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    4 MIN READ

    Boycott Pornhub

    When cumming arrives before safety. 

    I remember the first time I saw PornHub.
    There was something off for me about the gyrating flashing advertisements about mums in my area on the side banner and the freeness of it all. It’s safe to say I never went back – until recently.
    When pleasure newly became my priority, as undeniably something I can produce for myself alone, an element of boundless exploration unfolded. Naturally, my expedition of pleasure brought me back to porn – a place where it all started for many; a place where I see the potential for fantasy to be acted out, consensually between adults, in an environment that is ethical for everyone involved. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that wasn’t what I found typing PornHub into my search engine. Instead, I found content made specifically to tantalise the male gaze by males, and a breeding ground for hegemonic masculinity; put simply, the way men fuck or are told to fuck in porn generates a hierarchical domination not only between men and women, but also between men themselves. Whilst of course, there is an inherent duality to all humans, and watching porn does not dismiss everyone’s capability of being a loving, caring sexual being, I simply pose the question;

    How has the porn you have watched shaped your sexual identity?

    It’s important for me to caveat this by saying I am a porn advocate: it is hot, a fantasy, stimulation, watched alone or shared and a way for individuals to earn an income. However, that is a narrative that I believe requires a few things. Firstly, the performer needs to be ethically treated, paid and have as much autonomy as possible. This is where I see the benefit of platforms such as OnlyFans, as imperative to this paradigm. It allows for performers to decide what content they create, how that content is created and have complete control over getting their own bag. Secondly, whilst this is my opinion, regardless of what type of porn it is (kinky, passionate, fantasy, erotic,) I think all porn should, bottom-line, display an exchange of mutual consent and an exchange of mutual pleasure. Women-led porn company Bellesa does this by “depicting women as we truly are – as subjects of pleasure, not objects of conquest”. This shift in the porn industry is essential because whilst porn is enjoyable and exciting, it also has an interchangeable educational value to it; even if it is a subconscious one.
    I remember having a heated discussion with a boy I went to high school with about consent. He expressed to me that asking for consent isn’t hot and often unnecessary because supposedly it is evident enough when “a chick is into it”. I sat with that, and kept coming back to the same question: where did he learn this? It wasn’t until I went on PornHub for the second time, that this all came back to me. Our brains have an inner mechanism called “mirror neurons” – a firing of brain cells that creates a correlation between when we see other people do things and then when we do those things ourselves. Therefore, watching porn that does not display consent and often displays violence, aggression and male-orientated pleasure enmeshed with female arousal creates a shaky foundation for safe, pleasurable sex IRL. Call me a feminist, but it is rooted in science. Scholar Milena Pover, author of Sexual Consent, highlights that whilst porn is “neither monolithic, nor universally harmful” it has the potential to “reproduce the dominant sexual scripts that prop up rape culture.” The absorbability of porn, in which consent is not displayed, normalises the assumption of when “a chick is into it”, presenting a devastatingly large margin for error. Whilst many adults can practice intuitive consent, there is no harm in a refresher – even in porn.
    Imagine people exchanging consent, having sex however the hell they both want to and pleasure coming first. Instead of prioritising the surface level “sexiness” of something, we need to consider the feeling. It is about consent being a fully-embodied real prerequisite for sexual intercourse. Mutual pleasure or sex that is freely and excitedly chosen by both parties will always be the best sex. Content featuring both consent and pleasure creates a new foundation, a paradigm shift in which healthy sexual communication is normalised and pleasure is an active, shared experience for all affirming adults involved.
    I believe we do ourselves a great disservice by normalising other kinds of porn within the masses. When you combine the lack of adequate, inclusive sexual education received within schooling institutions, natural exploration of youth and the availability of porn being orientated around heterosexual fucking, in many instances it becomes evident why cumming often comes before pleasure, consent is often overlooked, and unsafe sexual scripts are primed into the subconscious of many people.
    Which brings me back to the beginning; does real, ethical porn exist? My pleasure quest very quickly became an all-night bender of critical thinking, content searching and “scientific” evaluation of both the realness, political correctness and ethicability within the porn scenes I watched. It was a lot to consume and quantify – but I’ve already done the “legwork” for you.