NAVIGATING ADULT CONTENT
Adult content refers to pornographic or erotic media, depicting sexual behavior through images, videos, or literature. Pornography is often engaged with for sexual excitement, while erotica, along with exploring sexuality often involves romantic or other aesthetic themes as well.
For most young people, their first interaction with adult content is an accidental incident online. With the abundance of sexual images and videos, it’s easy for unsuspecting users to scroll across such sites. The accessibility also makes it that much more tempting to check out.
To begin with, it’s important to highlight that it is okay to be curious! There is nothing shameful about engaging with adult content as an outlet to explore our identities and desires. Whether you engage with adult content regularly, or not at all, it is important to be mindful of the potential impact it may have on you and your relationships.
For starters, such content presents glamourized fantasies that do not accurately reflect real relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, however at the end of the day, it is just an act or story. In magazines and videos, the models and actors are paid to perform and pose for this.
There is also more of a focus on the physical and not the emotional aspect of a partnership, leading to a misrepresented idea of ‘pleasure.’ A healthy relationship is one where there is mutual respect, comfort and understanding of each other’s boundaries. Expecting your relationship to play out like what you see online can lead to both you and your partner feeling unsatisfied, uncomfortable and insecure.
Consent is important, and is often overlooked in adult content. It is not uncommon for mainstream sites to contain content that perpetuate harmful behaviors, stereotypes, and body standards, particularly towards woman and minorities. A lot of the times, these behaviors and ideas are absolutely not okay or simply not true in reality.
Watching adult content regularly can also be addictive, which like any other addiction, has a lasting impact on daily activities.
It is also vital to highlight that content involving anyone under-aged, is illegal. This can come under ‘image based abuse’ and so sharing and engaging with it can become a legal matter.
When watching adult content, be aware of what you are watching – how realistic it is and the message it sends across. If you’re concerned about your viewing activity and how it may impact you – talk to someone and discuss what you can do.