Porn: The Defilement of a Generation

This article has been submitted by a Penny Post reader in his twenties. See below for advice if this is an issue that affects you or your family.

It has become increasingly clear to me that exposure to online pornography, for my generation in particular, has had a host of negative effects. My age group, which comprises people born roughly from 1995 to 2000, has been the first generation in human history to have been exposed to graphic, hardcore pornography at a young age, readily available at the click of a mouse. The material in question is a far cry from the more sedated forms of erotica that were found in ‘gentleman’s’ magazines from the 1950’s onwards, and bears the distinction of having universal access via broadband, rather than the exclusive consumption by an adult audience found via newsstands.

By the age of 11, or thereabouts, me and most of my male peers at primary school were viewing online hardcore pornography. News of such a thing had filtered down from elder brothers, and had quickly smashed our innocence within a couple of viewings. Awareness had not yet entered the cultural and political atmosphere of these times, and parents only began to install protective software after childhood corruption had already occurred.  In retrospect, the lexicon of porn began to emerge on the playground increasingly during this period, with ‘Fuck’, ‘Slut’, and other expletives being heard more than intermittently. Within several years, not belonging to this ‘club’ of viewership, and not attaining this medal of supposed ‘maturity’ within the tribe like structures of male cliques, had social implications. This was so much so that an individual may be considered sheltered, weak and ripe for mockery. It leeched into the budding world of early adolescent relationships, where castigation for those not willing to engage in sexual elements became common. As puberty progressed, any female form deviating from pornographic depictions of the ‘ideal’ was implicitly viewed, and often explicitly viewed, as unattractive, and sometimes mocked. This last attitude has remained entrenched in many to this day.

The most prevalent consequence to this in my measurement, has been the rampant instability or in some cases, inability to form relationships. Porn allowed the mind to fritter away hours discovering the latest stimulating scenario, the latest adjustment in desirable partner, to an extent that reality can never hope to match. Chasing this stimulus in the real world, the material approximation of the digital experience, rather than the other way around, has seen so many stable relationships crack and crumble due to wandering eyes and unfaithful acts. The stable partner can never change form to satisfy the whims of the libido in the way the pixelated varieties can.

This plays out in the statistics of sexual and relationship behaviour, with various changes being observed in the early 21stcentury. Indeed, 30 percent of 16-24 year olds asked In a study had first heterosexual intercourse before the age of sixteen, and the average number of sexual partners for men has increased from 8.6, to 11.7, in the period between 1990-91 to 2010-12. Moreover, the proclivity of anal sex has increased from 12 to 17 percent in men, and from 11 to 15 percent in women.

In another interesting insight, Pew discovered via their research that around 25 percent of millennials are unlikely to marry by their mid 40’s to 50’s if trends remain, representing the highest unmarried proportion of adults in modern history. Whilst marriage is not the only manifestation of a strong relationship, societies increasing foregoing of this traditional bond arguably represents a difficulty in maintaining and entering into commitment. When a similar cohort was asked this question in 1960, 12 percent of adults had not married. This decreased to 5 percent when the same cohort was asked upon reaching their mid 40’s to 50’s.

Although there are other social conditions that these changing behaviours could be attributed to, such as financial concerns around entering into marriage, it chimes with my observations that millennials seem intent on chasing the sexual thrill presented to them in porn, and see the confines of marriage as stifling this pursuit.

A study on aggression in porn found that of 304 popular scenes analysed, 88.2 percent contained physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, and slapping. The Durham University academic Fiona Vera-Gray, found that 1 in every 8 titles on the front pages of the UK’s most popular porn websites described material that fit the definition of sexual violence by the World Health Organisation. These are sites that rank as some of the most viewed sites on the internet. Whilst speculative then, I do not think it illogical to suggest that the predatory climate women are exposed to on a daily basis, at least partially, has its source in the carousel of graphic imagery porn has normalised.

The problem millennials have in extracting themselves from this world is this normalisation. It is not anomalous behaviour to visit such sites, and as discussed, the habit and the consequential attitudes have now been cultivated since childhood and early adolescence. A conscious effort on the part of the individual is needed to identify the damage they are doing to themselves, the impact on current and future relationships, and the assimilation of ugly and sometimes even nefarious attitudes towards women. This awakening can then proliferate throughout social circles, and begin to challenge normalised ideas on a wider scale.

Advice on keeping children safe online

NSPCC advice on parental controls and keeping children safe online

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post

e-newsletter 

for local, positive news, events, jobs, recipes, recommendations & more.

Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale