Laws: How porn shaped a generation

Last updated 10:23 10/03/2013
laws
Sunday Star-Times columnist Michael Laws: We're still no good at talking about sex.

Relevant offers

In a week when New Zealanders freely surrendered the most intimate information about their individual race, religion, health and income, to the Census 2013 strangers that knocked at their doors, we remain resolutely silent about sex.

Indeed there were no census questions about sexuality at all. Which is the way Kiwis like it: because sex is our last taboo.

Which is actually odd, because we are a very sexy lot. Apparently our women are, per capita, the largest purchasers of vibrators in the world. These toys have become like tattoos - no self-respecting woman has just one.

And we are prolific downloaders of internet porn. Indeed one wonders if that's the reason the internet actually exists.

We are also brilliant at having unprotected sex and catching STDs. My generation is probably the worst on that score. Most men my age regard condoms as devices of the Devil. Which, of course, they are: the Roman Catholic church is right.

But it's not just the middle-aged with their dubious mores.

Women under 35 have completely changed the mating rules. They are as assertive as the male and, inspired by Madonna and a whole series of randy feminists, are just as likely to recreationally bonk as any male their age. They are also generation friendly - they date much older and much younger with nary a backward thought.

But it is the rise of pornography - and its influence upon modern western culture - that is the phenomenon of our time. No self respecting reality TV type is without their own sex tape. And the ready availability of both the professional and amateur product, permeates our current culture.

As a consequence, sexual practises have radically changed. Many acts which were once considered risqué and kinky, are now mainstream. And there is a growing minority movement that is moving beyond the edges of experiment.

There are obvious negatives from such trends. Most western research suggests that the internet porn has become the adolescent male's first sexual experience. The activity they view - and the way the women react - shapes their view of how women should react. Unsurprisingly, they act out these images if given the opportunity.

Equally unsurprisingly, another branch of feminists are worried. With good reason. If porn becomes the de facto sex education for Kiwi adolescents then kink becomes mainstream real quick.

And then there are the peripheries. Child pornography, bestiality and a whole range of sexual practises that we would prefer children not be exposed to. Because although they are aberrant and abhorrent, adolescents don't possess the same filters as their adult parents.

Ad Feedback

Of course one person's erotica is another's pornography. Most men would gag if they had to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey'. The book has had its effect in many bedrooms and boudoirs these past months. But at its heart it is a romance, not an S & M fantasy. Even if it has launched many of the latter.

Nevertheless porn has shaped this generation. As it will the next. Just as well the Census then, refuses to tell us by how much.

mlaws@radiolive.co.nz

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content