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  • Studies: Porn Use May Decrease Sexual Violence

    According to a report in "Scientific American," pornography use may help diminish the incidence of some violent crime, including rape.YNOT – The esteemed consumer-focused science magazine Scientific American seems to be on a porn binge lately. In addition to concluding pornography poses no threat to the American psyche — and, in fact, may be beneficial for some viewers — the publication also reported pornography use may help diminish the incidence of some violent crime.

    Like, for example, rape.

    Recent research cited by Scientific American indicated pornography use actually may decrease sexual violence. The conclusion blows a big hole in one of the favorite rallying cries of anti-porn activists: men are so unable to control themselves after viewing pornography that women and children are endangered by smut’s very existence.

    “Some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires,” Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, told the magazine.

    As a matter of fact, he noted, as pornography has become more available via the internet, the volume of violent sexual crimes has decreased.

    “Rates of rapes and sexual assault in the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the 1960s,” Ferguson told the magazine.

    Ferguson’s revelation is supported by a 2007 report in Reason Magazine. In that article, Clemson University economist Todd Kendall noted that states where internet access expanded the fastest saw rape decline the most.

    “The U.S. states in which rapes rose by 53 percent had the least internet access between 1980 and 2000, and so the least access to internet porn,” he told the magazine. “States with the most access saw a 27-percent drop in reported rapes.”

    Of course, other research points in exactly the opposite direction. The Daily Beast, for example, cited a controversial study that concluded “the burgeoning demand for porn and prostitutes is warping personal relationships and endangering women and girls.” Maligned for what have been called “serious errors” in both methodology and scientific reasoning, the study was performed by the nonprofit organization Prostitution Research & Education, which states as its goal “to abolish the institution of prostitution.” The study’s sample population comprised a mere 100 men.

    While Scientific American’s perspective about pornography is not entirely positive — the magazine’s various writers mention negative aspects, as well — the overriding conclusion the publication seems to reach is that porn can be a force for good. Yes, some susceptible individuals may become “addicted,” just as susceptible individuals may become addicted to narcotics, alcohol and gambling, but susceptible individuals also become addicted to much more socially acceptable “triggers” like caffeine, sugar, exercise, shopping and even food. Overall, though — at least according to Scientific American — pornography should be recognized as a valid way for men and women to explore and fulfill their sexual desires in a safe, sane and private way.
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