In a stroke of random clarity, the UK government announced yesterday that it was going to require anyone signing up for internet service to declare whether they wanted access to porn.
Its brilliant. (words never associated with any government, never mind the British one)
Before you start waving your fingers around and moaning about socialism and ‘big brother’, ‘mind control’ or censorship, think about it. In one swoop you can eliminate porn from your kids phones, computers and iPads. And really, do you want to defend your kids right to porn? Really?
I tried to write a post about porn, or kabuki sex as Dan Savage likes to call it, last week but the emails I received were less than polite, so I took it down. Self censorship. That and I don’t like being shouted at.
The point I was trying to make was that porn isn’t real.. and unfortunately, kids (and grown adults), sometimes don’t have the judgement or filter to differentiate between what they see on the screen and what they expect to see in real life. Which leads to some very wonky interactions. This is happening today with dudes my age, and I was really freaked out when I learned that my 8 year old niece has her own iPad. Sure she’s 8 and porn probably isn’t the first thing she’s thinking about (I think its still all princesses, One Direction and pink).. but one mistyped word and suddenly she’s someone who thinks that X, Y and Z are things she’ll be expected to do when she gets older. And she’s scarred for life.
So when I saw this news item about the UK I breathed a huge sigh and crossed my fingers that her top marks in ‘spelling’ would carry her through to avoiding any missteps when she’s trying to find out what her Mum means when she calls her ‘daddys girl’ (don’t google it, you know what you’re going to find) and that my sister has been smart enough to enable any and all ‘adult content’ filters they already have there in the UK.
I’ve always been open minded about erotica and when I saw my first porn I was glad that I’d had some experience of the act before I’d actually watched the thing. If not, I might have entered my first sexual experience thinking that sex must involve rubber gloves, at least three people and acts that I thought required an epidural. Hey, those Europeans are very open-minded and apparently quite elastic. Which is to say, it was kabuki sex. Not real, certainly not for first timers and often, highly degrading to women.
And when dating, I’ve noticed increasingly that some guys, especially long term single guys, seem to have expectations around their interactions with women that increasingly draw on what they’ve been watching on the screen.
And no, its clearly not Downton Abbey.
Porn can be fun, titillating and entertaining. However an overabundance and over-consumption of porn does seem to be impacting both men and women in their approach to sex, their expectations and unfortunately sometimes, resulting in some awful experiences. What looks like fun on the screen to one person doesn’t necessarily translate to fun in the bedroom with a new partner.
After all, you don’t want a James Bond film and run out to become a spy. So why some people think that they need to or can, replicate what they see on their computer screen… well, its depressing.
So, cry about censorship, about how this move by the British government is going to be the tip of the iceberg in controlling what we do and what we see, but I for one can sleep tonight knowing that my niece won’t learn about sex from ‘Daddy’s Gurls’