Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The truth about pornography

You've heard them. Porn degrades woman, creates unrealistic expectations, degrades one's self image, destroys relationships, promotes violence etc. Some excerpts follow from this article debunking these myths. Warning: facts are involved. If you're basing your views on porn from prudish or religious ideology this is not for you.

"In 1969, Denmark became the first country to legalise pornography. In the years that followed, onlookers watched with interest and trepidation: what would happen to Danish society? As it turns out, nothing – or rather, nothing negative. When in 1991 Berl Kutchinsky, a criminologist at the University of Copenhagen who spent his career studying the public effects of pornography, analysed the data for more than 20 years following legalisation, he found that rates of sexual aggression had actually fallen. Pornography was proliferating, but the sexual climate seemed to be improving. The same thing happened, he found, in Sweden and West Germany, which followed Denmark’s legalisation campaign."

"What’s more, it doesn’t seem to be the case that people become desensitised to pornography, in the sense that the more you watch it, the more extreme your viewing content needs to become. When Prause and the psychologist James Pfaus of Concordia University in Quebec recently measured sexual arousal in 280 men, they found that watching more pornography actually increased arousal to less explicit material – and increased the desire for sex with a partner. In other words, it made them more, not less responsive to ‘normal’ cues, and more, not less, desirous of real physical relationships. In a 2014 review, Prause likened pornography addiction – the notion that, like a drug, the more you watch, the more, and higher doses, you crave – to the emperor who has no clothes: everyone says it’s there, but there is no actual evidence to support it."

"Prause has also studied the question of relationship satisfaction more directly: did watching pornography negatively impact the quality of sexual intimacy? Working with the psychologist Cameron Staley of Idaho State University in 2013, she asked 44 monogamous couples to watch pornography alone and together, to see how it would affect feelings about their relationship. After each viewing session, the couples reported on their arousal, sexual satisfaction, perception of themselves, and their partner’s attractiveness and sexual behaviour. Prause and Staley found that viewing pornography increased couples’ desire to be with their significant other, whether they’d seen the film alone or together. Pornography also increased their evaluation of their own sexual behaviour."

"Likewise with sexually violent behaviours or negative attitudes toward women. In one series of experiments conducted by the sexologist Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii, viewing pornography neither made men more violent nor more prone to having worse attitudes toward women."

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