Jesse Mulligan: We need to take ownership of what porn's doing to NZ kids

OPINION: Psychologists here say we're in the middle of a porn crisis.

Just last year an Australian study found 100 percent of boys surveyed were exposed to porn, and 85 percent said they viewed it daily or weekly.

In the US, six states are declaring pornography a public health crisis. Even The New York Times is calling on officials to ban it.

But while it's easy to tell the government they should be doing something, this is one of those issues where actually, it's what you do that counts.

I want to talk about pornography.

Except, it's sort of an awkward topic, particularly on TV when kids might be watching, so I've come up with a solution.

For the next couple of minutes instead of the word 'porn', I’m going to say the word 'corn'. Just tell your children we're talking about corn.

When I was young, you never saw corn. Maybe some kid would bring his dad's corn to school and you’d pass it round, but it was pretty tame. Some of them were still wearing their husks.

Now as you probably know, corn is everywhere. You don’t even have to buy it from a dairy, you just open your laptop or phone and it’s there ready to go.

As a guy it's tempting and easy - like grabbing a cold beer out of the fridge. But it's this easiness that I want to talk about tonight.

Next time you start typing "cornhub" into your address bar, take a moment and remember this.

You are slowly destroying your own ability to have normal sex with another normal human.

Here's what clinical psychologist Dr Mark Thorpe, who deals with this stuff all the time, said.

"We are in the middle of a crisis. There is an extreme amount of sexual problems with young men under 25 - and that manifests as erectile dysfunction; delayed ejaculation; diminished libido with real life partners, not screen; and an avoidance of genuine relationships."

That's right, every time you go online to get off, you're making your own corncob look more like this.


Yep, that thing in the top left corner. Photo credit: The Project

The more corn you consume, the harder corn you're going to need.

Here's Dr Thorpe again: "The brain and internet porn are geared towards it, so there is the natural tendency to slide into more and more difficult things.

"It's a bit like what you mentioned with drugs, you need greater hits you need greater variety so it goes more and more into aggressive, difficult, punitive content."

These are real people in these videos.

Somebody's daughter, someone's sister. Some of them do a good job of looking like this is their first-choice career, but don't kid yourself.

At least admit that by using corn we're effectively helping a huge corporate to make women and girls do things they don't really want to do, so that men like us will feel good for a few seconds.

Take some ownership of what this is doing to New Zealand kids.

It is estimated 88 percent of online pornography is violent. By supporting this industry we're supporting our latest form of sex education, where boys learn that slapping, choking and hurting their girlfriends is a form of intimacy, and girls grow up thinking they're meant to act like the women in the videos because that's the only sex they've ever seen.

If hearing this stuff makes you want to make a change, I've been working with Dr Thorpe on a set of tips to move on from porn.

It's on The Project's Facebook page. If you're worried about it showing up in your history, just turn on your private browser first… pretty sure you know how that works.

And look, I'm not going to tell you what to do when the curtains are closed. But I am asking you not to consume pornography with your eyes wide shut.

The internet is messing with us in ways we'll never fully understand, but finding another way to get yourself in the mood is one huge thing you can do to have a positive impact on yourself, your relationship and on your children.

Jesse Mulligan is a presenter on The Project 

Read full article here.

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