START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
912,404 people care about Women's Rights

Pornography Could Deter Sexual Violence, Experts Say

Pornography Could Deter Sexual Violence, Experts Say

Contrary to popular conceptions of pornography, which many decry as the source of sexual violence against women, a new report claims that “the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires.”  Citing several experts, Melinda Wenner Moyer explains in Scientific American that “exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes.”

Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor at Texas A&M, explains that although pornography is easier to access than ever before, the rates of rape and sexual assault are at their lowest levels since the 1960s.  The same, he says, goes for other countries like Japan, China, and Denmark.  And although these are just associations, and causality would be almost impossible to prove, Ferguson says the evidence is enough to disprove “the theory that rape and sexual assault are in part influenced by pornography.”

The problem, however, is that Ferguson is not accounting for the wild diversity of pornography that has burgeoned since the 1980′s, when the “porn wars” created a rift in the feminist community.  Over the past 30 years, some directors have tried to make positive, feminist pornography, claiming that pornography is not inherently problematic, it is made so by the sexism of its creators.

While it may be impossible to definitively draw a connection between pornography and sexual violence, it’s clear that some pornography does objectify women, create a sexist, unrealistic standard for sexual encounters, and show men committing violent acts against women.  Other pornography attempts to bypass misogynistic tropes and depict more honest sex.

To say, however, that pornography definitively does not cause sexual violence seems to go a step too far.  This report claims that pornography is not just safe to watch – it might actually be a social good.  That seems as impossible to prove as the claim that pornography causes sexual violence.  And, as Ingrid Wickelgren points out, pornography viewing has negative impacts that do not involve overt violence. In a study of female partners of heavy porn users, “42 percent said it made them feel insecure; 39 percent said it had a negative impact on their relationship and 32 percent said it negatively affected their lovemaking.”

And then of course there’s the recent study which revealed that men who pay for sex are more likely to commit violent crimes.

It’s one thing to stay open to the possibility that pornography might cause harm.  But it’s another to suggest that it should be encouraged.  What do you think?  Could pornography-viewing be positive?

Related Stories:

Men Who Pay for Sex Are More Likely to Commit Crimes

Child Pornography Victim Demands Restitution

Anorexic Women Targeted for Pornography

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo from Lamenta3 via flickr.

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

108 comments

+ add your own
8:37AM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

I can handle Steve X ;)

3:08AM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Why is this article conflating prostitution with pornography? These are two separate issues.

Why do the statistics only show the negative reactions to pornography, and only the female partners side? Is this discussion to be about only one gender, or about how it affects both genders? It appears to be the latter, and if so, both gender's reactions should be included, as well as the complete statistics, not just those favorable to the author's point of view.

If we want an honest and open discussion, it would be beneficial to start with a more objective article as the basis.

2:35AM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Caroline. You've really opened the floodgates now in more ways than one! ;) Lol. XXX

4:50AM PDT on Jun 12, 2014

I know this is a very old discussion, but here are my thoughts.

Porn is such a broad term that it often invokes heated debate about the victimisation of women. Women by and large have the same choice as the men about taking part and most get involved because they like sex and the feeling of being appreciated by an audience.

However, it isn't always just about watching women with augmented assets getting humped stupid. For instance, I am an amateur artist and photographer who often uses nude male models. In fact one of my best male friends is a life model I have used many times over the years. He supplements his income by modelling in his underwear and nude online for exclusively for women. The fact that he always models by himself in my mind does not mean he 'does porn'. Yes he gets naked on the internet and shows himself in every way possible, but as a solo performer doing it purely for the benefit of us females I don't think of him as a porn star. I prefer to call him a naked performance model. He is also an ardent campaigner for a lot of things including womens rights and equality here on care2 and other sites. (he won't mind me saying that).

Nudity, even aroused nudity does not equate to porn. Porn to me is about the nasty violent side of sex and that does sadly often degrade women. Watching 2 people having sex isn't porn any more than watching a sexy man getting his kit off and playing with himself for the pleasure of us girls is.

8:49AM PDT on May 10, 2013

I wonder if Melinda Moyer considered the fact that porn may have greatly influenced people, particularly young women, into believing that acts that would once have garnered protests, are just normal sex? After all, we have seen many cases of people filming sexual violations of young women and posting them on the internet. They don't think the violators are doing anything wrong. So perhaps the assaults haven't gone down. Perhaps acceptance of assault has risen.

10:56AM PDT on May 8, 2013

THANK YOU, one of the best articles!

However, The Survey Question attached to this article is NOT specific enough, to match the article’s AWESOME subject!!

I say yes; BUT WITH A HUGE CONDITION TO MY ANSWER! It has to be Pornography that is NOT anti-women!!

5:52AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

cannot believe that people watching these sort of media (magazines, movies, etc.) would NEVER see a woman or a girl with other eyes... as if scanning them and with a short stop at the parts which are typical for a female person, thinking about her - not as a human being but an "object" for "fun". And this does not mean that it always has to be a crime. These so called "one night stands" do reduce women and girls to flesh, to objects. There is no interest in character/personality etc.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

3:32PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

i really don't think that porn is a good idea. but i guess that some kinds of porn are ok.

4:15AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

not sure why the child porn comment came in, since the article had nothing to do with it.

I see nothing wrong with porn, it is as old as the bible. Me and mym ex g/f used porn to spice up our sex life.

As for dark impulses...google the robo cop killer. Mainstream films can bring out dark impulses just as much.

Every industry uses people. sports, entertainment, etc.

And if it weren't for porn, the VCR and the internet wouldn't have becomen the success they did. In 1980, a study showed that more adult films were being purchased than mainstream films. Porn spurred the VCR boom of the 80's, just as it did the internet boom of the 1990's.

9:25PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

This article doesn't differentiate btw porn & erotica. Maybe some who use sexist porn (there's Fem Dominant, too) are more likely to assault if they didn't see jit anyway.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.