How Has Porn Influenced Modern Relationships?

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It is no mystery that people watch porn. Depictions of a sexual nature have existed since prehistoric times. So really, as long as there have been humans, there has been porn.   

It has always been a bit of a taboo subject, especially amongst women. Really, everyone has watched porn at least once in their lives. Some sources say that children as young as 11 are being exposed to porn, whether they are actively seeking it out, being shown it by friends or stumbling across it on a parents computer. 64% of young people between 13-24 actively seek out porn weekly. With the introduction of faster broadband speeds and smartphones, it has never been easier to access porn. In 2018, 5,517,000,000 hours of porn were watched on PornHub alone.

With porn being 35% of all internet downloads, it is clear it has having a big impact on our lives. Gone are the days of having to buy magazines to consume porn, no matter where you are or what time of day it is, you can watch porn. Our society has become increasingly sexualised. All you have to do is watch MTV for 10 minutes to see that.

Worryingly, this increased access to porn has changed how young people learn about sex and relationships. Schools are seriously lacking in good sex education, so kids are turning else where to learn. When I was at school all I learned was the mechanics of sex and how to put a condom on a banana. The class was split by gender. The girls went off to learn about periods and who knows what the boys were taught?! I was never taught about healthy relationships or sexuality. I knew the ins and outs of having sex and the diseases you could get from doing it. So, when it came to being in a relationship, I didn’t know what was healthy. Nobody ever told me what it was going to be like when I first started having sex. How often should you do it? How should it feel? How does it change your relationship? I could barely even say the word sex when I first started doing it. It was all very embarrassing and awkward. 60% of high school & university students surveyed admitted to watching porn as a way of sex education, with most students saying they do not rate the education they get at school as effective. The NSPCC conducted a survey and found that many boys that watch porn wanted to copy the acts that they had seen – 39% of 13-14 year old boys & 21% 11-12 year old boys. 3/4 of the children in this study admitted that they did not understand what consent is. 

Really, learning about sex from watching porn is like learning to drive by watching Fast & Furious. A really stupid idea!! Porn is not real. It does not show real life relationships. It does not teach young people how to treat others or how to be in a loving relationship. Learning about sex from porn creates really unhealthy relationships and ultimately can lead to disaster. The internet has opened up a whole new world of kinks and fetishes and has created a bigger appetite for much more hardcore porn than ever before. If this is the kind of porn young people are coming across, this is what they will be expecting, or even needing, real life sex to be like. Consuming porn on a regular basis starts to change what arouses you, leading to you needing something a bit more extreme each time. This then has an impact on having sex with another person. 

Porn has also had a huge impact body image, particularly for women. With the lack of sex education in schools, young people are learning about how naked bodies should look from porn. Of course, Porn stars do not look like regular people. They have spend thousands of pounds to look the way they do. Let’s just be clear here, real human bodies do not look like they do in porn. These are highly edited & often surgical enhanced bodies. Women have hair on their bodies, lumps and bumps and – big news here – no two vaginas look the same!! But, if you are only learning about sex through watching porn, you will only see bodies that look this, so you will be expecting your real life sexual partners to look like them. I can’t even tell you how many guys have asked me to shave “down there” because thats how it is in porn. Hair is natural, it is there for a reason. Do not let anyone else tell you what to do with it. If you like it natural, leave it and if you prefer to shave/wax, then you do you! Don’t do it because that is what expected of you. 

So, how does this all of this impact modern dating and relationships? 

The 24/7 access to porn now has created a decrease in real human connections. Just like everything on the internet, porn is all about instant gratification. You can get your dinner delivered to you with the click of a button. Next day delivery, and even same day delivery, is now expected. Dating apps allow you to be constantly meeting new people. The internet has made society more demanding than ever before. This easy access to so many things has made people less patient. We get annoyed when our dinner is even 5 minutes later than Deliveroo had said or our parcels don’t appear at our door the day after ordering. When it comes to relationships, the human aspect of it all has almost totally disappeared. Dating happens on screens first, meaning you aren’t really making any sort of connection until you arrange to meet the other person in real life. The constant swiping of dating apps means there is always something else out there, and maybe what is out there is better than what we have now?! 

Dating apps have also made it so much easier for people to have lots of sex with lots of different people. Because there is a screen between you when you first match, it is much easier to turn straight to talking about sex, sometimes even before saying hello! I think porn and the internet have a lot to answer to here. It is more common than not to match with someone on Tinder and for their opening message to be “sit on my face” or something just as vile. It makes dating a lot harder to navigate because a lot of people are just out there looking for the next meaningless shag. It is easier to ask someone you don’t know or respect to fulfil your wild sexual fantasy than someone you are in a meaningful relationship with. 

The increased consumption of porn has also changed how we are having sex with each other. The internet has opened up a whole new world of fetishes that there is now no limit to what you can watch. Watching porn regularly creates a chemical change in your brain, changing what you are aroused by, meaning every time it takes a little bit more to get you turned on. This in turn starts to impact your sex life with another person, not just your alone time. The more porn you watch, the more hardcore your sex has to become. This can sometimes lead to violence, and unfortunately people have died because of it. 

It also creates unrealistic expectations in sexual relationships. Women especially start to feel like they have to act a certain way, mirroring the way women in porn behave. Whether that be the noises they make, the faces they pull or the positions they are in. There is a constant pressure to act like a porn star, when really it is all acting. Most women don’t orgasm from penetrative sex like they seem to do in porn. And if a guy has learned everything from porn he won’t understand that. He will assume that is real and how real women orgasm, so women start to fake it. Faking it is no fun. Sex should be enjoyable for both people involved, not just the one with the penis!! Porn is extremely male-pleasure-centric so it is often forgotten that women can also get pleasure from sex. 

I think there needs to be a big societal shift to change attitudes around dating, relationships, sex & porn. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that we are all more open about our sexuality, but I do think we need to make some changes. Really, it all should start at the beginning. Schools should be teaching young people more than just the biology of sex. We should be having more open and honest conversations within schools about sexuality, relationships and we should also talk about porn. This would then create a whole generation of people growing up in healthy relationships with other. Education is really key to everything. There would be a better understanding of what consent is as well as what real bodies look like. The pressure would be taken off women to look and act a certain way, allowing women to enjoy sex as themselves. 

 

 

 

 

I think it is important to be open and honest about these subjects and would love to chat to anyone about all of this and would love to know your thoughts. 

Comments

  1. This is so interesting! I completely agree. As a male, the only sex ed we had was to place a condom on a dildo and a short talk about STIs. When the teacher (female) moved on to talk about periods and consent, all interest in the males was lost unfortunately. As a gay man I see this also reflects on gay relationships, where also perfectly sculpted bodies are a norm and any other body shape is called a dad body (???)

    The hardest part about this topic is the fact that many in their 20s and 30s (and even 40s?) still behave like horny teenagers and consume porn on a daily basis, so when it comes to the first sexual interaction with someone new, the expectations are so high, both usually end-up disappointed. And in the rare cases that they decide to carry on dating the person, they might feel as if they are ‘settling’ because we have been trained by porn to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side and that the next orgasm with the next person will be even better.

    This is where REAL education should come into place. Females should not be seen as a sex toy and males should no longer be the centre of everything, and the only way to break this barrier is through education.

    • I couldn’t agree more. There is always this constant need to be having sex all the time with as many people as you can, when really that is not healthy. When does it get to the point that you are happy with the person you are with and you stop searching (swiping on dating apps)??

      Education really is the only way to change things!

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