Does Mainstream Porn Fuel and Normalize Sexual Violence In Teen Relationships?

In an article published by The Independent, Victoria Richards relayed her experience using a mainstream online dating site and having a man ask her if she would accept “drool” and “face slaps” as a “reward.”

When she shared this experience on social media, many women sympathized, claiming they had also received proposals from strangers about risky and degrading sex acts. Others, however, accused Richards of “kink-shaming” the man. This article explores how “rough” sex has become a normalized part of our culture.

“Harmless fun” or “normalized violence?”

Women’s health and beauty magazines teach women how to “spice up” their sex lives with more extreme sex acts. We Can’t Consent to This, on the other side of the issue, is speaking up against the normalization of these sex acts, such as strangling, which are leading to injury and even deaths among women. Then there are people on TikTok and other social media sites harassing those who choose to engage in “vanilla sex,” or conventional sex without risky elements.

So what’s the verdict?

We aren’t here to make people’s sexual choices for them, only provide information to help them make informed decisions for themselves. Each person is in control of their own sexual choices. However, rough sex comes with implications, and it’s not correct to say it is harmless in all cases. Here are some facts to consider first.

“Rough” is in

Rough sex is becoming more popular, and it includes a lot of risky elements, such as spanking, strangulation (often called “choking”), and “surprise” anal sex. Studies suggest that increased pornography consumption is associated with the enjoyment of degrading, uncommon, or aggressive sexual behaviors. In fact, according to a survey of sexually active college students, 43.0% had reported strangling a partner, 47.3% reported they had been strangled, 59.1% reported they had been lightly spanked and 12.1% reported they had been slapped on the face during sex.

Pop culture is normalizing these trends

Movies and books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” and songs about aggressive sex are normalizing these trends. The focus is on violence rather than mutual pleasure and consent, as seen in the Netflix film “365 Days” where a woman’s kidnapping and repeated assault is framed as a thrilling romantic experience.

What is the role of porn?

The porn industry capitalizes on riskier situations that don’t always involve consent, communication, safety, and mutual pleasure. In fact, more extreme sex and sex acts are highly common on mainstream porn sites. One study found physical aggression against women present in more than 44% of Pornhub scenes surveyed. Women were the target of nearly 97% of physically aggressive acts.

The ideas shown in porn can make their way into the sex lives of consumers. A 2019 study concluded that in terms of anal sex, porn had the greatest influence.

How are teens affected by this?

Porn is often the primary provider of information about sex for teens and young adults. Because porn frequently portrays more extreme types of sex acts in sometimes nonconsensual situations, it means viewers can develop distorted expectations about sex in real life.

Porn has been linked to an increase in violence during sex. As an example of this, many cases of sexual assault on one university campus involved nonconsensual strangulation, according to one professor and sex researcher at the Indiana University School of Public Health.

Violence is never a requirement

“Rough” sex has become so normalized that one partner can be killed when sex games go wrong. This is happening increasingly often among sexually inexperienced adolescents. The consequences of sex education based on porn are becoming more severe.

So what can we do? First, we need to understand that the porn industry exists to sell their highly-produced product and entertain, not educate. Second, discuss porn and its unrealistic expectations with your friends and loved ones. Third, know that sexual violence should never be a requirement in a relationship.

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Fight the New Drug exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects.

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Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects.