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KinkTok: How Porn Culture & TikTok Are Grooming Children


Sign the petition to protect children from porn.

If you are on Instagram or TikTok, you have likely come across videos hyper-sexualizing some form of sexual violence, tagged with #KinkTok.

Many videos feature “kinks” such as being forcefully pushed up against a wall, choking, BDSM and even fantasies involving “knife play.” One video of a girl encouraging her reluctant boyfriend to choke her has 1.1 million views.

The root of all of these trends? Porn culture and their idea of sexualized fantasy.

CEO and founder of Exodus Cry, Benjamin Nolot, said in a podcast interview that the porn industry has created a porn universe with its own set of norms. “It is about giving power to men to subjugate, dehumanize, and humiliate women while they never say no and enjoy every advance. And the more aggressive, the more pleasurable it is for them. This formulaic script gets played out over and over and over, and then it gets injected into the minds of our children.

#KinkTok has 6.9 billion views. #Choke has 375.5 million views.

Glorified sexual violence is rampant on social media. Other trends on TikTok include the “psychotic boyfriend” trope, “things girls want but won’t ask for,” and showing off bruises obtained during sex. This is further perpetuated by popular films like 50 Shades of Grey and 365 Days (a kidnap-porn film), both of which portray sexual violence, dominance, and submission as something the woman desires.

It’s undeniable that our culture’s view of sex has been deeply shaped by porn. As a result, many don’t see anything wrong with the glorification of sexual violence.

This is incredibly problematic. Porn is grooming children to see abuse and violence within the context of sex to be desirable. In fact, porn is so effective at normalizing abuse that abusers use pornography to groom victims.

RELATED: Violent Porn Is Shaping Children Everywhere

What’s worse is that now if you aren’t into violence during sex, you are shamed and called “vanilla”—that is to say boring, and perhaps a bit uncool. A 17-year-old girl from Arkansas shared another user’s TikTok referring to the problem of glamorizing rough sex. She was immediately met with accusations of kink-shaming, with people calling her a prude and a snowflake.

News flash: rough sex is in. Vanilla sex is out. The devastating reality is that choking and strangulation are deemed more desirable than vanilla sex among many young people.

There was a time when seeing a woman’s body covered in bruises inflicted by her boyfriend would have been cause for serious concern, but now, it’s considered normal and desired.

In a post-#MeToo culture, why are we fantasizing rape? Especially on an app widely used by children. TikTok has one billion international users. In July, TikTok announced that one-third of their 49 million U.S. users are 14 years old and under!

By that metric, it’s possible that 300 million kids around the globe are being exposed to violent sexual fantasies on a daily basis on this platform alone.

For an app that is widely used among kids and young teens, these videos are acting as the educators on sex and sexual expectations between partners. One study found that 70% of high school boys want to try out what they see in porn. Another study of 14 to 19-year-olds found that females who watched pornographic videos were at significantly greater likelihood of being victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

So not only is increasingly violent sex becoming more and more violent as a result of porn, but the likelihood that these kids will at some point abuse or be abused is significantly increasing, and the acts perpetrated during said abuse are becoming more sinister.

One of the more concerning trends on TikTok is called consensual non-consent (CNC). It is a form of BDSM in which participants engage in play that mimics non-consensual behavior. Otherwise known as resistance, reluctance, or “rape play.”

In an article titled, “Rape Fantasies Have Nothing to Do with Rape“, Octavia Morrison, who admits she has always had rape fantasies, wrote, “Rape fantasies are mistakenly named—it is an imaginary act of being taken by a passionate male, free from any possible assault. As it is happening in our minds, consent is out of question. No harm comes of it. It’s about nothing but surrendering to our lizard brain, giving up power. These ‘rape’ scenarios are arousing because they are creating the illusion of danger without actually being in danger. It is a desire for submission, that can be lived in safe BDSM Dom/Sub scenarios—with full consent, without the fear of being hurt.”

In another article for Medium called “Understanding Consensual Non-Consent,” Rachel Hope claims, “Negotiating a CNC play session, or scene, must involve discussing the fantasy, setting boundaries, and agreeing on how the scenario will be ended if anyone involved changes their mind.” She continues, “People who fantasize about rape or CNC do not want to be assaulted,” and while that may be true, it is conditioning the participants to be turned on by dominance and force. And for a child or young teen who does not have the framework to understand what they are watching, it is communicating a very dangerous message.

Hope writes, “It can be a lot of fun to imagine or playact things that you would never want to do in real life,” and some people enjoy CNC because of the “pleasure found in the addition of adrenaline and heightened awareness/arousal caused by fear, even when it’s a controlled experience.”

By the very definition, fantasy is the desire for something to happen. So while CNC might not be real rape, it is playing out a desire for sexual abuse. And it is becoming increasingly normalized.

A 2019 study for the BBC found that “more than a third of UK women under the age of 40 have experienced unwanted slapping, choking, gagging or spitting during consensual sex.” The Centre for Women’s Justice told the BBC, the figures showed the “growing pressure on young women to consent to violent, dangerous, and demeaning acts. This is likely to be due to the widespread availability, normalization and use of extreme pornography.”

Steven Pope, a psychotherapist specializing in sex and relationships, told the BBC that violent sex is a “silent epidemic. People do it because they think it’s the norm but it can be very harmful. What we see is that for many, it devalues the relationship but—at its worst—violence becomes acceptable.” The line between consensual sex and sexual abuse are becoming more and more blurred.

As a result, there are a number of cases in which men facing criminal charges for harming or killing women during rough sex claim that the violence was consensual and accidental. Research by We Can’t Consent to This documented 52 homicides in the United Kingdom where men who have killed women during rough sex claimed that the deceased consented to “a sex game gone wrong.” In several cases, the men walked free.

In a post-#MeToo culture, why are we fantasizing rape?

Strangulation is a common feature of about two thirds of the deaths recorded by the organization and is linked to the rising popularity of sex acts inspired by violent and misogynist pornography. According to the Femicide Census, on average, one woman is strangled to death by her partner every two weeks in the U.K.

There was a time when seeing a woman’s body covered in bruises inflicted by her boyfriend would have been cause for serious concern, but now, it’s considered normal and desired. It is certainly normal enough among young people to amass millions of views and likes. What kind of message is this sending to girls about how they should be treated in a relationship and during sex? What is it communicating to young men about how they ought to treat a woman?

RELATED: Age Verification Is the Most Effective Way to Protect Children from Porn

According to a 2019 study, about 25% of women in the U.S. report feeling scared during sex. Among 347 respondents, about 7% described feeling scared because their partner had attempted to strangle them unexpectedly, and 13% of sexually active girls ages 14-17 reported having already been strangled.

Dan Savage, a sex columnist and host of the Savage Lovecast podcast, wrote, “kids consume and learn such violent sexual acts from porn and come to believe that’s what their partners want, rather than learning that what they see in porn might not resemble real life.”

This is yet another horrific result of a pornified culture. One which devalues, humiliates, degrades, and abuses women for the sexual pleasure of a man. In fact, an article in Ireland’s Independent describes how “many men seem to consider rough sex such a common part of a normal sexual experience that they no longer feel it’s something for which they even need to ask consent.”

The precedent being set forth by #KinkTok is extremely harmful. Not only does it glorify sexual violence, but it also grooms kids for sexual assault and rape. We must push back against the dangerous influence of porn on the culture and rise against these new norms of violence. It is time to stand up and #ProtectChildrenNotPorn.

With your help, we can build a formidable movement that demands age verification on porn sites and challenges the predatory porn giants that are harvesting the innocence of children everywhere.

1. Join 50k+ others by signing the petition demanding age verification, with ID, on every single porn site. Then share it.

2. Watch Raised on Porn, free on YouTube, then like, comment, and share it with 5 friends.

3. Give here. Your gift will provide critical resources to help reach millions with this film and campaign.

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