For men who watch porn, it must seem that all men are very well-endowed, can jackhammer a woman for hours without orgasm (no worries that the women often seem to be in pain), and then orgasm like a small geyser. Many of the men, especially in gay porn, look like bodybuilders - highly muscled and very lean. None of these depictions are realistic and must make men (often young men) feel very insecure about their own bodies and performance.
By Donna Nebenzahl, For Postmedia News |
MONTREAL — There's more to pornography than how it sexualizes or demeans women, says Casey Scheibling, an honours sociology student at Concordia University.
Scheibling's research will examine the relationship between habitual or chronic porn consumption and excessive body dissatisfaction, says his adviser Marc Lafrance, because the men featured in heterosexual porn -- the subject of the study -- are buff males who perform on demand in a highly mechanized way.
Photograph by: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
"Most of the literature on pornography tends to focus on women, and that leaves out half of the people involved."
How, he wonders, do the portrayals of men in pornography influence body and genital satisfaction among male viewers? “I’m not talking about men’s addiction to pornography,” says Scheibling, 23. “I’m more interested in the studies on how pornography consumers make sense of their own masculinity.”
Scheibling’s research will examine the relationship between habitual or chronic porn consumption and excessive body dissatisfaction, says his adviser Marc Lafrance, because the men featured in heterosexual porn — the subject of the study — are buff males who perform on demand in a highly mechanized way.
“Is this sort of porn consumption among extraordinary numbers of young men creating expectations around their own bodies that are difficult to approximate?”
Part and parcel of the crisis of masculinity is the kind of collective anxiety men are now suffering about their bodies and their sexual potency, says Lafrance, who also teaches a master’s level course titled the Sociology of the Body.
"There's a link to be made between this so-called crisis of masculinity . . . and the extraordinary proliferation of erectile dysfunction products, the rise of body building and cosmetic surgery, the high-energy drinks, and let's throw in for the good measure the boom in grooming products," he says.
"All of these suggest in my view an increased preoccupation with male bodies in which they’re all trying to increase the maleness of the male.
"Pec implants, calf implants, penile enhancement — these are very aligned with that hegemonic or hyper masculinity.
"Just as all those female products speak to women’s insecurity,” Lafrance says, "these are tapping into a growing anxiety around masculinity and an alpha male ideal."