Internet and sex : Decoding virtual pornography

  • By Sahana Rajan

Pornography is broadly categorized as softcore or hardcore. While hardcore contains intensive and highly graphic forms of sexual content, softcore constitutes less intensive form of sexual content. Genres of pornography are determined on the basis of the type of content and the status of the participants. The common sub-genres are ethnic, fetish, reality, group, and amateur. There are also sexual content specially created for different sexual orientations: heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual.

While sexual needs are natural and part of our biological set-up, the use of pornography is widely criticized for putting forward a partial portrayal of who a human being is. Majority of the pornographic material express a human only in sexual terms- as being someone looking for sexual endeavors- without paying attention to and inclusion of the person's emotional and mental state. The explication of human beings as purely sexual beings closes the eyes of the viewers many a times to the emotional and mental aspect of sexual intercourse, thus perverting the way they look at sexual intercourse in their relationships. Since sex is not holistically discussed on public platform as part of a healthy relationship and one only has access to understanding sexual practice through pornography which portrays a certain mechanistic and physically-induced aspect of sexual acts, viewing of pornography comes with the risk of sex addiction. Moreover, since pornography generally engages participants whose possess bodies which are conventionally considered sexually appealing, the viewers could implicitly get dissatisfied with their sex lives due to non-duplication of the same form of bodies in real life. Medical researches have also found that apart from having unreal expectations from one's partners, the viewer might find themselves lowly in sexual matters due to the sexual practices performed on the pornographic content that can be difficult to duplicate or are disliked. The portrayal of women in pornography is generally of persons who have no issues with being dominated over and who find such domination also sexually arousing. However, such a view is overwhelmingly false and a viewer on a regular fodder of such pornography could end up with deeply flawed perspective on women. Lastly, pornography also expresses various types of perverse forms of sex which are harmful to society, especially vulnerable groups. These include child sex, office-related sexual content, rough and rape sex, and public sexual acts.

While pornography is a sure avenue to possibility of sexual perversion, healthy ways of satisfying one's sexual needs must be acknowledged and taken up. Moreover, it is integral that socially, sexual intercourse is recognized as a healthy part of emotional relationship. It needs not only absorbed as a purely physical act which is morally judged and shunned- the latter approach only increases the probability of pornography being seen as a last resort to learn about sex. In talking about sex as a natural process between mutually approving adults and as part of emotional relationship, we reduce the chances of sex being seen as a non-emotional activity and allow for there to be holistic understanding of sexual intercourse. For adolescents who are entering the age of sexual maturation, it is integral to introduce the physical relation between persons as being a result of emotional relationships, with understanding of the body holistically - as a harmony between physical and mental states. In the case of non-presence of holistic guidance, the chances of teenagers falling prey to pornography to understand sexual intercourse is high and as has been earlier explored, such an understanding of sex as activity between solely sexually-charged beings could result in perverted view of emotional relationships as well.


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