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Opinion: Porn is violent toward women

People must consider content before measuring the consequences of pornography

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By Lisa Steacy

If we really want to consider the consequences of easily accessible porn, we must consider the content.

A recent New York Times article suggested that pornography is the primary way that adolescents learn about sex.  Studio 58’s The P*rn Project is an attempt to grapple with the consequences of growing up with unlimited and instant access to internet pornography.

But if the average age that kids first see porn is eight or nine years old what, exactly are they likely to see?

The largest peer-reviewed systematic study of the content of pornography was done in 2010 by the University of Arkansas. They studied 304 pornographic scenes where, on average, each scene featured 11 acts of aggression.

Porn is teaching eight-year old kids that sex must be violent to be enjoyable

Eighty-eight per cent of the scenes featured acts of physical aggression, most commonly: spanking, gagging, slapping hair pulling and choking. In 94 per cent of these scenes, women were the targets of the aggression. The aggressors were mostly men.

Women responded favourably 95 per cent of the time, meaning they registered no objections to these acts and demonstrated satisfaction with moaning or words of encouragement.

In the very few scenes where men were the targets of aggression, they were never gagged or choked. Men were four times more likely than women to take exception to being slapped or spanked.

Only 9.9 per cent of the scenes featured positive sexuality and consensual behaviours like kissing, laughing, embracing, caressing, verbal compliments, and references to love.

These researchers deliberately focused their study on mainstream, popular pornography

Titles for porn videos are offensive to young women

They did not need to venture into the darkest corners of the Internet to find titles like Teen F*** Holes, Anal Teen Tryouts, Teenage Spermaholics #3 and Barely Legal #50.

They did not need to go to the hardcore fringes to find frequent depictions of sex acts that they categorized as “unusual.” These can’t be described here but what they have in common is that they are painful and risky and humiliating for women.

If we’re going to grapple with the consequences of pornography we need to reckon with the fact that easily-accessible pornographic material sexualizes violence against women.

And it makes billions of dollars in profit by doing so.

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