Another study examined measures of the likelihood of future sexually violent behavior as well as past actual sexually violent behaviors. It found that all types of pornography (soft core, hard core, violent, and rape) are correlated with using verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to sexually coerce women. The likelihood of forcing a woman sexually was correlated with the use of hard core, violent, and rape pornography. The likelihood of raping a woman was correlated with the use of all types of pornography, including soft-core pornography. All types of pornography other than soft core were correlated with actual rape. Those reporting higher exposure to violent pornography are six times more likely to report having raped than those reporting low exposure.
Similarly, men who engaged in date rape reported that they “very frequently” read Playboy, Penthouse, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, Genesis, Oui, or Hustler. The correlation between rape rates and circulation rates for eight pornographic magazines (the same magazines minus Hustler) indicated that states with higher circulation rates had higher rape rates.
Adolescent boys who read pornographic material were more likely to be involved in active sexual violence. Juvenile sex offenders (juvenile rapists and child molesters) were more likely to have been exposed to pornography (42% had been exposed) than juveniles who were not sex offenders (29%) and also to have been exposed at an early age (five to eight years old), while juvenile child molesters had been more frequently exposed to pornography than those who did not molest children. Another study reported that 29 of the 30 juveniles studied had been exposed to X-rated magazines or videos, and the average age of first exposure was about 7.5 years. Only 11% of juvenile sex offenders said they did not use sexually explicit material. Ironically, given these figures, exposing adults to pornography decreases the number who believe that pornography needs to be restricted from children.
Similarly, adult sex offenders showed a high rate of using hard-core pornography: child molesters (67%), incest offenders (53%), rapists (83%) were significantly higher in use than non-offenders (29%). Child molesters (37%) and rapists (35%) were more likely to use pornography as an instigator to offending than were incest offenders (13%). It is an interesting finding that while these offenders used rape and child pornography to instigate their offenses, they did not exclusively do so, they often used adult and consensual pornography. Even adult consensual pornography can be used to instigate these offenses.
Pornography’s effect depends not just what you are exposed to but also how often. The more frequently men used pornography and the more violent the pornography they used, the more likely they were to coercive others into sex, including to use of physical coercion (i.e., rape).
Pornography’s effect also depends upon individuals’ characteristics as well as their use of pornography. Males who were high in hostile masculinity and sexual promiscuity and who used pornography frequently were significantly more likely to have physically and sexually aggressed than males who were low in these factors. (This study was unable to determine if those individual characteristics, hostile masculinity and promiscuity, might have been produced by pornography use at an earlier point in life.)
Much of the research has focused on the males who perpetrate the behaviors. However, there are studies that have focused on the female victims. One questioned 100 women who presented to a rape crisis center. Twenty–eight percent said that their abuser used pornography; 58% did not know if he used pornography or not. Of those whose abuser used pornography, 40% said the pornography was part of the abuse, being used either during the abuse or just prior to it, and 43% said that it affected the nature of the abuse. None of them thought it decreased the frequency of the abuse, but 21% thought it increased the frequency, and 14% believed it increased the level of violence. In fact, 18% thought their abuser became more sadistic with the use of pornography. Of the total, 12% said the abuser imitated the pornography and 14% said someone had tried to force them to do something he had seen in pornography.
Another study found that 24% of women surveyed indicated that they had been upset by someone trying to get them to do something they had seen in pornography. Those who said this were more likely to have been victims of threatened or actual sexual assault.
A meta-analysis of thirty-three studies (meta-analyses examine findings across a large number of studies) revealed that exposure to either violent or nonviolent pornography increase behavioral aggression. These studies taken as a whole indicate that many types of pornography and frequent use of pornography are connected to negative behaviors—both violent fantasies or actual violent assaults—with violent pornography having the strongest negative effect. These patterns are seen in adults and in minors, and are found in studies focused on perpetrators and victims.
The large body of research on pornography reveals that it functions as a teacher of, a permission-giver for, and a trigger of many negative behaviors and attitudes that can severely damage not only the users but many others, including strangers. The damage is seen in men, women, and children, and in both married and single adults. It involves pathological behaviors, illegal behaviors, and some behaviors that are both illegal and pathological. Pornography is an equal opportunity and very lethal toxin.
Pornography and Violence: A New Look at Research (2010), by Mary Anne Layden, PhD, Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program Center for Cognitive Therapy, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania
This article can be found at: http://www.antipornography.org/sex_crimes.html
BE A MAN.