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Attackers Ignore Benefits of Porn: 1

John Boseman, Ph.D.

Evidence that non-violent porn is good for society escapes notice of officials bent on crackdown. Various governments around the world, from the West to the Middle East, have launched or threaten to launch new attacks on pornography, especially on the internet. In the US, for example, for the first time in more than 10 years, the Justice Department has begun investigating, raiding, filing charges, and arresting people for porn.

Attacks on porn use various theories as justifications - it causes violence, oppresses women, undermines the family, or threatens the health of society as a whole. The weight of evidence shows these charges are no more true than old claims against masturbation, that it makes you go blind or grow hair on your palms.

In fact, attackers are ignoring mounting evidence that porn is good for the lives and health of most of its users and increases the well-being and progress of societies that allow it.

Porn and Violence
Some years ago, for example, several countries that had restricted pornography finally relented and made it legal. The result was a rapid, major reduction in sexual violence and rape in those countries, according to a number of studies. One study showed the most dramatic decline occurred in rapes where the victims were under 13 years old. So the availability of pictures of nude women and the like helped protect some of the most vulnerable members of society from becoming rape victims.

On the other hand, studies suggest that some violent pornography may indeed lead to violence, not because it is porn, but because it is violent. But there is much more violence in mainstream media than in porn. In fact, researchers had a hard time finding violent porn for their tests of effects on viewer's attitudes. They ended up using R-rated movies.

It is ironic that repression of adult media is part of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalisms, which, through the crusades and terrorism, have fomented far more deadly violence than was ever attributed to media.

Interestingly, a survey found that among users of porn, most had never seen any showing violence, and those who had said it was a turnoff. [quote]Around the world, wherever there is harsh censorship of porn, there is also harsh oppression of women. Who can forget TV images of a Taliban vigilante beating a defenseless Afghan woman with a stick for allowing a tiny bit of her leg to show under a head-to-toe covering.[/quote]

Porn and the Status of Women
Around the world, wherever there is harsh censorship of porn, there is also harsh oppression of women. Who can forget TV images of a Taliban vigilante beating a defenseless Afghan woman with a stick for allowing a tiny bit of her leg to show under a head-to-toe covering.

Women have reached the greatest degree of freedom and equality in countries where porn has become widely available, primarily Western Europe and the English-speaking countries. In fact, the adult industry has empowered many women, including performers and entrepreneurs, some with very high incomes. Women are among the most successful business people in the adult industry. A new round of repression would force many women in the sex business back into a life of degradation and abuse.

Existing western law already strictly prohibits forcing anyone into porn, as it does using minors in porn, because most civilized people find such practices intolerable. Protection of adults and minors against force and abuse doesn't require a crackdown on pornography, just enforcement of existing law.

Some porn does indeed portray degradation or domination of women. Some even portrays the same of men. Some mainstream entertainment does, too. Evidence of harm from such porn is elusive, however, and it may actually help some disturbed viewers get their jollies through fantasy, rather than seeking them in reality.

In Part 2, we’ll examine porn’s impact on the family, health, society and beyond.

John C. Boseman (pen name) holds an M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. He writes about sex, humor, naked women, and porn at Nude Women of Bojiggly. Bojiggly is a trademark of Benala Vista LLC, as is its main tag line, “Saving the World from Excess Clothing on Beautiful Women.”

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