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How Pornhub is Attempting to Be a Resource for Youth to Learn About Sex

By January 8, 2021No Comments

60%.

That’s the percentage of respondents to a 2015 poll conducted by the National Union of Students, a confederation of students’ unions in the United Kingdom, who use porn as a tool to learn about sex. And keep in mind that the percentage is coming from a group of countries where sex and relationship education is compulsory from age 11 onwards.

In the U.S., it wouldn’t be shocking if that percentage was even higher given that fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 components essential to sex education as mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, only 23 states mandate education about sex and 13 require it to be medically accurate.

So, we’ve established there’s an obvious gap in comprehensive education about sex. What’s being done about it?

Well, for starters, we can tell you who’s trying to do something about it: Pornhub.

Yep, that’s right, the world’s most popular free porn site recently launched a “sex education tool” called the “Sexual Wellness Center.” But, before you think this could be a helpful thing, we’ve got more information as to why it’s not.

Related: Popular Porn Site Launches “Sexual Wellness Center” For Sex Advice & Education

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The dirt on Pornhub’s Sexual “Wellness” Center

Before we dive into the why though, a little bit of background on the Wellness Center is necessary.

The Wellness Center’s expressed purpose according to its director Dr. Laurie Betito, a clinical psychologist and author specializing in sex therapy, is to provide quality information in both an educational and entertaining way.

It tries to do so through their new, first-ever sex education video series, which includes 11 videos covering male and female anatomy, STIs, communication, and how to prepare for sex. The series even covers how to have safe sex during the pandemic. The site also says it will feature written pieces from doctors, therapists, and other experts, such as LGBTQ+ community leader Sophia Banks and sex coach Stacy Friedman, among others.

Related: Tatiana’s Story: “Pornography was My Main Education for Sex and Love” (VIDEO)

The real goal, according to Pornhub Vice President Corey Price, is “to provide a go-to resource for people to learn about how to have sex safely and get visual answers to common questions about sexual experiences.” Price said that’s because most people’s “first real exposure to sexual imagery is from popular culture, where dramatization and entertainment value distort what real sex is like.”

However, while Price claims Pornhub is doing its best to move people toward sexual literacy, it’s important to note that this same website and company reportedly profits from real rape tapes and exploitative videos. And exploitation aside, just one click away from the Wellness Center are videos that portray exaggerated and violent depictions of sex that only confuse and misinform consumers about safe, healthy sex.

Can Pornhub associates really believe that the company serves to help people overall understand sex better when they directly profit from the most inaccurate portrayals possible of sex?

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Pornhub can’t have its cake and eat it too

The supposedly “wholesome Pornhub” prides itself on “being the cheery, winking face of naughty.” The website “provides snow plows to clear Boston streets” and “it donates to organizations fighting for racial equality.”

But what the site doesn’t tell you, according to New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof, is that it is also “infested with rape videos. It has monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam footage of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.”

Searches for underage girls reveal hundreds of thousands of videos. Most aren’t children being assaulted, but way too many are. More specifically, in one case, after a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, 58 sexual assault videos of her popped up on Pornhub under a verified account. And, in another, Pornhub videos of a 14-year-old girl from California were seen by a classmate who alerted the authorities.

Those are just a few clear examples of the disturbing content that Pornhub provides those visiting the site some 42 billion times a year. While those examples give you a small view into how Pornhub’s supply of videos harms the suppliers—or, those in the videos—it doesn’t take into account the harms to those on the demand side, the consumers.

Related: 10 Things Porn Gets Completely Wrong About Real Sex

Porn consumption is frequently linked to lower self-esteem. In one study performed on both straight and gay men, consuming porn was correlated with higher levels of body dissatisfaction. Another study on self-esteem showed that guys who consume porn are much more likely to have anxiety in relationships and withdraw from their relationships more than guys who aren’t consuming porn. As men’s value in porn is entirely based on the size and stamina of his genitalia, it’s no wonder.

Additionally, porn viewership is connected to sexual offenses, including those against children. This is because porn lowers empathy and, in doing so, feeds sexist attitudes that can normalize dehumanizing submission, and coercive and aggressive sexual behavior.

And this list of negative impacts on consumers is anything but comprehensive, yet Pornhub also wants to pretend it can be an authority on educating people about sex.

How can Pornhub claim to be an education source for sex when the content they put out does the opposite of portray healthy, realistic, and consensual sex? And, moreover, how can they do so when this content leads to toxic views of one’s self, others, and sex in general?

The simple answer is that it can’t.

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Why this matters

What it comes down to is this: if Pornhub truly wanted to be an educational resource, they’d discontinue hosting porn and educate about the harmful effects of porn in conjunction with providing people with materials that actually educate about sex.

Related: 10 Big Differences Between Healthy Sex And The Sex Porn Portrays

The Sexual “Wellness” Center is only a band-aid that attempts to make right the amount of harm the site has caused millions of porn consumers and victims of abuse and image-based abuse.

We understand that people have sex-related questions—this curiosity is normal, natural, and healthy. But trust us, Pornhub and its rape videos are not going to give anyone, young or old, the real and healthy answers on sex they deserve.

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