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Porn and sex

"Jamal" (2018-02-22)

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The men in these online communities and support groups, Luscombe takes pains to reiterate, are not antisex or some kind of emerging asexuals. Just the opposite, in fact. They, at least in theory, like sex, but their addictions to the pornified portrayal of it won’t let them have the real thing. One man told Luscombe, "I just want to enjoy sex again and feel the desire for another person." Another: "The reason I quit watching porn is to have more sex." And simply: "Quitting porn is one of the most sex-positive things people can do." Mainstream Backlash

Time’s cover story is reminiscent of a late 2013 article in GQ called "10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Watching Porn." At least to me, this article came as a little bit of a surprise, given the magazine’s history of love for the conquesting "gentleman." The article looked at a survey of the Reddit group NoFap (which also figures in prominently to the Time research). GQ warned sexually active men essentially about the same thing the Time piece now warns an entire society about.

In addition to this kind of anecdotal evidence, Luscombe’s article in Time also details some of the statistics surrounding pornography use—she mentions, too, that the academic world seems curiously hesitant to study the phenomenon, which results in relatively scant data. Still, the results she does report are as damning as the testimonies. She cites an "independent Web-tracking company" that counted some 58 million monthly U.S. visitors to adult sites in February 2006. "Ten years later," Luscombe writes, "the number was 107 million." She also claims that the website Pornhub reported 2.4 million visitors per hour in 2015 alone. Around the world, people watched a gargantuan 4,392,486,580 hours of porn on the site. According to the Time article, that represents "twice as long as Homo sapiens has spent on earth."

All this porn watching adds up to an overwhelmingly consistent claim from the consumers themselves: Porn users are saying that what they wanted from porn—the pleasure and fulfillment of sex—they’ve now lost completely.

As revealing as Luscombe’s article is, it may not even be the most indicting porn data in this week’s issue of Time.

Also in this week’s issue, a small column appears titled "How Porn Is Changing a Generation of Girls" by Peggy Orenstein, the author of a new book, GIRLS & SEX. Her account of the toll of pornography culture on women, particularly young women, might even be more alarming than the cover story. Orenstein writes:

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