By Jonathon Van Maren
As the research on pornography’s harms continues to pour in, there are still a few lonely researchers attempting to claim that porn is healthy. One of those is Dr. David Ley, who admitted to me on Twitter that he couldn’t even condemn the use of the “c-word,” based on his support for porn that utilizes the misogynist epithet. Even my opponent in an hour-long debate on pornography on The Andrew Lawton Show had my opponent ceding most of my points. Someday rather soon, as I’ve pointed out before, those last defenders of pornography are going to look like the Marlboro Men defending cigarettes.
A few days ago, yet another study proved what a chorus of researchers are saying about porn—that it has an extremely toxic impact on how men see women:
A study at the University of Nebraska found that men who saw porn at an early age were more inclined to desire power over women. For men that saw porn for the first time when they were older however, their sexual promiscuity was discovered to be higher.
Of the 330 undergraduate men consulted by the University, the average age at which they first saw porn was just 13. A member of the group admitted to not seeing porn until he was 26, while another member confessed that he was just five when he first saw material of that nature.
The men, who were mostly white and heterosexual, were asked 46 questions which analysed their sexual behaviour and attitudes towards women. They were also asked if their first viewing of porn was intentional, accidental or forced.
The results are yet to be published but were presented at the American Psychological Association convention in Washington. Alyssa Bischmann, who worked as a researcher on the project, is quoted by The Daily Mail as saying, “The goal of our study was to examine how age of first exposure to pornography, and the nature of said first exposure, predicts conformity to two masculine norms. We found that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women. The older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behaviour.”
The research also showed that those who viewed porn early did not enjoy sex as much in reality. The BBC quote researcher Christina Richardson as saying, “These men often have a lot of performance anxiety with women in real life. Sexual experiences don’t go as planned or the way they do in pornography. Those who see porn later, enjoy sex in real life more and therefore might be more likely to live a playboy lifestyle.”
Although the study did not take into account how much porn the men consumed, what genre of porn it was or their own personal background, it is still believed that porn can have a widespread impact on men’s sexual relationships with women. It could also help in treating emotional and sociological issues for men who have viewed porn earlier than others. The researchers already have plans for another study based upon certain conclusions.
In other words, early porn use is a significant predictor of both negative attitudes towards women—a desire to dominate them—as well as a key factor in decreased satisfaction with sex as well as erectile dysfunction in young men, which is hitting never-before-seen levels. For older men, it is more likely to cause them to reject family and monogamy in favor of promiscuity. None of these findings are surprising or even new—they simply confirm the growing body of work that already exists. While men like David Ley may claim that porn doesn’t increase misogyny, it must be noted that the only way he can do this is by moving the goalposts—if calling women the c-word isn’t misogynist, then he can excuse porn in which women get degraded in that fashion. Men like Ley prove the very point they are trying to debunk when they insist that something that was once universally considered to be misogynist is no longer, simply because it turns them on. If that’s not creepy, I don’t know what is.
To put it in simpler terms: Would you want your daughter to date the sort of guy who thinks that women being called the c-word is a perfectly acceptable turn-on? Would you want your sister going out with someone who gets his jollies watching women get beaten up and violently abused on screen?
I think not. So don’t be that guy.