Belfast Telegraph

Women are much more than simple sexual creatures

By Harriet Walker

You can tell a lot about a culture from the way it treats sex. The orgy-tastic ancients, for example, the uptight Victorians; all the jolly bra-less bouncing of the Seventies in those bleak suburban front rooms. The hedonistic, self-obsessed drugs and mirrors of the Eighties.

And now, of course, when porn culture - as Raquel Welch lamented in an interview this week - is a mainstream trend in itself.

The trend has also this week been accused of legitimising rape, in some people's minds at least.

Its hold is certainly increasingly apparent, in the hordes of women up and down the country who choose to look, more or less, like adult entertainment extras.

So how will the history books characterise the indoor sports of our time?

With all the angry crashing around freely available online to anyone who cares to look, featuring synthetic women with synthetic hair having unpleasant things done to them by synthetic men.

Of course, this affects the way women are treated in modern culture. Of course, men see us differently because of it.

Not, I hasten to add before all the perverts start contacting me, that I feel women ought not be viewed as sexual creatures, but precisely because they must be.

As sexual creatures who take an active part in their sex life, that is, rather than passive Barbies checking their false nails and repositioning their Perspex stilettos.

I am amazed and baffled - sometimes heartbroken, too - by the fact that porn is now as normal a part of a young man's leisure time as video games or football.

There is no shame about porn; it's just something everyone does and it isn't just for people who aren't getting any whoopsie in real life, either.

But it isn't natural to want to see women brutalised and humiliated, or plasticised beyond recognition, or engaging in things that are just about as far from a healthy sex life as it is possible to be.

Porn is dressed up in the positive regalia of sexual freedom, gender equality and a more liberal society, but it's none of those things.

It's social poison: it makes men think that women enjoy things they don't; it equates those who like sex with a whole new class of unrealistic hyper-sluts in men's eyes; and it makes women feel like they're doing it wrong if they aren't interested in some of the more outre practices.

Does porn encourage violence against women? There is no definite correlation and it's as simplistic as blaming Grand Theft Auto for crime rates to say that it does. But it hardly shows women in their best, or most empowered, light and it has become intrinsic to the maturing male sex drive.

And there's nothing sexy about bad sex, as any liberated woman will tell you.

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