OPINION | Porn must change immediately

Thamidul Alam, Contributing Columnist

Despite fueling the digital age, the porn industry has a troubling dark side. (Jada Roth)

We have all watched porn before. The pornography industry has become normalized throughout the years and the stigma associated with it has decreased significantly. 

Many factors contribute to porn’s normalization, one of them being technological advancements that enable the industry to relocate to mobile and gaming sources. This is a major win for sex work in general, ranging from Only Fans creators to exotic dancers. 

Despite fueling the digital age, the porn industry has a troubling dark side. From desensitization, to promoting and committing violence to horrible working conditions, the genre has an unrevealed effect on how people view sex.

Many people have their first exposure to porn at an early age. Research has shown that the average earliest age one first sees any pornographic material is nine years old. Given that we are exposed to this from a young age, our thoughts associated with it are drastically different from our parent’s generation. To my parents, the thought of porn is revolting. To fifteen-year-old me, porn was the best thing in the world.

Porn can also be an addiction. When watching porn, your brain is flooded with dopamine; over time, it takes more and more dopamine to achieve the same sensation as before.

By building this tolerance, consumers go from a simple interest in general porn to a more precise, intense absorption with a specific category. This comes with ups and downs. 

On one hand, people are able to specifically find what they like and what they do not like. On the other hand, many of these categories promote a misogynistic, unrealistic image of sex. Even the industry itself is stunned by the radical practices their viewers want. In order to satisfy their audience, the porn industry has generated more violent content. 

In some adult films, female pornstars are demeaned and abused, which they seem to love and beg for more. The scenes are exaggerated and sensationalized, often filled with moments of instant gratification and false arousals. But while all of these neurotransmitters are firing in one’s brain, the line between acting and reality becomes blurred. 

Violent and overdramatized porn creates an age of young men who dehumanize women, often viewing them as objects to be obtained and won. To them, all women seem to enjoy being beaten and ridiculed during sex. 

In porn, sex is seen from a strictly male view. It seems like it does not matter how women feel, the only thing that matters is if the man finishes.

It is rational to assume that most people do not want to be with someone who can not make them climax. This generation of men appears unable to form lasting relationships with people, often jumping from person to person. 

After having hooked up with one woman, young men look for the next woman to conquer. This can be seen in the societal view of body count. For men, having a high body count is seen as a desirable trait while for women, society views it as a moral failing. Given that the industry encourages such a misogynistic view of sex, are there any alternatives? 

A growing trend that arose in the late 2010s emphasizes attention on porn that is realistic and appealing to all consumers. Often called “ethical porn,” these sites showcase content created within a safe environment, with workers being fairly compensated.

As opposed to traditional porn’s focus on male dominance, ethical porn displays all races, body types and sexualities. It is the type of porn the industry should prioritize.