Internet porn – the ultimate educator for normalising abuse and violence in our relationships

How are we currently learning about sex, sexuality and relationships? The most dominant tool that youth and adults are using to learn about sexuality today is from the internet. Porn, and specifically internet porn, has hijacked our relationship with sexuality and transformed intimacy, love and connection into a functional act of domination and abuse.

Sex education could be fundamental in developing intimacy and loving relationships, and appreciating and understanding our body. But the reality is that thousands of young men and women are caught up in daily internet porn consumption that has become about abuse and violence, portraying a degrading way of viewing our bodies. The constant bombardment and stream of porn has already proved to cause serious health issues, such as anxiety, depression and addictive behaviour.

This insidious form of sex education changes how sexuality is seen and expressed, reducing men and women to over-sexualized objects and diminishing them to vessels of sexual function and physical release, instead of a loving connection celebrating two people.

An increasing number of studies are exposing the true extent of this widespread pandemic, and medical research now shows that porn addiction can be traced in the brain. The responses recorded are the same as in drug addicts and alcoholics.

These studies highlight the brutal sexualisation of teenagers, the lack of relevant guidance available, and the concern that parents and teachers have about how children deal with the overload of sexual images.

There has been a widespread call for sex education in schools to be modernised with campaigns highlighting how children are being pressured into inappropriate sexual behaviour.Meanwhile, young men and women are already in treatment for either porn addiction or as victims of abuse. Young people are playing out pornographic behaviour believing that this is how love, relationship and sexuality is lived. So the abuse that is suffered, which is actually rape-style sex, is then viewed as consensual.

The boundaries have become blurred. Consequently, a clear victim-perpetrator profile cannot be applied.

There is a lot of concern today, and rightly so. The big question everybody raises is:

How do we help youth deal with internet porn addiction and its multiple consequences?

Have we seriously asked the question:

“What kind of society do we live in, that endorses violent and degrading visions of women’s and men’s bodies and presents this in such a prominent and pervasive place on our screens and in our media?”

… and then, expect our kids not to take this on.

Are we resistant to admitting the fact that we live in a society that encourages men and women to de-value themselves and each other, engendering a sexuality centred on a highly reduced form of sex which we call ‘normal’?

While we may ask what kind of society we are living in today, it is down to us as individuals to shape the society we live in. So who are we allowing to shape it?

Why do we promote sex as a consumer good that you access, get your release, and that’s it? Sex has become a commodity.

We have a tendency to pretend that sexuality is something ‘out there’ that our young have to discover, as if it was something that exists outside of us, and has to be learnt like driving a car. But that is not the case.

Sex is the physical expression of a loving relationship with another. It is a way of celebrating the love that we live on a daily basis.

How we live our sexuality and how we identify as men and women is a product of how we love and live in our life. Each and every one of us determines actively what intimacy, love and connection means. Therefore, watching internet porn has become part of a reality that we learn through our socialisation process. This is what we have determined sexuality to be and we have made it ‘normal’. We have made this ‘normal’ and yet, at the same time we are worried about the consequences.

We look for solutions to deal with the consequences – we invest in individual treatment, in school reforms that modernise sex education – we are good at blaming the individual for not being able to deal with the onslaught, or not being able to stay away from the source that creates the harm, but we avoid looking at the root of the problem and what caused this in the first place.

The normalisation and proliferation of pornography on the internet sets a standard that seriously sabotages the natural and loving choices we can be making in our relationships, intimacy and sexual expression.

Are we going to continue to leave sex education to the mercy of the internet and do we really want the porn industry to set the standards for ourselves and our children?

STI’s, teenage pregnancies, gender based sexual violence, etc. and the new forms of sexual ill-health such as chronic pain in young women, psychological damage due to porn-style sex, erectile dysfunction from internet porn addiction, etc. are just the symptoms of the ill we have set as a standard in society and we have to stop “treating cancer with band aid” and address the root cause of the ill.

We are far off track and the young, as the reflecting mirror of what we as a society as a whole are living, are giving us the shocking testimony of it. Those symptoms are the results of a way to relate with each other that is characterized by violence and abuse, in its most multiple forms – lived as a normalized standard and not even identified as such.

What is sold to us as sexual liberation is based on force and oppression and is not liberating anybody, just pigeonholing men and women into deep entrenched stereotypes of harmful sexual behaviour.

What difference does it make if a 12 year old, a 25 year old or a 52 year old watches porn when this is an accepted practice or standard in our society and this is where they are heading towards growing older?

 

References:

  • Teenagers and online porn: Let’s tackle it all – birds, bees, love and ‘slags’.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/better-sex-education/10283716/Teenagers-and-online-porn-Lets-tackle-it-all-birds-bees-love-and-slags.html
  • Educating on the harmful effects of pornography.
    https://www.fightthenewdrug.org/Get-The-Facts/
  • Pornography addiction leads to same brain activity as alcoholism or drug abuse, study shows.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/pornography-addiction-leads-to-same-brain-activity-as-alcoholism-or-drug-abuse-study-shows-8832708.html
  • Teenage boys addicted to ‘extreme’ porn and want help. Exclusive: Young boys are becoming so addicted to extreme internet porn that they now want help to stop watching it, according to a new study.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/better-sex-education/10339424/Teenage-boys-addicted-to-extreme-porn-and-want-help.html

 

 

by Rachel Andras

This article was originally published on Unimedliving.com

Internet porn – the ultimate educator for normalising abuse and violence in our relationships

 

For further reading see published articles on:

Mainstreaming Porn – Who is truly educating our kids?

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