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Porn, body image and performance anxiety and 5 ways to ways to counter these issues

Porn is wreaking havoc on body image. Viewers of pornography compare their bodies and genitalia against those in the films and consider their bodies unattractive. In fact, medical experts are blaming porn on the soaring rise of surgeries such as labiaplasty, vulvaplasty and vaginaplasty, as women, depressed and worried their genitalia is unattractive or abnormal, are pursuing designer vaginas.

There’s also an increase in phalloplasty, the lengthening and/or widening of the penis. A study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2009 revealed that there had been an almost 70% increase in the number of women having labiaplasty than in the previous year. There were 1,118 operations in 2008, compared with 669 in 2007 and 404 in 2006.

Of course, the truth is that the porn actors have usually had some sort of cosmetic enhancement done or they’ve been digitally enhanced. Yet the girl or woman battling with body image problems does not consider this. They panic that they will not be sexually attractive enough to interest a partner, so off to the cosmetic surgeon they go. I have already spoken about the trend to remove body hair which is a direct result of the pornification of our society. Boys are shaving their genitals to make their penises look bigger, and girls want to look like porn stars or are succumbing to social pressure.

If you are the mother of a daughter, talk to her about body image including her genitalia. No two vulvas are alike. There is a website created by Women’s Health Victoria called www.labialibrary.org.au and it has a gallery of unenhanced pictures of ‘real’ vulvas as a way to help women understand that we’re all different. No two vulvas are the same.

The other issue porn is creating is performance anxiety. As I mentioned previously, females are placing the man’s pleasure above her own, so she ‘performs’ sex rather than enjoys sex, feeling as though she has done well if the male ejaculates. Boys and men are worried about performing badly, penis size, and premature ejaculation, or worse, not getting an erection. Both sexes are concerned about body image.

How do we counter the porn epidemic?

  1. Talk to your kids about sex from a very early age. Kids are being exposed to sexual images in various media so you need to establish an open and honest dialogue with them so they will come to you with their questions.
  1. Have an ongoing dialogue: The best approach for tweens and teens is to acknowledge that their interest in relationships and sex is normal, and help them develop the critical thinking skills they need to make good online decisions.
  1. Discuss the sexual messages in various media. Help your kids understand the harmful effects of images that degrade and exploit girls or women, or that pressure boys to conform to a male-gendered model centred on sexual attractiveness and prowess.
  1. Direct your kids to good-quality information: If the only information your kids are receiving about sexuality is from porn sites, you have a problem. There are a lot of great websites that provide information for youth on sexuality and health, such as Sexualityandu.ca, from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Explore with them the differences between normal, healthy sexual expression and the exploitive activity that is so prevalent online.
  1. Establish clear rules about visiting pornographic sites: MediaSmart’s research shows that if there is a rule in the house about what kinds of sites are appropriate to visit, kids are less likely to look for porn and those that do, do it less often. (Keep in mind that computer-savvy kids know how to erase their internet tracks: open, honest communication is always preferable to invading their privacy.)

Source. Media Smart