Porn: America’s Secret Obsession

American’s love porn, that’s just the bottom line. The days of hiding the scantily clad women on glossy pages in bedside tables and under mattresses has now given way to glowing screens of eroticism. The internet aided in the ease of access by making content a click away. In the early 2000s, it was reported that porn was a $10 billion dollar industry. In 2019 the industry has grown exponentially between individuals creating their own content and websites pirating content.  The convoluted ways of tracking specific revenue streams make it hard to pinpoint a concrete dollar amount in today’s market. It’s safe to say that it is still in the billions.

Similarweb complied a list of the top 50 websites in the United States in all categories. Three adult entertainment sites: Pornhub, XNXX, and Xvideos are settled in the top ten. The vast majority of individuals surfing the web are making stops at these entertainment sites. This adult content has also made waves in other high traffic sites. Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Twitter are major players in social media and have large amounts of adult content that are glaring on their sites. Snapchat premium even offers a subscription service for X-rated content.

The stigma for viewing porn still exists regardless of its vast outreach among American’s. The culture of sex in this country is antiquated considering its influence in media and on the internet. It is apparent that sex sells, but it also wreaks havoc in the personal lives of its users. The podcast, Death, Sex & Money recently aired an episode, where people talk about their personal experiences with porn. The stories are both liberating and tragic. Some individuals talk about how watching porn has helped them discover what they like and how they see themselves as sexual beings. While others have used porn in such a compulsory fashion that it ruined their relationships.

Sex workers benefit from the overwhelming demand. The industry has grown far beyond adult entertainment clubs and escorts. Legal independent content online is flourishing in addition to traditional avenues of creating content. However, these workers are still subject to the negativity surrounding participating in the industry in their every day lives. Upon retiring from porn, many of these workers find it hard to get and maintain jobs because of the explicit nature of the work they have done in the past. Netflix recently released the third installment on this topic, After Porn Ends 3.

The accessibility of adult content has its positives and its drawbacks. Porn can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery and a way to create intimate bonds with your partner. Since sex is a very taboo subject, many people are sheltered and can use it to learn. While the content may not be realistic or aesthetically pleasing to watch, it can still serve as a tool. Porn also illuminates the dark corners of society that many people would like to keep hidden. In many ways, sex is still viewed as an intimate and deeply personal act between two people. The exploitative nature of the content that is out there can be demeaning and give viewers unrealistic expectations or dangerous views on sex. The majority of porn available on social media enables younger viewers to access to content they are not ready to view. Regardless of the availability, porn is made by adults for adults. Teens and children should not have access to view things they don’t fully understand the implications of.

The porn industry shows no signs of slowing because people are watching. Everyday American’s are turning their screens to the attention of erotic material. As long as the demand increases, so will the accessibility of the content. It is time for society to take a hard look at how it broaches the topic of sex and how it is being distributed. Porn is no longer just your neighbors dirty secret, it’s everybody’s.