Just over fifteen years ago, Myspace was really the only social media platform we had to work with. Ahh, simpler times! Now, social media is a huge part of our lives, and with every newly launched site, we connect with each other just a little bit more. Where would we be during Covid if we didn’t have Facetime, Facebook Messenger, and Zoom?
Here's something to consider, though. With every groundbreaking new online social network, new rules and guidelines seem to emerge. For instance, TikTok recently rolled out new parameters that included prohibiting "content that commits, promotes, or glorifies sexual solicitation," targeting accounts that linked to their OnlyFans pages. This brings us back to questions on censorship and taboos surrounding sexual openness. And what will future generations learn about sexuality from scrolling through their feeds?
The Rise of Social Media - Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter launched in 2004, 2005, and 2006 respectively. It only makes sense that the Me Too movement was founded in 2006. It’s even more apparent that the movement gained momentum when the hashtag began circulation on Facebook and Twitter after 2017’s sexual abuse allegations regarding Harvey Weinstein came to light. Since then, how sex is portrayed on social media has improved. Social media has brought forth awareness on social issues, like equality, sexism, rape culture, and more. Because of these platforms, people all over the world are learning how to stand up for themselves against sexual assault and discrimination.
It’s no secret that social media has become a platform for many to put themselves out there. In fact, it’s more surprising when a celebrity (or even your average Joe) doesn’t have any accounts. After all, social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are some of the best places to push your products or market your new media. Facebook reportedly has 2.7 billion active monthly users (2020), and Twitter has 321 million active users (2019).
Sex & Social Media - TikTok
The TikTok platform has been gaining popularity over the last few years. As it stands today, the posts on this app come in the form of short videos (up to three minutes long) that automatically replay until you swipe up to the next video. You can slide between the accounts you follow or the “For You Page” (FYP). There has been much controversy surrounding TikTok because it has gone largely uncensored (until recently). However, this has given users the opportunity to discuss topics that may have been prohibited on other social media stages. A few accounts to check out for sexual health related topics are:
The CEO of three different companies, Rebekkablue shares tips on selling adult content on several different websites. She has taken her account to 1 million followers in less than two years. While her content is a mashup of fashion, business, and dance videos, followers can take inspiration for pursuing their dreams with determination and confidence boosters along the way. To thank her fans, she’s even created an E-book series on how to start your own adult content accounts with info on what sites to use, protecting yourself, and how to ship items. Even if you’re not interested in selling your own adult content, followers can get a kick out of her “Weird things'' series that covers some of the shocking things she sells.
Ever wonder what it’s like to work as a stripper? Imbaibyy breaks it down for you. You can tune into a “my night as an exotic dancer” video to get a glimpse into a day in the life. She’ll take you through her process to get ready all the way to how she spends her free time after a shift. And YES, she often shows how much money she makes in a night. There are also videos that cover the truth on how physically difficult the work is and helpful advice on managing those earnings.
For the best self-love and positive body image pep talks, look no further than the Katelynguild. This boudoir photographer will not only teach you how to take amazing photos of yourself. She’ll also remind you to love and accept your body the way it is, whatever the shape or size. She’s also got advice on what kinds of lingerie to wear to accentuate yourself in all the right places.
Scrambledjam is your go-to for pelvic floor physical therapy. She shows you how things work with models and real tools. She breaks down when you might want to check in with a doctor to get a diagnosis for your pelvic floor symptoms. She also shows you how a pelvic floor physical therapist might help you with your conditions. There are some pointers for Kegels and vaginal strength training too!
Sex & Social Media - Instagram
Remember when “the Gram” was nothing but pictures of food and inspirational quotes? Well, now Instagram works in a combination of picture and video posts. There are a range of accounts, from crafting DIYers to travel influencers. How sex is portrayed on social media is changing a lot thanks to Instagram. What kind of sexual health accounts are out there? See for yourself:
Since we are talking about Instagram after all, it’s probably important to highlight a food or travel account, right? We couldn’t think of a better travel duo than the nomadicboys. This openly gay couple takes you along for the ride as they travel the world, taking in stunning sights, embarking on breathtaking activities, and celebrating the cultures of all the countries they embark to. Scrolling through their posts will leave you begging them to be a stowaway on their next adventure.
Sex educator, writer, and breast cancer survivor with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality, we think Ericka Hart is one of the best accounts to follow on IG. She promotes self love through pictures of her body that feature her post cancer changes. Her poses are best-explained as stoic with a smile. She gives examples of how she teaches sex-ed at schools and has discussions on how all different bodies can play a role in creating a sex-positivity space.
When you hear the term “pole dancer,” the first thought that comes to mind is probably a sexy lady twirling around a pole. Well this is 2021, so the ladies need to move over! Quan Bui says he fell in love with the art after visiting a club when he was sixteen. Since then, he’s been working hard to gain his skills while breaking stereotypes. He went from secretly spending his money for school on professional training to becoming the winner of Pole Star Malaysia. Will his moves inspire you to take up this challenging sport?
The Power Social Media Holds for Future Generations
If we can learn one thing from how sex is portrayed on social media today, it’s that the future is now. Every generation can look to the technology they grew up with in comparison to the technology of their adult lives. In contrast, the younger generations will be able to do so with social media. What do they stand to gain?
- Self-empowerment - It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. This can make us competitive, furthering our self-worth. Learning to be proud of who we are in an unapologetic way brings more acceptance of our differences to the world. We can share our proud moments and what about ourselves makes us happy.
- Self-discovery - We can get information from others to try new things and understand our true passions in the world. Learning more about our bodies and health aspects can make having sex and masturbating more enjoyable.
- Inspiring Others - Through sharing about ourselves sexually, we can inspire others to do the same. Being open about what makes you feel vulnerable can let others know they are not alone. Leave them thinking, “if others can do it, so can I.”
Cautions for Consuming Social Media
You do have to be careful of what you consume through social media. There’s no way to tell when a certain creator may be getting paid to push goods, concepts, or ideas. Brands will often contract those with large followings to promote their products through paid sponsorships. While social media platforms have set new rules that require creators to state their working with a sponsor for their video or post, it’s up to the follower to use their discretion.
Overall, the positive outlook on having social media is that you can share information and connect with others. In terms of sexual health, this means dispelling misinformation along with promoting healthy lifestyles. You can look up just about anything you need to on YouTube, giving access to information young teens might not have gotten from their own family. Many parents who feel uncomfortable giving the whole “birds and the bees” speech can turn to health videos. Just be sure that the source you’re getting your info from is reputable.
While you can find your own favorite celebrities and brands to follow, you should also consider looking up PinkCherry. We have several accounts where we offer news on the latest products, video overviews of our favorite sex toys, contests, and advice articles. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. After finding out more about us and our products, you can shop at Pinkcherry.ca!