And the theme is pornography!
You might be wondering what pornography has to do with your sexual health. Well, while taking care of your sexual health is largely about avoiding catching sexually transmitted infections and being physically healthy, it’s also about having a healthy attitude towards sex. Because a happy sex life is a healthy sex life, and that’s where porn comes in.
It may seem like porn is just a bunch of naughty videos that exists in the dark corners of the web, but porn is absolutely everywhere, and it’s way more influential than you might think.
Who watches it?
Although people often think mainstream porn mostly caters to hetero male fantasies, porn is for and accessible to anyone and everyone. In fact, it’s so easy to find online that loads of children and young people first discover it by accidentally stumbling across it (according to reports, at just 11 years old on average).
Why should we talk about it?
Because it’s so accessible, a lot of people use porn as secret sex education – they think it tells you all you need to know about doing the naughty. But it’s VITAL to remember that porn is NOT an accurate representation of sex, and lessons taken from some types of porn can deffo be harmful.
That’s why we all need to talk about it, challenge it, and realise that porn films are like any other films – with actors, directors and, most importantly, editors. They’re sexy films made for people’s entertainment which is all well and good, but it’s key to recognise the line between fantasy and reality.
What do we need to talk about?
Subjects like positive body image, consent, communication and contraception are not covered or promoted by a lot of porn, yet they’re INTEGRAL to healthy sex.
Porn also breeds insecurities. Just like a lot of actors in Hollywood films, porn actors often fit a certain type of physical ideal or present unrealistic standards. For example, guys may watch porn and feel insecure about how long they last in the bedroom because male pornstars last for half an hour, BUT they forget that filming has been stopping and starting. Male pornstars often stop mid-scene and get warmed up again for the next take after a break.
There are definitely many porn videos out there that also show violent and forceful sex, with submissive partners being abused and mistreated. Consent is a huge issue in our society in general, and watching endless videos like these can make viewers think that consent is not important, or use the phrase “you know you want it”, even when somebody has said no. NOT cool.
A lot of porn is super unhelpful when it comes to sexual health because it’s VERY unlikely you’d come across a video where a pornstar puts on a condom. In reality, if sex happened without contraception all the time there’d be pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections running rampant!
This Sexual Health Week, we’re talking about porn – because nobody really does! For more information, check out: www.fpa.org.uk/campaigns/sexual-health-week