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Porn: Good for us?

By Milton Diamond Porn: Good for us? Scientific examination of the subject has found that as the use of porn increases, the rate of sex crimes goes down. © Comstock / Corbis Pornography. Most people have seen it, and have a strong opinion about it. Many of those opinions are negative—some people argue that ready access to pornography disrupts social order, encouraging people to commit rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And e

By | March 1, 2010

Porn: Good for us?

Scientific examination of the subject has found that as the use of porn increases, the rate of sex crimes goes down.

© Comstock / Corbis

Pornography. Most people have seen it, and have a strong opinion about it. Many of those opinions are negative—some people argue that ready access to pornography disrupts social order, encouraging people to commit rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And even if pornography doesn’t trigger a crime, they say, it contributes to the degradation of women. It harms the women who are depicted by pornography, and harms those who do not participate but are encouraged to perform the acts depicted in it by men who are acculturated by it. Many even adamantly believe that pornography should become illegal.

Alternatively, others argue that pornography is an expression of fantasies that can actually inhibit sexual activity, and act as a positive displacement for sexual aggression. Pornography offers a readily available means of satisfying sexual arousal (masturbation), they say, which serves as a substitute for dangerous, harmful, and illegal activities.

Some feminists even claim that pornography can empower women by loosening them from the shackles of social prudery and restrictions.

But what do the data say? Over the years, many scientists have investigated the link between pornography (considered legal under the First Amendment in the United States unless judged “obscene”) and sex crimes and attitudes towards women. And in every region investigated, researchers have found that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased.

It’s not hard to find a study population, given how widespread pornography has become. The United States alone produces 10,000 pornographic movies each year. The Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry–lobbying group, estimates that adult video/DVD sales and rentals amount to at least $4 billion per year. The Internet is a rich source, with 40 million adults regularly visiting porn Web sites, and more than one-quarter of regular users downloading porn at work. And it’s not just men who are interested: Nelsen/Net reports that 9.4 million women in the United States accessed online pornography Web sites in the month of September 2003. According to the conservative media watchdog group Family Safe Media, the porn industry makes more money than the top technology companies combined, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon.

No correlation has been found between exposure to porn and negative attitudes towards women.

To examine the effect this widespread use of porn may be having on society, researchers have often exposed people to porn and measured some variable such as changes in attitude or predicted hypothetical behaviors, interviewed sex offenders about their experience with pornography, and interviewed victims of sex abuse to evaluate if pornography was involved in the assault. Surprisingly few studies have linked the availability of porn in any society with antisocial behaviors or sex crimes. Among those studies none have found a causal relationship and very few have even found one positive correlation.

Despite the widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, according to national FBI Department of Justice statistics, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the Internet. The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. He showed that for the years from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last 2 decades, and in those countries that allowed for the possession of child pornography, child sex abuse has declined. Significantly, no community in the United States has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers.

In terms of the use of pornography by sex offenders, the police sometimes suggest that a high percentage of sex offenders are found to have used pornography. This is meaningless, since most men have at some time used pornography. Looking closer, Michael Goldstein and Harold Kant found that rapists were more likely than nonrapists in the prison population to have been punished for looking at pornography while a youngster, while other research has shown that incarcerated nonrapists had seen more pornography, and seen it at an earlier age, than rapists. What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing. Richard Green too has reported that both rapists and child molesters use less pornography than a control group of “normal” males.

Now let’s look at attitudes towards women. Studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators—female as well as male—essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes. No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to pornography—by any definition—has had a cause-and-effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to porn and calloused attitudes toward women.

There is no doubt that some people have claimed to suffer adverse effects from exposure to pornography—just look at testimony from women’s shelters, divorce courts and other venues. But there is no evidence it was the cause of the claimed abuse or harm.

Ultimately, there is no freedom that can’t be and isn’t misused. This can range from the freedom to bear arms to the freedom to bear children (just look at “Octomom”). But it doesn’t mean that the freedom of the majority should be restricted to prevent the abuses of the few. When people transgress into illegal behavior, there are laws to punish them, and those act as a deterrent. In the United States, where one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated, just imagine if pornography were illegal—there’d be more people in prison than out.

Adapted from “Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review,” Int J Law Psychiatry, 32:304–14, 2009. http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2005to2009/2009-pornography-acceptance-crime.html

Milton Diamond is a professor in the department of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology at the University of Hawaii and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society.

F. M. Christensen, Pornography: The Other Side. New York: Praeger, 1990.
M. Diamond, “The Effects of Pornography: An International Perspective,” in Pornography 101: Eroticism, Sexuality and the First Amendment, J. Elias et al., eds., Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 1999, pp. 223–60.
M.J. Goldstein, H.S. Kant, Pornography and Sexual Deviance. A Report of the Legal and Behavioral Institute, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.
R. Green, “Variant Forms of Human Sexual Behaviour,” in Reproduction in Mammals. Book 8, Human Sexuality, C. Auston & R. Short eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980, pp. 68–97.
B. Kutchinsky, “Pornography and Rape: Theory and Practice? Evidence from Crime Data in Four Countries Where Pornography is Easily Available.” Int J Law Psychiatry, 14:47-64, 1991.
M. Popovic, “Establishing New Breeds of (Sex) Offenders: Science or Political Control?” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22:255–71, 2007.
N. Strossen, “The Perils of Pornophobia,” The Humanist, 55:7–9, 1995.
E. Tovar, et al. “Effects of Pornography on Sexual Offending,” Porn 101: Eroticism, Sexuality and the First Amendment, J. Elias et al., eds., Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 261–78, 1999.
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Comments

Avatar of: Cheryl Soehl

Cheryl Soehl

Posts: 15

March 3, 2010

Research by these scientists conflicts with Diamond's findings:\n\nhttp://www.gonzagabulletin.com/2.5528/some-link-pornography-to-sexual-assault-violence-1.848962
Avatar of: Cheryl Soehl

Cheryl Soehl

Posts: 15

March 3, 2010

While Diamond seems to be published primarily in journals dealing with sexuality, conflicting views are published in those dealing with violence. An extensive bibliography with a different perspective can be found here:\n\nhttp://www.dianarussell.com/references.html\n\nIf you are looking for sexual benefits in the use of pornography you are likely to find different outcomes than if you are looking for violent outcomes.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 4

March 3, 2010

In the previous post, reference is made to "conflicting" evidence. However, in the cited studies, not all sexually explicit material is considered as pornography. Rather, "...Sexually explicit material becomes pornography when it disgraces or humiliates." \nOn the other hand, the Davidson text implicitly seems to consider all sexually explicit material as "porn", as in "no community has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material".\nThe "conflicting" evidence may not be that conflicting after all.\n\n

March 3, 2010

Cheryl Soehl's links to supposed refutations fall short both times.\n\nOne is a bulletin article where a university sexual assault counselor simply asserts that studies show a correlation between porn and violence - but the studies themselves are not named, so they cannot be examined.\n\nThe other is a bibliography by a feminist author indicating a link between porn and rape; along with the Meese Commission report are testimonies and papers presented to the Commission.\n\nAs for Professor Diamond's own study, the report can be found here.
Avatar of: Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson

Posts: 1

March 5, 2010

Comments by Cheryl Soehl give a clear indication of the type of effects that cognitive scientists have found with regard to the effect of ideology on the brain's ability to process information.\n\nShe writes, "If you are looking for sexual benefits in the use of pornography you are likely to find different outcomes than if you are looking for violent outcomes."\n\nHowever, the research which Professor Diamond cites in this article clearly indicate a decline in rates of VIOLENCE, i.e., sexual assault and sexual violence, in jurisdictions where access to "pornography," (or more accurately, sexually explicit materials) has been liberalized.\n\nAs a feminist social worker, I understand rape to be an act of violence, not a "sexual outcome."\n\nSecondly, in a previous comment, Ms. Soehl posts a link with the note "Research by these scientists conflicts with Diamond's findings."\n\nIn fact, of the three social scientists quoted in the linked article, none express views that actually conflict with Diamond's. This is hardly surprising, as Milton Diamond and Ayako Uchiyama, co-author of Diamond's study, are 2 of the three cited. The third, sociologist Jane Rinehart, seems to agree with Diamond's conclusions.\n\nThe only disagreement comes, as Desmond Ravenstone notes in his comment, from 2 sexual assault counsellors, at least one of whom is a college juniour and volunteer counsellor for a religious organization.\n\nThis leads one to wonder whether she has actually read any of the articles in question.\n
Avatar of: Gary Huber

Gary Huber

Posts: 23

March 9, 2010

I wonder how the availability of pornography correlates with rates of divorce. Any studies out there?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 35

March 9, 2010

This is a commendable editorial, but it is always difficult to move from correlation to causation. The social changes in the U.S. and elsewhere go far beyond pornography. The right-wing principle that there is something wrong with exposing skin (especially for women) leads naturally to the belief that women who cover fewer square inches are asking to be raped - and some who feel this way might then conceive the notion to follow up on such an invitation. Thus the reduction of rape could occur solely as a consequence of ideological shift toward sexual freedom, altogether independent of pornography per se.\n\nSomeone should ask this question in a context where debate is still provocative, and changes have been less dependent on overall political change - namely, regarding pedophiles. Over the past decade the Supreme Court and others have ruled that artistic works resembling child pornography cannot be banned, and some psychologists have claimed that satiation can prevent pedophiles from attacking children. There should be sufficient evidence available now to determine whether this actually works.\n

March 9, 2010

This article is extremely misleading for a number of reasons:\n\n1- The article only adresses one problem (in my opinion a minor one) which is associated with pornography and conveniently ignores a plethora of other problems (a tiny paragraph at the end wont do im afraid); such as the decline in succesful long-term relationships, the increase of divorse rates, and most importantly the massive increase in acts of marital infidelity.\nI wouldnt have a problem with this if the article was just addressing sexual crime rates, but as the title and the concluding paragraph suggest, this article seems to be giving a general thumbs up to pornography.\n\n2- The increase in pornography is only the tip of the ice-berg. It is a symptom of a much larger phenomenon which is the increasing obsession with sex and sexuality in the west (although it isnt, ofcourse, an exclusively western problem). This in effect has increased people's receptivity to sexual acts, especially females. Promiscuity has sky rocketed in the past few decades, and a correlation with the increased exposure to sexual material, be it explicit or otherwise (and the less explicit is often the most effective since it is the most widespread and easily available) is quite obvious.\nIts simple maths, more females willing to allow men, often strangers they met at bars..etc, to sleep with them without commiting to a long-term relationship, means sexually frustrated men have a much larger chance of being sexualy satisfied without having to commit forceful acts.\n\n3- There is a circular nature to the argument presented by the article. Many acts were considered crimes before that, as a result of the aforementioned sexualisation of our societies, are now tolerated and even celebrated by many. Prostitution, promiscuity, adultery were all considered crimes in europe/america at some point in the past, but as more and more necessary social barriers have been demolished, these are now accepted as not being criminal. That ofcourse, doesnot say anything about their immorality.\n\nAll in all, the article doesnot live up to its claim of adressing its title: 'Porn: Good for us?'. What it does prove is that a respected authority such as 'science' can be readily used, or rather abused, by a society as a tool to conveniently justify all sorts of malpractices found within it.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 4

March 9, 2010

I'm quite sure that those who have a vested interest in the promotion of porn, whether due to personal preferences or professional funding, will be able to design "scientific" studies and cherry pick data to support their viewpoints. The Kinsey study, long accepted as truth, but now shown to be skewed due to outrageously biased sampling, has shown us the danger of that.\n\nHere's a new idea for a study - How about looking for a connection between what a study "proves" and the vested interests of the author and/or his financial sponsors? I'm willing to bet money that the two are almost 100% correlated.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 4

March 9, 2010

Most parents can tell you from experience that kids will test the boundaries that parents set on them. If the kids break through one boundary with little or no push back from their parents, they will push further the next time. Most adults behave in much the same manner, with legal and social boundaries constraining them, but with many who will push to see if those boundaries are really enforced.\n\nOne of the appeals of porn, for many if not most people, is its illicit nature. The more accepting of it we are, the more lurid and deviant the porn must become in order to satisfy the need to be "naughty." Is this what we really want? A downward spiral into perversion and deviance?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

March 9, 2010

This is not particularly good. Diamond even refutes his own badly reasoned argument. He is trying to suggest that increased availability of pornography reduces sexual crime then admits that levels are the SAME in many places, although less in other (but how much less? is it significant?). Hardly a relationship worth pursuing. There are any number of things we could correlate better with increased availability of pornography over this period. All we can conclude is that pornography hasn't increased the incidence of sexual crime. That does not mean its a good thing. Research like this is unscientific and barely even qualifies as descriptive because it presented in such a biased manner. Thumbs down on all counts.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

March 9, 2010

Read this to understand the issue,\n\nhttp://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9502/sommers.html\n\nThe claim that incidence of rape has gone down in the US seems to depend on where you collect the data. Most rapes go unreported. This article is sensationalist and trivialises the fact that rape happens a lot. Why is this rubbish in a magazine called 'The Scientist'? Its not at all scientific and it is foolhardy promoting such ridiculous views.
Avatar of: Cheryl Soehl

Cheryl Soehl

Posts: 15

March 9, 2010

So Mr. Robertson, you describe yourself as a "feminist social worker" but I believe you actually are a sexual therapist who may use porn in your line of work. If you think my ideology shapes my perspective, you are correct. My ideology is that violence against anyone is destructive and, if violence is stimulated by pornography (as it sometimes certainly is) then we should examine the harmful effects of pornography. I think the issue deserves more scientific exploration, starting with interviews and surveys of rape victims and partners of men who use violent porn to discern their perspective on its contributions to their victimization. Depending primarily on the self disclosure of perpetrators is problematic. Dr. David Lisak has done extensive research on the "undetected rapist" and has found the use of pornography in the subculture where they operate is a contributing factor to their attitudes toward women and consequently their behavior in perpetrating rape.\n\nGranted, "erotica" may not be to blame in violent sexual victimization, but I challenge you to locate at your local porn outlet a large selection of explicit sexual material that does not involve the humiliation, domination and degradation of women. Porn has become more and more explicitly violent and it is this type of pornography that may contribute to victimization and rape.\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

March 9, 2010

I find it perfectly believable that exposure to the typical soft-core porn DVD does not increase acts of sexual violence. If anything, the sheer numbing boredom of the typical porn video probably lulls most viewers into a lethargic state. The more troubling action happens at the violent end of the spectrum where sex and violence are mixed. Hollywood is careful to separate explicit sex from violence for legal reasons, but most modern horror films are thinly disguised exercises in sexual violence and death. I suspect you would find more troubling correlations between viewership and antisocial behavior in this part of the "entertainment" industry than in what is commonly called porn.

March 9, 2010

A scientific study should usually test whether the null hypothesis is correct. I'm not sure that the data show "more porn = less sex crimes". It's more accurate to say "more porn NOT associated with more sex crimes". They failed to reject the null hypothesis that more porn leads to more sex crimes. In many cases, there was no change even though porn consumption increased. \n\nDecreases in sex crimes could be attributed to many factors that have changed in the last three decades. Perhaps global warming?
Avatar of: PAUL STEIN

PAUL STEIN

Posts: 61

March 9, 2010

Data are data, and statistics are statistics. The history of science is filled with the wreckage of incorrect, unverified, and untested hypotheses. Trends in social science have unfortunately, oftentimes, been based on little but these sorts of hypotheses, blended with a good chunk of political correctness.\n\nI teach students that even what appears to be common "sense" should be questioned. If the data, statistics, and conclusions discussed in the article can be refuted, then please present the arguments, as good scientists should. Good scientists cannot be influenced by anecdote or unscientific opinions promulgated by vested interests.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

March 9, 2010

My thought is that the greatest risk of porn is to the men themselves, and the problem can only get worse.\n\nI run a website, which, to my surprise attracts a lot of men who desperately want to unhook from compulsive porn use. All report that as Internet speed has picked up, so have their porn addictions. It's time to do some new research. Internet porn videos are a whole different animal than "Playboys" of yesteryear, in terms of their effects on the brain...and indirectly on the body. \n\nThey are WAY more stimulating at a brain chemical level. They swiftly desensitize the user's brain, making it necessary for him to reach for more and more extreme material to ease his discomfort. For more, see psychiatrist Norman Doidge's "The Brain that Changes Itself."\n\nToday's porn is so over-stimulating that it often causes erectile dysfunction - in men as young as their 20s. See "No Porn, No Viagra?" The good news is that it's reversible. The bad news is that the user must stop using porn - and the withdrawal from this supranormal stimulation can be months long, and agonizing (shakes, headaches, extreme mood swings, insomnia).\n\nLet's ask better questions in our research before we tout the benefits of today's porn. There's way more at stake than freedom of speech.
Avatar of: Jennifer Drew

Jennifer Drew

Posts: 1

March 9, 2010

The keyword is 'cause' anti-porn feminists have never claimed 'porn\ncauses men to commit sexual violence against women.' However, anti-porn\nfeminists (myself included) do say that porn reinforces misogynistic\nattitudes men learn as boys within our male supremacist society. So\nporn does have negative causative effects on men's beliefs and\nattitudes. However, pornography reinforces misogynistic beliefs concerning women\nand female sexuality, wherein male domination and female submission is\neroticised, as well as eroticising dominant myths that women are\ninnately masochistic, need and enjoy a man or now more commonly a group\nof males subjecting a woman to violent sexualised torture. Pornography\nclaims to tell the truth about female sexuality whereas in fact it tells\nthe truth about our male supremacist society. Ergo: women and girls\nexist solely to be men's sexual service stations and women's sole desire\nis to sexually serve the male in whatever shape or form he desires. \nLesbian and homosexual pornography is no different to heterosexual porn\nbecause the concept is identical - one or more individuals are\n'dominant' and these individuals subject the 'passive' to whatever\nsexual violence they can create - in other words power is eroticised and\nsexualised wherein one person always has to be submissive and the other\ndominant and controlling. \n\nThe scientist article claims male sexual violence against women is\ndecreasing in a number of countries including Japan. News flash Japan\nis swamped with porn - Japanese women are commonly portrayed as child\nadult women, with male sexual harassment and male sexual violence\nagainst women common and mundane.\n\nNot for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography by C.\nStark and Rebecca Whisnant has a chapter written by a Japanese anti-porn\nfeminist and this writer discusses how Japanese women and girls are\ndaily subjected to porn wherein Japanese male are depicted subjecting\nwomen and girls to sexual torture - but this is supposedly harmless 'fantasy.'\n\nWrong sexual assault has not decreased in the US in fact rape and male\nsexual violence against women and girls has increased by a third since\n1993. Evidence is from RAINN - see link below. David Lisak who is an\nexpert on male sexual violence against women, particularly since he\nresearches men who commit rape has published A Rape Checklist and on\npage 7 of the research Lisak shows that US college men commonly view\nporn and this in turn reinforces college men's contempt and hatred for\nwomen. \n\nFinally, Ms Andrea has a resource section on her website and provides\nup-to-date research concerning the fact increasing numbers of pre-teen\nand teenage boys are (as we know) viewing porn and uncritically\naccepting pornographer producers lies and hatred for women as fact. \n\n\n\nhttp://www.rainn.org/statistics\n\nhttp://www.crisisconnectioninc.pdf/undetected_rapist">org/pdf/undetected_rapist.pdf\n\nhttp://feminazi.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/porn-statistics-and-research/Reply\n
Avatar of: DUNG LE

DUNG LE

Posts: 17

March 9, 2010

New leader, new approach: controversy articles to attract traffic! Just a tactic! Dangerous, be ready to pay to price!
Avatar of: Em Newman

Em Newman

Posts: 1

March 9, 2010

"Numerous studies differ with my personal opinions? The studies must be wrong."\n\nThis seems to be the common theme among this article's critics. It begs the question, "Why are you reading a scientific magazine if you prefer your own personal opinions over scientific analysis?"\n\nWhile the studies the article references are not necessarily pinnacles of research, they are reasonably credible and perhaps more significantly, they are numerous. On the other hand, the cited "studies" that disagree with the contention that pornography is benign, possibly even beneficial, seem dubious at best and fraught with anecdotal evidence.\n\nGood data make science; personal feelings and broad assumptions make rhetoric. The data seem to indicate that pornography is not harmful to society, but apparently a number of you seem to think that your opinions and cherry-picked evidence are better than numerous studies conducted by reputable institutions. \n\nAre you all privileged to better studies that definitively show pornography is responsible sexual predators? Are all national and local crime statistics completely inaccurate? Are your opinions revealed to you through mystical visions of truth? In short, where do you get off?\n\nP.S.\n\nIf we're throwing personal opinions and anecdotal evidence around, let's look at the Catholic Church. They condemn pornography as an institution and I severely doubt that the Church as a whole is a huge consumer of pornography. Yet dioceses across the world are riddled with sexual predators. The same pattern occurs with other similarly sexually oppressive religious organizations; they rage against pornography and "deviant" sexuality while their leaders sexually abuse their most vulnerable members and practice other acts they publicly decry.
Avatar of: John O

John O'Donnell

Posts: 2

March 10, 2010

Well put, Em. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Avatar of: Gary Huber

Gary Huber

Posts: 23

March 10, 2010

"The data seem to indicate that pornography is not harmful to society". Not necessarily true; it just indicates that there is no positive correlation between pornography and violence. However, that is only a small part of the picture. What about the strain on marriages and destruction of families due to pornography? On the balance, it may still be very harmful to society even after you take into account the sequestering of the few disturbed individuals with violent fantasies.\n\n\n
Avatar of: Cheryl Soehl

Cheryl Soehl

Posts: 15

March 10, 2010

This soon to be published study (http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/562128/?sc=dwtn) appears to support the idea that, if a man believes his behavior is common (as he might if viewing a lot of violent pornography) he is more likely to act out violently toward his partner.\n\n?With sexual assault the more a man thought it was prevalent the more likely he was to engage in such behavior. If we can correct misperceptions about the prevalence of intimate partner violence, we have a chance to change men?s behavior. If you give them factual information it is harder for them to justify their behavior,? Neighbors said.\n\n\n
Avatar of: Bob Friend

Bob Friend

Posts: 1

March 10, 2010

Re the article above, I have thought this way for many years.\n\nWe are sexual animals, and the sex urge requires a release.\n\nCatholic priests, in the beginning, were allowed to marry. Then the authorities in the hierarchy decided they must be celibate. I believe that if priests were allowed to marry, their past and present misdeeds toward altar boys, etc., would be greatly reduced in number and severity.\n\nIt will be a long time, if ever, before the Catholic Church lets priests take wives (let alone girlfriends). (I make the assumption here that it will likely take an even longer time before women become priests.)\n\nMeanwhile, the best thing the Church could do would be to allow (or even promote) consumption of pornography by its now-celibate clergy. (Yes, I realize the chances of this becoming reality are about the same as Jesus returning to earth -- sorry, Christian brethren -- i.e., near zero.)\n\nAnd finally, yes -- I know that Catholic clergy are not the only ones responsible for sexual child abuse within the ranks of organized religion. There are despicable Baptists, etc., too. On the other hand, look at the numbers.\n
Avatar of: Cheryl Soehl

Cheryl Soehl

Posts: 15

March 10, 2010

The argument for a non-celibate priesthood makes ultimate sense. The argument for giving celibate priests lots of porno does not.\n\nCatholic priests do not abuse children in large numbers because they are forced to be celibate. Rather the church, because of the rule of celibacy, attracts more pedophiles because their failure to marry and live normal heterosexual lives is less noticed in the church and because they have access to children as part of their work. The same opportunities attract pedophiles to the Boy Scouts, coaching jobs, etc. It is access to children plus the advantage of not having to marry and deal with women that is attractive to the pedophile. Do you think they would abuse fewer children if allowed access to child pornography? I believe the research shows quite the opposite.\n\n
Avatar of: Gary Huber

Gary Huber

Posts: 23

March 10, 2010

If one looks at the numbers, one will find that the chance of being molested by a teacher in a public school is far greater than the chance of being molested by a priest during a Catholic church activity. Also, many of the Protestant denominations, with non-celibate pastors, have similar figures for abuse as the Catholic Church, but it never gets publicized. Finally, most of the problems with sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church (about 90%) was homosexual in nature; the celibate priests who had an innate attraction to women appeared, on the whole, to do a better job of controlling themselves.\n
Avatar of: Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell

Posts: 2

March 10, 2010

If I ever see a collection of "porn is good for you" journal articles written by female scientists, then maybe I'll believe it's not harmful.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

March 11, 2010

This debate simply mirrors the inept scholarship of the article's author, with sweeping generalisations based on no data. \nWhere are the data? Where are the statistics? Where did the data come from? Please, many of us are scientists here and we need good evidence to support a hypothesis. This is all just bar room bickering. \nI have looked at the Diamond reports and its poor scholarship. The correlation is dubious and untestable without a good control. However we might have one. In the UK, which had strict laws against hard core pornography until the 1980s, rape has risen rapidly since. There was a 120% rise between 1997-2005 and between the years of 2003-2004 alone there was a 27% rise. So it seems by Milton Diamond's logic that his argument is refuted. A proper test would doubtless disprove his hypothesis. There is no point testing a correlation that 'more porn' = less rape. We want presence of absence as a proper control to start with. There are obviously many factors affecting rape increase in the UK and I doubt porn is much of a factor, but evidently Diamond's argument is wrong.\n\n\n\n\n
Avatar of: Darrel Curtis

Darrel Curtis

Posts: 1

March 11, 2010

For a bunch of studies that porn does harm, go to : http://pornharms.com/
Avatar of: Jake Lara

Jake Lara

Posts: 2

March 11, 2010

Firstly Kudos to anyone who?s brave enough to have images of their hotness on the web. \n\nSome good points of opinion in the article, though I think accurately surveying attitudes is very difficult and unreliable and the result depends on how your questions are weighted. Plus a correlation between sex crime and availability of porn is still just a correlation. Though I think there is something to be said for the masturbation porn results in being a good outlet for unrequited desire, as there are anecdotal reports of the demand for prostitution going down as a result of the rise of net porn. Which seems rather bad news for people wanting to make a living that way. \n\nMost of these debates seem to revolve around what I find a rather sexist notion that porn is inherently evil and demeaning for women but not men. My own opinion about that is expressed in my opening sentence. It's a massive and rapidly changing field, but If sexual imagery is made or viewed with respect for other people, it isn't evil, it's rather nice and about sexual attraction and sexual inspiration. There are sites that make good porn and porn makers that are interested in sexuality that number women amongst them. and there are women and men who enjoy positive attention, money and sometimes the opportunity to express their own sexuality. However, even though porn can now reach everyone on the net, many porn producers still only make it for a very narrow stereotypical old fashioned rather cretinous immature male market and that material is what most people including myself find objectionable. The growth area is making beautiful sexual images and videos across all kinks and persuasions that are truly adult, for the new increased audience to enjoy rather than laugh at or search through with a mixture of guilt and frustration. As I'm not going to drop porn links into a comment :) I'll cite the example of the magazine Filament that;s aimed at women in the UK. \n\nAs porn evolves to cater properly for it's much larger audience it's going to be even more difficult to quantify it's effects in studies, as the porn of 6 years ago will be different from the that of today, and in any one group of porn users they'll have a range of tastes. Even today it's a bit like doing a study on the emotional effects of music without acknowledging that there are different styles and types of music. \n
Avatar of: Jake Lara

Jake Lara

Posts: 2

March 11, 2010

Just a note to Darrel Curtis who posted a link to studies that claim to prove porn does harm. Studies among children with no sex education can have more validity, but because adults know about sex already you can't reliably prove a link between adult porn and adult behaviour. Studies that try are relying on collecting subjective opinion. \n\nAs an example: When heterosexual people are asked how many heterosexual sexual partners they've had in their life, the men nearly always say they've had more than the women, when this is mathematically and physically impossible :)
Avatar of: Rick Umbaugh

Rick Umbaugh

Posts: 1

March 16, 2010

Porn is not the problem. Several articles I've read over the years from various different disciplines show that after the internet made porn readily available rape and child sexual abuse went down, not up. There is a great deal of research that shows that the relationship between domestic violence and porn is that if a person is already prone to violence, then the porn will stimulate that violence. If the person is not prone to violence, then the porn will not create that tendency. The reason that research seemed to show that porn created the violence is that researchers, in their zeal to show the detrimental effects of porn were only using forensic studies of domestic violence and generalizing to the entire population from the small segment of the population who were violent after using porn, ignoring the huge population who viewed porn with no adverse effects. There should be some studies from Canada, using quantitative techniques, instead of qualitative interviewing, which are showing preliminary data that shows no individual harm from using porn.
Avatar of: Alex Ancira

Alex Ancira

Posts: 1

March 21, 2010

I'm surprised that no one here has questioned the source and the means of procuring data. The first thing that should be noticed is that the researcher is a man. Men, as we all know, usually watch porn. Would he truly condemn what he enjoys to use? Would a heroin addict truly say that heroin is really really bad for them? Of course not, because more than likely there is a bias. Another object that must be noted is how the statistic of rape is procured. What is checked to get that statistic? REPORTED rape. If most rapes are not reported, and, as I have learned, most statistics are acquired through reports to police, then can we assume that the study proves the theory that pornography is harmful even more so. Pornography would create a feeling as though the sex that would be considered obscene was more accepted by society, thereby qualifying it as not obscene, making the rate of report drop even further. In the past, facials were seen as punishment to people who broke the law. Now what are they? One of the central themes in pornography today. Would women now report a facial? No, though from base it was degrading, for it was used as punishment. All that happened in these studies was that women become tolerant of the things that happened, because of mass society accepting these things. People have a hard time believing that what happens to many and does not offend is bad. So for these studies to be used on people looking at porn and only asking them if they had been raped or looking at report statistics feels stupid to me. Realistically, people would report and label rape less. This study is garbage. People should look at history context of what has been punishment or the root and current meaning of certain acts or words, and then ask the women if they had experienced the actions. Most women do not label their experiences as rape either. It's hardly ever a strange fellas. *And another thing. Why the fuck would you ask men if they had more misogynistic tendencies. Why the hell would a man say yes? He probably wont think badly of himself and say that he thinks lowly of women, because he "wuves" their bodies and thinks they are "hawt". Most wouldn't consider that misogynistic. I would, even though I myself am a man.\n\n\n*link to statistics of reported rapes, and view points of rape, and although these statistics are of reports and labels, they are large. The realistic statistics are much larger most likely\n\nhttp://www.vpul.upenn.edu/ohe/library/violence/statistics.htm
Avatar of: Alan Alan

Alan Alan

Posts: 1

June 30, 2010

How my posts were not only edited, but deleted because I guess they were offensive. I'm proud of that. My offensive posts were more true than ANYTHING POSTED up to this post, fact.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

December 30, 2010

Said it last time and I'll say it again.\n\nTHIS IS NON-SCIENCE OF THE LOWEST ORDER. THE SCIENTIST MAGAZINE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF PROMOTING THE WORK OF THIS TOTAL IDIOT. JUST SHOWS YOU CAN PUBLISH ANY OLD TAT THESE DAYS.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

December 31, 2010

Buried in the article is the sentence: ...\nin those countries that allowed for the possession of child pornography, child sex abuse has declined...\n\nHow is child porn produced? It is not all computer simulations. Each scene depicts a child, who, by definition, cannot give consent, being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted-- the commission of heinous crimes. Porn comsumption is often addictive. In the case of child porn, part of the addiction (and sometime a requirement to join pedophile networks) is the production of new images. With modern electronics, your average neighbohood addict can victimize children. Their lives are often ruined. One of the biggest fears and traumas to these children is knowing that images of themselves being sexually assualted are all over the web and they can never get them back.\n\n

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