“Make Love Not Porn”

So I’ve been thinking about porn again… and yeah, not in that way. I’ve been thinking again about the influence that porn is having on our sexuality in a post-internet (PI?) age. I’m not the first person who has suggested that there’s a close connection between normalized pubic hair removal among young women (and, increasingly, young men) and the fact that the the generation of people coming of age now are doing so with easy access to online pornography (where the bodies on display are, generally, sans-hair).

The stuff I’m hearing anecdotally seems to back up connection between pubic hair removal and the social glorification of the porn star. I recently spoke with a beautiful young 19-year old who talked at-length about her own grooming practices which she seemed to perform against a backdrop of profound body-hatred. Sexually active, she made unabashed comments about the fact that keeping her nether regions waxed made her feel “like a porn star.”

She later told me that her first boyfriend (and sexual partner) watched a lot of porn. “He just said he likes it better with no hair,” she said about his own expectations for her body, never conclusively drawing a connection between his love of on-line porn and what he expected his own sexual partners to look like. Though he never explicitly told the girl she had to be hairless, she understood what was expected of her.

“And then whenever I didn’t (wax), I thought… or I would feel like… oh, so he doesn’t like me, you know what I mean?” she told me, frankly. “And that was the first (sexual experience). So that’s maybe why I like it (now).”

Though she’d never been asked to think about her own body practices critically, she then made the wise observation that perhaps she’d internalized his expectations for her body and now believed she preferred her own body when completely hairless. She couldn’t otherwise explain it.

Porn is powerful – and pervasive. And it’s affecting us all more than we probably notice. So it’s worth talking/thinking about, I think.

Naomi Wolf recently published an article on the Aljazerra website called “Is Pornography Driving Men Crazy?”, where she muses about whether the widespread ability and consumption of porn in recent might actually be rewiring the male brain when it comes to sex.

(Interestingly, many of the young women I’ve spoken with don’t like pornography — or at least the mainstream stuff — but are afraid to acknowledge it for fear they might be seen as prudish or uptight. Liking porn, it seems, is cool, even when many young women say it makes them feel uncomfortable, insecure and alinenated).

And if you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend watching this brief video of a talk by advertising consultant Cindy Gallop. Fearlessly frank (and, it’s important to note, pro-porn), Gallop talks engagingly about the “creeping ubiquity of hardcore pornography” into pop culture and how it’s impacting our sexuality (especially young people):

In a bid to counter some of the pervasive porn-ideas that are impacting human sexuality today, Gallop has started a website she calls Make Love Not Porn. Here’s an example from it:

This page (in case you can’t read it) says:

“Porn World: Women Have No Hair Down There/ Real World: Some women shave, some women don’t. Some men actively prefer women to keep their hair. If you do shave, it requires constant maintenance, which can be a pain in the…Entirely up to personal choice.”

 

 

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