The Democratization of Pornography

The Democratization of Pornography

Holy fucking shit! If another person expresses their desire to do something extreme to me in a sexual way within minutes of chatting on these dating apps – I will break my phone!

Watching porn is something that I remember as highly taboo – back in the day, it was considered a ‘Blue Movie’. One of the first pornographic scenes I witnessed was on Basic Instinct! Ya’ll hold the fuck up, I know every other millennial reading this probably stayed up on a Friday or Saturday night to watch Emmanuelle at least once. Now, I never got the full ‘Blue Movie’ experience, however, I do remember a day when my brother and his friends kicked me out of our small bachelor flat to use the VCR machine to watch a porno. Out of nowhere, my grandmother rocked up to visit my mom and lo and behold she found a group of pubescent boys in their school uniform gaping at a sex scene on the TV. I remember laughing so hard as they walked out - heads down - and one of the boys uncomfortably wobbled out with his bag over his crotch. What was once taboo and clandestine is now much more easily available, more explicit and is available in trillions of hours of content. In fact, the availability of porn correlates to creators; what was once reserved for big film sets and open-minded directors – now simply needs a decent camera phone (phone camera?). More people are becoming keener to turn the camera to themselves to share their lovemaking and masturbation with a wider audience. I will even go as far as saying that even nudes are a form of pornography; even just between two people.

Now, I’m not trying to shame anyone for sending nudes. I love making and sending nudes – it gives one a strong sense of pleasure. I swear to the Goddesses of Pleasure that my self-esteem peaks when I catch my booty at the right angle with the right lighting! However, herein lies a pervasive problem, a sort of narcissistic ‘look at me effect’ where I contradict my own concerns over being hypersexualised and fetishized by a stranger online. What am I to expect when I consume porn, contribute to the clicks, and have my own preferences? Now, I’m not gonna petition for porn to be removed but I’d like to petition for my own mental real estate to decide and appreciate what I find pleasing in bed, what maintains my dignity as a black woman without being degraded to impossible standards set by a growing normalisation of sexual practices that require a far more sexually advanced and emotionally mature approach.

The aim of this piece is to find a healthy balance between our fantasies and reality because I am simply worried about the number of unrealistic expectations we are bringing to the bedroom. We are crippled by performance anxiety and end up feeling embarrassed over normal things. Yeah, so what you farted while fucking! It happens, get over it! So now, this brings me to acts like strangling, ejaculating on a woman’s face or chest, and other BDSM practices. When practised in the correct environment – meaning a proper conversation was had before the ‘scene’, the ‘scene’ happens and then we talk about it and cuddle! – these can be amazing and extremely pleasurable. And let’s not forget establishing a safe word to remain within the boundaries of consent. However, it appears to me that we sometimes expect these acts to take place and move on without truly facing our feelings, therefore, piling up sexual trauma. Fax: The easy availability of porn is fucking us up. I am tired of awkward hook-ups, non-consensual experiences and coercive sexual acts.

The next layer of this makes me think about my brother who was 14 years old when he got his hands on that videotape. It takes me back to the days of ominous shops on every other street where kids were simply not allowed entry. Nowadays, with a few swipes and checking a box that confirms you’re 18 years old, even a 7-year-old can access porn. Prominent figures like David Choe have spoken out on their own addiction to porn and helping people as young as 17 years old who can’t even get erections due to being exposed to porn at a young age. In 2019 Fight The New Drug reported that 665 centuries worth of pornographic content was consumed in that single year on Pornhub alone! Let that sink in. Pornbub alone has about 1000 visits every second.

Raising kids on the internet adds an additional layer of panic to keeping children safe from such explicit imagery, predators, and sexual trauma. Seeing something as hectic, and as easily available, as anal sex or group sex, etc. It’s also clear there is an obsession with terms like ‘teen’ and ‘step sister’ as they are cited amongst the most popular searched terms on Pornhub over the past seven years. This makes me take one long look at society and shake my head because to me this is an example of sexualising underaged children which is extremely problematic.

We’re fucked.

I’m being dramatic. There is always hope on the horizon. Here are some solutions because I can tell some of us are descending into a rabbit hole of utter stupidity.

1) If you have a child with a smartphone – get an app that monitors and restricts screen time. If you’re not tech-savvy, take the phone at the end of the day and look at their activity online. Now, be sure to respect their privacy however, closely monitor/block suspicious conversations, people and websites.

2) Teach yourself to be present in sexual moments. Find sex-positive communities online to explore your kinks – Instagram has a few amazing pages however, the first sexuality doula that comes to mind is Ev’Yan Whitney who is a good starting point, she also has an amazing podcast on Soundcloud.

3) Lastly, all things in moderation. If you’re watching porn a few times a day for hours on end (this happens) with no real motive, avoiding interactions with real people and suffering from that crippling performance anxiety – try to reduce your porn intake and if you are struggling try to see a therapist or speak to someone you trust.

Until next time, don’t fap. Just kidding! Stay safe and wear a mask.

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Vuyolwethu Reoagile

Vuyolwethu Reoagile

Vuyolwethu Reoagile lives in Johannesburg where she raises her children and is currently working on her debut novel. Born in Johannesburg (South Africa), the writer grew up between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. She started writing casually at the age of 17 and by the time she was 22 years old, she had already been published by literary journals and online magazines with her earliest fiction being published by POWA in their annual competition and anthology, Memoirs of a Girl in Me. For the past 11 years, she has worked in business writing, ghostwriting and documenting urban culture. She is currently working towards an MA in Creative Writing.

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