A porn director worries that young adults think sex is what they’ve seen on-screen.
A young man worries that the ubiquity of porn creates unrealistic expectations for everyone.
A porn performer worries that young viewers might think her videos are instructional.
They all wish people talked about it more.
Millions of people in the United States watch pornography, thanks largely in part to the Internet and free sites like Pornhub.
A majority of those people are under 34 years old. They’ve grown up in a world where online porn is free and, with the rise of smartphones, where viewers can watch it pretty much whenever — and wherever — they want.
But while porn may be easy to view, it’s still hard to discuss — even for those with the easiest access to it — and it creates a host of worries and misconceptions.
“My students are often immersed in it but don’t often have an opportunity to … learn about it with tools for critical analysis,” says Shira Tarrant, a professor at California State University, Long Beach.
NPR is exploring how people talk about sex — or don’t — and why it matters. And regardless of whether you think it’s good or bad, pornography is everywhere and it’s shaping the way people, especially young people, think about sex.
As part of the series, NPR visited a porn film set to hear the conversations that happen behind the scenes. (Listen to the audio story above for more on that.) On set, it’s clear that pornography is performance — like a TV show or choreographed dance.
But that’s not obvious for many people, especially for those who’ve never had sex before.
Here are six perspectives on how the fantasy of pornography affects our attitudes toward the reality of sex.
Jacky St. James is a pornography director and writer who has hundred of credits to her name. She has been in the business since 2011, when, on a whim, she wrote a script for a porn-writing contest — and won. When her script was made into a film, she was blown away by how professional the process was, and she left her job in online advertising to join the industry full time.
I think we definitely need to talk about the impact that porn has, but at the same time, I still feel like we don’t hold Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones responsible for violence — so why is porn responsible for what we’re showing about sex?JACKY ST. JAMES
St. James, 42, says she thinks there’s a lot of good that comes from porn — for example, creating sex positivity and normalizing a healthy sex life. But she hates the thought of minors viewing her work and recognizes there are downsides to the easy access so many young people — even those over 18 — have to porn these days.
“I think where it’s a disservice is that a lot of people … that are growing up on porn somehow feel that what they’re seeing is what they should be doing, instead of really discovering what they want,” she says. “When I grew up, you know, porn was so hard to get — I mean, I saw porn, but I couldn’t watch it every day if I wanted to.”
She says she worries about how that could affect young people.
“Pornography is not sex education, and it should never be looked at that way. … And I don’t think the onus of responsibility is on us to educate the public — I think that should be done in the school system and with parents, but certainly it’s not our responsibility. And I don’t think a lot of people are willing to accept that,” she says. “They want to blame us for everything, and I’m not going to be blamed, because it’s a fantasy — that’s what we’re creating at the end of the day.”
Source: NPR (By: Kat Lonsdorf)