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Porn is not sex

Through the centre, I work with a team of people who go into high schools and give a presentation we call “Sexual Integrity.” We do this in hopes of preventing teen pregnancies, STIs, and the fast-growing use of pornography. This is necessary because the reality is kids have sex, talk about sex, and watch sex.

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By Brittney Hensman (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: April 9, 2014

I volunteer at the pregnancy option centre in Surrey.

Through the centre, I work with a team of people who go into high schools and give a presentation we call “Sexual Integrity.” We do this in hopes of preventing teen pregnancies, STIs, and the fast-growing use of pornography. This is necessary because the reality is kids have sex, talk about sex, and watch sex.

Usually when we talk about pornography during these presentations, there is a fraction of the class who jeers at each other and laughs, suggesting light-hearted and nonchalant attitudes about the topic.

But porn is not a light topic.

Our society has made porn socially acceptable and easily accessible through media like the internet. People laugh at the word “porn,” tease friends about forgetting to erase their browser history on their laptops, and are used to the various sex scenes acted out in Hollywood films, or music videos.

But then there’s hard porn. You may recognize it as “adult material” or XXX. Scholar and activist Gail Dines, in her book entitled Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Society, defines this type of porn as “gonzo.” It often features women tied or chained to some form of sturdy furniture being penetrated in one of three holes — and in many cases all holes at once — by men who are using some form of verbal and physical aggression to get what they want, and calling it sex.

Hard pornography is a multimillion-dollar business that has been created because soft porn has desensitized people. It’s not graphic enough or perverted enough to satisfy.

It objectifies and dehumanizes people by portraying sex as an open, barbaric, and animalistic act.

In her book, Dines mentions the average boy is first exposed to pornography at age 11-and-a-half — and while it’s not always an intentional pursuit to “watch porn,” it makes it incredibly hard to avoid sexual images when they are popping up everywhere.

Before puberty, boys who are exposed to porn don’t have a mature understanding of porn’s effects, meaning they don’t understand how to process sexual experiences or content properly because they are not fully developed. But many men say after puberty, it becomes a normal part of their day. Gary Wilson, who most people know from his TED Talk “The Great Porn Experiment,” says that the younger children watch porn, the more likely they will become “hooked” as they get older.

Watching porn causes your brain to release pleasure chemicals such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These are the same natural chemicals that enter your system when you use hard drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines. These are also released during normal rewarding behaviours, such as eating chocolate or going for a run. However, when these behaviors are not modified or controlled addiction sets in. This is what many recent studies are realizing when researching pornography’s effect on the human brain.

People use porn as a means to stimulate arousal to satisfy sexual tension, but the problem is people, through porn, begin to treat sex like a fast food industry — satisfying “the crave” instantly. Feminist Germain Gureer from the Royal Institution of Great Britain says, “pornography makes sex easy; it is the psychological equivalent of ready-made food.”

The problem is sex does not function healthily in an instantaneous, rapid-paced, or immediate way. When people participate in sex, it is the closest literal position two people can physically be together. Why is that? Because most people would say sex is an action of love.

But is that what a person ejaculating to porn is achieving?  Self-love perhaps, but what is that? Self-love leaves a person empty.

According to a recent study by the University of East London, one fifth of teenage boys said they could not become sexually aroused without the aid of pornography.  The consensus from frequent porn users voiced on the CBC’s Generation Porn podcast was that “it is easier to masturbate to porn than it is to develop a personal relationship with someone.”

Pornography strips away our ability to experience true sexual intimacy with a person. It seeks to fulfill the narcissistic pattern people easily fall into by satisfying desire without the need for any other human being.

Our generation doesn’t have it easy. We are sexual beings, and men specifically are wired visually when it comes to sexual stimuli. The reality is, with the internet, pornography can be dancing in our laps with the click of a button. There are over 260 million pornography pages online such as YouPorn, PornHub, Slut load — and most of them are free.

Many people struggle with porn — and unfortunately it’s a rising issue that affects more men than women. But porn is not a light habit. Porn can develop into an addiction that will corrupt your view of a healthy relationship. Porn has the potential to contort relationships, break down marriages, and can ruin a person’s sex life by causing them to feel emotionally unfulfilled.

Love and sex are not just about a feeling, or the climax. Love and sex are a conscious choice, decision, and intentional action to put someone else’s needs above your own and they involve work. But it’s through that work that there is a lasting reward and real satisfaction. The sooner people begin to realize this, the more fulfilled they will be when it comes to sex.

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