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What is Hentai Porn, and Why Is It So Popular?

By December 2, 2020No Comments
TRIGGER WARNING

Among the thousands of messages we receive, many are from people who say they are struggling with a different form of pornography, one that they say is just as addictive. Although most everything we post deals with hardcore sexually explicit images and videos of people having sex, there have been many who say that they are struggling with a form of porn that doesn’t include real human beings at all.

     hen·tai
     henˈtī/
     noun
     a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime, characterized by overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots.

Hentai porn is a relatively new wave of pornographic material that has become extremely popular over the last decade. The word hentai is a word of Japanese origin which is short for hentai seiyoku—a “perverse” sexual desire. In Japanese, the term describes any type of “perverse” or bizarre sexual desire or act. Internationally, hentai is a term used to broadly categorize the genre of anime and manga pornography.

Cartoon porn, particularly hentai, has become increasingly popular and is now one of the most searched terms of internet porn. According to 2019’s Pornhub analytics detailing the most popular search terms on their site, hentai was the second most popular category on the entire site. This is huge, considering how Pornhub received 42 billion site visits last year. Needless to say, this genre of porn is part of the mainstream, now.

Related: “Real People Are Gross”: 3 Reasons Animated Porn Is Gaining Global Popularity

The animated porn depicts highly exaggerated sex acts featuring characters with impossibly large body parts, and specializes in featuring disturbing fetishes like animal tentacles, children (particularly little girls), and incest. It is common for monsters, demons, animals, giant insects, and plants to rape cartoon women. Women and girls in hentai look like a mixture of adult and child with rosy cheeks and all. The categories of woman and child are blurred, because neither is off sexual limits. A consistent theme in hentai is a type of “sexy innocence.” Adult women, teens, and children are fused into one. The large eyes, childlike expressions, and hairless bodies with tiny, petite frames are combined with massive breasts and exaggerated sex acts.

Many hentai fans argue that this type of porn is safer and more ethical to view. After all, they reason, it’s not exploiting real human beings and is not linked to issues associated with real porn like sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking. They claim that because it’s just animation, it is not harmful to the viewer. And while we understand why people have this perception, allow us to offer a different perspective.

Keep in mind that the research that shows porn’s harms is still catching up to the world of animated porn, so we’re relying on personal stories and logical reasoning for the following discussion.

Classic PKL

It’s just cartoons, right? Isn’t that harmless?

Here’s a real comment we pulled from a porn site, and while it’s about hentai, the reasoning can be applied to animated porn in general:

hentai-comment-cartoon-porn

Do you think having a mindset that real people are gross and real women are less attractive than cartoons will help a hentai consumer to have healthy expectations for a partner and relationship? Not only that, comments like this show that hentai porn does not exclusively exist in a separate porn world, “regular” porn and hentai porn are interlinked. They both live in the porn world of fantasy sex, with hentai even displaying gravity and physics-defying sex acts and character behavior.

Porn is an escape from reality, and many hentai consumers find themselves clinging to that escape through the means of abandoning reality altogether via animation. And even though cartoons are not real bodies, many themes found in hentai porn normalize violence against women and girls, and normalize the sexualization of children. Even though this content is animated, hentai makes sexual violence a form of entertainment. Rape and coercion are abundant in hentai porn, as are many other forms of degrading and demeaning sexual abuse, frequently toward children. Animated or not, is it ever healthy to watch something for entertainment that eroticizes and normalizes these things?

Related: True Story: Think CGI Porn Is No Big Deal? Have You Considered What It Normalizes?

According to an article on the subject by Estela Lopez, even though a cartoon porn consumer might not initially look for pictures of young girls, they will eventually find them. In the world of adult entertainment, hentai porn has been made into interactive online games. On one site, dress-up games that are actually strip games involve children. On another, the player clicks through some text to reach a little girl’s room, where they can then touch her while she sleeps. In another game, the objective is to remove clothes from the girl, Meina, in the correct order. If the player does so incorrectly, they have to start over again. Her cheeks get rosier the more clothing is stripped from her.

This content involving young kids is called “lolicon,” a sub-genre of hentai. Under the 2002 change in the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act, this is technically a legal form of child exploitation images, commonly known as “child porn.” Lolicon is intended to have characters that look like young girls, or even toddlers. The animated children are often portrayed as frightened or resisting the depicted abuser, but they are also shown enjoying sexual abuse. Even animated child exploitation images can provide a normalizing tool for consumers. Content like this can also prove to be a tool for abusers to show to victims, grooming them before abusing them. The depiction of children in pornographic content, even when they’re animated, legitimizes child sexual abuse. How is this acceptable in a society that fights to protect kids?

In another vein of animated porn, cartoon pornographers often make famous, non-sexual cartoons into adult entertainment that some kids can accidentally stumble upon.

People Are Not Products - White

Someone’s real experience with hentai

One recent message we received from a female Fighter shows hentai’s real effect on real people. We know there are countless others who say they watch hentai and have developed zero problem with it, but hear us out and check out this woman’s story.

I’ve been a member in this movement for more than a year now and I noticed FTND hasn’t touched on this one particular topic: ‘hentai’ (a western term for ‘anime porn’ or Japanese animation porn). A little more than a decade ago, (I’m 21 now) it was my gateway drug to porn addiction. It’s an interesting topic to touch upon as it’s a popular subculture of porn amongst children and youths during the past decade and today.

Hentai sexualizes just about everything from incest to bestiality. Rape and underaged kids being the top common themes. There are even hentai forms of innocent children anime shows such as Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, and Cartoon Network characters in extreme porn.

It is very unfortunate that plenty of the kids and my peers today are getting their ‘sex education’ from watching anime porn and/or reading hentai ‘mangas’ (Japanese comic books) as well as hentai ‘doujinishi’s’ (self-published or amateur Japanese comic books). Many parents and older generations are not aware of this porn subculture, which gives more advantage for kids to get further sucked into their porn addictions.

My ex and I started to feel a little guilty about watching live porn so we decided to turn to hentai mangas as an alternative to watching porn. This, however, further escalated his sex addiction and he would feed it by watching anime porn multiple times behind my back and during our temporary break-ups.

Related: How Mainstream Adult Entertainment Can Normalize And Fuel Child Exploitation

Many people who have struggled with hentai say that it is worse than live porn because the themes tend to be hardcore—the males sometimes have extremely large phalluses and the female bodies are unnaturally ‘perfect’ looking and hypersexualized. A few other porn addicts I have bumped into also said hentai was their gateway drug to live hardcore porn. I’ve also witnessed heartbreaking moments online where young males have expressed that they can’t get turned on by real females because their brains have been rewired into thinking anime-looking females are a lot more attractive. This reduces their chances of being satisfied with a real partner.

I would also like to share an unfortunate experience. My past boyfriend was so obsessed with anime females and anime porn that he had them on all his profile pictures and wallpapers. He told me multiple times that he had no friends and once made a ‘joke’ that these anime females (who obviously look nothing like me) on his desktop wallpapers were keeping him company. His usage of porn and non-stop gaming fueled his isolation from the real world. In the end, he chose these flawless looking anime pixel characters over his own real partner.

Bringing up this important topic to the public would be key to educating and spreading further awareness on the harmful effects of porn amongst children, youths, and adults today. It would definitely make many youths question and open their eyes. Porn is porn regardless of what form it’s in. Thank you so much for all the brilliant works you do. I and many other people, including porn addicts out there, truly appreciate it. You guys are awesome!

-F.

Brain Heart World

Why this matters

This message shows that porn is porn, regardless of if it is real people or exaggerated animated characters. Objectification is objectification, and normalized abuse is normalized abuse—and neither are healthy. Hentai and other cartoon porn often focus on the complete control and exploitation of the female character, even (and especially) if she’s a child. Even though this content is not available on TV, children with access to the internet can accidentally find it while searching for familiar cartoon characters. Accidental exposure like this frequently can lead to what can become a lifelong obsession with porn.

Related: True Story: How Hentai Porn And Chat Rooms Twisted My Sex Life

With more advanced technology, porn will keep spreading and evolving. As evident in computer-enhanced cartoon porn, technology makes the images more flesh-like. Even if it’s just animated pixels on a screen, pornography that makes rape and abuse look sexy. In a culture that often is vocal about equality and protecting abuse victims, how is making entertainment of it acceptable or healthy?

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