Routes into pornography use have changed considerably over the last few decades. While Marc’s story (click here) is representative of the way young men were introduced to porn before the Internet was such an integral part of life, Jake’s story shows some of the new dangers that current generations face. Jake, like many other young men and women, has had a much swifter and more hardcore initiation. Internet pornography has also led to criminal charges being brought against him.
Jake was born in 1990. During his childhood, he had been given many warnings about the dangers of sex. His early freedom and childhood explorations of many sorts had been curtailed due to being heavily monitored in his movements outside of the house. He was not able to investigate his neighbourhood without numerous checks and balances being put in place by his parents. ‘I think my mother was always fearful that I’d be abducted,’ he said. Overall, Jake’s lack of freedom during his childhood resulted in a parallel lack of personal knowledge of his emerging curiosity of differences in the human body. The whole idea of sex, he reported in therapy, was something ‘very secret’ and ‘probably wrong’ – even though he was very much aware of sexual images and ideas in the multimedia-led early twenty-first century childhood he was growing up in.
‘There was loads of talk about girls in the playground and most of all at Saturday football.’ There had been a high proportion of Southeast Asians at Jake’s school. ‘Looking back on it, I guess they were all very hard working and kept themselves away from us. I suppose that made them much more interesting to us boys. First there was all that stupid stuff that people said about Asian girls; clearly no one had a clue. My friend said their private parts went sideways, like their eyes … sounds pretty racist now I say it out loud, but it wasn’t like that when we were kids. Well, you don’t know until you’ve looked, do you! Everyone was saying they all looked fit, young, you know …’ When working with people in this subject area, you are aware that there are constant little clues being dropped about what they want to talk about. I registered Jake’s talk of youth.
‘The biggest kid in our class was Mash. He was already doing Chan [a female classmate] when we were about 13.’ Jake described how ‘Mash and Niddy ran up to the girls on the sports field and tried to lift their skirts or grab their boobs. Then we’d get something … in a PSHE lesson … that told us how “wrong it was”, but I just used to think how great it must have been to be like them. I remember trying to imagine myself with Chan. I used to masturbate thinking about winning her over in some kind of romantic dual. I’d probably watched too much Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!’
‘About that time I also got lent an 18 video game where you could get women to ride BMX bikes, and one of the settings was to have them do it in the nude. They were all very teen schoolgirls but with big boobs. You could collect tokens that let you visit a strip bar – the more tokens you collected in the game the more you got to see in the strip bar – it was all very hot for me at my age – you were kind of controlling the action, not just watching it. There were a lot of schoolgirl pigtails in that game, I seem to remember. It just so tapped into that Japanese anime look for me, as well as how “dirty” sex was and how available girls should be.’
Emphasising the media relationship and availability of sex through it, Jake was also aware of a rumour that Mash and Niddy had made a video of Chan on a mobile phone. ‘That did it for me. People were saying you could see all her girl’s bits but I don’t know … I guess I was really shy then. I was a late developer – my pubes didn’t grow until I was about 15 so I always felt a bit inadequate next to Mash and the crew. I didn’t actually get a girlfriend till I was 19.’
The end result of these early influences were that Jake very quickly turned to the main source of pornographic supply – the Internet (despite the fact that his parents had put a parental lock on certain features of the laptop). ‘They’d written the password on the back of the box so I could surf whatever I wanted anyway. I can remember feeling really shaky as I opened up Google. You know that feeling when you’ve drunk too much coffee? Just like that … I simply put “Asian pussy” into the search box. I don’t know if you know the sort of thing you get on these sites. Let’s just say, I didn’t get pictures of kittens …’
I nod with a slightly exaggerated action, hoping to convey acceptance for him, to allow him to have the freedom to tell me what he feels he needs to. Jake has been sounding me out, leaving clues as to what he has been viewing since those early days with erotic games and beginning to view the Internet for pornography. He wants to know what I will and won’t pick up on before he risks working with me.
When he tells me that he has had a recent visit from the police and that his computers have been removed I am clear where porn has taken him.