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Porn Sex Vs Real Sex

07/02/2017 17:13
DragonImages via Getty Images

Pornography has dominated user searches and is set to remain one of the world's most popular industries. A 2014 British Sex Survey found that 55% of Brits admitted to watching porn, with 15% doing so on a regular basis. While 25-36 year olds were the most avid consumers at 78%, teenagers are accessing porn at an increasingly younger age.

Following a report led by NSPCC Senior Research Fellow Dr Christine Barter and researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Lancaster (2013-2015), ChildLine began a campaign that supports young people and the impact that pornography has had.

The report found that 39% of boys in England aged 14-17 regularly watched porn, and ChildLine were concerned that 18,000 of its annual website views were via message board threads containing "porn" in the subject heading.

An online survey ran by the NSPCC (2015) involving 2,000 younger people aged 11-17 found that 1 in 10 children aged 12-13 were concerned that they may be addicted the porn, while around 1 in 5 children admitted to seeing upsetting pornographic images.

If porn is consumed by this younger demographic regularly without better, more thorough sex education in place, porn sex becomes an expectation for sex in reality. As evidenced by the Channel 4 documentary Sex in Class (2015), younger people believed that certain sexual acts depicted in pornography were not only acceptable, but expected.

Highlighting the key differences between porn sex and real sex will help younger people create more realistic expectations and have a better understanding of sexual intimacy, making them well-prepared for when they become sexually active.

For instance, porn implies that every man's trouser snake is of python proportions, however the average penis size is 3.6 inches when flaccid and 5.2 inches when erect. Porn stars, meanwhile, typically have an erection between 6 and 9 inches long, which is considerably larger.

It's not just men that are misrepresented either: female porn stars often have "neat", hairless labia. However, women's vulvas come in all different shapes, sizes and colours.

The Vulva Gallery is a fantastic website and Instagram account that highlights the diversity of female genitalia. Artist Hilde Atalanta created the site in 2016 in order to educate people about different women's bodies.

Moreover, in porn, both men and women are ready for sex as soon as it's on the table. Typically speaking, people need between 10 and 12 minutes to become fully aroused, and many women need vaginal lubricants too.

Porn also implies that women can achieve an orgasm from penetration alone. However, 71% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to climax.

Men, meanwhile, shouldn't feel bad if they can't last as long as a male porn star would during sex. On average, 75% of men ejaculate within three minutes, whereas in porn men can last for a much longer period.

Let's face it, people are watching pornography, but it should not be viewed as a source of education.

While the pornography referred to above concerns porn typically created for the male consumer, thanks to female directors like Erika Lust, a new brand of feminist porn is on the rise. Her company, Lust Productions, has around a 40% female consumer base, with the porn they produce reflecting this.

In a Marie Claire interview last year, Lust stated that she prefers to opt for authentic shots rather than "gynaecological" ones, indicating that some female consumers of pornography prefer the sex in a scene over graphic close-ups.

Pornhub has also announced that they will be launching a Sexual Wellness Centre on their site, with videos and Q&As offering sexual health advice, aiming to educate their viewers as well as entertain them.

While this is a positive step, this arguably suggests that formal sex education in schools or provided by healthcare professionals is not up to scratch. There needs to be more information readily available for people who would perhaps be exposed to particularly graphic imagery when researching via adult websites.

Good sex education needs to be available to anyone, not just younger people, but if it improves in schools now then people will be more aware of sexual health issues in their later life.

Through promoting good and accurate information about sex and sexual health issues, people of any age may feel less inclined to fit a certain aesthetic "ideal" depicted in porn, and can be encouraged to explore their sexuality without feeling somehow abnormal because it doesn't reflect what they have watched online.

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