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The Earlier Men See Porn, The More Sexist They Are, A New Study Claims

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There are healthy and unhealthy ways to consume pornography. If you own so much pornography you risk being crushed to death under its impressive heft, for example, you should probably take a step back and consider your life choices. And here’s something else to consider: Does pornography make men more sexist?

A preliminary study claims “possibly.” To arrive at this finding, researchers interviewed 330 men aged 17 to 54. First, participants were asked when they saw pornography for the first time and the circumstances surrounding the experience. Then, they were presented with a series of statements about male dominance — such as “Things tend to be better when men are in charge.” — and asked how much they agreed with each declaration. As the numbers worked out, the earlier men were exposed to pornography, the more they tended to want power over women. And the later on they saw it, the more likely they were to be sexually promiscuous.

While this is interesting and bears more research, there are some caveats. Extrapolating to all men from this study isn’t a good idea (even the researchers point that out). The participants were pulled from a large Midwestern university, where 85% of them were white and 93% of them identified as heterosexual. Even something as simple as location can have a strong effect on political and social attitudes, which in turn makes a huge difference. The researchers also didn’t control for outside factors like socioeconomic status and religious belief, and then there’s this frankly rather worrying bit in the study:

Among the group, the average age of first exposure was 13.37 years of age with the youngest exposure as early as 5 and the latest older than 26. More men indicated their first exposure was accidental (43.5 percent) than intentional (33.4 percent) or forced (17.2 percent). Six percent did not indicate the nature of the exposure.

Yes, nearly twenty percent of these men were forced to watch porn. As you might guess, that isn’t usually the sign of a healthy household. Still, this study offers some interesting data. And it’s always worth asking if porn creates attitudes, as some argue, or if those reactions are shaped by larger societal forces.

(Via BBC)

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