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Porn Breaking Down Barriers. Or Something.

Salon brings some interesting news from the world of social science research: the more porn straight men, especially less educated straight men, watch, the more they’re likely to back same-sex marriage [1]:

Researchers believe that regular exposure to the wild, wacky world of porn may cause straight men to be more accepting of a range of sexual preferences and situations. If these men think “individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to have same-sex sex, they will also think that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to get married to a partner of the same-sex,” Wright told the Examiner. Adding, “Pornography adopts an individualistic, non-judgmental stance on all kinds of non-traditional sexual behaviours and same-sex marriage attitudes are strongly linked to attitudes about same-sex sex.”

It’s interesting to see this highlighted in Salon, which is a culturally left web magazine that celebrates sexual freedom. Had this same news appeared in a culturally conservative magazine, many people wouldn’t have viewed it in the same way. It’s like when racy images of Pride parades are shown in pro-gay contexts, it’s a celebration of diversity, but when conservatives highlight the very same images, they stand accused of trying to smear the entire gay community with the outré behavior of a few.

Anyway, porn. Gosh, who knew it was good for society? Ahem.

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69 Comments To "Porn Breaking Down Barriers. Or Something."

#1 Comment By Catechist On February 8, 2013 @ 11:06 am

A friend with an interest in statistics blogged a response to the Scientific American article, here:
[2]

He points out a number of problems with the supposed correlation.

#2 Comment By icarusr On February 8, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

“The similarity in sexual objectification stands independently of how many men watch each of these kinds of porn.”

Hmmm. That was not my point. Rather, the depiction of what is at its core part of the general experience may not be compared to a rare and completely obscure fetish without some risk of, er, analytical inexactitude.

#3 Comment By mlindroo On February 8, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

Hector_St_Clare says:
February 8, 2013 at 9:43 am

> With rape, the decline in rape rates may also
> have something to do with the criminal justice
> system taking it more seriously. Or not, I don’t really
> know.

Indeed, we can’t be sure…

But we *do* know rape rates and other forms of sexual violence are not going up, so from this observation we can logically infer that ubiquitous pornography cannot be blamed(*).

Right?

MARCU$

(* = Of course, pornography may well have OTHER undesirable impacts on e.g. romantic relationships but that’s a different issue)

#4 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 8, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

Re: But we *do* know rape rates and other forms of sexual violence are not going up, so from this observation we can logically infer that ubiquitous pornography cannot be blamed(*).

Not really. It’s conceivable that porn promotes higher rates of rape, but that the effect is concealed (when you look at trends over time) by countervailing factors like better prosecution, lower lead levels, changes in cultural attitudes towards rape, etc. I’m not knowledgeable enough to say whether that’s the case here, though I personally doubt that porn has much effect on rape one way or rthe other.

#5 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 8, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

I mean, yea, in a Bayesian sense it’s evidence that pornography probably doesn’t contribute to rape, but it’s very weak and dubious evidence.

#6 Comment By Robert On February 8, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

In the liberal worldview, a man seriously slapping a woman and calling her a (fill in the blank) while having sex is being liberated and so very “normal,” but if the same man slaps a homosexual and calls him a f***** on the street because he’s violent against sexual deviance, then it’s a display of outrageous hatred and oh, those horrible conservatives, homophobes, etc. If a homosexual is violent to another homosexual/bisexual in a context of their relationship, it’s all OK, because, you know, “heterosexuals do it too.” If a woman with a homosexual problem sexually harasses a heterosexual woman, it’s all OK too, because it never happens, liberals tell themselves. In the end, in liberal talk, it’s only the man who hit the homosexual who did anything Bad. For liberals, violence is only violence if it’s a kind of violence they don’t usually perpetrate.

I just can’t seem to grasp the logic…It must be my homosexual problem clouding my mind.

#7 Comment By Roland de Chanson On February 8, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

I don’t know. I can’t wrap my mind around this whole discussion. Porn is ennui. SSM is perversion.

Nevertheless, I think that there is an aspect to internet porn that has been overlooked. That is, that girl on girl sex is more bandwidth-efficient than the unwanted noise of some ugly guy.

Just my nyquist contribution.

#8 Comment By The Wet One On February 8, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

Seriously, it is always striking to me just how differently people view the world. I find it utterly remarkable how people here think about sexuality. I find it especially odd how people think (in face of the evidence to the contrary) that porn increases rape. How you get this from the evidence I don’t know.

On second thought, why do I even bother talking about my amazement? I already know people are very different and due to ideology (religion politics or what have you) literally exist in different worlds in their own realities. Still, it’s striking to see all the same.

So it goes…

#9 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 8, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

Roland de Chanson, most people aren’t going to understand that sampling of nerd humor.

#10 Comment By Heather On February 9, 2013 @ 5:55 am

Heather: It’s not very different than men who want to watch women with animals.”

Hector_St_Clare says: But I was at a nightclub last year with two of my female friends (both of whom had serious boyfriends), and they started making out in front of a big crowd (just to put on a show and get some attention, I guess). I think it’s pretty usual for men to enjoy watching that sort of thing, and it certainly isn’t a bizarre thing like girl-on-horse porn or whatever.
===============

Again, you’re making the same baseless argument as icarusr. If your friends started having sex in front of everyone, and people watched, you would say there was nothing wrong with it too.

A larger quantity of viewers simply means that something has been normalized more, whether it is heterosexual porn, homosexual porn, extreme violence porn, bestiality porn, scatological porn, child porn etc.

It’s not quantity of viewers that determines if something is ethical or not in porn. Surely there are different degrees of how much people are denigrated, exploited, humiliated, and even tortured in porn. But just wanting to watch porn is already an action that denigrates the people involved and sex.

It is a pretty usual thing for a large number of men to enjoy materials that denigrate women and sex because of how warped their sexual psychologies are (at the base of which are their deeper attitudes towards women and themselves, as men) and how much they enjoy having no self-awareness about it. (And it’s not just men, women who have the same problem in denigrating sex do the same thing).

So porn is “normal” exactly because there are so many people with problematic attitudes regarding sexuality and relationships, not because of the contrary.

#11 Comment By Heather On February 9, 2013 @ 6:04 am

Heather says:
> In the liberal worldview, a man seriously slapping a woman
> and calling her a (fill in the blank) while having sex is being
> liberated and so very “normal,”

Gromitt Gunn says: “Only if it is a consensual act negotiated between the two in advance. Otherwise, it is sexual assault, at a minimum, and likely rape, and the man should be in prison.”

Wrong. It is always assault, the difference is that it is “consented” assault.

For example, if a woman consented to be battered by a man in the public square, you would argue there is nothing wrong with that because it was consented. This is “normal” to you because it was consensual.

I would say that we know that people can have all kinds of perverse and perverted psychological problems, both in terms of self-destruction, self-harm, inability to establish healthy relationships, inability to relate sexually in a healthy way, and that these people often desire to either harm others or to let others treat them in harmful ways.

Consent is not sacrosanct; you can never take harm out of the equation.

#12 Comment By Heather On February 9, 2013 @ 6:37 am

Michelle says:
Plenty of liberals object to pornography and it’s degradation of women–you know, those nasty feminists.
==========

Don’t know. I don’t see a single one of these millions of feminists on this blog, and the liberals I see commenting on here are certainly promoting porn. Look at this thread and check who is saying what.

Same for the bulk of liberals that I come across outside the virtual world. I don’t see these few academic feminists criticizing porn reflected in the bulk of society. Not at all. And after ” feminism” completely devolved to become nothing more than a homosexuality agenda campaign around the 80s/90s and lost its way, even the bulk of these academic “feminists” are now women who preach homosexuality, hookups, porn (especially homosexual porn), and legalizing prostitution. In other words, everything that was exposed as exploitative and demeaning to women is now promoted as “liberation” of women – and in *defense* of women.

Orwell, I salute you.

#13 Comment By J.J. Gonzalez Gonzalez On February 9, 2013 @ 8:17 am

The working class, and especially working class men, are the last hope of our civilization. Thus far, they have been holdouts. The over-schooled classes are largely gone.

As the working class goes, so goes the civilization.

#14 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 9, 2013 @ 11:17 am

Re: I find it especially odd how people think (in face of the evidence to the contrary) that porn increases rape.

I don’t know that porn increases rape, but I’m not sure that it decreases it either. There seems to be some awful abuse of statistics and social science going on, by both sides. At least religious traditionalists are honest enough to admit that at bottom, their views aren’t rooted in social science, and wouldn’t be changed if the evidence suggested porn was good for society. I can respect that more than I can respect (some) cultural liberals who claim their views are based simply on science, evidence and empiricism (when in fact, the ‘science’ involved is shoddy as hell).

Re: If your friends started having sex in front of everyone, and people watched,

Right, because French kissing in public is the same as having sex in public.

Re: The working class, and especially working class men, are the last hope of our civilization

Uhhh….the working class is probably *somewhat* more conservative than the typical Ivy League grad in terms of their sex life, but they assuredly aren’t living their sex lives according to the teachings of the Catholic or Evangelical churches. From my point of view, having five sex partners in your life is probably better than having ten, but in the eyes of the Catholic Church, both of them are sinning.

#15 Comment By Socrates On February 9, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

A lot of people here keep throwing around words like “degeneracy” and “dysfunctional sexualities” and “deformed psychologies and ethics”.

But who gets to decide what is “degenerate”, “dysfunctional”, or “deformed”?

A lot of people seem to think that these ought to be defined for everyone by Christian religious beliefs.

No thanks.

#16 Comment By JonF On February 10, 2013 @ 6:49 am

J.J. Gonzalez, you may wish to read Charles Murray’s latest work. The working class is anything but a bastion of religious and moral conservatism. It’s rather the middle class and especially the upper middle class that still goes to church and mostly keeps its pants zipped up.

#17 Comment By Roland de Chanson On February 10, 2013 @ 7:46 am

I suppose you’re right, MH. Though do I detect a bit of the same in your impulsive response? At any rate, I was just Hamming it up with a bit of baudy humor. As a sine of my repentance, I’ll make a signal attempt to be more discrete and filter my output. 🙂

#18 Comment By grendel On February 10, 2013 @ 9:47 am

Interesting Roland, does the sine of your repentance equal its inverse cosine?

I’d never before considered the application of trigonometric functions to emotions.

#19 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 10, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

Roland, yes I was trying a bit of it myself, but I think I just encouraged you to make things exponentially worse.