Changing The Face Of Pornography

I want to change the definition of porn and here is why;

I have recently watched the Netflix show Big Mouth (I definitely recommend it) and in one of the episodes a steamy book is circulated around the characters and one of them, Jay is very confused by this “wait a minute, you’re telling me all these girls are walking around reading porn!” And this, along with the recent Fifty Shades release, a few recent documentaries had me thinking, what do we as a society really classify as porn and is it changing?

What Is Porn And How Is It Changing?

Most people know the old adage when it comes to the porn vs art debate of “knowing porn when I see it” but with a society that is increasingly permeated by hypersexualised imagery, easily accessible sex videos etc is that something we can really say anymore?  We adults may “know porn when we see it” but do the kids?  They unlike us have grown up constantly able to easily access this content and are somewhat desensitised to it, so when they are grown ups will they know porn when they see it?

The point I am getting to is that maybe we need to start, as a society, begin to have a conversation around porn, its place and definition. Not to limit or sensor but to tackle the issues that are arising out of porn’s increased sales, accessibility, use and participation.

Talking to my little brother who is now 15 it becomes very clear that this conversation is far overdue. Last time I was home I made him sit down with me and have a talk. He knows what I do for work and because of that he feels that I am the best person to talk to (I’m not sure about best but if he is talking I’m happy) and what started out with questions and clarifying terms has begun to evolve into a discussion around porn and how it should be viewed.

Porn And How It Is Viewed

Many kids first contact with porn is way before their parents believe it is (kids as young as 7 or 8 have reported regularly accessing pornography via the internet) and because these young minds are entering this very confronting world with little to no guidance they begin to form their opinions on sex based on what they see on the screen. My little brother did.  He believed that if the size of his penis wasn’t close to that of the guys on the screen, girls wouldn’t like him. And the penis size question was just the start.

We then began talk about how the act of sex is nothing like it is depicted on the screen. I came to him with his analogy, porn is like an action movie. In real life most days you will walk down the street with little to no car chases, explosions etc it’s the same with porn. When you have sex it will be much less over the top and more real. This seemed to help something click with how he viewed porn and I hope this has moved him to a place where he can enjoy porn but see it for what it really is, a fantasy.

The problem is not every family has a loud mouth older sister who works in a sex shop and is constantly thinking about these issues and that can make it harder. Couple this with the fact that porn seems to becoming part of the societal norm and we have the makings for a perfect storm of confused horned up kids that need guidance.

The First Step Is To Define What Porn Is

For me the first step is about defining what porn is and I think for so many people my definition will make them uncomfortable. I think we should define porn as any content (image, book, video and advertisement) that aims to arouse. Now, before we continue I know this will include images and content that is currently not considered porn and I want that. But do not misunderstand me I’m not asking for these things to be gotten rid of or kept for adult eyes only rather I would like people to engage in a conversation with their children around the meaning of these images, their repercussions and effects so when they do come to sex videos and imagery (what is considered porn now) that will have some context into how they can approach this content. I want to remove the stigma and whispers from the word “porn” and use it as a correct term for sexualised images.

Sexy woman in lingerie
Image: Sexualised Imagery

I also believe that this re-definition of porn would force a lot of people to reconsider the images and content they engage with and hopefully bring a level of awareness to sex’s real presence in our daily lives. This increased discussion could mean that the types of conversations I have with my brother can be a regular occurrence in houses with teenagers, it could mean that people who have worked in porn experience less stigma later in life, we as a society could see a change of our attitudes towards sex that have us being more open and more honest.

The reality is my wanting to change the definition of porn and consider more things under this term doesn’t change a thing, sex and porn will still be there, so will advertising using sex to sell but at least if we give it a name hopefully channels of discussion will open up and our young people won’t feel lost by the often confusing and unspoken rules we are all meant to learn but no one is teaching.

Author: Jamie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre

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Jennifer works marketing at Adultsmart an online sex toy shop. She has a non-judgemental approach to sex, sex toys and sexuality. Her favorite saying is if it feels good and right and is not illegal then why not!

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