Newbie here - Is there any actual evidence to say that porn promotes sexual violence???

Brand-new? This is the place for your questions and discussions on any and all topics, with fellow users or staff, while you get your feet wet.
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2023 10:10 pm
Age: 18
Awesomeness Quotient: i draw real cool
Primary language: English
Pronouns: Any/All Pronouns
Sexual identity: Nonbinary Lesbian
Location: Australia

Newbie here - Is there any actual evidence to say that porn promotes sexual violence???

Unread post by mevsgod »

Sorry if this question seems too obvious, this is mostly to quell intrusive thoughts...

Saw an anti-sexwork post on instagram yesterday that said there there were "around 200" studies proving that porn promotes sexual violence.

Now, I've been pro sex work for a LONG time, and obviously, I don't believe everything on the internet, especially since those specific studies I a. have not seen and b. could be misinterpreted, have skewed information, be generally biased, be based on little research, etc. But, sadly, I have belief-based OCD, which thrives on uncertainty, and I haven't really been able to find any evidence against the contrary to quell my fears.

Now, on the other hand, fiction can very well affect reality via normalisation, and I'm not going to pretend that porn is a perfectly safe and harmless thing to partake in without acknowledging that a lot of the stuff that happens is not realistic and has a chance of normalising some very.... amoral stuff.
I just really don't think that, as long as you're questioning what you're watching, there is not really much reason why the simple act of watching two people having sex would immediatly drive people (the post specifically targeted men but. cmon) to treat their partners as objects, and that particular view will only lead to more puritarian ideas around sex.

Personally, the only stuff I have experienced that can be considered porn would be a handful of fanfics and the occasional porn bot in my social media feeds. I just want to get the whole picture on this debate, if only to quell my fears.
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2023 2:57 pm
Age: 23
Awesomeness Quotient: I am a fat liberationist! 💪
Primary language: English
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity: Queer, aspec, kinky
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Newbie here - Is there any actual evidence to say that porn promotes sexual violence???

Unread post by Ellie »

Hi mevsgod,

Welcome to the boards!

You raise some very valid concerns, and it's a good thing to be investigating the media you see with a critical lens. This is a complex debate that has been going on for a long time.

In short, there is no concrete proof that pornography directly causes people to commit acts of sexual violence.

It could be, for example, that those who are more inclined to abuse others are also more likely to access porn, so a correlation between the two cannot be assumed to indicate direct cause. Here's a quote from Roger Ingham, a professor of health and community psychology and director of the Centre for Sexual Health Research at the University of Southampton: “There will always be a small proportion of young people with serious issues in maintain[ing] responsible and respectful social interactions and relationships. It would be very naive to attribute negative behaviors to just one factor, such as porn access.”

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has historically been tolerant of sexual violence, and although porn is not the cause of this issue, it has the potential to promote this culture by setting unrealistic expectations around sex. You brought up the concept of normalising some harmful beliefs or behaviors - while porn is meant to show what people fantasize about, not what actually what happens in most people's sex lives - with lack of access to sex education, porn can be someone's only exposure to ideas of sex. Sometimes they start to expect their own sex lives to be just like the pornography they use and enjoy. That's a situation when this can become an issue.

It’s widely disputed whether porn directly influences rape culture, but what is clear is that the importance of consent and representation of what healthy relationships look like needs to be tackled head on in education, so that young people learn to respect one another and will know how to spot abuse when it's happening, and to raise the alarm if they do experience it.

Check out Scarleteen's article for more discussion on this topic:
Looking, Lusting, and Learning, a Straightforward Look at Pornography ... ornography
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic
  • Similar Topics
    Last post