You haven’t mentioned what kinds of problems your friend has with girls, but it is true that porn shows a very distorted image of relationships, so that is unlikely to help him in developing healthy relationships. People have very different feelings and opinions about porn. For a lot of young people, viewing porn is their first experience of sex so it is important to remember that porn can give people unrealistic ideas about sex, sexual acts, what women look like, what men look like and what people enjoy in sexual relationships.
In particular, watching porn can lead people to believe myths such as:
- Men want sex all of the time
- Women like men to behave in an aggressive sexual way towards them
- Men have to be in charge and women have to take a submissive or passive role in sex
- Safe sex (ie use of condoms) is not important
- More extreme sexual acts (group sex, violent o rough sex, anal sex etc.) are normal (hint: they’re not!)
All of the above myths are untrue – healthy intimate relationships start with enthusiastic consent, and are about a deep emotional connection – things rarely seen in any porn video.
You are a great friend to be thinking of ways to help. One thing you can do is when your friend says something about girls that you don’t agree with, make sure you speak up. You don’t have to start an argument or lecture, but say something like “Really? Where did you get that idea?” and let him know that stuff in porn is far from reality. There is lots of good information on this website, https://itstimewetalked.com/young-people/ that you might like to look at yourself, or maybe show your friend. You found our website, so maybe flick him our link too. At the end of the day, everybody has to make up their own mind about what they choose to do, and how it lives up to their values or not, but well done for looking for support. If you are at all worried about your friend’s mental health or the safety of him or others, make sure you also talk to a trusted adult at home or at school and get some more specific advice.
There are a couple of things that make this a big deal. Firstly, many of the women we see on music vids and stuff like that aren’t being naked because they choose to be. They are usually naked to sell something – to make money for somebody else. That makes them a commodity – a product – and that makes them objectified. The easiest way for one person to be violent towards another person is to turn them in to an object ... it’s much easier to hurt an object than a person.
Another thing that makes this a big deal is that it assumes that women are only valued for being hot. These same women who are being ‘empowered’ by being naked aren’t being empowered (or valued) for being smart, funny, witty, talented, courageous, quirky, adventurous – all of those things that make us REAL.
If mainstream pop culture was really open to all expressions of female sexuality and not simply presenting women's bodies as objects to be ogled, then we wouldn't be seeing the same body types in the same poses again and again.
Sexuality is a normal and healthy part of our identity. Simply put, sexuality is how we expressourselves as a sexual being. It describes how important sexual expression is in a person's life, how one chooses to express that sexuality, and any preference one may have towards the type of sexual partner they choose. The way we choose to behave sexually is as individual and complicated as the ways we choose to dress or earn a living. Human sexuality rarely falls into neat categories or lends itself to simple labeling, but rather is a rich and complex area of human experience.
Sexualisation, on the other hand, is very different to sexuality. It involves;
- when a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual ‘hotness’ or behaviour, without taking in to account their personality,
- a person’s physical attractiveness is judged by how ‘sexy’ they are (sexy being defined by what popular culture and the media tells us is sexy),
- a person is sexually objectified — that means that they are made into a thing for other peoples sexual use, rather than seen as an individual person,
- sexuality is inappropriately forced upon a person (like when an adult expression of sexuality is forced onto children who are not, at all, at that stage of their development).
It’s great that you have identified what you like and don’t like in a sexual relationship. Communication is the key to handling this situation. You should discuss this issue with your partner honestly and explain to them that you are not interested in using sex toys for pleasure. If you are in a healthy relationship your partner will understand and respect your sexual limits. You should talk to your partner about other ways to increase pleasure which will satisfy you both. If your partner does respect your decision to not use sex toys then you need to really consider whether you are in a healthy and respectful relationship.