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Pornography Studies

The (Real) Social Effects of Porn

Note: Most, if not all of the scientific studies undertaken to document the effects of porn on society demonstrate various social benefits directly attributable to its availability. Drastically lower rates of sex crimes is one benefit that has been enjoyed in Sweden, Denmark, and Japan, as the porn studies listed below demonstrate. Other benefits include those outlined by Pat Califa in her analysis of The Meese Commission Report: "Even given the constraints under which it is currently produced, pornography is valuable. It sends out messages of comfort and rebellion. It says: Lust is not evil. The body is not hateful. Physical pleasure is a joyful thing and should not be hidden or denied."

"The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone." ~ Benito Mussolini

The effects of Pornography: An International Perspective "The concern that countries allowing pornography and liberal anti-obscenity laws would show increased sex crime rates due to modeling or that children or adolescents in particular would be negatively vulnerable to and receptive to such models or that society would be otherwise adversely effected is not supported by evidence." Study with documentations from the Pacific Center for Sex and Society.

Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan "The most dramatic decrease in sex crimes was seen when attention was focused on the number and age of rapists and victims among younger groups (Table 2). We hypothesized that the increase in pornography, without age restriction and in comics, if it had any detrimental effect, would most negatively influence younger individuals. Just the opposite occurred. The number of juvenile offenders dramatically dropped every period reviewed from 1,803 perpetrators in 1972 to a low of 264 in 1995; a drop of some 85% (Table 1). The number of victims also decreased particularly among the females younger than 13 (Table2). In 1972, 8.3% of the victims were younger than 13. In 1995 the percentage of victims younger than 13 years of age dropped to 4.0%.

Studies on the effects of Pornography Although the author claims "This document is devoted to exploring some of the available research data that was used to come to this conclusion," most of the actual scientific research shows a negative correlation between porn and sex crime.

The Harm of Porn: Just Another Excuse to Censor, by Avedon Carol. A short history of the weird science used to justify the scientifically unfounded Meese Report.

Why Defend Pornography? Opinion Articles and Research. Two pages of Opinion and Research from libertus.net. Also See: Fact, Fallacy & Urban Myths for the truth about those "facts" the religious right likes to hammer the rightfully skeptical public with, like the deified serial killer/rapist Ted Bundy and his "pornography made me do it" pronouncement. For an interesting story read The Michigan State Police Study, a study supposedly linking pedophile sexual acts with pornography that actually never existed even though it was cited in other studies. When asked to produce the report, "the head of the Michigan State Police Investigative Resources Unit into Violent Crime, Detective Sergeant David Minzey, made a public statement about this research, saying, 'The truth is that no such study was ever conducted.'" He went on to report that "the most popular magazines in prison amongst child molesters is the J.C. Penny catalogue because it features young boys and girls in their underwear."

Censorship Won't Reduce Crime: Submission by Feminists Against Censorship to the Home Affairs Inquiry into Computer Pornotraphy (PDF) by Avedon Carol. Shoddy science exposed and discussed.

The X-Rated Hoax: A tale of harridans, charlatans & Poppycock. A detailed history of recent censorship in Australia. Well documented. "Governments and behavioural science researchers have been unable to demonstrate any harm caused by non violent sexually explicit material, other than perhaps to perceptions of the merits of the Christian Right's attitude towards sexuality. Australian laws banning sale or availability of X-rated (NVE) material to adults have no apparent purpose other than to attempt to enforce religious observance."

Danish criminologist Dr. Berl Kutchinsky's findings; "that there had been a 30 per cent decrease in sex crimes in three European countries since the legalisation of adult erotica were opposed to his personal beliefs that non-violent adult sexual depictions lead otherwise normal human beings to rape or even to kill." A pdf version of the whole report is linked here.

The Regulation of Pornography and Child Pornography on the Internet by Yaman Akdeniz. Pornography in the United Kingdom, an extensive overview of laws and the problems with regulation of the Internet.

Pornography and Feminism by Colleen McEneany. Arguments attacking Andrea Dworkin, and the Meese Commission as hoax.

Banning Pornography Endangers Women by Wendy McElroy. Discussion on the fallacies in arguments against porn, mainly by feminists.

The Case of the Two Cybersex Studies. The Marty Rimm cybersex study (often erroneously reffered to as the "Carnegie Mellon Study" by proponents of censorship who evidently wish to ignore Rimm's undergraduate status when the report was being written) compared to Michael Mehta's work, which seems to have been incorporated by Rimm without attribution.

Letting out the Bung: A Fool's Inquiry into Pornography and Exploding Wine Casks.
From this site, an examination of the loss of the concept of catharsis in our society.

The Dangers of Pornography? A Review of the Effects Literature by Christopher D. Hunter. Reports on various studies from the Ideological Effects expounded upon but hardly "proven" by Dworkin, and Faust (1982) who found the obvious, "that in nations like the U.S. and the Scandinavian countries which highly value women's equality, pornography was widely available. In contrast, in countries repressive towards women, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the former Soviet Union, little or no pornography was available."

Voluntary exposure to pornography and men's attitudes toward feminism and rape
Five page study that starts out with a good survey of the literature. From the Journal of Sex Research.

Politics and Pornography
A Comparison of the Findings of the President's Commission and the Meese Commission and the Resulting Response by David M. Edwards.

Statement of Dr. Ted S. Palys
Submitted 7 October 1994 as a background report in the BC Supreme Court case of Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium v. The Queen. An interesting commentary, especially useful in understanding research design of effects experiments.

The Dangers of Pornography? A review of the Effects Literature
an overview of the limited effects - powerful effects debate about pornography

Sex Research, Censorship and the Law Good introduction to the subject.

More Porn Research Links:

Research Links Page - Interesting links on porn studies, sex crimes, and rapists.

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