Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2023

Today’s Porn Isn’t The Porn of Your Youth; It’s Far Worse and Children Are Accessing It

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:23 pm



[guest post by Dana]

A 16-year old girl discusses having been exposed to pornography at a very early age:

I was ten years old when I watched porn for the first time. I found myself on Pornhub, which I stumbled across by accident and returned to out of curiosity. The website has no age verification, no ID requirement, not even a prompt asking me if I was over 18. The site is easy to find, impossible to avoid, and has become a frequent rite of passage for kids my age.

Where was my mother? In the next room, making sure I was eating nine differently colored fruits and vegetables on the daily. She was attentive, nearly a helicopter parent, but I found online porn anyway. So did my friends.

Today I’m 16, and my peers are suffering from an addiction to what many call “the new drug.” Porn is the disastrous replacement for intimacy among my sexless, anxiety-ridden generation.

Anyone who has made a serious effort to be a “good” parent has likely had to deal with their kids and porn; blocks are installed on home computers, keystroke loggers are used, kids’ histories are checked, and maybe they have their phones confiscated every night before bed. There are any number of safety precautions available today, but it still seems that parents are always running a step behind. The internet provides a seemingly limitless number of pornographic websites that clever and determined kids can eventually access, or they might be like the writer of this piece and accidentally stumble upon them. Whether catching one’s offspring in the act of looking at porn, discovering their internet wanderings via their browsing history, or clicking on an open tab they forgot to close, most kids (I really wish I could just specify teenagers here because that’s more palatable than “kids,” which would include children…) will have viewed some pornography while still living at home with their parents.

And lest you think that today’s porn is the porn of your youth, think again. The young writer takes the time to explain, in painful detail, just how horrifying the porn is that kids are viewing today:

When I talk to adults, I get the strong sense they picture a hot bombshell in lingerie or a half-naked model on a beach. This is not what I stumbled upon back in fourth grade. I saw simulated incest, bestiality, extreme bondage, sex with unconscious women, gangbangs, sadomasochism, and unthinkable physical violence. The porn children view today makes Playboy look like an American Girl doll catalog.

…the preadolescent and adolescent brain doesn’t know it’s all fake. It believes wholeheartedly what it sees. I certainly did.

Just awful, awful stuff.

While some pornographers might claim to be troubled by the knowledge that young kids are viewing their work and thus are influenced by it, suggested remedies are beyond laughable and demonstrate that they actually have no understanding of what’s happening:

Many “sex-positive” pornographers claim they can prevent this by mitigating artifice in their videos. One such personality is porn actress Stoya, who told The New York Times she believes porn can be a good thing.

Although Stoya admits she’s troubled about her work’s influence on young people (it apparently keeps her “awake at night”), her answer is to make her pornography more realistic, more female-centered, and more contextual. For example, Stoya lauds a practice in some BDSM porn (bondage, domination/discipline, sadism, and masochism) that encourages “aftercare,” which is essentially two partners “checking in” after brutalizing each other in bed.

Oh. Okay. Problem solved.

While I would like to believe that the majority of Americans, especially parents, have a problem with children viewing pornography, obviously not everyone does:

Nadine Strossen, the former national president of the ACLU, argue that minors’ access to porn content is a “free speech” issue, noting young people have a constitutional right to information about sexual health.

[Ed. Because incest, bestiality, extreme bondage, sex with unconscious women, gangbangs, sadomasochism, and unthinkable physical violence is all about “sexual health”.]

There is some legislative pushback taking place, however, and one hopes to see more states make similar bipartisan decisions:

…legislators are finally starting to step up. Louisiana state representative Laurie Schlegel was one of the first lawmakers to break ground on this issue. Her bill imposed age verification requirements on sites like Pornhub, and as a result, traffic to that site is down by 80 percent in her state. Other states have now followed suit, with similar protective bills gaining bipartisan support in Arkansas, Montana, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia, and Texas. These age verification bills are progress, and they must be replicated across America.

With that, I am reminded of an article I read a few years ago, wherein the popular performer, Billie Eilish opened up about viewing porn at a young age and the very negative impact it had on her:

“As a woman, I think porn is a disgrace. I used to watch a lot of porn, to be honest. I started watching porn when I was like 11,” she said, telling Howard it helped her feel like “one of the guys.” “I think it really destroyed my brain and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn.”

She frequently watched violent pornography, which she believes contributed to her suffering from sleep paralysis and night terrors. The “abusive” porn also led to problems in the bedroom once she was older and had become sexually active herself.

“I’m so angry that porn is so loved, and I’m so angry at myself for thinking that it was okay,” she continued…

When I was 10 and 11-years old there was no internet. And despite a family implosion (parents divorced), I remained cocooned in the bubble of childhood and knew nothing of the adult world. I didn’t even know what divorce meant! I was still playing with dolls, roller skating on metal skates, reading Nancy Drew mysteries, riding bikes through the neighborhood, and occasionally watching The Beverly Hillbillies or Get Smart. I cannot imagine, not for one second, the devastating impact viewing the pornography described above would have had on me at that tender age, and the impact it would have on any future relationships I had.

Read the entire piece as the writer also provides links to studies showing what happens to developing minds when viewing porn, etc.

–Dana

41 Responses to “Today’s Porn Isn’t The Porn of Your Youth; It’s Far Worse and Children Are Accessing It”

  1. This made me very sad.

    I think parents tend to underestimate their teenagers’ insatiable curiosity and drive and overestimate their honesty and forthrightness. Kids, especially teens, are sneaky creatures and when they know porn is easily available to them, they are going to find ways to work around parental efforts to keep them from it.

    I wish parents of young children would simply lock their computers and phones whenever their children are in the midst of technology. Clearly, accidents happen. And with devastating consequences.

    Dana (4020dd)

  2. Excellent post, Dana. If memory serves, Pornhub responded to the new regulations placed upon it in Louisiana (of all states, the one whose unofficial motto is laissez les bons temps rouler is restricting pornography — contemplate that for a moment) by shutting down access to the entire state, believing that there would be such a groundswell of resentment among denizens of the Pelican State that they would push for a repeal of the legislation. That didn’t happen. Pornhub grossly overestimates their influence.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  3. I think parents tend to underestimate their teenagers’ insatiable curiosity and drive and overestimate their honesty and forthrightness. Kids, especially teens, are sneaky creatures and when they know porn is easily available to them, they are going to find ways to work around parental efforts to keep them from it.

    In our day it was alcohol and cigarettes that were the forbidden fruits (though I grew up in an era when there was no age requirement to purchase tobacco products). Odd that I don’t hear about teenage smoking being a problem any longer, but online addictions — especially pornography — seems to have taken its place. Kids are always going to gravitate to the stuff they know they shouldn’t be accessing. So has it always been.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  4. I’m surprised that you don’t mention the ruling today where Pornhub won a ruling against a Texas age-identification law that was apparently both overbroad and invasive of privacy.

    A federal judge ruled Thursday that a Texas law requiring pornography sites to institute age-verification measures — and add prominent warning labels about the alleged dangers of porn — violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition against free-speech restrictions.

    A lawsuit seeking to overturn the Texas legislation was filed Aug. 4 by the Free Speech Coalition, a group that included Pornhub’s parent company, adult industry advocacy groups and an adult performer (referred to in filings as “Jane Doe”).

    Under the Texas law, which was set to go into effect Sept. 1, 2023, porn sites would have been required to use “reasonable age verification methods” to “verify that an individual attempting to access the material is 18 years of age or older.” In addition, pornography sites would have been forced to display a “Texas Health and Human Services Warning” in at least 14-point font — one such warning was specified to read, “Pornography increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation, and child pornography” — along with a national toll-free number for people with mental health disorders. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed H.B. 1181 into law on June 12.

    In the Aug. 31 ruling, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas wrote, “The Court finds that H.B. 1181 is unconstitutional on its face.” The ruling enjoined Angela Colmenero, acting attorney general of Texas, from taking any enforcement action under H.B. 1181 “pending further order or final judgment.”

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  5. Teenage smoking is still a problem, but it’s vaping now.

    Personal opinion. I don’t know that anyone under 16 should have free access to an internet connected computer/phone. That or they should have a nannybot that only allows specific websites, not blocks certain websites but only allows specifically preapproved websites. Maybe each approved website has a app and they can only access internet through that specific app. So maybe they could access Roblox, minecraft, wikipedia, their school clever portal, their school gradebook, etc. No google search.

    My students certainly can’t handle it and we also play a lot of wack-a-mole with kids trying to sneak access to porn on the school computers. And social media is an ongoing nightmare.

    OTOH, I don’t think adults should be punished because kids are doing things they shouldn’t. If adults want to view porn, that’s their business.

    Nic (896fdf)

  6. I hadn’t seen the report, Kevin.

    Dana (4020dd)

  7. This IMO is a lot more concerning than Drag Queen Story Hour.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  8. What is needed is a good way to offer proof of adulthood, and this isn’t limited to porn. Internet sales of tobacco, fireworks, wine, gambling, etc, are supposed to be limited by age (but aren’t in reality). Now some of these require credit card approvals, and maybe that’s enough, but others (like porn sites) are just a bit too dodgy for that to be a good plan. Not sure I’d want to give my credit card to a tribal-run business either as there are few protections against fraud. And of course, no one wants their ID on file at the chicks-with-*icks website.

    So, something along the lines of a trusted intermediary, where the, um, user gives an ID or other proof and gets a digital record that, if passed to the website within 15 minutes, can be validated against the trusted authority as a zero-knowledge proof and this can be stored as a cookie for future visits.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  9. When I talk to adults, I get the strong sense they picture a hot bombshell in lingerie or a half-naked model on a beach. This is not what I stumbled upon back in fourth grade. I saw simulated incest, bestiality, extreme bondage, sex with unconscious women, gangbangs, sadomasochism, and unthinkable physical violence.

    This seems to be a mixture of unbelievable naivete and exaggeration of the wares easily available. Most adults, if they are honest, have seen the general contents of these sites and for the most part they are nothing of the sort suggested. Bad taste couple with boring is most common, but bestiality, rape and “unthinkable physical violence” really isn’t all that easy to find. Feel free to look for it yourself, I doubt you will find it.

    Yes, the sexual content that IS there is not something I would want a 4th grader to see, but mainly because it would pervert their expectations in later life — most of it is not in the least bit romantic or even erotic. It’s just mechanical. But it isn’t really the parade of horrors the porn police are suggesting.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  10. Guess what the first uses of generative AI will be. In time, it will make a great sexbot OS.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  11. @9. I’ve never seen most of that stuff either, but I assume that’s mostly because I don’t want to. My adolescent idea of “naughty” was formed by my friend’s brother’s Playboys, and as the quoted story attests, once those values imprint, they tend to stick. But you’re forgetting, these are kids competing to be bad and break boundaries. And unlike my friend showing one magazine to one other friend at a time, all it takes now is a few clicks to track down disturbing content we never could have imagined, much less accessed, and one more click to disseminate it to a whole social circle. The Internet has proliferated the quantity of vile content by orders of magnitude, while simultaneously shrinking the world infinitesimally small. I don’t doubt it’s common for today’s kids to see stuff I never have and pray I never will.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  12. Pretty sure you have to search for that twisted stuff. I guess anything is out there, but the quoted article suggests that it’s something you will stumble across and I don’t think that’s right.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  13. I don’t know why anybody would even have kids today. I never did, and that decision is looking better all the time.

    norcal (a29325)

  14. If the fundos would allow proper sex education in schools would help educate. At least the catholics have cut down on chasing the alter boys around in this country anyway. These christain fascist can’t understand why they can’t mind everybodys business but their own. I guess going after drag queens and women needing abortions isn’t enough now porn. Some southern states when they are not trying to stop black people from voting are passing laws limiting porn on the internet. The good old days blue laws and banning bars from serving gays (stonewall riots 1969) and taking pictures of men going into adult book stores to try and get them prosecuted. raiding nudist camps. ect.

    asset (05356a)

  15. For you asset: Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips, 8 minutes, high quality video. Tell me what you think. You might want to preview it in private.

    Everybody doesn’t like something, so forgive me if I avoid the core topic of the post, Dana. When the Parthians defeated Crassus at Carrhae in 53 BC, they were “shocked” by the pornography they found in the baggage of the Roman soldiers. The range of taboos is as broad as the range of human sensibilities … and neuroses.

    nk (f97f5e)

  16. BTW, did you kniw that the Parthian general habitually appeared in public in eye-liner and rouge? It’s true!

    nk (f97f5e)

  17. There are some places that have more effective controls on the Internet.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  18. You can’t deal with the porn problem without dealing with a number of other ones we’ve already normalized.

    Then you’ve also got the larger problem of dealing with the people who wholeheartedly embrace all of the effects porn addition brings.

    Anyone else remember when warnings that soon we’d be dealing with a normalization of incest, bestiality, extreme bondage, sex with unconscious women, gangbangs, sadomasochism, and unthinkable physical violence were laughed off as ridiculous?

    It’s interesting seeing who wants to avoid the pedo angle.

    frosty (7f9f46)

  19. norcal (a29325) — 9/1/2023 @ 12:26 am

    Agree.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  20. Only people who have kids know why they have kids.

    nk (fae03f)

  21. If someone paid me [enough] to ban either John Wick: Chapter Three or The Devil in Miss Jones (not to be confused with the 1941 Jean Arthur movie The Devil And Miss Jones), I would ban John Wick: Chapter Three.

    Left to my own devices, I would not ban either. Like they say, one man’s meat is another man’s Benelli M2 Super 90. Begging your pardon.

    nk (fae03f)

  22. Of course, the issue in this post is *children* accessing porn, and the lack of online safeguards (“Click if you’re 1over 18” is not any kind of protection). It really shouldn’t need to be said, but of course if adults want to visit pornography sites, that’s their business. Period.

    Again, with regard to this post, children are the concern.

    Dana (4020dd)

  23. Well said frosty.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  24. I agree with frosty and NJRob but that horse is out of the barn and long gone.

    However, there are things we as a society can do to promote stronger families, which I think would help. We can provide more tax breaks for families, people who adopt children, and home schooling. I also think vouchers would help because then parents can choose where to school their children.

    DRJ (2b49a4)

  25. We could do those things DRJ, but they don’t help the government increase its power nor given preferential benefits to the type of people who support leftist policies.

    It would always require advancing our agenda. I don’t see people interested in doing that. They’d rather attack the social conservative movement instead of acknowledge the destruction the libertine movement has caused.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  26. @22 Dana, I think you may have actually underestimated the damage porn can cause.

    Time123 (bdf297)

  27. I will say this is a problem without a good state lead solution. I don’t think the government can fix this.

    Time123 (bdf297)

  28. “Anyone else remember when warnings that soon we’d be dealing with a normalization of incest, bestiality, extreme bondage, sex with unconscious women, gangbangs, sadomasochism, and unthinkable physical violence were laughed off as ridiculous?”

    Well, I do remember that some people argued that same-sex marriage would lead to people marrying their goat and plural marriage. But that’s not what we have here. The internet gave us an easy portal to pornography. Invariably, weird crap becomes available, some of which probably needs to be blocked or pay only. It’s certainly tough being a parent and being able to patrol all of the different ways kids can get to the internet…and “explore”. Technologists should continue to provide tools (and education) to control what kids are able to see.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  29. I don’t think the government can fix this.

    For several reasons, not the least of which is a lack of trust (coupled with a lack of liability). There is probably a technological solution, based on one or more private firms serving as trusted providers of one-time age-authentication certificates. What is important is that the privacy of the individual accessing the site is protected, while making it (at least) hard for a minor to obtain a certificate.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  30. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives a right to view snuff films, or child porn, or even bestiality. As one wag suggested, you know it when you see it. Currently sites that offer child porn are illegal and can be shut down and their owners arrested simply on detection. That could be expanded to some of these more problematic fetish sites as well.

    But given a chance, would Texas ban gay porn and leave straight porn up? This is where it gets dodgy. Texas was also burdening sites with enforced speech that may have been untrue, as well as “age verification” that involved customer identification, which is a bit chilling.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  31. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this story before. Apologies if I did.

    When I was in high school, I inexplicably started receiving Playboy magazines in the mail. (Back then, one could order magazines and be billed later. I don’t know if that is still the case.)

    I was puzzled at this development, because I certainly didn’t order them. I found out from a neighbor buddy that a girl at school who liked me had done it. So I confronted her at school one day, and told her I didn’t appreciate the stunt. She claimed innocence. A few days or weeks later somebody scrawled a message on our garage door windows. It said, “We are writing pornography, so there!” I figured she had done it because she was incensed at my accusation.

    My dad, with whom I was living at the time, was none too happy when he saw the magazine. Curiously, he didn’t punish me or anything. He was just disappointed. Of course I looked at the magazines. I think my neighbor buddy even looked at them as well.

    Fast forward a few decades. I was thinking about this little ordeal, when suddenly it occurred to me that my neighbor buddy had probably done it. First of all, it’s a good prank, and secondly, he got to gander at the magazines as well!

    As it happens, I later looked this guy up and visited him when I was on a trip to L.A. I hadn’t seen him in 29 years. We had a great time reminiscing. I saw my opening, and asked him if he had done the aforementioned deed. While he didn’t remember specifically, he laughingly said that he did do that kind of stuff in high school.

    norcal (be48c9)

  32. Porn just gets worse with time — and I think can affect sexual orientation, especially if carried out in practice, Nobody is much affected now by French porn circa 1900.

    Sammy Finkelman (f37bf5)

  33. @22 The pedo and the porn can’t be separated. The only thing that might be new is that now children accessing porn is a goal. We went from by children to by and for children.

    There’s also no “ok for adults” version and there’s no “it’s just their” business version. The impact of porn is extensive.

    frosty (1a6d6d)

  34. @15 world war II was a just war for a change. What happened to our soldiers on bataan was horrible. The atomic bomb was unfortunetly necessary so the military would accept surrender even though they feared the soviet union. What was done to japanese american citizens is a stain on this country that will last for ever. Only slavery/segragation and what was done to native americans was worse. I saw that cartoon and others when watching the trial of tokyo rose (little orphan anne of the pacific)

    asset (de0fa9)

  35. @26 How about the damage christan fundimentalism, catholism and Islam cause. If we can them I will accept banning porn.

    asset (de0fa9)

  36. Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
    Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes
    It’s a little secret, just the Robinson’s affair
    Most of all, you’ve got to hide it from the kids

    Few kids under the age of eighteen can get their own internet account with an internet service provider. Not without committing identity theft at the very least. That’s the first line of defense.

    It is then up to the owner of the account, which is to say the parent or guardian whose children can sign into the account, to use the administrative tools to block (or password) the sites they don’t want the kids to go to. It’s not any more burdensome than any other parental duty.

    nk (00706e)

  37. @frosty@33 You can say that about many adult vices, but adults still get to choose how to screw up their lives (or use their vices moderately, depending).

    Nic (896fdf)

  38. @22@Dana I think my initial comment

    It’s interesting seeing who wants to avoid the pedo angle.

    still holds up.

    It wasn’t directed at your post.

    frosty (344dcd)

  39. It is then up to the owner of the account, which is to say the parent or guardian whose children can sign into the account

    Hmmn. I haven’t “signed in” to access the Internet in 20 years. Maybe longer.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  40. Hmmm, right back at you. Either your router is unsecured or you have been using the same provider and the same device(s) for all that time (having signed in only when you first signed up).

    But wait, let me see what my provider calls it. Connected/Disconnected. Does that get us closer to the same page?

    nk (31d774)

  41. BTW,I’ve got mine double secured. It will not even show up as an “available” network if some stranger turns on their device. The device has to search for it by the name I have given it.

    nk (31d774)


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