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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The porn industry has always been an influential aspect in society, from Playboy magazines to the growth of PornHub and OnlyFans on the internet. There can be many benefits to watching the right porn for you and it may help to increase libido and relieve stress. It also can empower women by encouraging them to take control of their sexual pleasures and explore what they enjoy sexually. However, as much as some of us enjoy our sexual pleasures and use porn to help this, watching porn can have long-lasting negative impacts on our body image, sex life and relationships.  

Impact On Sex and relationships:

Recently singer Billie Eilish spoke out about her struggle with watching porn at a young age and how it impacted her mental health. The singer explained that watching porn messed with her perceptions of relationships and that she sometimes suffered from nightmares because some of the content she watched was so violent and abusive. Billie Eilish is not the only person to be impacted by porn like this. Porn contributes to the distortion of individuals perception of sex and therefore can create some unrealistic expectations for sexual experiences. Sex should be a safe place for you to learn about your body and what you enjoy as well as learn about the person you are sharing this experience with, watching porn instead can lead to individuals trying to replicate things they have watched as they may feel this is the ‘right’ way to have sex (btw there is no ‘right’ way, it is whatever you feel comfortable with). This leads me to my next point about how watching too much porn or relying on it to learn about sex can negatively impact an individuals ability to set boundaries. Pornography that is shown on Pornhub often doesn’t display any clear consent given between individuals, or safe sex. For younger people watching porn, this sets bad examples for them to follow in communicating consent before and during sexual experiences and setting healthy and firm boundaries on what they are comfortable with the other person doing. Porn can inflict damage on consumers’ confidence in expressing their sexual pleasures and what works for them because there is a lack of this representation and communication in pornography.  

Impact on personal image & self-confidence:

Excessively watching porn or even engaging with it from a young age can affect an individual’s self-confidence. This is because women and men in porn are presented and maintain a certain image of themselves, often of which slim athletic build and completely hairless apart from what’s on their head.  Their bodies rarely show any flaws or imperfections, and if there are any imperfections technology and camera angles are used to hide this. It is important to remember that porn is created for performative reasons and to look good, there is no right or wrong way to look when having sex or having an orgasm – it is meant to be a safe enjoyable experience where you can fully express yourself.  Alongside this, some women and even men feel uncomfortable with the idea of their partner watching porn because of the lack of representation of normal bodies and even normal sex that isn’t filled with extreme kinks. For some, lack of body positivity and confidence resulting from engaging with unhealthy porn can lead to them questioning again their worth and whether their partner finds them sexually attractive and fulfilling due to constantly comparing their experiences to those that they watch.  

Ethical issues with pornhub and healthier alternatives:

The purpose of this article isn’t to put you off watching porn entirely because you should enjoy and learn about your body but in a healthy way! I am sure many of you reading this have heard or even used Pornhub before, but this isn’t the most ethical site to use. In 2020, the hashtag ‘traffickinghub’ went viral along with a video exposing Pornhub. In this video accounts of rape and sex trafficking of women and children were uncovered, one of which was a story of a 15-year girl who went missing in Florida for a year. The young girl was later found after 58 videos of her rape and sexual abuse was being exploited on Pornhub. Rather than use Pornhub, I want to introduce you to Bellesa. Bellesa was established in 2017 and is an adult entertainment website that was created by women for women. Not only is there video content, but there is also educational content and options to buy sex toys and wellness products. It is a safe platform for women to explore their sexuality and watch content that keeps the interest of women in mind, advocating natural bodies and safe consensual sex.  

The reality of porn should be something that promotes healthy sexual boundaries whilst creating a space for individuals to explore their sexuality without the fear they are engaging in something that exploits and harms others or contributes to low self-esteem and expectations subconsciously. Sites like Bellesa are forward-moving alternatives to break down unrealistic expectations and to create a safe space for sex.  

milly struthers

Brighton '23

I am a female van traveller with the desire to explore the world and interact with a range of people and engulf myself in new cultures. Reflecting shared female issues across all race and ethnicities in order to highlight common similarities and differences between women so that we are better equipped to support each other. Creating a safe and open space in my writing where women can relate or emphasis with what is being written and most importantly feel connected and that their not alone in their experiences. I want to offer a range of topics from women's health, to how to connect to our true feminine energies
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