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Pornography


Concerns About Pornography

Sex Crimes

Much of the controversy surrounding pornography is related to society's concern about how pornography affects people. One common worry is that the use of pornography promotes sex crimes and that sex offenders are avid consumers of obscene material.

Research, however, does not show any consistent pattern. Data from studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s have consistently shown that the use of pornography is not related to an increase in sex crimes and that sex offenders in general have had significantly less exposure to pornography than non-offenders. Some later work in this area has not agreed with these earlier findings.

Another popular belief is that only perverted individuals would be interested in pornography. Findings from the historic Kinsey study showed that between 14 and 60 percent of females and between 36 and 77 percent of males were stimulated by viewing sexy movies, reading and hearing erotic stories, and viewing pictures, drawings or other portrayals of sexual activity. The Redbook survey (1974) reported that 60 percent of the 100,000 married women they surveyed had seen a pornographic movie, and 42 percent of these women had used pornography in their sexual practices at least occasionally.

When the magazine Psychology Today asked 20,000 readers whether they had ever used erotic material for arousal, 92 percent of the male respondents and 72 percent of the females reported that they had.

Exploting Women

Another important concern about pornography is that some types portray women in a degrading, dehumanizing and exploitive manner. And, in fact, men are done a disservice when they are portrayed as interested only in sex (the more unusual the better), always ready for sex (with extraordinary anatomy and endurance), but incapable of sensitivity and tenderness.

Some men may not object to this characterization, but most women do not appreciate the way some pornography depicts their gender as objects serving men.

Perhaps one reason why some pornography exploits women is because, throughout history, it has mainly been created by men for men. Erotic works from the Stone Age on reveal typical male sexual interests and fantasies, and depict various interpretations of the idealized woman.

It is principally for this reason that pornography has been assumed to arouse women less than it does men. But with the contemporary phenomenon of women creating pornography, the question arose of whether men and women respond differently to pornographic material.


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