Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pornagraphy correlations

Focus on the Family has released a new pornography "study", which I first saw mentioned in the Illinois Family Institute site. The document is really more a summary than a study, it involves a lot of claims and references to other documents, but incorporates no new research. It seems to me this is a massive conflation of correlation with causation, and in fact generally seems to have them reversed. The claimed results are below the fold. I replaced the bullets with numbers; the rest is quoted from the document directly.

1. Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
2. Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
3. Among couples affected by one spouse’s addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
4. Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
5. Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.
6. Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
7. Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornorgraphy they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
8. Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
9. Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as “sex objects.”
10. Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn, lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
11. Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
12. Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame, diminished self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing.
13. The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.
14. The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use. Traditionally, government has kept a tight lid on sexual traffic and businesses, but in matters of pornography that has waned almost completely, except where child pornography is concerned. Given the massive, deleterious individual, marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens, communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach.

Now, this observation is strictly anecdotal, but I'm guessing it has wide application: almost no heterosexual man would rather have his hand around his genital when he can have the genitals of an enthusiastic female around his genital. While that may seem like a surprising thing to the Focus on the Family, I am going to look at all these correlations under that particular interpretation. For the sake of this post, I will grant that the correlations involve really exist.

1. I would expect that a man who doesn't have a wife enthusiastically having sex with him will turn to pornography. If the wife is really that interested in her husband's sexual attention, she generally knows how to get it.
2. Men who don't get enough sex, or don't get enough satisfying sex, are much more likely to want divorces than those who are. Pornography does not fill in the gap satisfactorily for many men.
3. A wife losing interest in sex is a common reason to use pornography to release these desires.
4. Perhaps in some households, watching pornography is viewed this way. Many of the marriage traditions center around being your spouse being your property, at least sexually, and pornography would diminish that. On the other hand, if the spouse being "cheated" upon would act more aggressively to properly maintain their property, the need for such cheating would diminish.
5. Pornography acts as a substitute when good family relations are not available.
6. Sex itself is even more addictive, and pornography becomes a poor fix for sex.
7. This is true in the marital bedroom as well. The best solution is for the spouses to bet more creative with each other in the bedroom.
8. I would expect that men who have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity, would avail themselves of such inclinations in pornography, and on a personal note I find it highly preferable, as opposed to such men trying to satisfy inclinations for rape and aggression with women.
9. Men who think of women as sex objects are certainly more likely to find an outlet for these feelings in actresses with whom they have no personal connection at all.
10. Sexual permissiveness would of course include a more permissive attitude to pornography.
11. I would much rather there were no pedophiles, but since they exist, I would also much rather they use pictures of children than actual children. No doubt the pedophiles who agree are active in making these picture available to themselves and others.
12. Adolescents are often sexually capable but without willing partners, so naturally they turn to pornography.
13. Sexually oriented businesses have trouble finding permits and room to operate in communities that see themselves as maintaining a respectable image, so they are forced to locate themselves in communities that are depressed, desperate, and otherwise more prone to the ills of society.
14. People who have good relationships and good marriages, which typically will mean spouses go out of their way to please each other, don't need pornography as much.

If you really want to study the effects of pornography, you need to find a population that does not partake of it to compare to. That's not an easy task. Until then, any results show be taken with a hefty dose of salt.


Robocoastie said...

Good points. The "Focus on the Family" fake study also rests on the premise that pornography and any type of sex which they don't approve of is wrong.

Those outside their worldview of course must all bow down to their view (despite the numbers which show that their own flocks do not practice what they preach).


One Brow said...

Thanks for commenting, rob. Hope to see you around more.