YOU’D BE SURPRISED TO HEAR WHAT PORN IS DOING TO SEX

By Gail Dines and Liz Walker

This article first appeared in Verily on July, 19th 2017.

Not known for being humble, the porn industry regularly publishes statistics on just what a bumper year it has had. Pornhub, the largest porn site in the world, published its fourth annual Year in Review in January 2017. And what a year 2016 was! The site boasts that in 2016 “nearly 92 billion videos were watched over the course of 23 billion visits.” For those not proficient in math, the site breaks down the statistics in a way that should send chills through anyone who is familiar with research on the social, emotional, and cognitive impact of porn. The 92 billion videos watched translates into “64 million visitors per day, or 44,000 every minute. Collectively, that’s 4.6 billion hours of porn watching stuffed into just one year.”

One writer who is particularly interested in this data is Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. In a recent interview, Vox asked Stephens-Davidowitz why he was so interested in sex, to which he responded, “It’s a book about human nature. Sex is a big part of human nature. Some reviews of Everybody Lies have criticized me for being obsessed with sex. Everybody is obsessed with sex.”

At first glance, this seems like a reasonable answer because when we talk about porn, most people assume we are talking about sex. Indeed, this has been a very clever marketing tactic employed by the porn industry as a way to accuse anti-porn feminists of being anti-sex. This strategy has been very effective in marginalizing the feminist anti-porn movement. After all, who really wants to get slammed with the label of being anti-sex? But what’s become clear, as more research emerges and more men come forward with the devastating accounts of how porn has altered their sexuality, is that porn doesn’t support sex—it ruins it. To collapse porn under the category of sex obfuscates the fact that while sex is a very real human desire that is as varied as the individual, porn is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry that produces a generic, formulaic product for profit.

 

Leave a Reply