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.
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:
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 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.