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The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


WARNING: Explicit Content

While pornographic media can be used to relax sexual desires, it trains instant gratification and not the love teenage relationships attempt to seek from it.
Emily Higgins
According to the survey, 74% of ACHS students have watched a form of pornographic media. 31% of those students continued watching porn after their initial exposure.

It’s like love, but easier. Finding a partner consists of a few clicks, designed to be effortless. He or she is ready on command— their job to please. They do not ask questions and they do not get bored or frustrated. They do not require much attention, but they will always have yours. Each partner is tailored to each individual; found through likes and intimate desires. Best of all, if interest is lost, there is no breakup. There is no heartbreak. Someone new will appear with a click of a button. 

Due to the wide variety of pornographic media, users can explore any sexual desires that pop into their imagination, and come to life on a screen. When there is a craving, there is no such thing as a taste test. One must satisfy the appetite. Of the ACHS students who completed a survey, 74% have viewed a form of pornographic media. Offered in many forms and catered to individual interests, pornography is accessible to anyone. According to an article regarding harmful-to-minor laws by David L. Hudson, the different obscenity laws can limit distribution of sexually explicit material to minors, but when found online, different rules apply when trying to protect minors from viewing pornography. Even though websites create popups to ensure audience members are the legal age, their methods are not reinforced. 

“I don’t think pornographic companies enforce the age restrictions on their sites,” senior Lyndon Turner said. “When [a restriction] pops up, viewers can easily say that they are over 18 even when they are not; there are no ways for [the companies] to check if an audience member is 18 or not.”

In the same survey, 56% of students started watching porn before or during middle school— roughly seven years before the age restriction. Of those students, 13% continued to watch porn after their initial exposure. After viewing one’s personal intimate desires come to life on the screen, a habitual appetite is formed. The question is: what makes pornography so appealing to its audience?

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There are many answers to this seemingly simple question. According to an article by Fight The New Drug, porn was created and most used for sexual pleasure, aiding to or giving those who are not in a relationship a chance to experience sex. Porn is a go-to place to fulfill arousal. If curiosity is real, porn is a place to go exploring. According to an article published by The Guardian, a survey done by the National Union of Students “found [that] 60% of respondents watch porn to get information about sex, despite almost 75% saying that it creates unrealistic expectations.”

With hormones raging and opportunities being broadened in a new environment, high school students can become curious. With each student being at various points in their sex life, porn can be used to teach the inexperienced, or add skills to someone already experienced. Porn being used as an educator about sex can potentially be problematic: what teens watch and enjoy may not be realistic. 

“Porn is used to entertain,” senior Andrew DeBoer said. “It can give you new ideas, which can lead to new experiences.”

English and Media teacher Patrick Johnson studied the implications and impacts of sexual images and stories on adolescents while he worked at Marquette University. He agrees with DeBoer. 

“Teens aren’t cognitively prepared to consume these hyper-sexual, not sexualized, messages,” Johnson said. “What we see with early consumption are unrealistic expectations, depressive behaviors, and, usually desensitization to sexual punishments and harassment. The more assertive, the more likely indirect sexual education occurs.”

Teens and young adults, in particular, have the desire to fit in and be included; however, this means that peer pressure is common. 54.1% of students who took the survey discovered pornographic media through a friend. In this case, teens have the potential to experience peer pressure to engage in pornographic behaviors such as viewing online porn and sexting.

When in a committed relationship, there is normally a mutual agreement for the couple to not wander into other people’s beds. Avoiding this physically can be easy, but what happens if sexual desires require someone or something else? The mind can be just as powerful as the body. Fantasies happen and they are also almost impossible to police.

People generally fall into two groups: those who have sexual fantasies and those who do not. Sexual fantasies can range between any type of human interaction to ways that would not be acceptable in public or the surrounding community. There is an appeal to sexual fantasies, which is why people have them. 

According to Vox’s docuseries, Sex Explained, most of our fantasies fall into three groups: having sex with multiple people, sex in places or ways that haven’t been done before, and fantasises about power and control. A study done for the documentary showed that more than three-quarters fantasize about bondage, more than half about discipline and almost three-quarters about inflicting or receiving pain.

“The fact that almost everyone was having some sort of [sexual] fantasy tells us that this is not some rare or unusual sexual interest,” sex researcher Justin Lehmiller said.

Fantasies are often created when one’s reality seems unexciting.

“Often our fantasies involve things that are taboo, things that are forbidden, things that we feel that we can’t express in everyday life, and the simple fact that it’s taboo and forbidden is what makes it exciting and titillating,” psychologist Lisa Diamond said. 

While fantasies have the potential to create new experiences for both partners, it might not measure up to reality.

“I think it creates desires for something better than before,” senior Anthony Albertini said. “This can be bad because you can be disappointed instead of happy within the relationship. The unattainable desires come from being able to see whatever you like whenever you like and that can’t be met in a real relationship.”

The problem with pornographic media is that it has many extreme and unique properties, including hundreds of videos catered to an individual’s interests and accessibility to more extreme material. According to the same article by Fight The New Drug, pornography producers choose performers who are attractive and proceed to airbrush makeup and work the lighting and camera angles to make them look better. In videos, mistakes are edited out and any flaws are photoshopped away. Porn actors have access to a whole creative team which exists to achieve the best looks, aiding to performance. Once captured on film, the production never ages. All of this in turn can condition sexual arousal to aspects of pornography that do not match up to real-life partners.

“We’ve entered a new era of hypermediation, meaning we’re seeing increased mediated connections, restrictions and fears within interpersonal communication and a lack of media and news literacy,” Johnson said. “Because of these ideas, Gen Z is being taught by channels that are unclear, false or aggressive. When it comes to pornography and sex, our current high school students and younger community members are being taught that anything goes and that they aren’t good enough. It is a dangerous and slippery slope that we aren’t having prosocial conversations beyond the health classroom to educate our future to be healthy and well.”

As a person turns to an unhealthy amount of porn as a form of sexual interaction, it is possible that arousal when connecting with an actual person could not occur. Relying strictly on pornographic media can ruin the natural and intimate connections found only with a partner. So instead of porn boosting a person’s intimacy and sex life in the future, porn can potentially destroy it.

“Porn is based on something which is ultimately not love; it’s based on instant gratification,” freshman Braxton Schieler said. “Thanks to the accessibility of porn, we have a generation of people who believe that love is about sexual gratification or some kind of stimulating excitement. I do believe that pornography contributes to the idea that sex is about personal gratification and not mutual affection and love for another person, making a committment with them forever. Porn can be incredibly destructive to relationships, not just during the teenage years when some of these sexual yearnings are at their peak, but throughout their lives. Images are not easily removed.”

Staring at the screen and clicking the mouse might be beneficial to those seeking pure entertainment for those not in a relationship, but there may be more experiences that are behind the screen that may be more powerful than the addictive finish.

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About the Contributor
Emily Higgins
Emily Higgins, Managing Editor
Emily Higgins is a senior and this is her fourth year on the Tom Tom staff. She has been dancing for 15 years at American Stars of Dance, where she also teaches Adaptive Dance. She also enjoys playing wheelchair basketball and football for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association.
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