Internet Porn Wrecks Aussie Marriages

Here’s an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the effect of online pornography on relationships. The Herald looked at academic articles, previous surveys on internet porn use, and conducted a survey of its own. The results are intriguing, and relevent to feminist discussions of pornography. I’ll mention just one though:

According to the survey, where men used lots of internet pornography, the depictions of sexual interaction very soon come to “inform” the couple’s sexual practices. To pull a quote from one interviewee: “It [sex] became more ‘porn’ style – pulling my hair, no kissing, slapping around a bit, all stuff I was initially OK with. And always he wanted to come in my face. There was no real intimacy, no thought about what I might like.”

Having taught Rae Langton and Jen Hornsby’s uses of Speech Act theory, students are often sceptical that the authority felicity condition for subordination can be met – that is, they doubt the claim that porn has authority in informing male notions of sex and sexuality. At best, they think it has only a moderate influence, and even then, only over teenage boys who very quickly drop ‘porn’ style ideas about sex.

It seems to me that this article says lots to undermine that scepticism – and it even refers to connections between the increase in the pornography’s depiction of anal sex and ordinary demand for it drawn in Haggstrom-Nordin, Hanson, and Tyden’s  (2005) paper “Associations between pornography consumption and sexual practices among adolescents in Sweden” – The International Journal of STD and AIDS. Vol16, No 2. 102-107. (As a matter of fact, Elisabet Haggstrom-Nordin’s work on pornography and sexual practices are often good for empirical sources).