New study uncovers Ireland’s lack of conversation about porn

5 Oct 2018415 Views

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A new study has highlighted the worrying lack of conversation in Ireland about porn use, despite calls in 2016 for a national discussion.

Following on from her insightful interview published on Siliconrepublic.com, Dublin City University doctoral scholar in sexuality studies Caroline West has shone an uncomfortably bright light on Ireland’s relationship with porn.

In a new study published to the Porn Studies Journal, West documents the current attitudes and media commentary around porn in Ireland, revealing a country still refusing to address the topic directly.

Tied in with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s call for a ‘national conversation on porn’ shortly before he left office in 2016, the study revealed how a range of newspapers, glossy magazines and TV talk shows failed to address the topic openly.

In fact, West found the language involved in debates – specifically citing The Late Late Show and Pat Kenny Tonight as examples – was mostly salacious and was neither calm or rational.

In one incident, the experiences of porn users were compared with a person experiencing PTSD after watching a beheading video online. Just as worrying for West was how on Twitter, following the Taoiseach’s statement, the idea of a conversation on porn was met largely with humour.

Chasm exists between knowledge and appetites

However, recent attempts to use Twitter to raise a conversation using the hashtag #pornweek saw more than 1,000 users reveal details such as religious beliefs, sex education history and more nuanced details about the kind of porn consumed.

“Numbers-wise, we do know that there is a large Irish appetite for porn,” West said. “However, there remains a chasm between official reports and in-depth knowledge of public use and attitudes to porn.”

She continued: “Additionally, proving that a rise in sexual assault is linked to porn would be especially difficult in this country, as Ireland has a historically bad record in recording sexual assault.

“We know that Ireland is a changing society on so many levels, and yet information gaps in this space leave a lot to be desired.”

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com