ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Rethinking pornography

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The positives and negatives of porn: an overview of the evidence.

The focus is more around young people and heterosexual.

Average age to first see porn is age 13 for males, and age 16 for females.

Most men were watching porn at least weekly.

Gay porn contains a lot more condoms.

Men receiving oral sex much more commonly than women.

Young people report learning about sex through pornography.

Learning about sex was particularly reported by same-sex attracted individuals.

Not wearing condoms and STIs are linked to pornography use.

Women watching porn is often seen as a good thing for a relationship.

There are reports of pornography addiction but there is little evidence to support this, relying mainly on sporadic case reports.

People who are violent are likely to both perform violence and watch violence in pornography.

Body image - little research here to support anything.

Most research is poor quality, out of date, doesn’t look for causation.

Most look for harms, and if you don’t look for a benefit you’re not likely to find one.

Some people feel pressured into doing what they see in porn.

Most people in the industry will get one or two infections per month.

Same-sex porn can be limiting in terms of the stereotypes presented.

What benefits are there to porn?

A partner with a higher sex drive can have an escape, rather than pestering the other partner or seeking sex elsewhere.

Sex acts can be normalised, allowing them to feel comfortable with doing them.

Technically porn is not legal in Australia (hosting cannot be on Australian servers)

It is not legal under the age of 18 years.

Filtering can be applied by governments, parents, internet service providers, but there are problems with censorship - sexual health sites tend to get blocked for example, and other people’s opinions determine what you can watch.

If we had good sex education maybe people might seek out pornography less often.

It’s going to be around for some time, and everyone has an opinion about it.

Perhaps we need some way of being able to talk about it.

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