Jorge Gutiérrez is director of Give It A Spin. In this entity they aim to provide information, prevent and recover people with addiction to pornography or its problematic consumption.
In this interview, Jorge Gutiérrez talks about the consumption of pornography, its relationship with women's rights, changes in behavior and new platforms for sexual content.
Data indicate that pornography is consumed by more men than women, why is this?
- The data, in fact, are that conclusive. All surveys and all studies always speak of an overwhelming majority of men rather than women in consumption. Although it is true that more and more women are watching pornography. We do notice that everything that has to do with addiction or problematic use of pornography is much more exclusive to men than to women.
Among the reasons, it is often said that it has a lot to do with the way of being and the nature of men and women. Men are usually stimulated much more by sight than women. The male has a slightly more primary sexuality and this is manifested in the fact that the consumption of pornography is overwhelmingly higher in men.
Why is pornography consumption related to aggressive sexual behaviors?
- You have to put everything in quotation marks. There is a lot of debate on this and it would not be very scientific to say that there is an obvious causal relationship between pornography consumption and violence. But it is true that it can be said that pornography facilitates, normalizes and, sometimes, is a preliminary step to violent attitudes. Women who consume pornography also normalize male aggression towards women.
On the other hand, there are people who say the opposite. Sometimes the consumption of pornography avoids precisely a violent attitude because you avoid taking action, let's say.
It is true that with the violence seen in pornography this is a stimulus and, of course, it is being seen lately even more in these assaults on minors.
What kind of changes occur in the structure of the brains of people addicted to pornography?
- There are more and more studies on behavioral addictions, such as this one. Neuroimaging studies show that there are similar changes in the brain of someone who consumes addictive substances with someone who consumes pornography in a problematic, compulsive or harmful way. This means that it affects similar areas of the brain and has the same neurological circuits affected as with other types of substances.
Does this mean that one is equally addictive as the other? No. Do they affect in the same way? No. Neither. But there is a very similar relationship between substance use and behavioral addictions.
The experts in neurology and addictions are the ones who will have to give the information, but certainly in the last fifteen years many more studies have been done than in the previous hundred years on these issues and it can be seen that both things have similarities.
Why is there an increasing consumption of pornography?
- I think that, to the extent that everything is much more accessible than before, it makes it much easier. You have to take into account that there are more and more people with cell phones and at a younger age.
Also, in society, in the whole issue of content, sex in general is considered almost as another consumer good. It seems to have been normalized. It also seems that if you consume this content in moderation, nothing happens, it is a way to learn and to entertain yourself. What happens is that it is not easy to stop, it is very addictive, it is one of the greatest pleasures you have in your pocket at any time of the day. This has been seen to have a great impact.
The latest data on sexual relations reveal that there are fewer than a few years ago. One of the causes is because there is much more Internet accessto digital sex, etc. Pornography requires less effort, no preamble, it's straightforward and it's free. It's a winning combination in that sense.
What do you think about platforms such as OnlyFansthat leave the door open to the sale and purchase of pornographic content?
- It is one more step towards identifying prostitution with pornography. There is almost no difference between one and the other. We say it is the pornography 3.0.
It's the last cry, the last step where it becomes very attractive. You are no longer just a spectator of a series of videos and images, now you have the possibility of interacting with another person. That creates even more intensity. In quotation marks, it also seems to create more intimacy. It feels like you're with a person alone who you can ask whatever you want. It also, quote-unquote, seems like there is more proximity. On the other hand, it gives the feeling of greater exclusivity, because you think it is you who is being attended to.
Some people say that "virtual boyfriends" are created. In a naive way, everything seems closer and more intimate. It's an important step of change. The problem with pornography is that you are always looking for something else, something different.
Why are women's rights so closely related to the fight against pornography?
- Nowadays pornography is sexist, the vast majority of it uses women. In the end, this reification of pleasure directed at men using women, often in a violent way, attacks women from different points of view.
On the one hand, many of the women who are in pornography are exploited or deceived. And when they are in the industry because they want to be, it's usually out of necessity.
On the other hand, many women suffer the problems of the consequences of their partners' consumption of pornography. Their partners sometimes want to imitate acts they have seen in pornography that are demeaning.
Another way in which it greatly affects women is through how they respond when they discover that their partner is viewing pornography. At Give It A Spin We have a section called "Nosotras" which is aimed at this public, which are women who often feel differently than men the consumption of pornography by men. For women it is usually something very hard that involves a great pain, a feeling of betrayal and infidelity. It distances them from their partner, creates a great lack of communication and they may feel guilty.
It is good to explain to women that it may happen that the man still loves her but also consumes pornography.
How do you rescue a relationship wounded by pornography?
- We know examples of couples who have managed to solve it. Forgiveness, communication and the ability to forgive each other are very important. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of time.
In this life everything can be arranged. It is important that both give in and understand each other. I think it is necessary, sometimes, to talk more and start to put solutions step by step.
Knowing all this, what is the main consequence of pornography addiction?
- The main consequence is the lack of empathy and sensitivity in relationships. One loses the capacity for an affective relationship, in short, the capacity to love the person one is with. One becomes more and more distant. This seems to me the hardest thing.
Another clear consequence is the lying, the isolation, the isolation. One very complicated thing about pornography addiction is that it is very silent and slow. It can take a long time before you realize that there is an underlying problem. Habits are created that are difficult to change.
It also happens many times that men have some kind of sexual dysfunction, because they accumulate so many hours of erotic scenes that it is difficult for them to relate sexually. They reach an extreme in which they need a very strong stimulus.
But I would highlight, as the main consequence, the lack of empathy and sensitivity in relationships with other people, not only with your partner.