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Porn Addiction: Don't become a victim to fiction

21st April 2016

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Porn websites are more accessed than social media or shopping sites.

In a world where consumerism and social networking seem to be the axis of the earth, this statistic left me fairly shocked. But what shocks me more is that what is supposed to be adult content seems to be quite the opposite, as the average age of accessing porn is getting lower and lower as the industry becomes more accessible.

In a Childline study, 60% of young people in the UK watch porn to get information about sex and 28% of young people felt that pornography changed the way they thought about relationships. These statistics suggest that young people are using porn as a form of education about sex and relationships. The worrying thing is, the nature of the majority of this “adult content” is derogatory, hostile and unrealistic. Can we really afford to allow this damaging content to set a president in the minds of young people whilst we all sit back and ignore the situation due to an uncomfortable taboo?

Many would say that a crucial part of having a healthy, happy relationship is a healthy sex life, but the lines are becoming blurred between fantasy and reality. Not to say that having a fantasy or wanting to explore is unhealthy, however when these fantasies become a harmful component in the makeup of a real relationship, a red flag is raised. We need to understand the difference between genuine intimacy and what is clearly fiction. A representation of sex that depicts women as sexual objects and men as prevailing alpha males is creating a false expectation. People are left with a warped understanding of sexual intimacy, not to mention the pressure of conforming to impossible body ideals. The way women specifically are objectified in these videos allows an unrealistic depiction of sex to manifest. Not only this but explicit and aggressive themes are becoming more commonly searched for, meaning a preference for this type of interaction is growing.

There is also the danger of people not being able to fulfil their desires in reality due to what they have become accustomed to in the online world, meaning this becomes their only viable sexual outlet. A dependency on porn is a sure way to destroy one’s self esteem, the ability to form successful partnerships and also creates an unhealthy appetite for sexual images. The seriousness of porn addiction should not be taken lightly and can be just as detrimental to emotional and mental wellbeing as any other type of addiction. So why is the issue being brushed under the carpet?

The negative content of these online videos is having a serious effect on young people’s ability to engage in healthy relationships. Aggressive and dominating attitudes towards women are being normalised and relationships will subsequently suffer. What can we do to help change the vision of sexual relationships that is being engrained on the minds of young people?

Let’s face it, there is a huge dose of inevitability that cannot be ignored. The internet has become an infinite space of possible resources, meaning it’s near impossible to control what is accessible to young people. So rather than porn shaming, and creating an even bigger taboo, it is time to educate on the reality of this grossly warped misinterpretation and clarify the difference between reality and fiction. Be aware of what you are watching, take it with a pinch of salt, and don’t become a victim of fiction.  

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