Family First New Zealand has recently launched a petition for an inquiry into the impacts of pornography. Their petition calls for “an expert panel [to] be appointed to investigate the public health effects and societal harms of pornography to both children and adults, and to make policy recommendations to Parliament”. The website hosting their petition claims that “men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity” and that ongoing use of pornography “results in stronger perceptions of women as commodities”.
But what really are the impacts? And why, when pornography has existed for centuries, is Family First New Zealand only now calling for an inquiry?
Thanks to the internet, pornography is more available and accessible than ever before. Whilst many reading this will remember the days of pornography in print formats, such as Playboy or Penthouse magazine, pornographic internet tube sites such as Pornhub appear in the top 150 globally accessed websites. To put into perspective how popular internet pornography is, we only need to look at the amount of traffic to these websites. At its peak in the 1970s, Playboy magazine had a monthly circulation of 7 million copies (Gunelius, 2009). In 2016, Pornhub.com recorded an astonishing 23 billion visits to their website, amounting to a total of 64 million visits per day. What Playboy was able to achieve per month, Pornhub is able to achieve in just under three hours. And it seems that New Zealanders are particularly fond of consuming pornographic content, coming in 5th for per capita page views globally. Continue reading ‘Let’s Talk about Sex (on Screen), Baby’