How Openly Do We Discuss It?
Could porn be the last form of sex that we are yet to discuss openly in Ireland? Although we have discussed sex and all its other classifications such as extramarital sex, underage sex, late life sex, midlife sex and even abortion, we don’t seem discuss porn.
So far, our discussions as a nation in regards to the topic have focused on its abusive, dark and generally negative side such as revenge porn – where a partner distributes private material of the ex-partner, or a rejected partner superimposes the former partner’s face onto the image of a porn actor as a form of revenge against them.
No one can argue with the fact that abusive porn causes discord. However, we should not forget about the kind of porn that is largely viewed as harmless. This kind of porn lights up Irish bedrooms and even living rooms when the younger members of the family go to bed and a fresh bottle of Chablis is unscrewed. This porn does not endanger children or exploit trafficked women, it is the kind that most people may have seen in films and are may be more familiar with.
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Is Porn Going Mainstream?
As the popular Fifty Shades returns to mainstream media, packed full with reference to bondage and sexual consent documents, especially at a time when family-friendly brands such as Diesel are buying advertisement space on pornographic channels, one can say that porn has almost become mainstream.
Last year Diesel launched a marketing campaign on Pornhub.com, and although its CEO, Renzo Rosso did not distinguish between sales and traffic, he claimed that the campaign through the porn channel led to a 31% increase.
We Irish seem to be passionate consumers.
Pornhub.com is currently the largest pornographic site on the internet. It hosts a mixture of amateur content and content that is produced by professionals. Statistics rank Ireland 27th in the entire world in traffic to the site. However, things are a bit different when it comes to rankings according to per capita views per page. Here Ireland ranks sixth just behind the United States, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.
According to the Amazon-owned Alexa – an independent traffic statistics provider – Pornhub is the 38th most popular website in Ireland. For comparison, theguardian.com is listed as the 34th most popular site just above Pornhub.com, with independent.ie appearing to fair much better ahead of the porn site at number 18 on the same rankings. According to the ranking site, the average duration spent on Pornhub is about 9 minutes and 40 seconds.
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Pornhub has reported a 55% increase in the number of female Irish visitors to its website since mid-2014 when Google Analytics began to collect traffic data and provide demographics. Currently female visitors account for nearly 26% of all the Irish traffic, with about 65% of them ranging between 18 and 35 years. Sixteen percent of the visitors are from 35 to 44 years making them about 14% less than the males in the same age bracket. They however say that the proportion of Irish women between 18 and 24 years is higher than that of men.
Other Statistics from around the world bear a similar trend. A study was conducted in 2015 by Typeform as part of a project conducted by TV presenter Amanda de Cadenet on behalf of Marie Claire. The study reported that more than 30% of women consume porn at least once every week.
Eighty three percent of the respondents in that study were straight while 51% reported that they were at the time of the study, in some form of relationship. Fifty two percent of them were between 25 and 42 years while 13% were older.
When the respondents were asked how frequently they watched porn, 31% said they watched it a few times a month, 31% answered every week, 10% said daily, and 21% said they watch porn only on a few times a year. The study also noted that about 99% of the porn viewed was obtained from the internet.
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How Do Irish Women Generally Feel About Porn?
At least some consumers of porn are ready to start that discussion off the record. 25-year-old Caoimhe, a porn consumer who works in social media says that she started watching porn in college when she had a boyfriend who liked it. She continues to watch it herself and says that she finds some of it is funny, while of it is awful. She thinks that women should watch it since men also do. Caoimhe says that she is single and does not want to sleep around. She also says that everyone she knows does it anyway.
Caoimhe is not alone, Niamh, a 38 year old who works in marketing says that she has been watching porn on and off for about 10 years. Although she says that she watches it alone when she is bored, she says that she is not proud of it and keeps strict standards in regards to what she watches. Caoimhe further divulges that she prefers porn that can be seen as being female-friendly, directed by women and generally recommended to her by her friends.
In line with statistics above, it can be concluded many people watch porn. Why do they watch porn? According to Moore, that issue is huge, but it is not discussed or explored simply because of shame and guilt that is associated with the topic.
All forms of pornography are very popular, however the consumption of such material is viewed as disgusting and dirty, making it a topic that is almost impossible to discuss. However, since it is evident that porn will never go away and because it is slowly changing how women and men relate with each other, it would be best to introduce a more honest and open discussion on the topic.