Who Watches Porn?
Porn on the Mind | Streams of Consciousness, Scientific American Blog Network.
If you like to surf porn on the Internet, you’ve got company. In a 2008 survey of college students, 90 percent of males and 60 percent of females had been there, done that. The practice is only half as common among people in their 40s, but still hardly rare, and the habits of youth are better predictors of what’s to come.
In fact, it’s very difficult to find backing for the argument that porn is harmful. And there is at least as much data to support the contention that porn might be doing its fans—and even the rest of society—a bit of good.
First, as access to Internet pornography grew in this country, rates of rapes and sexual assault went in the opposite direction. Those stats are at their lowest levels since the 1960s. And something similar happened in Japan, China and Denmark. Along those lines, the U.S. states in which rapes rose by 53 percent had the least Internet access between 1980 and 2000—and so the least access to Internet porn. States with the most access saw a 27 percent drop in reported rapes.
We are all interested in what other people are doing behind closed doors, and it appears that we have nothing to worry about. Largely, everyone is doing the same things. The study indicates that individuals that grew up during the internet age (under 30) are partial to watching pornography. In fact, the vast majority partake in this behavior. The study also draws broad correlation between internet access (facilitating more porn) and rape rates. Although not scientific in the methodology and completely circumstantial, the correlation is something to note.
NeilS — From the beginning of time people have searched for a way to satisfy their sexual cravings. Of course, the strength of our sexual tendencies is precisely why we are here today. From live sex shows to VHS tapes to internet pornography, modernization has brought us a continual stream of new ways to be consumers of sexuality and satisfy our cravings.
The ease of access offered by the digital age has made it easier to track your favorite sports in real time, look up anything about the world in seconds, and watch pornography at the click of a button. For better or worse, pornography is easier to consume now than ever before in history and, according to the statistics, we are taking advantage.
The study does suggest the idea that if people have ways to satisfy their sexual cravings through the internet, they may be less likely to rape someone or partake in other devious behaviors. Of course, pornography might make us more comfortable with sex as a society and in turn elevate our overall education about the subject. With better education about sex we can help prevent the spread of disease and be more discerning about our sexual partners.