QotD: “Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition”

A GP, let’s call her Sue, said: “I’m afraid things are much worse than people suspect.” In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to. “I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”

Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress. When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.

There was stunned silence among the mothers around that dinner table, although I think some of us may have let out involuntary cries of dismay and disbelief.

For Sue’s surgery isn’t in some inner-city borough where kids may have been brutalised or come from cultures where such practices are commonly used as contraception. Sue works in the leafy heart of Hampshire. The girls presenting with incontinence were often under the age of consent and from loving, stable homes.

[…]

[More] than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts, according to one of the largest European polls on teenage sexual experience. Recent research by the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from their teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five boys harbouring “extremely negative attitides towards women”.

The end result is what Sue sees in her work as a GP. Young girls – children, really – who abase themselves to pass for normal in a grim, pornified culture. Another study of British teenagers found that most youngsters’ first experience of anal sex occurred within a relationship, but it was “rarely under circumstances of mutual exploration of sexual pleasure”. Instead, it was boys who pushed the girls to try it, with boys reporting that they felt “expected” to take that role.

Moreover, both genders expected males to find pleasure in the act whereas females were mostly expected to “endure the negative aspects such as pain or a damaged reputation”.

[…]

PS: I just texted my own teenager for her view. She texted back: “A lot of truth to this. I think dubious consent is the greatest problem of my generation.”

Allison Pearson, found via Appropriately Inappropriate

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4 responses

  1. Thank you so much for creating your blog, and for this article. These are terribly scary statistics about young girls who have been pressured into having anal sex. And, I have heard that this is a problem of women of all ages. Porn has gotten rougher, and awfully more demeaning to women, males watch this of all ages, and want to try it. Most guys are selfish in bed, and do not care about what their “girlfriends,” or “wives” want sexually. Sadly, I believe that most men hate women, and want to hurt us. Anal sex is an act that they KNOW will cause immense pain and discomfort to females, but they still persist. If a man really loved a woman, saying no to anal sex, OR NOT BRINGING UP THE QUESTION AT ALL would do. I am disgusted with all of my being that anal sex is considered by some guys to be normal. Women’s bodies are not designed to be penetrated in such a way, but men clearly do not care. What a nightmare!

  2. Sex is characterised, under patriarchy, as taking something away from someone else, as getting away with something – when women (or feminised males) enjoy it, it’s just ‘proof’ of our sub-human status.

    This is why I find ‘rape is about power, not about sex’, to be an inadequate analysis. Sex, under patriarchy, is also about power. This is why Dworkin was accused of saying all (het) sex is rape; she said that if you saw coercion as an intrinsic part of ‘sex’, you would see any attack on coercion as an attack on ‘sex’.

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