Porn Part 2: The High School Years

12 Apr

Pornography hurts people. It destroys relationships, prevents people from developing healthy sex lives, cripples the sense of empathy, and generally hinders people’s ability to form the kinds of connections that make life interesting and worthwhile.

When boys start looking at porn at an early age, they become desensitized to women’s feelings. Boys of 10 or 12 are too young to understand anything going on in a porn video except that it gives them boners and that women apparently like to be treated like a set of holes. I know that’s a gross way to put that, but that’s the message in most porn, isn’t it? They don’t learn anything about female sexuality, they don’t learn how women want to be treated, they don’t learn that sex can be anything more than sating a biological need, like eating or going to the toilet. Or masturbating.

These boys become teenagers and have their first sexual experiences, and they don’t understand why things are so very different than the fantasies porn created for them. If they’re thoughtful, they may have realized that women don’t really like to be treated like a set of holes, and they end up learning to live with the frustration created by the fact that their partners don’t do the things they’ve learned to associate with orgasm through years of watching porn. If they’re unthoughtful, they may ask their partners to do the things they’ve seen in videos, in which case their partners will either go along despite not wanting to do such things, or they’ll say no, which leads to the same frustration.

Boys also know that love exists, and they usually want to experience it, if Snoop Dogg and Maxim haven’t beaten it out of them yet, but the messages of pornography make navigating personal relationships difficult. How can young boys associate love with sex, when sex as they’ve been exposed to it looks like something you do to someone you don’t think very much of? I met a friend’s 15-year-old brother when I was 24, and he asked us if he could talk to us about his relationship problems and get our advice. He said, “I really liked this girl a lot, but she let me fuck her. Now I don’t think I like her anymore. I mean, she let me fuck her!” Let that marinate for a minute.

Girls generally don’t use porn to masturbate, so they usually don’t develop an association between orgasm and images of women being used/abused. Still, their first sexual experiences can be fraught with problems, too. Boys raised on porn don’t know what to do with a real female partner, so early sexual experiences are usually at least very disappointing, and likely uncomfortable and worrisome, for girls. Boys come to their first sexual experiences hoping that the girls they have sex with will duplicate the behavior of women paid to allow men to use their bodies, and girls come to their first sexual experiences hoping to be romanced and treated gently and carefully. They want sex and love to coexist, as it should, and are shocked when boys they liked enough to have sex with seem to develop hostile feelings toward them after they sleep together.

I know I’m generalizing, but our society (in the form of its media, porn included) tends to train young people to have exactly these expectations, and the fact is that it generally turns out exactly thus. There is a MAJOR disconnect built into this scenario, and it sadly reflects the reality that most young people face these days.

Alright, you’ll say, but early sexual experiences are almost always weird. Yes, but it isn’t as if actual sex replaces the influence of porn once we lose our virginity. Instead, even more complicated and conflicting issues arise once the two meet.

To be continued…


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15 Responses to “Porn Part 2: The High School Years”

  1. hellonhairylegs April 12, 2008 at 8:08 AM #

    I don’t have anything constructive to say but damn, you’re so very right.

    You’ve probably seen this before, but I’ll post it just in case and for anyone reading the comment thread.

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/pornography&cruelty.htm

  2. Nine Deuce April 12, 2008 at 6:11 PM #

    I love Robert Jensen. I highly recommend him to any and all readers, especially men who still use porn.

  3. Jess April 13, 2008 at 9:44 PM #

    I think that plenty of girls use porn to masturbate. Even anti-porn girls that I know use it or have used it at some point. Especially as it has become super-available, I’d be really hesitant to discount the proportion of young women who are using porn or at least watching it a little.

  4. Nine Deuce April 13, 2008 at 10:16 PM #

    Jess – I do know some girls use porn, but the vast majority don’t. As for those who do, I’ll get to that in part 5.

  5. chlorophyll April 26, 2008 at 9:56 PM #

    Hmmm well, I’m not an exception when I say that at around middle school I developed a taste for sneaking glances at internet porn. I’m a girl. I was aroused by the fact that I was seeing naked people having sex, but it never hit me until recently how porn is such an accepted and ingrained medium in male culture. I shave my legs, pits, and pubic region because boys grew up looking at pornstars with Brazilian bikini waxes and would consider anything otherwise to be an abnormality. I think that sexual trends in the personal lives of a population directly mirror the trends in the current pornography. Anal was never something consenting hetero couples wanted to do until it became hot shit in porn. The rise of amateur porno sites has also created even more unrealistic expectations of what a girl’s body should look like, because now the male mentality seems to be: “Well, she’s a real person like you and she looks like that and will do that; why don’t you?”

  6. Maggie Hays July 18, 2008 at 1:45 AM #

    Well, what you wrote here is a very elaborate & heart-felt piece on the woman-hating propaganda that pornography actually is, Nine, and how it affects society. :)

    Two thumbs up!

  7. Rian January 19, 2009 at 8:51 PM #

    There was an article in The Mail last week about porn education in schools. I know a lot of people turn to porn for sex education (heck, a lot of people are instructed to do so by “sexperts”), and I’d like to think that real how-to videos/multimedia could fulfill that demand and be produced without being porntastic. However, I don’t hold much hope that it would actually reduce porn consumption as porn and sex are always about so much more than sex and even the desire to be good in bed is itself largely a product of porn culture.

  8. undercover punk June 10, 2009 at 2:07 PM #

    I’m late to the game here, but I totally LOVE IT! Love it!!

    The disconnect is so real, and yet so *invisible*! We gotta keep talking about it.

  9. karinova June 24, 2009 at 12:07 AM #

    Wow.
    I knew all of this already, but I don’t think it gets any more crystallized than that 15-year-old boy’s summary of his “relationship problems.”
    Jesus.

    He likes her; she likes him. The urge to express this like via sex is quite possibly the most natural thing on Earth. However, the sex he’s no doubt familiar with– pornsex– says: sex is not generally something you do to (note, not “with) someone you like. In pornsex, women are like toiletpaper— you don’t use it because you have tender feelings for it; you use it because you physically have to, and then you get as far from it as possible. So if your girlfriend lets you treat her like toiletpaper… well. That’s confusing.

    On some level, he either a) groks that women don’t REALLY want to be treated as a collection of holes, or b) is experiencing major cognitive dissonance at the idea that he is (as far as he knows) expected to treat someone he likes like crap.

  10. Imaginary November 30, 2009 at 6:41 AM #

    Not that I have anything against the word, but someone saying that they “fucked” someone else just lends that edge of disgust to the former someone’s voice.

  11. isme November 30, 2009 at 9:50 AM #

    Yeah…it’s bizarre how people who aren’t celibate use sex related swear words.

    I just caught myself about to say “WTF?” :(

  12. Immir March 3, 2010 at 12:06 AM #

    People forget that young girls want to get laid, too. It’s a major head fuck when you come into contact with pornography as a young female. Actually, how women get treated in our culture is confusing- women are SEXUALIZED but NOT SEXUAL.

    And if you do mimick how our culture depicts females, then you are a ‘slut’ and you’re ‘stupid’ and ‘you’re not using your head’.
    Example: Don’t wear revealing clothes because you’ll come across as an attention seeking ho.
    Do any boys get told before they go out to not be an attention GIVING ho?

    Double standards everywhere you look, and always awful consequences and no freedom. Our culture is twisting girls inside and shaping them to be something far from the reality of what they actually are…

  13. jeannettesmyth October 6, 2013 at 1:35 AM #

    just reading carole king’s bio.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. pornography is anti-woman propaganda. « mmm, brains! - April 27, 2008

    [...] Porn Part 2: The High School Years Boys raised on porn don’t know what to do with a real female partner, so early sexual experiences are usually at least very disappointing, and likely uncomfortable and worrisome, for girls. Boys come to their first sexual experiences hoping that the girls they have sex with will duplicate the behavior of women paid to allow men to use their bodies, and girls come to their first sexual experiences hoping to be romanced and treated gently and carefully. They want sex and love to coexist, as it should, and are shocked when boys they liked enough to have sex with seem to develop hostile feelings toward them after they sleep together. [...]

  2. Rage Against the Manchine’s Series on Pornography « AntiPorn101 - February 14, 2011

    [...] Porn Part Two: The High School Years [...]

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