Let’s come to the last power aspect: the power of pornography is also power through influence on our self-perception. The economist I. C. MacMillan said: influence is the capacity to not only control the information channels, but also to control and to change the perception of others.
We could corroborate this very well – and presumably for the first time statistically - with our sexuality study in 2008. 37.3% of the [relatively small percentage of] women who consume pornography daily believe that their partners want them to have genitals like those generally seen in the pornographic movies. You may ask me afterwards what constitutes the famous “porn vagina”. Surprisingly, we find less impact on the men. But even among the women with weekly pornography consumption, every fifth woman is obviously affected by the causality between porn consumption and the idea that one’s own genitals should look the same as those displayed in the porn movies.
I would like to quote another example, which is taken from the practice of sex counsellors. Attitudes toward anal intercourse have changed dramatically in recent decades. What is inconceivable for most people is that when Kinsey did his studies in the 40s, not even gay men practiced anal sex frequently. The first changes occurred during the 70s in the gay scene and then, especially under the influence of the so-called
gonzo pornography, also in heterosexual circles. Suddenly, anal sex seems to have become quite a common practice. And accordingly, sex counsellors report that not too long ago the first boys enquired, “How can I persuade my girlfriend to have anal sex?”. Then, a few years later, came the first girls, “How can I dissuade my boyfriend from anal sex?”. Now, the girls come and ask the sex counsellors,”What pills can I take to prevent it hurting like hell?” All this in a period of only fifteen years, which began when anal sex was introduced in pornography as a common sex variant, in the mid-90s approximately.