Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

This brash porn act is shaping an unhealthy sexual culture among teens / The Globe and Mail

Written by Zosia Bielski for The Globe and Mail.  Originally published in August 15th, 2014. 


 

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As an article in this month’s GQ magazine announced that “butt stuff is in,”a troubling new British study finds an unhealthy culture of coercion, pain and sport among young men having – or hoping to have – anal sex with women.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open this week, found that some of the young men surveyed weren’t concerned about getting consent from young women, nor were they bothered by women experiencing pain during the act.

Dr. Cicely Marston, senior lecturer in social science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and her colleagues interviewed 130 young women and men in England, asking them about their expectations, attitudes and experiences with anal intercourse. She found an unsettling narrative among her interview subjects, 16- to 18-year-olds entering their sexual lives.

“The overwhelming feeling from the people who had engaged in anal sex was that it exists in a coercive environment. There was this idea that women basically wouldn’t want to do it and that she needed to be persuaded,” said Marston. “They also talked about it as though it was completely normal for men to repeatedly ask their girlfriends for it and repeatedly be told no, but keep asking.”

The teenaged women surveyed reported that their own boyfriends were now routinely asking them for anal sex. Some expressed gratitude that they’d been allowed to decline the offer, a point Marston found disappointing – “the low bar they set for their partners.”

Some of the young men spoke of emulating what they’d seen in online porn, where the use of condoms and lubricant typically isn’t modelled.

“That might have introduced them to the idea of the practise to some extent,” said Marston, before acknowledging:

“We allow porn to be the sex education tool for young people because we don’t provide an alternative discourse. We allow coercion to be normalized because we don’t speak up and say, ‘Actually, this isn’t normal.’ ”

So why is mainstream pornography continually downplayed when it comes to specific behaviours – in this case, coercive anal intercourse – crossing over into partnered sex?

“Because we don’t talk about sex, we don’t talk about porn,” says Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.com, which pits porn myths against the more varied realities of human sexuality.

“Porn absolutely plays a role in this,” says Gallop. “In the absence of any healthy, accurate, honest, truthful conversation about sex in the real world, young women and men are getting their sex education from porn. And porn is performance.”

In the mainstream porn industry, still largely dominated by male producers and directors and a male target audience, Gallop says, “A lot of porn is like the sexual equivalent of Jackass. It’s about how extreme can you get, how hard can you push it. … A fundamental part of that extreme performance is that the woman suffers. It’s all about porn star punishment.”

 

Read the rest about this troublesome trend– and what Cindy suggests about how to fix it here 

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