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Here's To You Mrs. Robinson

A woman's experience of porn's effect on her younger lovers

Editor's warning: - This piece becomes quite explicit towards the end;
Mrs Robinson is not as conservative as she may first appear!

 


Photo: Dennis Brekke (Creative Commons)

 

Parents and online porn

 

As a mother to a borderline teen, I've observed increasing parental concerns regarding Internet porn and its effects on young people. As a sexually active divorced woman in her forties and one not engaged in a relationship, I’ve also observed the impact porn has had on the next generation of men to me; their resultant sexual behaviours and changed expectations ‘in the boudoir’. Well I’m billed as Mrs. Robinson for a reason!

 

My suspicions of the correlation between internet porn and the resulting generation's behaviour were confirmed when reading a recent article for The Observer about a report by The UK Children's Commissioner into the effect pornography has on teenagers' understanding of sex. It looked at “…whether they now consider the relentless, submissive and aggressive nature of pornography normal practice" and suggested this might be the case.

 

In what is now a post-digital age, parents are concerned about the availability of Internet porn, how to protect their children from seeing it and, if they do, how it may or may not be affecting them. Gone are the days when pubescent teenage boys would furtively gather round a well-thumbed, dog-eared porn mag’ which their older brother found under a bush in the local park. Instead we face an issue which is part of a far larger problem, one that the public and governments the world over are struggling to come to terms with: How does one police the Internet? And don't forget it's awash with graphic violence as well.

 

Even adults risk unwitting exposure to unpleasant content when they go online. For example, when perusing a well-known social network, I have often seen friends rightly complaining about the horrifically explicit materials they have been unfortunate enough to see there, only to find, to their absolute incredulity, that this social network deems those materials inoffensive. This is largely due to an over-reliance on computer algorithms, rather than human beings, making these decisions leaving further people at risk and the hapless viewer wishing they had an ‘undo/wipe’ button in their heads. This was typified recently when a friend innocently clicked on a link to a video that superficially appealed for an end to the mistreatment of women, only to be presented with a horrifying video of a woman’s decapitation; another friend saw an extremely graphic picture of a Boston bombing victim in their newsfeed.

 

“So what chance do our kids have?” say the pre-digital generation who are now raising kids. We saw the introduction of the Internet – and a multiplicity of other technologies besides – and the transformation of the world in which we were raised into the completely different one in which we are raising our kids today. We were the last generation to remember free school milk, one landline phone at home, Top of the Pops on a Thursday night, taping the chart show off the radio on a Sunday and spending our pocket money buying music down at Our Price or W H Smiths the following week – and no-one came banging on our doors to arrest us for copyright infringement! With the release of Star Wars we saw the arrival of mass-targeted merchandising at kids; we played on ZX Spectrums, Commodore Vic 20s and BBC microcomputers. Out went vinyl, audio cassettes and video tapes and in came CDs, ever-proliferating television channels, mobile phones, the Internet, email, downloads and social networking. Technological progress has marched forward in our short lifetimes and at an incredibly rate – faster than ever in history.

 

All this puts us in a uniquely different position from that of our forebears. With the introduction of code-based technology and the undoubted freedom of information and communication it brings, we face the challenge of how does one police it, in order to protect both our children and ourselves from explicit materials.

 

Until search engines, such as Google and Bing, do more to block damaging materials (and in light of recent events, the campaign for them to do so is thankfully stepping up) we must instead rely upon parental locks and ourselves to be the judges. And that applies to our children too – scary thought I know!

 

Since the advent of the Internet, parents – myself included – have found ourselves  talking to our kids in a way which, we hope, will inform them well enough for them to be the judges. We’re in fresh water here; freedom necessitates the application of common sense. This is liberating and not to be feared, as many understandably do. In my job, I have worked with young people in their late teens and early twenties and have found this to be the prevailing attitude amongst them: they are their own judges and very relaxed about it. We have to trust our children to be the judge, just as we adults trust ourselves; like water, it's all still finding its level.

 

My Experience... the Impact of Online Porn 

 

However in my experience, easy access to explicit online porn has already affected the generation between those in their early twenties and me. I have observed a change in the sexual behaviour and expectations of men in their late twenties/early thirties when engaged in sex, as opposed to men and their sexual expectations back when I was in my late twenties and find myself in the unusual position of being able to compare the two. I attribute this change to the greater availability of sexually explicit materials the younger men have watched as they have grown through sexual maturity, at a time when online safety awareness was in its infancy. For instance, I would contend that the expectation placed on women – and arguably men – within the act of sex is far greater than before and I worry about the pressure this places on young people, especially women, as well as the obvious fact that, if they are engaging in such full on sexual activities at such a comparatively young age (and by this I mean sex toys, more full on sex acts, and behaviour taken from porn films) then frankly, where does it leave them to go when they are approaching middle age? What’s left to discover?

 

It alarms me that, in my experience, younger men are far quicker to move towards – and unabashedly ask you if you will engage in – anal sex; they act out behaviours they have observed in porn films and will behave like they are in one. Instead of adopting an enlightened attitude in which they consider it their Mrs. Robinson moment and an opportunity to actually learn something, they launch into porn mode and are offended if you gently suggest otherwise. This learnt porn behaviour places inordinate pressures on the woman, something I cannot recall having been the case say twenty years ago. And since I wasn’t a shrinking violet back then either, let's just say it’s a judgement born of experience!

 

Now of course this increasing sexual awareness and freedom should theoretically lead to more pleasure for the woman, and thus the man – are you listening guys? Greater awareness of the clitoris, and of where the damn thing actually is, can be a good thing for us ladies. God knows we’ve waited long enough. But so too it can lead to a real sense of detachment between the participants, a mechanization of the process, a distancing and absenting of emotion, leading to confusion when the woman doesn’t quickly reach climax, as she so reliably appears to in a porn film. Or worse still, she feels she should fake it, so as not to disappoint, or that there must be something wrong with her!

 

It is this distancing that’s at the root of that failure to please. During a recent liaison I actually asked the twenty-eight year old I was with: “Where are you?” as he came at me as he if was a porn star. He was quite unabashed as he spat into his hand to rub his cock and spat from a height on to my pussy. Such an act for me was quite shocking – not because of the act itself but because in my previous experience it would be something that a man might have worked up to and typically within the frame-work of an already existing long-standing sexual partnership – not, and here’s my point, between two people who had only just started having sex together.

 

Now you could argue that this porn behaviour was a one off but it has been my experience with other partners of a similar age or slightly older too. Often they will lie there with their legs wide open, proudly showing off their cock in what is a classic porn pose. For instance I recently had the pleasure of spending time with a 28-year-old sports teacher and frankly, when he elected to strike such a pose, despite his beautiful body I had to stifle the urge to laugh. And ladies as we know, thou shalt not laugh at the male member – for that would never do. At the same time, I find myself fighting the urge to say: ‘Slow down honey, leave yourself somewhere to go!’ I don't want some young guy – or old for that matter – going at my clitoris like a lawn mower (it's actually numbing) or jumping up and down like a jack-hammer (further numbing) coz he’s seen it done in a porn film and reckons it must really ‘do it for me’. Oh and that’s another thing: the phraseology they use during sex is often straight out of a porn script and let’s face it, there never was going to be an Academy Award for that, was there?

 

No, I say give me somewhere in between. Between what we had before and what we have now, because in my view neither worked well. Let’s just say that I am waiting for the water to find its level and thankfully I do believe it will.

 

I have enormous hope for young people in what is now the post digital age. We are just going to have to get used to the fact that, just like our forebears, we have to trust our kids to police themselves in a new way. Scary I know, but imagine how parents felt when the printing press first came along or the Pill! It will happen and, as someone who spends time around the post-digital generation coming through now, who succeed those late twenty-something’s of the early digital era, I am pleased to report that through my job I now I see a generation coming through who are far more self-aware – and no, I am not sleeping with them. I have some scruples!

 

They too have their mobile phones and Internet access. But perhaps they have seen the excesses of the digital generation who preceded them and to whom it was all new. This post-digital generation are finding their level and comfort zone within those technologies and how they choose to let them impact their life – or not. To them these technologies are not new; it's all they have ever known.

 

I am heartened by what I see and believe that the only way forward is age-appropriate honesty and frankness with our young children. Tell them this stuff is out there, because rest assured they will find it. Inform yourselves as parents; watch it yourselves – and that includes the many prudish mothers I hear of who ask their partners or close male friends: “I’m worried about this site young Timmy has been watching, could you check it for me please?” Ignorance is not the key. Explain the difference between porn sex and sex within the boundaries of a loving relationship and how beautiful the latter can be as it grows. And men, do please explain to your sons that the emotional involvement that comes with the respect of a woman, however fleeting that liaison, is key to inviting her pleasure and that the porn on the net is a bit different to the mag you looked at down the park all those years ago – you know it is, that’s why you tuck away the porn file in your laptop under NORP. ;-)

 

Mrs Robinson

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