Sex Science News: Does More Porn Equal More Sexist Attitudes? – DrZhana

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Sex Science News: Does More Porn Equal More Sexist Attitudes?

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Make porn, not war! Porn is controversial, taboo and can get a bad rap. Today’s Sex Science News with Dr. Zhana, where I tell you about a new sex study that just got published, is about whether porn is correlated with sexist attitudes, one of the many accusations levied against porn.

THE STUDY

The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, includes a nationally representative sample of 24,000 U.S. citizens ages 18 and above. The General Social Survey has been conducted every two years or so for the last few decades, and for this study they combined responses from women and men together from 1975 through 2010. The study asked a general question, “Have you ever seen a porn movie in the past year?” and then compared porn users and non-porn users on a variety of different gender-related attitudes.

WHAT THEY FOUND

Instagram photo by @DrZhana

Instagram photo by @DrZhana

About a quarter (23%, to be exact) of people had admitted to watching porn in the previous year. In contrast to what many fear, those who had watched porn actually held more gender egalitarian attitudes than those who had not watched porn.

Specifically, porn-users held more positive attitudes toward:
– women working outside the home,
– women holding positions of power, and
– women having access to abortion.

There were no differences between porn users and non-porn users in terms of how likely they were to identify as a feminist or how much they subscribed to traditional gender roles within the family (as in, women should be the housewife and men should be the breadwinner).

So it seems like porn in general is not correlated with negative attitudes toward women; if anything, it’s correlated with more positive attitudes toward women. Of course, certain types of porn or for certain subgroups of people may be related to negative attitudes, but that is not the case of the overall pattern.

CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION

It’s important to note that this was a correlational study. It wasn’t an experiment where they manipulated how much porn people were watching, nor was it a longitudinal study where they tracked the same people over time to see how their attitudes changed.porn-star-500x500

Therefore, this study doesn’t mean that it was porn that made people be more gender egalitarian in their attitudes. It could be, and probably to a large extent it is, that this correlation is due to the fact that people who watch porn are already more liberal in their values and attitudes, which includes being more gender egalitarian.

And in case you were wondering, no, this study was not funded by the porn industry.

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Find a link to the study on my Twitter or Instagram: @DrZhana.

This material was initially broadcast on Dr Zhana’s Periscope show #LegitSexScience. For future live video broadcasts of Sex Science News and other sex-related topics, join @DrZhana’s scopes: Periscope.tv/DrZhana.

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