'Concerning' new trend in Kiwis' pornography habits of watching material with non-consensual behaviour

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

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Almost half of the most popular pornography New Zealanders view contains "step-porn" content and almost a third of all top videos viewed in New Zealand showed non-consensual behaviour, new research has found.

The Classification Office analysed 46 hours of pornographic material, with 196 videos taken from the 200 "most watched" videos in New Zealand on PornHub.

  • 46 per cent had "step-porn" or "step-fantasy" content
  • One in 10 had physical aggression 
  • 29 per cent had some sort of affectionate behaviour
  • 35 per cent had non-consensual behaviour at some point
  • Condom use was seen in only three per cent of videos
  • Chief Censor David Shanks said the break down indicated Kiwis prefer content that is “not so extreme”.

    “Of the top 200 clips analysed, just 10 per cent showed physical aggression, three per cent showed verbal aggression and nine per cent contained derogatory language.”

    Physical aggression was almost always directed towards women from a man, with only two videos showing aggression from a woman towards a man and one video showing aggression by a woman towards another woman. 

    Mr Shanks said the "step-porn" genre had become a trend around the world, “and it could well be that major online porn providers have found that this narrative is a simple and expedient way to introduce a 'taboo' element to an otherwise simplistic porn narrative”.

    He said it was clear the videos did not depict real family members and were “highly contrived and unrealistic more often involving sex with ‘stepsisters’, ‘stepbrothers’ or ‘stepmoms’”.

    “The narratives tend to raise problematic issues around power dynamics and inappropriate sexual behaviour within a family context,” Mr Shanks said.

    Mr Shanks was concerned to find over a third of the videos showed non-consensual behaviour, defined as any signs of explicit verbal cues, requests to stop, signs of resistance, attempts to avoid or if a person was evidentially unhappy with the situation.

    “Forced sex and coercion tended not to be popular amongst New Zealand viewers,” the report said, however, “any non-consensual behaviour is highly problematic”.

    It said many of the videos, especially the "step-fantasy" genre, contained narratives of people being pressured, tricked into sex, or involved people spying or initiating sexual activity while someone was sleeping.

    “In these scenarios, initial refusal or reluctance by one partner would often be shown as being overcome by persistence and pressure by the other,” Mr Shanks said.

    “It is clear from this latest work that porn provides a very poor model for young people who are developing their understanding of consent of what a healthy sexual relationship looks like,” he said.

    Mr Shanks said the high level of non-consensual behaviour was “very problematic”, and better education was needed for young people – with the site not even containing an ‘Are You 18?’ button.

    “It’s a tough problem but an important topic to deal with,” he said.

    Only one of the videos analysed contained "choking", involving a person putting their hand or hands on a person’s throat to obstruct breathing or circulation.

    Another 13 per cent showed "throat holding".

    “In the great majority of these videos, this was brief and without significant pressure, did not involve any apparent hostility or discomfort and was clearly consensual.”