Thin veil that separates eroticism from porn is vanishing fast.
“Pornography is vital to freedom and that a free and civilised society should be judged by its willingness to accept porn!”
— Salman Rushdie
On 8 October 2015, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the Supreme Court of India that under the existing set-up, it was extremely difficult to curb circulation of violent porn on the Internet as content providers kept shifting Websites to cater to the huge “domineering male population” in India betraying “insatiable lust and penchant for salacious material.”
In an affidavit, the CBI said that it was a “bitter, ironic truth that paradigmatic advances in the realm of information and communications have provided a new dimension to crimes of rape and gang rape across the country.”
The CBI sounded a serious warning — the pervasive presence of pornography on the Internet coupled with rapid urbanisation is fast disconnecting the youth from social val- ues, making them inclined towards sexual offences and has called for a national agency to deal with sexual assaults depicted on the Web.
On the one hand, the agency linked the rise in sexual assaults on women to the rampant circulation of pornography on Internet and on the other; it said visuals posted on the Web go unpunished as no state police had the jurisdiction, capability or expertise to deal with such Cybercrime.
“The absence or serious deficiency of law enforcement in the vast arena of Cyberspace, leads to impunity amongst the youth, who feel emboldened by the virtual assurance of non-deterrence and the hope that they can get away with it easily,” the agency said.
Ban or no ban, Indian cities account for the highest number of Google searches for porn. The latest Google Trends data show that six of the top 10 cities in the world keying in porn on the search engine are in
India. Leading the brigade of porn surfers are Netizens from New Delhi, followed by Pune, Mumbai, Howrah, Unnao and Bangaluru in that order.
The data reflect both fetishes and perversion. Sociologists refuse to link online activity with offline behaviour, and point out that key words used in Google searches are reflective of the continued curiosity around the threeletter word. Since 2008, the most number of ‘animal porn’ searches were from Pune, followed by New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangaluru.
‘Rape porn’ is a widely searched term with Kolkata, Howrah, New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune accounting for the highest use of these keywords. Unnao, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, has most searches for ‘child sex’.
Indian cities leading in porn searches could be a tad misleading with many countries missing from the data. Cyptography expert Ajit Hatti, also a security researcher and co-founder of Null — India’s largest open security community — says while the data are correct, it isn’t complete. “There are countries like China, Russia and North Korea that don’t use Google or have extremely limited usage. Then in countries like the USA and the UK, many use different search engines,” he said.
The growing number of Web users in the country is also adding to the numbers. Recent studies have pegged the number of Web users in India at 243 million (24.3 crore). India’s top eight cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune — accounted for over 58 million Internet users, the study said.
“A majority of India’s huge popu-
lation is in the young age group. We have an even better mobile phone penetration and nowadays school children as young as 12 are watching porn out of curiosity or peer pressure,” says Shweta Chawla, head and chief investigator, SC Cyber Solutions and also the founder of Association of Women in Information Security.
A veritable Pandora’s Box has been opened and the porn debate has
been out of the closet since long time. The Tatler magazine told us why the mood of the moment was ‘Porn Chic’. Not only that Paris Hilton’s sex tapes sold like hotcakes; ‘wordtracker.com’ revealed its top searches were ‘Paris Hilton’, followed by ‘sex’, followed by ‘porn’.
Porn became hipper and acceptable. Visual imagery of pornography became popular culture worldwide. And, how couldn’t the pornographic curve rise in India?
Who is to blame?
Blame it on Hugh Hefner, who hailed it as a cultural victory. “Bring out everything in the open,” screamed Bill Farley, president, Playboy Enterprises, “What pornography needed to be profitable on a mass scale was to be removed from the sexual ghetto and brought into the living room. It needed someone to adopt it, and teach it manners. Hugh Hefner did for porn what Henry Higgins did for Eliza Dolittle.”
Can there be a porn overload? Yes, said Naomi Wolf as she shattered ‘The Born Myth’ in her cover story for the April 2006 issue for the magazine New York. Post-Internet, the world has pornographised. Young men and women are being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training. But does all this sexual imagery mean that sex has been liberated — or is it the case that the relationship between the multi-billion-dollar porn industry and sexual appetite has become like the relationship between processed foods and obesity?
If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but farther apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so.
So, what happens when porn imagery dictates the minds of men and women? Does it fill the mind with impossible fantasy?
The Skin Diva of Bollywood, Nigar Khan says: “If husband and wife watch porn together, it’ll help them understand each other sexually. Isn’t it better than having the husband watch alone? However, some women take it very hard. In Europe, girls tell their boyfriends what they like in bed. If your boyfriend wants to take you to an orgy and you don’t want to go, please tell him that you won’t like to share yourself with anyone else! Learn to apply brakes.”
A survey ‘Understanding Pornography’, by Dr Alan Mackee, Catherine Lundy and Lath Allbury concluded that porn helps couples relax about their sexuality. Psychiatrist Dr Anupriya Chadha says: “If you study the effect of porn on couples and sexuality, there are two schools of thought. Some feel it destroys a marriage by depriving a relationship of
trust. I’ve met women who feel their husbands are being unfaithful if they watch too much porn. Then there’s a contrary view, that watching porn can be an intellectual activity which has no behavioural repercussions or emotional implications.”
According to a renowned British therapist at the Nottingham University Dr Angela Gregory, there is a surge in the number of young men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. And the reason is their addiction to online porn!
Prone to porn after marriage
According to a new study, men watch less porn after marriage, while women watch it more. American researchers interviewed married men and women to establish how behaviour and attitude towards sexuality change before and after marriage. Of the female participants, 9 per cent reported viewing porn before marriage and 28 per cent after marriage. Among men, 23 per cent watched porn before marriage and just 14 per cent after marriage.
Sociologist-teacher Dr Aarda Surendran says it would be wrong to link porn with attitude towards women and sexual crime. “Pornography of the mainstream variety is one of the many forms of objectification of sex, and within it, women. There is no empirical evidence to prove an essential linkage between watching porn and violence against women,” says Dr Surendran, adding that sexuality in mainstream pornography is in accordance with the ‘male gaze’ and may encourage unrealistic expectations of female
bodies and sex in general.
“The obsession and exotic, macabre or extremely violent forms of pornography (including child porn) can also be related to the closeness and rigidity surrounding sexuality in society, and the taboo around its public discussion.”
Porn outnumbers classics
Here are some hard facts: Hollywood releases 400 films each year, while the pornography industry releases 700 movies in the same time frame. Says the author of Kindered Spirits Kusum Sawhney: “The truth is that everyone watches porn in their bedroom. But it’s not a natural way of having sex. The word ‘pornography’ itself is a negative word. I believe there’s a cycle to every madness. I predict there’ll be a calming effect soon. We’re not secretive about it anymore.”
By some accounts there are more than four million porn sites on the Internet, and the industry in the USA alone is estimated to be worth over $15 billion a year.
While replying to the age-old question — does pornography have an adverse effect? — writer Edward Marriott says: “If anyone says that, he’s laughably out of touch.” Nicole Narain, an Indian-American model for Playboy agrees: “We’re living in a sexually liberated world. We’re swinging between the prohibitionist and the puritanical. That’s the naked truth of the moment. There’ll always be those who condemn it.”
What can we in India do about it? Consultant psychiatrist Dr Swapnil Deshmukh says porn addiction has increased manifold over the past few years and this reflects in behaviour.
“Nowadays, there is an increasing tendency among people, especially youngsters, trying to capture indecent photos and videos of their colleagues, friends and family members. Easy accessibility is the main reason for rise in porn consumption. Parental locks on pornographic sites and better sex education at school could check the trend,” argues Dr Deshmukh.
Youngsters trying to steal a moment to watch porn on net.
It sounded like Sunny Leoneʼs pastis haunting Bhupendra Chaubeymore than Sunny Leoneherself. Nigar Khan keeps an open mind onporn watching.
Nicole Narain: An Indian Amrican model for Playboy.
Braille porn is providing pleasure tovisually impaired.
Pornography in public bill board.