Let’s talk about porn

Let’s talk about porn. I am going to be straight with you now so that no one gets too excited. I am talking about the porn culture that I experienced in Southeast Asia. Think rape fantasies, animals and everything else in between.

What is it that creates societies in which women are suppressed and subdued, yet simultaneously worshipped, sexualised and exploited?

Porn. Do you like it? Do you enjoy the occasional porn movie on your own or with your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband?

Everyone is entitled to make their own choices. That is what freedom constitutes. I think perhaps what we lack is education and information to help us make informed choices.

I take issue with the direction in which the porn culture is hurtling. In the current climate of equal rights, Gender and Development (the supposedly more gender-inclusive alternative to Women in Development), The Millennium Development Goals and the ‘educate a girl and you educate a village’ idea, the porn culture evinces that whilst we are pro women’s rights on the surface,  behind closed doors, women remain on their knees, bound and gagged by their male counterparts both literally and metaphorically.

I have a friend who says that the way you have sex is the way you live life. I think that this is true to a certain extent. We all have mummy and daddy issues buried somewhere deep within us. A close friend of mine is in a relationship with a man that exudes masculinity. He is the brooding, silent type with a Channing Tatum-esque jaw clench. He likes to be dominated, slapped and controlled. What does this say about the way he sees himself in relation to women? Is this a sexualised manifestation of his guilt, his need for a mother, his desperation to be controlled or something more? What about you, how do you like it?

When your boyfriend roles over and says “let’s watch some porn”, the initial excitement experienced by any woman is bound to fade once the viewing starts. Two women going down on each other for half an hour? Five minute close ups of shaving rash? Ten minutes of watching a woman claim she is really enjoying getting her asshole torn apart by two men at the same time? If you are a man then perhaps you are shaking your head and saying that that’s not what porn is like. That, or I have just gotten you hard. You’re welcome. If you are a woman, then chances are that you are laughing, and the scenario that I have just described is painfully familiar.  Let’s be honest, porn is created for a male audience. Women watch and wait whilst their partners become aroused by a woman that looks nothing like their girlfriend, with blow up breasts and shoes that are far from sensible. Where are the flat chested girls wearing espadrilles in porn? If women really got off by staring into female orifices then all they would have to do is find a mirror.

Porn is illegal in Thailand which, of course, makes it all the more exciting. I spent some time with a group of men who circulated porn the way that children played with Pokemon cards. And let me tell you, those shiny Pokemon cards? They were a hot commodity. And the women? The women are equally as enthused to participate. In a society where they lack control and have been brought up to fight for male attention, sex is one area from which women can try to derive some sort of twisted power.

When I returned to London, I thought I had escaped the porn culture that I encountered in Thailand; that is until I spoke to a friend about this article. He said that his computer hard drive was chock-a-block with porn, some really “fucked up stuff”. When I asked why he had it, he said that he and his friends all swap porn collections, so, naturally, it couldn’t be helped if some bestiality or rape porn ended up in his collection. Come on world, get a grip.

When I asked a friend why he liked porn so much, he said it was because it taught him new sexual techniques. I think this is where the biggest problem lies. What technique apart from unrealistic sex, disrespect and sexism can you learn from porn? Kissing someone and then opening your eyes only to realise they are looking longingly behind you at a girl choking on something that might not be kosher? If this is what has come to constitute intimacy, then ideas of love and inter-personal relationships look to be in serious danger.

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