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Taboo no more

Rajitha Menon, DH News Service Feb 9 2018, 2:36 IST

A recent survey by an adult website reveals that more and more women are watching online pornography. Several intriguing aspects come to light with the survey, one of them being that women have a special preference for videos that show violence against or submission of their own kind. This was also revealed in a study by a Harvard economist last year which said that women's viewing choices in this area are mostly dictated by a desire to watch aggressiveness against women themselves.

"Watching such videos is a way for me to escape from my less-than-satisfying domestic life," says a 38-year-old housewife. "It allows me to live out my somewhat rough fantasies, which I am not otherwise allowed to voice out, being the mother of a teenage girl."

While viewing choices are a matter of personal choice, some others are worried about what the pattern says for the general attitude of women.

"Is it just curiosity or is it something deeper, brought about by milleniums of subjugation? If it is just interest, would they consent to be in a similar position? If yes, then can their browsing history work against them in a court of law in case of an adverse situation?" wonders Cleetus, an MNC professional.

While some may argue that this would not have any consequences in real life, others opine that it is a worrying trend since one never knows when it will go out of hand. "Especially in a country like India, where the concept of consent is still not properly understood," says D, a young female.

The fact that Indian women are among the most prolific consumers of porn comes as a surprise to many, though it should just be seen as an indication of their increasing economic independence, awareness and acceptance of their sexuality, points out Sangita Unni, psychologist/counselor.

"Watching porn satisfies many needs of the urban career-driven woman. Cortisol, a stress relieving hormone, is released, dopamine levels and it takes care of loneliness, an offshoot of having a stressful professional life," she says.

Another male user also feels that the easier access to internet and personal devices made it easier for women. "This revelation doesn't surprise me. It is a trend which bucks the age divide while the younger lot may see such videos to pick up new stuff, the older females may be surfing to satisfy their curiosity," he says.

"It's still very debatable," says Sangita, when asked whether watching porn is a harmful act. "However any behaviour that interferes with your day to functioning effectively is detrimental e.g. Sometimes watching too much porn may make you anti-social or restrict your ability to read non verbal cues of another person," she says.

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