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What My Experience with Gay Porn Taught Me About Consent

“I used to think the guy in porn was totally enjoying what he received, but what porn doesn’t show you is the immense anguish of being taken advantage of.”

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We received a message from a Fighter who realized the damaging themes porn teaches about consent and abuse.

I’m convinced that porn inspired a man to sexually assault me.

To gay guys out there who watch porn, we all know the common porn theme of gay men meeting someone and then slowly getting more intimate with them until they hook up.

It seems like such an attractive idea: get a guy out of his comfort zone, make him live a little, get frisky, and then get something going, even if he hasn’t given you an actual “okay” yet.

I used to enjoy that porn theme. Until it happened to me. A man took advantage of me. He slowly broke through my comfort zone and, without my consent, took advantage of me sexually.

This is a message to everyone out there, regardless of sexual orientation: don’t endorse porn that teaches these ideas of sexual assault and rape disguised as normal fantasies. Porn sites make it seem so hot to test blurred lines and take advantage of someone, but these ideas are extremely harmful, and they hurt them deeply.

Related: How Porn Can Misrepresent And Fetishize LGBTQ+ Individuals And Relationships

I used to think the guy in porn was totally enjoying what he received, but what porn doesn’t show you is the immense anguish of being taken advantage of. A man who only accepts a simple exchange or a small physical advance does not deserve to end up living a traumatizing experience that he will never forget.

It’s not okay to accept porn, and it is important to be educated about the culture it creates. When we add views and dollars to these companies who endorse rape and celebrate assault, we fuel this problem. Every porn clip we watch, we inspire hundreds of others to test blurred lines and taken advantage of others sexually.

I am choosing not be a part of this important problem.

– A.

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Why This Matters

For an industry that is often culturally thought of as being allied with the LGBTQ+ community, the mainstream porn industry’s depictions of LGBTQ+ individuals and relationships often make it seem like they are less interested in accurate representation and more interested in profiting at the expense of LGBTQ+ people.

Regardless of any diversifying factors, people do not deserve to be abused, fetishized, tokenized, misrepresented, or exploited for “entertainment.” It shouldn’t be societally normalized for any industry or medium to misrepresent, exploit, or fetishize LGBTQ+ folks and their relationships—yet the porn industry certainly does, and unfortunately often gets away with it.

Although gay porn is a popular section of mainstream porn sites—with some sites like Pornhub dedicating an entire section of their annual reports to discussing porn from their “Pornhub Gay” brand—the content often mirrors trends seen in other categories of porn as it capitalizes on toxic stereotypes and misrepresentations.

It’s very important to note that gay porn is not the only category of adult entertainment that capitalizes on toxic lessons about consent (or lack thereof), but let’s discuss how this category specifically misrepresents real people and twists concepts of consent.

One popular trope in gay porn involves gay men “seducing” and coercing hesitant, shy, or even straight men into having sex with them, misrepresenting gay men by portraying them as coercive predators. In fact, “Straight Guys” was one of the top-viewed Pornhub Gay categories for 2019.

Gay porn has also been known to combine hurtful racist stereotypes along with two-dimensionalizing and dehumanizing gay stereotypes. Consider the popularity of “Black,” “Japanese,” and “BBC” categories and searches on Pornhub Gay, all of which feature problematic racist tropes.

But what do some actual gay men think about gay porn? Hear one guy’s experience with porn that portrays gay men and how he says it impacted his understanding of sex and relationships:

I copied what I had seen in porn, and it went a lot deeper than merely mimicking techniques. What I saw in porn were damaging stereotypes, so naturally, I adopted these into my own sex life. Too often, there was fem-shaming, disturbing daddy/son scenes, and the idea of gay men actively pursuing straight men until they gave in—all terms which Pornhub report as among the most searched terms within the gay porn genre.

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These dehumanizing portrayals in porn do not help to humanize or invite respect for gay men in our culture.

No one deserves to be abused, fetishized, or tokenized—regardless of any diversifying factors. It’s unacceptable for the mainstream porn industry to exploit LGBTQ+ individuals and relationships for “entertainment.”

Related: 6 Marginalized Groups Of People Porn Has No Problem Fetishizing

The truth is porn that glamorizes the misrepresentation and mistreatment of real people, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a demand for it. Every view, click, and download fuels the demand for the continued production of this content and reinforces attitudes and behaviors of degradation and objectification. Supporting the industry further perpetuates misrepresentation and will continue to drive pornographers to create content that exploits and fantasizes marginalized people in hurtful ways.

Much of the porn industry is far from a source of unity, equality, representation, and respect. There is no substitute for love and respect, and as a global movement, we strive to fight for love for all people and educate on how everyone deserves better than porn.

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