I know I already did my “this is not a new year, new me post, but new year, new me!” post, but indulge me, because I have another change I’m bringing into 2018, and it’s something I’ve considered for the longest time.
Up until recently, I actually thought I was asexual. I felt attraction, but the thought of actually having sex either bored me or filled me with dread and disgust. Maybe I’m wrong, and actually am asexual, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think, after some researching and conversations with others who felt like I did, that what happened was, that I associated sex with violence and degradation, due to past experiences, and didn’t want to have sex as a result, and that with the right partner, I could possibly still actually like and appreciate sex (as long as I can overcome my catholic guilt, but that’s another blog post for another time).
The majority of my previous sexual partners, in some way or another, have expressed various degrees of interest in degrading, violent and honestly, misogynistic sex, and they all had one thing in common. They were all pornography watchers.
Now I know what you’re thinking, I haven’t gone ultra conservative or anything, and I genuinely do believe that sex positivity can be a good thing, and that exploring can be fun or whatever, but I think there are genuine issues with pornography that I don’t want making an appearance in my bedroom. Partners who are conditioned to enjoy the degradation of the other, lead to the relationship starting off unequal, from the very beginning. Someone may have the best of intentions outside of the bedroom, but if they can’t match that in other areas, there will always be inequality in the relationship.
A lot of the next part is primarily aimed at men, but as they are half of my dating pool, it has to be said, sorry guys. It’s no secret that a lot of pornography gives unrealistic expectations of what sex is actually like, and many will argue that the average man can differentiate, but if that’s true, how come so many still have so many unrealistic expectations? If men aren’t taking notice of what they watch and copying what they see, why are so many men requesting so much of what shows up on Pornhub’s front page? You know why, and many people have articulated this better than I can, but you get my point. Porn is becoming increasingly more violent, misogynistic, and downright unrealistic, and again, that’s not something I’m looking for in my life, or my vagina, or wherever the hell these videos are telling people I deserve it.
I’m not just talking physical violence, either, I’m talking language. I have to be real, I’m a sensitive crybaby. I don’t like to be yelled at, I don’t like to be called names, I actually would probably cry over someone looking at me in a stern manner, so an increase in porn where women are shouted at, and called sluts and whores, seeping into the minds of people who may have sex with me is not ideal. The idea that women enjoy being degraded may be true for some women, but for me, it is the worst thing I can imagine, but for more and more potential partners, degradation of women is on their wishlist. I gain absolutely no pleasure from being yelled at, or called a slut, or from being pissed on. As already mentioned, these things are actually more likely to make me cry hysterically (and worryingly, some people are now into that, too) , yet so many potential partners expect this, because pornography has normalised it, and they can’t imagine sex without it, even when the other person has been more than clear.
I recently had an experience, where I made it absurdly clear that I didn’t want that kind of language to be part of intimacy between me and a potential partner, and he told me that he would agree, but may use language I wasn’t comfortable with anyway, to “push me”, which, for those who may be confused, is basically saying “I’ll say I won’t do it, so you’ll have sex with me, but I probably will, even though you have specifically asked me not to.” He isn’t even the first one to say something along those lines. Reasonable requests are often pushed aside, reasonable limits are ignored, and why? Because adhering to the standards set out by pornography, and your own pleasure now comes before respecting the boundaries set out by your partner, so, with that in mind, maybe it is time for me to be more selfish? It was a massive red flag, but it also really hurt my feelings. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to set limits on intimate activity, even when just in the talking stages, and it’s hurtful to know that what’s important to me was just brushed aside, without any consideration as to how traumatic it could be to be potentially thrown into a situation I didn’t want to be in, or why I was so resistant in the first place. Are people trying to hook up with people, or blank canvases for their fantasies?
I also take issue with the discriminatory and fetishistic aspects of pornography, more and more of which is becoming mainstream. The fetishisation of oppressed groups such as Black people, Trans people, Asian people, Latin people and disabled women, not to mention countless others, is off the charts. Fetishisation leads to dehumanisation. These groups become just another category, and people forget that behind the videos, where they are often dehumanised, there are people. It shouldn’t have to be explained that minorities ARE people, but, here we are, this is the world now, and so many apparently forget that those in the videos are real people. Fetishisation has been known to have an effect socially too, with people from the oppressed groups that are fetishised by the porn industry, being treated unfairly, sexually harassed, abused and objectified outside of videos, in real life, as well as behind the screen.
There are multiple articles, films, and interviews that make it clear that many people in the porn industry face abuse and ethically, with minorities often getting the worst of it, I can’t really consume something that involves human suffering. I’m aware that out there, there is probably “good” porn, and alleged “feminist” porn, where no people were hurt and everyone was happy, “free range porn”, if you will, but consuming porn in any way pushes up demand for the lower tier stuff where people are hurt, because it’s cheaper to produce, in the same way that drug consumption empowers cartels, whether you buy direct from them or not, because it provides them with more demand, and more chances to potentially supply. There is rarely a safe or cruelty free drug, and I’m starting to feel that the same is true for pornography.
This leads me to the big change for 2018. I will no longer date people who watch pornography. Now, this could be a challenge, considering so many apparently do in today’s world, but it’s something that matters to me, and I’m tired of settling for a relationship where something I’m so opposed to sneaks in anyway.
I personally don’t watch porn, so is it so bad for me to want to find someone that doesn’t? I’m not saying that I’ll force anyone to stop watching, and I plan to be straight up about it, because for me, it’s a red line, so people can either take it or leave it. You know? For me, I feel it will allow me to have a healthier and happier sex life, and honestly, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not planning to lecture people who do watch, or make them feel bad, I’ll just be honest about my needs, and what I’m looking for, and I hope they will do the same.