Student discusses personal experiences with pornography, its effects on social perception

Danielle Lopez

The locker room of UT freshman Jake’s high school was filled with talk about porn sites, the latest sex videos and who recently got laid. If someone didn’t have a story to share, they were the odd man out. 

“If pornography ever came up everyone would just make jokes about it,” Jake said. “If you’re in a locker room with guys and hear the way they talk about women, it’s just in this really derogatory way. It felt normal, but when I stepped away from it, it felt disgusting”

Jake, who started using porn in middle school, said he remembers often feeling pent up aggression against his female peers. He wasn’t always able to explain why, but after he stopped using porn in high school, he realized how much he had been objectifying women.

“When I was using it, I used to get a lot of sexual pokes in the head and sexual thoughts that were irrelevant to the moment,” Jake said. “We could just be getting ice cream and there was this nudge to kiss or get sexual with her.”

Much of the pornography he was watching had desensitized him from the violence it depicted. According to the International Communication Association, 88.2 percent of top rated porn scenes contained aggressive acts. He said many people don’t consider pornography’s role in rape culture. 

“Porn is very violent,” Jake said. “It calls women names constantly — dirty women or sluts. There’s this thing that the woman doesn’t deserve to be respected. They make it seem like she wants it.”

He often thinks about his female friends who say they feel pressure from their boyfriends to perform sexual acts that make them uncomfortable. He said the best way for a guy to know if pornography’s affecting them is if they ask their partner to do something they have seen in porn. 

It has been more than a year since Jake last watched porn. He said he wants to advise every guy to take a break from using porn and see how that changes their daily lives.   

“I think there are a lot of guys who get angry when a girl doesn’t sleep with them and I think that is highly correlated to the images they’re seeing,” Jake said. “Once I stopped watching, it was satisfying enough to just spend time with her.”