Forum 2015. Porn and some effects on young people- Gareth Merriman

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Forum 2015. Porn and some effects on young people- Gareth Merriman

Home Forums WASHN eYarning 2015 WA Aboriginal Sexual Health Forum, November 17 &18 Forum 2015. Porn and some effects on young people- Gareth Merriman

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    WASHN Team
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    The impact of pornography on young people: What we know, what the myths are and how we can help young people have a healthy understanding and associated behaviours.
    Presented by: Dr Gareth Merriman
    Sexuality Therapist, Educator and Researcher; Sexologist;
    Psychologist; Psychotherapist; Forensic Sexologist
    Owner, Director & Senior Therapist
    SRTC: Sexuality & Relationship Therapy Centre
    Excellence in Education, Research, Consultancy
    & Specialised Therapeutic Services

    Phone: 0419 196 779 srtc@bigpond.net.au

    The individual- I, me, you. We are all the same and different too
    I will be talking in general about people who view pornography and the negative impacts it has on them – this is not everyone
    All people are unique.
    How an individual reacts to a certain stimuli, an event and in seeking pleasure is in the context of how they have been introduced to and educated about self and others, intimacy, attachment, relationships, sensuality, spirituality and sexuality.

    We need to discuss: “what is pornography?”
    We will see some pics today but not many.- (not here as too big to share)
    Many definitions and debates but we are going to focus on one aspect – internet pornography.
    Some broader context of ‘what is pornography’:
    Many countries do not have the term pornography in their criminal code and for most countries the emphasis in definition of pornography is in regard to obscenity.

    Definitions of pornography often focus around:
    Sexually explicit pictures, movies, writing, behaviours, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.

    OBSCENE, OBSCENITY – Such indecency as is calculated to promote the violation of the law and the general corruption of morals.

    For something to be “obscene” it must be shown that the average person, and they must feel a level of violation, applying contemporary community standards and viewing the material as a whole – 3 tier model
    Three level evaluation:
    (a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
    (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable local laws
    (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

    Sexually explicit pictures have been drawn for hundreds of thousands of years.
    Cave, rock and other early paintings have depicted pictures of animals having sex, people having sex and people having sex with animals.
    Graphic pictures of sexual acts including sexual functioning, and sexual pleasure, through to sexual torture have also been used for education and instilling fear for thousands of years.
    Works of Art have often caused disagreement with what is considered ART and what constitutes pornography
    Much literature has been deemed by authorities to be obscene and not supportive of the morals that society upholds – therefore has been classified porn!
    EG Lady Chatterley’s Lover;
    Story of O;
    50 Shades of Grey;
    Photos
    Often censorship or classification of pornography is based on the intent of the stimuli.
    Difficulty is that the intent of the producer can be VERY different to the perceived intent
    Can be used in different ways: Behaviour
    Comedy
    Community behaviours: obscenities, obscene behaviours
    Sex industry: adult shops; strippers, sexual performers, prostitutes; even at times sexuality educators
    There are many sources of pornography
    Local networks
    Literature, art etc
    Home made for self
    The internet porn menu! Everything visual, audio, soon ……. There will be different pleasure seeking.

    Cyber porn
    The internet is an easily accessible portal for getting most forms of pornography.
    Whilst most visual porn sites need payment to enter there are still thousands of free sites with free images, stories, web cams, movies and links to networks of interest!

    Different themes of porn
    Many sites specialise in providing themes in stimuli
    Eg Redheads; Drunk Teens; Orgies; Older men with young men; Granny sex; Stockings, Latex, Leather, Swallowing, Female Ejaculation, BJ, Enemas, Nurses etc, etc, etc,
    The next few sides are topics from a free porn site
    Each topic can have pictures, movies or web cams
    A-Z listing of different porn topics
    Pretty much if you can think it someone else has and posted about it …………..
    So what does this do that you can look up and see what you are trying to imagine?
    How does it impact on the brain, attitudes, sexual arousal, fantasy v/s relaity, social, relationship and sexual behaviours and emotional regulation ………….?
    Loads of controversy and debate about what sort of porn, how much, over what time of porn use does what!

    Research;
    There is a growing amount of research on the topic but it is controversial and a lot is based on biases and morals rather than evolutionary impact.
    Only limited studies are currently and have been conducted on Aboriginal Youth in Australia and this presentation is based on the most current research currently published on specific and general populations.

    This is what we know about how porn is influencing young people and adults
    More people are being exposed to pornography due to the digital and social media age.
    Some studies estimate that over 70% of 9 year olds have seen hardcore pornography and over 90% of 13year olds and above have seen hardcore pornography.
    For many young people their viewing of pornography and discussions they have about such with their friends are the only education that they are receiving bout sex and sexuality – so pornography impacts on them as they have only this to base their arousal, thoughts of behaviour and actual sexual and social behaviours.
    Issues include;
    Major sexual objectification of women for both men, women and trans individuals
    Distortion of sexual and/or social play
    Distortion of the repertoire and breadth of intimate, sensual and sexual activities …..
    Limited understanding of sexual diversity, body realities, sexual abilities and function
    Pornography influenced peer pressure
    Limited/if any understanding of emotional/sexual/spiritual connections
    Limited understanding of sexual arousal diversity, control, anticipation, fluidness in arousal and pleasure
    Habituation and reliance on pornography arousal for general arousal
    Desensitisation on certain arousal leading to exploring more options in pornographic stimuli
    A distortion of power plays, seduction, initiations, surrender and other aspects of intimacy and interaction.
    Utilisation of pornography for the seduction of others including minors
    Increase in inappropriate txts, chat, social cues and signals

    Obviously not all people who view pornography have all these impacts
    Many people find a balance in using such porn for arousal and having arousal actually with others and seem not to have a negative impact from such exposure and use of pornography
    However, the research indicates without a very comprehensive, coherent background and understanding of sexuality and relationships before and during puberty the negative impact of pornography is greater

    Why porn is used
    Boredom
    Interest in finding out about taboos
    Interest in seeing what people are talking about
    Lack of understanding of sexual activity and sexual arousal
    Seeking information on sex and activities
    Peer pressure and many more …….

    Some people get obsessed ( lots of time spent looking, doing and thinking about) because
    They are bored with nothing else, or as good to do
    Low self awareness and empathic ability
    Lack of social and relationship skills
    Lack of understanding about sexual interaction
    A pattern is developed in their brain which is a major part of their sexual arousal and gratification as well as interactions

    What can be done –
    Reprogramming through comprehensive sexuality education that challenges myths, is factual, explicit, based on sex positivity, pleasure and wanting to learn about human sexual responses
    It must include relationship education: which includes relationship with self and others.
    Also includes diversity, individuality and spirituality.

    To finish up

    Without a comprehensive sexuality education youth and younger children are learning just a biased, porn orientated direction about sexuality.

    Education needs to include not just risk management and harm reduction; it has to include specific, clear information about sexual function, sexual arousal, sexual pleasure, sexual activities and all aspects of respect and consent

    AND education must begin at ‘home’ and certainly in first year primary school and continue through to the end of high school

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