The Positive Power of Porn

I use the internet every day. I use it to search for the answers to random questions that come to mind, to get the news, watch films and television.

Yesterday I was searching for design ideas for the new apartment in Kiev Sasha’s father has given us as a present. Over the next few months, it needs to be fitted out. It is a new build and is now just 4 walls in a pretty development. We need to make fundamental decisions such as where do we want walls, do we want an open plan kitchen together with design questions around fittings and colour schemes.

With my absence, this has been put on Sasha and she is doing a tremendous job while I offer little more than encouragement from a distance. What I can do, however, is send her examples of what I think is good design which she can then share with the designer.

To be honest they may not necessarily be good design but examples of the way I would like our apartment to be. Modern, stylish and yet still cosy for those cold winter Ukrainian nights.

These were the focus of yesterday’s internet searches.

Luxury modern apartment design yielded appropriate pictures, even if they were 100 times larger than ours. However, as soon as my search precision waivered porn started to appear with images of naked women, legs akimbo although, to be honest, decorating some very smart apartments.

I am not a puritan and I am not complaining other than yesterday it was frustrating. For once this wasn’t what I wanted. Kitchens, showers, bathrooms and sensuous bedrooms were my focus, but it did prompt another question.

All the photos were of women. There was not a man in sight. There were no naked couples enjoying each other while pointing out the intricate design on the architrave. If simple searches brought back porn images then there must be a demand. And this is where my inquisitiveness kicked in and the question I asked was, who is watching porn?

Pornhub is one of the largest of all porn sites and recently they gave us some of their porn demand statistics.

  • In 2017 alone, Pornhub got 28.5 billion visits. That’s almost 1,000 visits a second, or 78.1 million a day.
  • Enough porn was watched in 2016 on this one website that all the data would fill 194 million USB sticks. If you put the USB sticks end to end, they’d wrap all the way around the moon.
  • In 2016, 91,980,225,000 videos were watched on Pornhub. That’s 12.5 videos for every person on the planet.
  • Also, more than 4,599,000,000 hours of porn were watched on the site in just one year. That’s equal to 5,246 centuries.

That is on just the one site, Pornhub. I have repeated those because they are mind-boggling large.

Unlike Alexandra, my psychologist co-author in Ukraine, it is not for me to try and interpret this admittedly single sourced, data. What I can say, however, is that there is a lot of porn hypocrisy. On the one hand, society condemns porn while still watching it. A British Government Minister recently had to resign because porn was found on, admittedly, his work computer. Those Pornhub statistics suggest that you would be lucky to find a computer without porn links.

But still, I hadn’t explained why the images being shown to me were of women.

In a study in 2006, 68% of those who consumed porn online were men while women only made up 13.6%. However, times are changing. Now, 76% of 18 to 30-year-old American women report that they watch porn at least once a month. Women are now just as likely to be watching porn as a man.

I offer no comment other than to say that the survey running on the book site shows that women are now equally open to fantasies and so therefore porn. It has always been assumed that women’s porn was softer, gentler and more loving.

Feminists argue that porn degrades women. That is probably true but porn is one of the few industries that has a male gender pay gap. Surveys suggest that female porn actors have more self-esteem than the rest of the population, and again from the analytics released by Pornhub women are 113% more likely to search the term hardcore than men. They are also over 105% more likely to seek out genres of porn like gangbang and rough sex.

Porn is like alcohol. In moderation, it is fine for adults, can have positive benefits but in excess, it is a negative and far from benign influence.

Openness and acceptance will allow a meaningful discussion. It will allow us to address porn addiction. Couples will see the possible positive impact that porn can have in a relationship. Porn will be discussed without embarrassment, and then most importantly we can talk about its impact on children.

It is perverse that the political mess over the last two weeks that has surrounded Amber Rudd, The British Home Secretary, has taken the spotlight off another failure of British policy.  This weekend, the end of April 2018, was supposed to be one when access to any porn site was controlled by positive age verification.

It won’t enough just to tick an age verification box. Probably credit card details will be required and if you are underage then access is banned. There was a lot of blah blah when it was announced. Digital economy minister Matt Hancock said it would mean the UK having the “most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world”. We would be there this weekend if the introduction hadn’t been delayed until at least the end of 2018.

Porn is pervasive and it has opened the discussion of sex and sexuality.

English rugby player, James Haskell has been talking to the Daily Star about his forthcoming wedding to Chloe Madeley. I was impressed by her openness. ‘I’m a really sexual person,‘ she told The Daily Star. ‘If I had a partner who didn’t want to have a very sexual relationship then that would be a problem for me.’

She continued: ‘It is massive for James. One of the reasons we stuck together in the early days before we totally committed was because we were so compatible. Our sex is continually changing as our relationship grows, so it stays interesting.’ 

When Sasha is interviewed before our wedding I hope she is as open and says something very similar and maybe even adds that when we were apart occasionally we shared porn. She wouldn’t be lying.