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Keep It Real Online - Porn

I'm curious about porn

It's normal to be curious about sex and this can lead to curiosity about porn. But porn doesn’t reflect great sex or healthy relationship(external link) and using it to learn about sex can be problematic. It's important to think carefully about what you watch - porn is a product for adult entertainment and isn't intended for young people.

I'm being pressured to do something from porn

What happens in porn can look enjoyable on the surface - but porn is acting. The way people act and the things people do in porn might not be enjoyable for you or your partner.

Great sex vs Porn
  • Between real people  
  • Intimate: there’s kissing, hugging, caring, connection
  • About pleasure for both people. Its comfortable and doesn’t hurt/harm.
  • Positive communication and interaction
  • Consensual (with no pressure and no threat)
  • Safe (using condoms and contraception(external link))
 
  • Usually performed by actors.
  • Fantasy – it’s not how people treat each other in real life.
  • Unrealistic expectations of sex and sexual relationships.
  • Often lacks consent or provides unrealistic expectations about consent.
  • The themes often have problematic messages about racism, gender, sexual diversity, coercion, sexism

For more: The Light Project(external link) & Online Porn(external link)

Consent

When it comes to sex, whatever you're doing, consent is key. Consent is when everybody involved in a sexual experience agrees verbally or non-verbally to what is happening without threat, pressure, force or intimidation.

Porn often shows men controlling or dominating women. Actors in porn sometimes do things that are mean, uncomfortable or painful. This might include things like; spitting, slapping, hitting, name-calling or choking another person.

Often actors will respond to this by showing pleasure, especially women. Or it might look like they don’t want it to happen, but the other person keeps doing it anyway.

Sexual activity without consent is illegal. You might not always see it in Porn, but consent is always required before filming.

This might be an awkward topic of conversation but it’s also really important:

  • Consent is essential when it comes to sex and needs to be clear.
  • If you are unsure whether someone is consenting, you must stop and check.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sex, it’s ok to say stop if you don’t want to continue.

If you want more information about consent check out the Family Planning website: Consent - Say and show ‘yes’ to an activity(external link).

For support with sexual harm contact Safe to Talk(external link) by texting 4334 or try Maori Safe to Talk or Pasifika Safe to Talk.

Is porn really that big a deal?

Maybe it doesn’t seem like it, but porn can negatively impact you and your life – especially watching hardcore porn and / or you’re viewing porn often. Over time this can negatively affect:

  • Body confidence: porn does not reflect reality. It can make you feel unhappy with your own body because it doesn’t look like the people you see in porn or you can’t do the things you see actors do.
  • Attitude and consent: can also bring unrealistic attitudes about sex and consent and towards gender roles and identities in relationships.
  • Relationships and sex: porn is not realistic, which can give people false expectations. This can make it hard to be in a relationship with someone else or affect your own sex life.
  • Mental Health: It can become problematic or an unwanted habit that can cause health issues, concerns about content of porn, shame, secrecy or feelings of discomfort.

The Light Project have more information in their website about how porn can affect people: Can porn affect us?(external link)

I feel pressured to watch porn

Sometimes you might feel pressure to watch online porn from peers, friends, older sibling, adults and even partners. It’s ok to decide that you don’t want to particularly if it makes you feel uncomfortable or upset. Here are a few ways to deal with it;

  • Be straight with them: it’s not ok to be pressured into something you don’t want to do. If someone is putting pressure on you to watch porn you could try being honest with them about the fact that you’re not keen. Remember that you never have to do anything sexual that you don’t want to.
  • Ignore it: if someone is trying to put pressure on you to talk about or watch porn, try changing the subject or just ignore it.
  • Try using humour: sometimes humour can be a good way of getting out of doing something you don’t feel comfortable with.

It’s illegal in New Zealand to supply porn to someone who is under the age of 18. If you’re uncomfortable about being pressured to view porn talk to someone you trust or contact Netsafe(external link) for confidential help about what to do by texting ‘Netsafe’ to 4282.

I want help with porn

Some people are worried about the amount of porn they watch, what they see in porn, or they're worried that porn might be affecting them in some way. It can be helpful to talk about how your feeling. Here are some organisations that can help: