Did you know that more than 80% of males consume porn? Did you know that a study at University of Sydney suggested that 20% of men preferred to watch pornography over being sexually intimate with a partner?.

If that last fact alone doesn’t make you realise that pornography is a problem, then you might just be part of the statistic.

Pornography, as it stands, is one of the most lucrative industries in the world. It is the ultimate fulfilment of (predominantly) man’s boldest and most outrageous fantasy. Erotic art was evident even as far back as Egyptian times, but the rise of pornified or pornography images did not begin until the film camera was invented.

With the rise of the distribution of pornography or ‘erotic’ images came an increase in sexual appetite.

Currently, there are seemingly endless arrays of porn that begins with cheap-made voyeuristic videos (that are made with or without permission of the women of which they star) to the most shocking videos for the more desensitised pornography consumer.

According to Robbi Sonderegger, Google search query of “Teen Sex” holds the number one position for total web pages of 81,700,000. “Pre-teen Sex” yields a whopping 1,560,000 results. And according to Gizmodo there are 116,000 searches for “Child pornography” every single day. Other search queries that too, yield shockingly high web page results are, “Animal Sex” – This is second on the list with 50,300,000 results. This query holds 6,120,000 searches per month.

“Crush Sex” (pornography that involves the disturbing act of killing small animals) yields 7,740,000 total web pages and is only 8th on the list. And most disturbingly, total web pages for “Snuff sex” (the ‘actual death of participants, consenting or otherwise’) holds a total web page count of 1,280,000 with 6600 search results per month.

What is it about pornography that keeps the consumers pushing the envelope for more and more outrageous fantasies to be played out for their gratification?

Pornography has been normalised in society and is widely accepted by men and women alike. Never has pornography been more prevalent in society than in birth and growth of the internet. Users don’t need to leave their homes to obtain it, they don’t even need to pay. More than 35% of internet downloads are pornography and 12% of the internet is made up of it (Gizmodo, 2010). With it being so easily accessible, it is possible that users become considerably desensitised as their consumption grows.

Researchers at University of Sydney found that pornography consumption can lead to addiction and that those addicted to pornography can suffer severe social and relationship issues.

Watching porn is not a normal and natural behaviour. Dr. Raj Sitharthan believes that porn is a learned behaviour that can be unlearned. “What we need is a balanced view of the potential dangers of porn addiction, supported by good evidence,” he says.

Pornography creates an unrealistic representation of sex and how sex should be which has the potential to leave men and women feeling disappointed or unsatisfied with their respective sex lives. Women are exploited and objectified and a lot of the time treated violently during porn videos and are made to act as though they are throughly enjoying it. This of course, is not the reality.

Ex Pornstar Genevieve explains, “I had bodily fluids all over my face that had to stay on my face for ten minutes. The abuse and degradation was rough. I sweated and was in deep pain. On top of the horrifying experience, my whole body ached, and I was irritable the whole day. The director didn’t really care how I felt; he only wanted to finish the video.”

Genevieve’s story is just one of hundreds from porn stars that have claimed to have been manipulated in to doing things that they were not comfortable with, or even brazenly mislead by agents and directors. Corina Taylor recounts one of her experiences on set, “When I arrived to the set I expected to do a vaginal girl boy scene. But during the scene with a male porn star, he forced himself anally into me and would not stop. I yelled at him to stop and screamed ‘No’ over and over but he would not stop. The pain became too much and I was in shock and my body went limp.”

Many women in this industry contract sexually transmitted infections and diseases despite being assured that it is a safe and clean environment. According to the website of Shelley Lubbin, many women are beaten and raped and are manipulated in to doing scenes of which they are abused sexually and ignored if they are hurt or uncomfortable.

Pornography is running rampant on the internet and becoming readily available for consumption not only by adults, but also by teens and children. Gizmodo (2012) shows that the average age of which a child first sees pornography is at 11 years old, thus developing an early desensitisation to adult images of a sexual nature and perverting their understanding of sexual relationships.

While pornography is bleeding in to the mainstream, it is obvious that as a result we are traveling a slippery slope in to a pornified culture. This culture has a very real and lasting, negative impact on young men and women that is sabotaging any potential for normal and healthy relationships.

Pornography deepens a misrepresented version of sex and is, as simply put, sexual propaganda.

WRITTEN BY JESSICA TENI