clear. But I think men also have to think about what it does to us as human beings.”
I’ve spoken to a lot of men and women over the years, both in formal interview situations and just informally after talks or presentations. And what’s clear is that the repeated habitual use of pornography, especially the most cruel and degrading forms of pornography that present women as these degraded objects, that the habitual use of that kind of pornography by men has a direct effect on relationships.
So, I’ve heard from many men and women about how the male partner’s use of pornography will distort what had perhaps prior to that been a healthy, intimate and sexual relationship. These stories are piling up everywhere. I always say – it’s partly joke but it’s actually very accurate – that if you want to know about the effects of repeated pornography use on heterosexual relationships in this culture, there are two kinds of people you can ask. One is marriage therapists and the other is divorce lawyers, because these things are actually coming up as relationships disintegrate.
“Society has become less sexist,” he told me. “Women have more access to higher education, they can make more inroads into politics and government…but we’ve also lost ground. And I think this question of rape, pornography, and the trivializing of sexual violence is one of those reasons where we’ve lost ground, and I think in fact that’s part of the reason people have so much trouble talking about pornography. Now, I’ve always said that, and people say, ‘Well, the reason we don’t talk about porn is we have trouble talking about sex!’ And I always say, ‘Look around at this culture. People are talking about sex all the time!’”
When I talk to men about this, I don’t pretend that, you know, I’m somehow on high and mighty throne telling people how to behave. I grew up as a man in, post-WWII America, what I would call the Playboy World, and I struggled with this and to some degree still struggle, which is why I stay away from pornography of all kinds because I feel like it takes me into a place where I don’t like the person I am. Now that’s often a hard conversation for men who are trained to be tough and stoic and not reveal emotion, but those are the kind of conversations I think we have to have and I think we can have them. At least in my own life, I know I’ve been able to have them.
A powerful quote that I liked from the article was from Dr. Jensen, saying “One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re man, and you’re trying to disconnect from the pornographic world by yourself, if you want to go it alone, I can guarantee you you’ll fail.” It’s absolutely true. If you are fighting a porn addiction you need support and need to be held accountable to someone. Groups like No Fap are great for those who truly want to quit porn, because your’e surrounded by like-minded men and women who will support you when you succeed and will help you deal with failure. Men don’t like being talked down to, so it’s often hard to spark a conversation with men about porn. I believe that things like pornography are temptations from Satan, but also are a way to dull down the male libido. As mentioned above, studies have shown that constant porn consumption leads to aversion to sex. Men that are between 16-24 should be all about sex, but many men this age in the U.S. and beyond don’t seem to care much for it anymore. G’s brothers are 18 and are addicted to porn, and do not have motivation to go out and meet women. When G was actively watching porn, it was frustrating because I felt I was more into sex than he was. I’ve been approached by friends of mine that had told me their boyfriends weren’t into sex anymore, and are addicted to porn.
If you are a porn addict and want to quit, the first step is admitting that you’re a porn addict. The next step is finding an accountability partner (partner or friend, although a friend is recommended more). You should find ways to limit internet access such as content blockers, but I believe that the best way is to learn to face everything head on. Don’t go to websites that have content that will trigger you to watch porn. You can’t avoid everything but avoiding most things will help you with your fight. It takes a few months but you will eventually notice changes in your sex life. Many men who are apart of No Fap say they have more energy, productivity, their libido goes up, their penis size goes up, sex feels better with their partner, and they do not objectify women as much. Porn is everywhere and I don’t think that it will ever fully go away, but we can drag it back into the underground instead of it being apart of mainstream culture.
Finally, I wanted to add this last section. If you’re a porn addict, apologize to your partner. Your porn habit is disrespectful to your partner, and it affects your sex life. It frustrates your partner when she wants to have sex and you don’t want to because you already looked at porn. You have to take the time to put your partners feelings into perspective. Even if you fail and look up porn, just keep your partner in the loop so they know. Nothing is worse than your partner hiding things from you.