Comments: It’s interesting that asking for volunteers to give their opinions on porn use is “science”, yet access to the remarks of tens of thousands of anonymous porn users who quit porn and report benefits is anecdotal evidence, and not worthy of consideration.
Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden. [email protected]
Pornography is one of the most sought-after topics on the Internet, and is easily available for anyone, including children and adolescents. At youth centres, nurse-midwives have noticed that young people have different kinds of questions about sexual practices compared with a few years ago.
The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of thoughts and reflections about pornography consumption, and its possible influence on sexual practices, among young women and men. The staff at a youth centre in a city in central Sweden asked the visitors if they had seen pornography and if they wanted to be interviewed about their experiences.
Ten young women and eight men, aged 16-23 years, participated. In-depth interviews were performed and open-ended questions about pornography and sexuality were posed. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed according to grounded theory. The core category ‘Living with the current sexual norm’ depicted how pornography created sexual expectations and demands, for instance, to perform certain sexual acts.
The informants expressed contradictory feelings towards pornography and felt that sexuality was separated from intimacy. A moral attitude was described and examples of stereotypic gender roles were given. To deal with the current sexual norm, informants had different individual handling strategies and attitudes to pornography, namely liberal, normalization, distance, feminist or conservative.
Limitations of this study were the small sample size and that results from a qualitative research study cannot be generalized. The results contribute to an understanding of how pornographic material can influence young peoples’ thoughts, reflections and sexual behaviour. This indicates the importance, for personnel at youth centres and schools, to discuss sexual behaviour and how sexuality is portrayed in pornographic material with young people.