Why do males watch porn at work? You requested Google – right here’s the reply | Nichi Hodgson | Opinion

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Confession: I’ve watched porn on the job. So many instances I’ve misplaced depend, in actual fact. But then that was once I was writing an erotic memoir and reporting on the grownup business in LA as a contract journalist. In reality, I’m in all probability one of many solely folks I do know who can justify having watched grownup content material on what was technically a piece net browser.

Turns out I’m not the one 1. According to a survey printed within the Archives of Sexual Behavior final yr, simply over 20% of American males admit to having checked out porn at work, albeit the bulk doing so on a private pill or system – solely 5% admitting to utilizing the work pc.

We don’t know in the event that they have been caught in tech flagrante, or in the event that they have been disciplined and even fired for his or her viewing, however the level is: why do some males browse grownup content material throughout workplace hours?

Well, the apparent reply is: they have been sexy. Whatever the organic or cultural causes, as psychotherapist Philippa Perry says: “Most men wank most of the time. And in the words of Phill Jupitus: ‘Masturbation is the male screensaver.’” The author of Enjoy Sex, Meg-John Barker, agrees. “It happens to most of us a few times a day, and watching porn and solo sex can be a quick release of that.”

So why don’t us women feel the urge on a similar scale, even though we make up a third of all porn viewers? Let’s examine that survey a bit more closely for a minute. The results relating to men were such because the survey only asked men about their porn habits. It’s perfectly possible that women and non-binary people also watch porn at work – we simply don’t have comparable results. Which is interesting in itself. Perhaps the others slip under the radar because our attention is so much on male consumption – and its relative cultural acceptance. Given that women watch less porn than men full stop, we would expect any percentage of women watching at work to be lower.

Wordcloud illustration

Wordcloud illustration. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

How have we reached a point where a medium designed for private pleasure is infiltrating professional spaces? To some extent, it hasn’t always been about private pleasure. Throughout history, men have routinely consumed sexually explicit images, sometimes at work in group settings, often as a mark of collective sexual identity. If I think back to my childhood in 80s Yorkshire, I still remember the soft porn Sam Fox calendar that adorned the wall of the local car garage, before the Equality Act (previously the Sex Discrimination Act) had proclaimed it a form of sexual harassment for women who worked there.

Meanwhile that idea of collective sexuality plays out today. It’s a phenomenon we see in how men (it is usually them) share sexually explicit content on social media – there’s bonding and a break in the usual shame if it’s done with humour in a group chat. And sometimes that extends to company computer use, such as “employees who are sharing something that they think is funny with their colleagues”, says Karen Baxter, employment Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

With the Equality Act effectively making porn viewing in the workplace an act of sexual harassment if someone else is privy to it, plus the “gross misconduct” clause in employment contracts, which generally covers watching porn at work, if you get caught browsing Pornhub you’re at risk of seriously offending others at best, losing your job at worst. So why would you do it?

That risk might be part of the thrill you’re getting from viewing it in the first place, says Barker. Similarly, “when people are watching porn in a way that could fairly easily be found out by others, there could be an element of self-sabotage going on”. It could also be a sign your relationship with porn has become compulsive. If it starts interfering with work duties, says psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle, there are even more damning personal repercussions: “If it starts to get in the way of productivity and eat away at working time, that can have a negative impact on the watcher’s stress levels or mental health as they start to fall behind.”

Let’s get some perspective – incidents of individuals browsing adult content on a work computer are actually incredibly rare. Instead, “these issues tend to arise when employees are working long hours in the office, or are taking their work IT equipment home or on business trips”, says Baxter. “Once settled in a hotel room far from home, people can be under the false impression that their actions will never be discovered, or are even legitimate.”

Who hasn’t logged into Asos or personal banking in between emails? Boundaries between personal and professional devices are now so blurred, we can forget on just which device – and under whose auspices – we are browsing. As Barker says: “People are used to doing other non-work things in work hours like social media and computer games. For some, it may not feel as though porn is so different.”

Porn can be a wonderful, fantasy-fulfilling medium that gives a lot of people a lot of pleasure in a judgment-free, STI-free way. However, surely it has its place – and its place isn’t tucked in a tab in between office spreadsheets. Perhaps it’s time for the men viewing it at work to get a grip of their professionalism. After all, can you really do the job at hand when you’ve only got one free?

Nichi Hodgson is the author of The Curious History of Dating: From Jane Austen to Tinder and a sex and relationships broadcaster

Nichi Hodgson from theguardian.com

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