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Tech Shock: Elly Hanson on pornography

In this week’s episode of the Tech Shock podcast, Vicki and Geraldine discuss pornography with Dr Elly Hanson – author, clinical psychologist, research director, and member of the British Psychological Society

Online pornorgraphy is at a turning point; it is no longer a new phenomenon. Now that we have plenty of research available, Hanson argues that we can begin to really measure its effects. 

Hanson dismisses the dated assumption that pornography is limited to nudity and more “traditional” forms of intercourse. She argues that many of the behaviours seen in modern pornography are objectifying, degrading, and violent. Statistics also show that violence in pornography is much more likely to be directed towards women than men. 

Hanson says that this pushes a distorted image of sexual relations onto viewers, and that “porn use is linked to reduce relationship satisfaction, and reduced sexual satisfaction”. She argues that there is a similar “increase in harasment and sexual violence” as a result of pornography. 

Vicki mentions that to express concerns over pornography is sometimes dismissed as “prudish” or illiberal. Hanson says that the scale of the problem – particularly as far as child protection is concerned – means that traditional “left vs right” debates simply aren’t as important.  

They discuss how difficult it can be for parents to broach the topic of pornography with their children – but agree that conversations like these are “vital to try and recapture the humanity of sex”. Ultimately, Hanson is positive about how – with the right kinds of institutional support – the new Online Safety Bill might mitigate some of pornography’s damaging effects. 

Listen to Series 3, Episode 13 to hear the full podcast.    

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