The problem with online pornography

The campaigner behind "No More Page 3" on plans for a new website - Make Love Not Porn - devoted to changing attitudes to pornography

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The Independent Online

Sex - I bloody love it. But I'm not into porn. I used to masturbate to porn online a fair bit. But I'd always feel horrible afterwards. The internet porn wank is strange in that you do it for the orgasm and yet the orgasm is rubbish.

I spoke to a male friend about this.

"How do you feel afterwards?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah, pretty terrible and worthless."

Wow. Porn. It's weird.  So I don't use porn now. No need to click on 16 thumbnails before finding something that turns me on, no need to watch strangers having sex while hectic adverts flash up "shag a slapper" or "shag a granny".

So, I don't find porn empowering, but I think Make Love Not Porn sounds like a good idea and I think Cindy Gallop, who wrote a column on the subject of what's wrong with the porn industry for Independent Voices last week, is a very inspiring woman. In her Ted talk she says "I am a mature, experienced, confident older woman" and she talks about sex and debunks some of the rubbish that happens in online porn. I find that empowering; a woman talking what about she does and doesn't like and challenging the male managed porn industry.

We're not very well served with women talking frankly about sex. Or anyone talking frankly about sex. We've swept it under the carpet for so long that now online porn seems to own it and young people are getting their sex education from it and we're rightly in a panic.

I talk to a lot of young women about sex and the thing I hear repeated is "I don't know what's wrong with me. It really hurt." Always the physical pain and always the self-blame. When I ask what went on, it was hard, pounding penetration, literally no foreplay and, really quite often, a request for anal. Online porn style sex, which young men have learnt to do and young women have learnt they're supposed to like.

So, no, I don't think porn empowers women at the moment but more sites like Cindy's and more porn made by women for women might. And, I think we need to get over our embarrassment and Britishness and talk honestly about sex.

Lucy is writing about her own views not the views of anyone who supports or works on the No More Page 3 campaign.

You can hear more from Lucy-Anne Holmes and Cindy Gallop at 4.15 GMT today on our Google + debate "Is porn always offensive to women?"