A social researcher is challenging the porn industry to move away from what he says are increasingly aggressive depictions of sex.
“This might sound strange coming from me, but the porn industry need to produce better porn, that is less hostile, less callous, less degrading in its treatment of women,” Dr Michael Flood said.
The growth of the internet and mobile devices meant pornography was now easily available to young people, he said.
“There’s been a profound shift. Two generations ago we were talking about young men finding the stash of dirty magazines under their Dad’s bed, but these days the internet allows access which is anonymous, affordable and accessible from anywhere.”
There had also been a shift in the type and nature of the sex acts depicted, Dr Flood said.
“There is evidence that it’s becoming increasingly aggressive, that there are more scenes that show aggression or callousness, or hostile language. So pornography itself is changing.”
A senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Wollongong, Dr Flood said porn was shaping social attitudes among young men, encouraging them to view women as sexual objects.
Women also felt pressure to perform sexual acts commonly depicted in pornography, he said.
New Zealand pornographer Steve Crow said he agreed that pornography was becoming more extreme.
“But the market is demanding more and more extreme stuff. You can put the softer stuff out there, but people don’t buy it.”
Pornography was not harming society, he said.
“It’s a fantasy, that’s all it is.”
In May, a British study found a clear link between exposure to extreme images at a young age and a rise in “risky behaviours”.
This year The Dominion Post reported that growing numbers of children and teenagers were committing acts of sexual abuse against other children.
Numbers had risen steadily, with 314 prosecutions last year compared with 204 in 2008.
Dr Flood said pornography alone could not be blamed for the increase.
“But I think it’s one factor that seeds into sexual violence and a tolerance for sexual violence.”
NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said parents should use software and supervision to keep pornography away from young children.
But as they grew older it was not realistic to expect them to avoid it.
Dr Flood said teenagers needed to be taught that pornography was profoundly unrealistic. Secondary School Principals’ Association president Tom Parsons said educators were frustrated by depictions of extreme sex and violence on television and in other media. “This is a real ticking timebomb.” Pornography had “no relation” to normal sexual behaviour, Mr Parsons said.
Source: Aggressive porn degrading women. By Paul Easton. 4 November 2013