New Research: Porn Doesn’t Cause Sex Crimes

One of the most common arguments against porn is that it increases sex crimes, especially sexual violence against women. However, Milton Diamond, a professor at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, has just published research showing that this isn’t the case.

The report, Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review, discusses the ongoing debate over porn and summarizes studies from around the world, showing that when porn becomes legal, the rate of sex crimes either stays the same or goes down. Here’s the abstract, for the sex nerds out there:

A vocal segment of the population has serious concerns about the effect of pornography in society and challenges its public use and acceptance. This manuscript reviews the major issues associated with the availability of sexually explicit material. It has been found everywhere scientifically investigated that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased. It is further been found that sexual erotica has not only wide spread personal acceptance and use but general tolerance for its availability to adults. This attitude is seen by both men and women and not only in urban communities but also in reputed conservative ones as well. Further this finding holds nationally in the United States and in widely different countries around the world. Indeed, no country where this matter has been scientifically studied has yet been found to think pornography ought be restricted from adults. The only consistent finding is that adults prefer to have the material restricted from children’s production or use.

While porn may not cause sex crimes, I do think it’s only right to acknowledge that many sex therapists and educators hear about interpersonal problems stemming from its use. Anecdotally, we hear that many people, especially younger people, are trying to copy what they see in porn and/or to live up to the porn model of sex rather than exploring their authentic desires.

Rather than trying to get rid of porn, I’d much rather provide more accurate and realistic ideas of what sex can be. That could come from sex-positive porn, but it also needs to come from sex education in general. Unfortunately, we’re not likely to get that, but I can dream can’t I?

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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