We must not buy in to Pornhub’s new “Sex Education Series”. The welfare, health, and lives of those inside and outside of the industry depend on it.

Pornhub has recently announced a new “sex education series” via its “Sexual Wellness Centre” that promises to be an initiative where “viewers can learn about male and female anatomy, preparing for sex, communicating during sex, masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, and more.”

As Pornhub states: “For many people, their first real exposure to sexual imagery is from popular culture, where dramatization and entertainment value distort what real sex is like.

How ironic: Pornhub is one of the most popular porn sites in the world, and is the public-facing brand of an industry that earns billions of dollars annually by dramatizing and distorting real sex. How? Overwhelmingly, by promoting videos featuring extreme violence, degradation, and abuse, primarily of women.

To then conveniently brush their complicity in normalising sexual violence and exploitation under the rug by presenting themselves as a company that cares about the welfare of its users should be objected to on every level.

Pornhub has been at the forefront of the digital revolution when it comes to encouraging unfettered access to the illegal and abusive content on its website, in part evidenced by the fact they have bought up almost every available production company and website to impose their monopoly on the industry,. and this has resulted in children as young as seven years old having quick and easy access whenever they want.

All this begs the question, why has Pornhub made this move?

As is the case with their annual Year In Review statistic press release highlighting exactly what and where people have been watching – including the most recent version of this that tracked access during the US Presidential Election campaign – this is yet a further attempt by Pornhub to normalise its brand and, ultimately, the very notion of sexual violence.

It is regularly reported that due to the addiction-like effect of porn on the viewer’s brain, the content they access must be increasingly violent and degrading to keep the “novelty factor” engaged, which in turn reinforces a vicious cycle where increasingly violent content is created to keep up with viewer demand.

By presenting its brand in a “mainstream” light – with a full blown PR machine that includes possibly-fictional spokespeople- in which its product is normal and acceptable, Pornhub counteracts the work of survivors, activists, and human rights organisations who draw attention to an industry built on sexual violence.

It becomes much more difficult for people to recognise the exploitation, racism, and misogyny of an industry if they have been conditioned from a young age to accept that everything that is produced by that industry is totally normal. Those seven-year-old children who access their site will now also be able to receive their “sex education” from the same company who have a vested interest in keeping viewers hooked.

And as highlighted above, the way they do this is by capitalising on the symbiotic relationship between seeking out increasingly violent material, and the subsequent production of violent material.

We must not accept Pornhub’s attempt to further normalise their brand and content with the creation of so-called “sexual wellness centres” that only serve to reinforce unhealthy, exploitative, and violent attitudes towards sex and towards women more broadly. Just as we object to Pornhub’s profiting from videos containing rape and child abuse, so too must we also roundly condemn this transparent act of brand expansion. The welfare, health, and lives of those inside and outside of the industry depend on it.