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Going Incognito: Answering Your Questions About Porn

Porn is a huge taboo in the Indian subcontinent. Therefore, there is often negligible conversation around its safe use. There are categories on a porn site ranging from illegal ones, unhygienic ones, and the most infamous unrealistic ones. Porn can have a range of effects on its viewers, depending on the time of use, age of the person, state of mind, etc. Hence, let’s put all minds at ease. Here is a list of the web’s most common questions that revolve around the use of pornography.

How much is too much?

The most burning question around the subject. It is a common saying that everything has a limit and so does porn. But where is the line and how to know when it has been crossed? There has been a debate about whether porn is healthy or not. And these are just scientific opinions and not religious or political.

Porn can be recreational or compulsive. A study showed that people who watched it recreationally consumed on average 24 minutes/week. Whereas people who were distressed watched only 17 minutes/week on average. Time is not an essential factor in determining if there is an addiction but compulsivity, distress, and lack of satisfaction.

Do you have a healthy relationship with porn?

In a manner, to suggest a definite limit of time of porn consumption that is good is not possible. Let’s take two scenarios, one a healthy one and another not so much.

  • A person uses porn occasionally (alone or with a partner) and is not completely dependent on it. They do not rely on their sexual expectations entirely on the basis of porn. Therefore, that person is not losing their productivity. They have a healthy relationship with their partners and do not associate their fantasies with shame. That person has a fairly healthy relation with porn (considering that the content was produced with the consent of those involved).
  • In another picture, a person watches porn excessively, is pressurized with unrealistic sexual expectations, and can not get off without porn. Now this person can seriously mar productivity and can have mental as well as physical ill effects. They also do not have a stable sexual relationship with their partner and will associate every sexual activity with shame.

What are the pornography laws in India?

Laws are required to set a wrong to right, or to not let the wrong take place. Incidents that may generate laws against the use of pornography can be its direct influence on a crime, child pornography, content created without consent, content showing/encouraging use of unhygienic or harmful sexual practices, content that normalizes violence, rape, and insensitive gender stereotypes. There are laws in place everywhere to stop any of the above from happening and they vary by region. Laws in India are:

  • The manufacturing, publishing, selling, and distribution of pornography is illegal in India under Sections 292 and 293 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Child pornography is illegal and strictly prohibited across the country under Section 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Distribution, sale, or circulation of obscene materials and the selling of pornographic content to any person under age 20 years are illegal.

While the publication and distribution of porn are illegal in India, consumption is not. The Supreme Court of India argued that watching porn indoors in the privacy of one’s home is not a crime. Moreover, cyber laws may help in preventing child pornography from surfacing online.

 
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Can excessive porn shrink the brain? 

After research surfaced online claiming that excessive consumption might be connected with a lower volume of grey matter in the right striatum which is associated with reward and motivation. The part of the brain that reacts to sexual cues. The research resulted in a negative association between the right striatum and hours of pornography consumption. In addition to this, the left dorsolateral part of the prefrontal cortex is also negatively affected. Another way around the result could be that people with a certain type of brain could be more addicted to porn. Also, it is not particularly weird that frequent exposure to porn can reduce the brain’s reward response. Because that is how the brain becomes habituated to anything. This demonstrates basic learning behavior.

While we still do not have a definite answer, excess of anything can be bad and moderation may well be harmless.

 

How realistic is porn?

One thing that makes porn a villain is how it creates false expectations around sex. It is a common saying that receiving sex education from porn is a big scam. Porn is not at all realistic and never an accurate stage for safe and hygienic sexual practices. It puts pressure on the viewers to perform well sexually. People tend to compare their sexual prowess to the content they see on porn sites, thus injuring their self-esteem. One concrete fact as to why porn is unrealistic is that not all the shots are taken in one go. To elucidate, one shot is taken and then the actors can rest a bit then another shot is taken and it continues similarly. The shots are then made into one continuous shot after editing. This is just one example of how using props and tools sex is made to look absolutely unrecognizable.

Condoms and other contraceptives are also not used during sex in any pornographic clip. Therefore, it creates an illusion among users that rubber might intervene with better sex and dissuades them from its use. There are many petitions against this practice and more people are demanding that condoms may be used in the adult industry. Even though the actors are regularly tested for STIs, it is better to use contraceptives, especially when young people look to porn as a platform for sex education.

 
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Conclusion

To ease a little bit after going through serious questions with strong jargon, it is always good to end with mind easing humor. Allow me…. if one thinks about it porn is very much like flatulence. Everyone does it, no one talks about it or claims that it was them, it is often more socially acceptable when the activity is performed indoors in the privacy of one’s home, one feels a great release after the activity is complete.

Graphic design by: Vaibhavi Pant

Read more on how porn is replacing sex ed amongst youth here.

Author

Noor Chhikara

Writer and Poet-ish Cinema and Science buff

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