Hours Spent on Pornhub Exceeds Human Existence

By Jillian Gilchrest, Age 33

Time for everyone’s favorite subject…porn. Just kidding, I know that talking about porn is totally uncomfortable and is typically just not discussed. But here’s the thing, porn is more readily available today than ever before and with advances in technology, porn is literally at our fingertips. In the last decade Internet porn has taken a drastic turn toward violence, pushing women to, and beyond, their limits of tolerance for pain and discomfort.

So yeah, I want to talk about it. As a feminist, there is a pressure to defend porn as “sex positive”. But I can’t defend all porn, especially porn that uses violence against women and children as entertainment. And I refuse to ignore porn when, increasingly, research shows that today’s porn–genre, availability, and frequency– has a direct impact on individuals and the culture. So, buckle up and let’s discuss.

Pornhub is the largest pornography site on the Internet. If you haven’t
visited the site, it’s worth the brief visit just to understand the issue at hand. Fair warning, the content is intense from the moment you land on the page.

Pornhub was launched in Montreal in 2007 and has offices and servers in San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans and London. In 2015 alone, 87,849,731,608 videos were viewed on Pornhub. That equates to 12 videos per person on earth. Come again!? And that’s just one porn website…there are 4.2 million pornographic websites on the Internet– 12% of all websites.

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Now, I recognize that not all porn is bad, BUT, the porn on Pornhub is pretty misogynistic and often violent and degrading toward women. Their site is not alone in this. In fact, 90% of scenes on top-rated porn sites contain acts of aggression. Additionally, the genres of porn available on Pornhub, and other porn sites, is disturbing to say the least.

Each year, Pornhub analyzes the traffic to their site and the popularity of various genres of porn. In 2015 the top two porn searches in the U.S. were for videos featuring step-moms and cartoons. Yes, really. So, apparently watching a step mom get railed and cartoons bang was most popular in 2015 (can you hear me screaming?).

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More problematic than the disturbingly freaky top two searches are the remaining three that made the top five–searches for porn featuring teens, lesbians, and blacks. First of all, it’s illegal to have sex with a minor. The videos themselves do not actually have teen actresses, they just make the actresses look like teens… so much better, right?! In case you are wondering, the male “actors” are definitely not made to look like teens.

The searches for lesbians and black women are also highly problematic because from what I know about the site, these terms aren’t being searched for by lesbians for lesbians or by black people for black people. This genre of porn is an extension of the sexualization of both black women and lesbians. It commodifies these populations of women, both of whom experience epidemic levels of individual and institutional violence.

So, what does all of this mean and what’s next?
1. Check out Fight the New Drug for information about the impact that porn has on the brain, relationships, and society.
2. Work to ensure that at the very least, youth receive comprehensive sexual health education. We can’t very well, in good conscious, allow porn to be the only education kids receive on sexual intimacy and relationships.
3. Engage in conversations about porn even though it is uncomfortable and not all porn is bad. There has to be room to have constructive conversations about both good and bad porn.

We owe it to ourselves and to those growing up now to discuss how access to highly aggressive porn is impacting us and what it means for sexual relationships, consent, and violence.

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