NPR

What We (Don't) Talk About When We Talk About Porn

Access to pornography is easier now than ever before. For many people, it's their first experience with sex. How is the fantasy of pornography affecting young people's ideas toward the reality of sex?
From left to right: Jacky St. James, David Cruz, Danielle Brinkley, Shira Tarrant, Isiah Maxwell, Lisey Sweet. Source: Liz Kuball for NPR

A porn director worries that young adults think sex is what they've seen on-screen.

A young man worries that the ubiquity of porn creates unrealistic expectations for everyone.

A porn performer worries that young viewers might think her videos are instructional.

They all wish people talked about it more.

Millions of people in the United States watch pornography, thanks largely in part to the Internet and free sites like Pornhub.

A majority of those people are under 34 years old. They've grown up in a world where online porn is free and, with the rise of smartphones, where viewers can watch it pretty much whenever — and wherever — they want.

But while porn may be easy to view, it's still hard to discuss — even for those with the easiest access to it — and it creates a host of worries and misconceptions.

"My students are often immersed in it but don't often have an opportunity

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