What Porn Is Not: Kiwis Use Humour To Talk Sex With Teens, Watch This Video!

The first brush of a finger, the first feeling of an orgasm, the eye-roll, the sweat, the flush on your face, the intensity and tension, the beauty of masturbation, can surely never be expressed.

While masturbation is a largely hush-hush topic in India’s diverse demography, the population on the other hand (pun intended) seems to rise at a monumental rate. As far as imagination goes, virtual pornography remains a largely popular way of sourcing happiness. As my friend’s in the boys’ hostel boast, their diverse range of pornography collection is classified from performers to categories, to storylines.

Representational image.

A Quartz-PornHub survey (September, 2014) revealed that India lies in the fifth position, globally, in terms of daily visitors. Another survey reveals, a 95% spike in the consumption of pornography by Indians during the lockdown. Well, aren’t these numbers quite heavy given that India sheds off from initiating a conversation on sex?

A survey on India’s pattern on sex by Vitamin Stree revealed that:

  • 30% of men learn about sex before 13, from their peers.
  • Pornography is the second-most popular educator.
  • Only 9.96% of respondents learn about sex in sex-education classes.

The aforementioned data paves the way towards India’s youth consuming pornography at a rampant rate. It is no surprise that you become what you consume. Several allegations say that pornography leads to an increase in sexual harassment cases. However, research published by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) researchers debunks the myth. Easy access to pornography does not have a significant impact on rape rates and crime rate against women.

However, does it influence the way an individual perceives sex? Consent? Relationships? Or women? A study by Alyssa Bischmann, a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, states, “pornography viewing has an impact on heterosexual men“, especially on their views about sex roles, and developing sexist attitudes.

The research is conclusive, data is evidential, but where are the practical steps? It is crucial to educate and initiate a conversation on debunking the airbrushed pornos. The largely misinformed heterosexual content and over-glorified lesbian content surely takes a toll on one’s perception.

But, as a nation, are we ready to have that conversation?

In a unique way of breaking the distinction between reality and pornography, the New Zealand Government has come up with an innovative platform: KeepItRealOnline.

The widely circulated video shows two pornstars having a conversation with the mother of a pre-pubescent child who is not legally allowed to consume visual pornography. Wherein the female performer takes a jibe at the industry’s false portrayal of sex and relationships. The initiative aims not just to acquaint young Kiwi’s to online porn, but revenge-porn, cyberbullying, and underage content.

By the end, we see a perplexed mother mentally preparing herself to initiate a conversation with her son about the ‘birds and the bees’ talk. Surely, as a parent, discussing sex with their child is a humongous task. However, the words “no judgements” are important.

A still from the advert.

A child might feel shameful or feel judged for hiding it/discussing it. Thus, a safe space, without any judgements, is critical to ensure the flow of a healthy conversation. The ad aims to not just enable a safe discourse targetted at sex and bodies, but also, for parents to take the reign in their hand before the child gives in to the internet and iconography.

Such activism is truly the need of the hour in India. Certain acts, positions, and sexual practices are highly morphed and difficult to replicate in real life. 71% of women do not orgasm with penetrative sex, as opposed to what porn claims to be. A man’s average penis size is 5.54 inches, as opposed to the inferiority complex that porn perpetuates. Around 6% of women can squirt, while not all men can last for the entire day.

Humans are hairy creatures, we have hair at every part of the body except the knees and elbows. Women take time to be aroused, it doesn’t happen in two minutes. No woman has that body, no woman orgasms in five minutes, and no couple dives right into the act. And no, not all gay men practise anal sex.

These are just a few practical impacts of porn, the way it shapes one’s mind, and actions are worth taking a note. As social-learning theory states, one imitates what is shown to them. A large portion of hetero-pornography shows men as dominating while women being submissive, while this is largely imbibed by several couples.

Research stated that “Many heterosexual men and women appear to largely accept pornography’s script of male dominance and female submission and to behave accordingly. This power imbalance provides much to ponder in terms of sexual relations and gender inequality.”

The initiative undertaken by the Kiwi Government is surely far-fetched. It aims to mend the bridge as early as possible to enable its citizens to become sex-positive and healthy practising sexual individuals. Consuming sexual content is not incorrect or immoral, as many young men, especially women are told. It surely helps initiate a conversation regarding sex, but presumably, not in a healthy manner. It is critical to undo not just the layers of commercialisation and hyper-sexualisation, but also the fictitious aspect of it.

While the Kiwi’s take a step to undo the internalised perceptions about sex, we still fight our way to access basic sex-education.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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