Study Says Men Who Watch Porn Are More Likely to See Women as Equals

An interesting study published in The Journal of Sex Research provides some evidence that contradicts the widely held belief that pornography causes men to be more misogynistic.

The research was led by Psychologist Taylor Kohut of Western University, who collected data from over 28,000 people who participated in the annual General Social Survey on attitudes in the U.S. population between 1975 and 2011.

The study does not focus specifically on sexuality but asks a wide range of questions in various different social arenas, including sex. One of the questions asks if the participant had recently watched pornography and a number of other questions revealed perspectives on gender. Some questions covered attitudes towards traditional gender roles, women in the workplace, women holding positions of power and women’s reproductive rights.

The researchers found that 23% of the survey participants were willing to admit to watching pornography in the past year. The results showed that men who admitted to watching porn were more favorable to women holding positions of power than men who said they didn’t watch porn. However, both viewers and non-viewers seemed to have similar perspectives on traditional family gender roles and feminism.

According to the study:

“Composite variables from the General Social Survey were used to test the hypothesis that pornography users would hold attitudes that were more supportive of gender nonegalitarianism than nonusers of pornography. Results did not support hypotheses derived from radical feminist theory. Pornography users held more egalitarian attitudes—toward women in positions of power, toward women working outside the home, and toward abortion—than nonusers of pornography. Further, pornography users and pornography nonusers did not differ significantly in their attitudes toward the traditional family and in their self-identification as feminist. The results of this study suggest that pornography use may not be associated with gender nonegalitarian attitudes in a manner that is consistent with radical feminist theory.”

The pornography industry is far from perfect—there are problems with abusive content and actual abuse taking place on set—but activists within the industry are working to make improvements. There has also been a growing market for “ethical porn,” which places an emphasis on the consent and autonomy of the performers, homemade porn, as well as feminist porn that is written and directed by women.

Much of the criticism that the industry has faced over the years has come from people who are clinging to the puritanical notion that sex is merely for reproduction or an expression of love. Of course, sex can lead to reproduction and it can be an expression of love, but it is also a source of pleasure and enjoyment. Likewise, it is a stress reliever and a way to blow off steam.

Some of the objections to porn are actually just objections to masturbation—which is entirely natural and healthy. In fact, it could be argued that it is actually unnatural and unhealthy to repress our sexuality as we are trained to do in polite society.

While you’re here…
…We have a tiny favor to ask of you. Government think tanks have teamed up with social media companies and Google to censor independent media websites and government criticism. Despite this big tech crackdown on the free press, we have been very fortunate, and tens of thousands of people continue to read The Mind Unleashed every single day. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.. And because we value open and accessible information for all, we would never hide our content behind a paywall. Unlike Fox News or CNN, our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. We are not subject to the whims of billionaire shareholders. We are editorially independent, and that makes websites like this an important part in the war for truth and justice. Hopefully we’re wrong, but without your help, we're afraid big tech companies may soon make The Mind Unleashed algorithmically disappear from the Internet. We need your support to keep delivering quality independent news. Every contribution, big or small, will go directly into funding independent journalism. Thank you. Click here to support us

View Comments