"Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice."
Robin Morgan, "Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape," 1974 in "Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist" (1977)
"Men may buy pornography but women pay for it – in terms of exploitation, rape, violence, and a society that sees them as disposable sexual objects"
Rosalie Maggio, "The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage" (1991)
"I’ve lived in prison a long time now, and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence. Without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography - deeply consumed by the addiction. The F.B.I.’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornography. It’s true."
Ted Bundy, Serial Killer & Rapist of at least 28 Women & Girls
Studies, Reports, Articles & Statistics on the Connection Between Pornography Use and All Forms of Sexual Violence and Abuse
NOTE: For complete references and more information about the topics covered by the excerpts included below, please click on the link for the relevant study, report or article to view that resource in full. Thank you!
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"Ted: In the beginning, (pornography) fuels this kind of thought process. Then, at a certain time, it is instrumental in crystallizing it, making it into something that is almost a separate entity inside.
JCD: You had gone about as far as you could go in your own fantasy life, with printed material, photos, videos, etc., and then there was the urge to take that step over to a physical event.
Ted: Once you become addicted to it, and I look at this as a kind of addiction, you look for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder and gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far - that jumping off point where you begin to think maybe actually doing it will give you that which is just beyond reading about it and looking at it.
JCD: How long did you stay at that point before you actually assaulted someone?
Ted: A couple of years. I was dealing with very strong inhibitions against criminal and violent behavior. That had been conditioned and bred into me from my neighborhood, environment, church, and schools.
I knew it was wrong to think about it, and certainly, to do it was wrong. I was on the edge, and the last vestiges of restraint were being tested constantly, and assailed through the kind of fantasy life that was fueled, largely, by pornography.
JCD: Do you remember what pushed you over that edge? Do you remember the decision to “go for it”? Do you remember where you decided to throw caution to the wind?
Ted: It’s a very difficult thing to describe - the sensation of reaching that point where I knew I couldn’t control it anymore. The barriers I had learned as a child were not enough to hold me back from seeking out and harming somebody.
JCD: Would it be accurate to call that a sexual frenzy?
Ted: That’s one way to describe it - a compulsion, a building up of this destructive energy."
Pornography and Sexual Violence Behaviors
Sexual violence attitudes lead to an increased likelihood of violent sexual behavior. [See previous sections of this report that address how these attitudes are formed.] Some studies have looked at likelihood measures while other studies have looked at actual (self-reported) behaviors.
Pornography can start to cross the line between thought and behavior in the kinds of fantasies that can produce an erection. One study exposed males to an arousing rape or non-rape presentation and then asked them to try to reach as high a level of sexual arousal as they could without any direct stimulation of the penis. In doing so, those who had been exposed to the rape presentation created more sexually violent fantasies than those exposed to the non-rape presentation. For these males, rape fantasies were now part of their sexual template.12
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.13
Similarly, men who engaged in date rape reported that they “very frequently” read Playboy, Penthouse, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, Genesis, Oui, or Hustler.14 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.15
Adolescent boys who read pornographic material were more likely to be involved in active sexual violence.16 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.17 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.18 Only 11% of juvenile sex offenders said they did not use sexually explicit material.19 Ironically, given these figures, exposing adults to pornography decreases the number who believe that pornography needs to be restricted from children.20
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%).21 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).22
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.23 (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.24
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.25
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.26 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.
"A high percentage of non-incarcerated rapists and child molesters have said that they have been incited by pornography to commit crimes;
Pre-selected normal healthy male students say they are more likely to rape a woman after just one exposure to violent pornography;
A high percentage of male junior high students, high school students, and adults in a non-laboratory survey report imitating X-rated movies within a few days of exposure;
Hundreds of women have testified in public about how they have been victimized by pornography;
Ten percent of a probability sample of 930 women in San Francisco and 25% of female subjects in an experiment on pornography in Canada report having been upset by requests to enact pornography (Russell, 1980, and Senn and Radtke, 1986);
Many prostitutes report that they have experienced pornography-related sexual assault (Silbert and Pines, 1984; Everywoman, 1988; and Russell, 1993a);
A large body of experimental research has shown that the viewing of violent pornography results in higher rates of aggression against women by male subjects."
"The repeated pleasure of sexual arousal and ejaculation typically experienced by males who masturbate to child pornography results in “masturbatory conditioning.” Masturbation reinforces the fantasies accompanying the activity, which intensifies the desire for sex with children. For example, Abel, Blanchard, and Becker (1978) described a patient who was a sadistic serial rapist. When he was 9 years old, this man “began having fantasies of injuring women, and by age 12 [he] was masturbating to sadistic or rape fantasies 20 times per month“ (p. 195). His rape and sadistic fantasies continued, and he admitted that he raped his first wife (although he did not use this word) and other women when he was 22. Masturbatory conditioning reinforced his sadistic urges and Abel et al. (1978) used masturbatory reconditioning to treat him.
In sum, the more pedophiles and child molesters masturbate to child pornography, the stronger their arousal to this material, and the more it reinforces the association between their fantasies and their desire to have sex with or sexually abuse children."
"The consumption of pornography can be directly linked to violence against women. Here are excerpts from the Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography:
Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography: Section 5.2.1 Sexually Violent Material
…[C]linical and experimental research … [has] focused particularly on sexually violent material, [and] the conclusions have been virtually unanimous. In both clinical and experimental settings, exposure to sexually violent materials h as indicated an increase in the likelihood of aggression. More specifically, the research, … shows a causal relationship between exposure to material of this type and aggressive behavior towards women.
…The assumption that increased aggressive behavior towards women is causally related, for an aggregate population, to increased sexual violence is significantly supported by the clinical evidence, as well as by much of the less scientific evidence. This is not to say that all people with heightened levels of aggression will commit acts of sexual violence. But it is to say that over a sufficiently large number of cases we are confident in asserting that an increase in aggressive behavior directed at women will cause an increase in the level of sexual violence directed at women."
"Sadistic fantasies or acts may involve activities that indicate the dominance of the person over the victim…as in the case depicted in The Perfect Victim (McGuire & Norton 1988). This case involved Cameron Hooker and his wife Janice. Cameron Hooker's fantasy was to dominate and torture nude women who were bound and helpless. His fantasies were fueled by an extensive collection of hard-core pornography that featured bondage, leather and handcuffs, and whips…At one point during this torture, [a victim] was able to see through the bottom of her blindfold. She saw a picture of a naked woman hanging in much the same position that she was hanging. Apparently, Cameron was using this sadistic pornography to script his fantasy into reality." [p. 23 and p. 741] [p.741]
"Fantasy plays a major role in everyone's sexual behavior ... The contrast of these normal fantasies would be the aberrant development of bizarre sexual images involving grotesque unnatural distortions of sexual imagery ... The individual becomes aroused by thoughts and fantasies of sexual aggression ... This paraphilic lovemap is then reinforced through repetition, illustrated by the use of sadistic pornography and fantasy stories featuring sexual sadism ...In Chapter 9, the author presents an offender who fantasized and enhanced his pornography by adding bindings to the female models. ... He then posed the body [of a victim] at the scene with her legs spread apart and held in that position with a vine from the trees. This pose was the same as his pornography with the added bindings." [pp. 36-37]
"Defenders of pornography have argued for decades that pornography provides individuals prone to sexual violence with an outlet for their desires. Common sense, however, ought to inform us that even if viewing pornography has a cathartic effect for some, it can also arouse or “incite” others.
If the predominant effect of pornography were cathartic, sexual abuse of children should in large measure “be history” by now, because never before has so much child pornography, “pseudo child porn,” and teen pornography been so readily available to so many. Instead, we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year to combat sexual abuse of children. And every day, all across America, children and adults are being arrested for molesting a child or attempting to molest a “child” who turns out to be a law enforcement agent.
According to a recent study, more than half of child pornography possessors caught by the justice system had molested a child or attempted to do so. [J. Wolak, D. Finkelhor, and K. Mitchell, “Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet Related Crimes: Findings From the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study,” National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2005]. See also, K. Lanning, “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis,” at p. 61, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2001 (“Pedophiles almost always collect predominantly child pornography or erotica.”]
Common sense should also inform us that when persons feed their minds on “adult” pornography (often from their youth) that exploits and degrades women or depicts violence against them, their sexual “appetites” can become warped. Social science research also indicates there is a causal relationship between pornography and sexual violence. [On the latter point, see, e.g., Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, Final Report, at pp. 299-351, 1986] There is also a mountain of anecdotal evidence showing that pornography is linked to violent sexual crimes."
"What I was finding was that many of these pornographic depictions-and I had to go through quite a bit-were actually the road map to the offenses that the perpetrators of sex crimes were committing. In other words, the plan was in the pornography. I've said this before-pornography is the fuel that acts as a catalyst for fantasy-driven behavior. There's no doubt in my mind that pornography plays an important part in violent sex crimes.
When I look at the cases, when I look at the drawings of these offenders, the writings of these offenders, it is quite apparent that pornography is the fuel. If you think of what a sexual fantasy is-a cognitive representation of some unfulfilled desire-it is transitory and short-lived. So how do you solidify the fantasy? Well, you solidify the fantasy by having visual pornography that addresses a specific desire.
There are all types of pornography-it doesn't matter what it is. The bottom line is that there's something for everybody, so to speak. And when the person finds what he or she is looking for, these materials help the individual to enhance a specific sexual desire.
So looking at some of the pornography, and looking at some of the drawings-and they're very specific-this is what the offender fantasizes about doing to a victim, and then implements the fantasy."
"MIM: Do you believe, from your experience, that there's a greater consumption of pornography among sex offenders in contrast to non-offenders?
RMP: In my experience, offenders in general have a heavy exposure to pornography. I cannot tell you what the general population's exposure is, but it's available for them in different forms.
Many times when you've been looking for a person for a while, particularly for a serious crime, whether it be sexual in nature or not, well, when you arrest the person you ask, "Well, where were you for four days? What did you do for four days?" "Well, I had committed the crime, I had to get out of sight." "Well, where did you go?" "I went to a sleazy motel, got a prostitute to come in, or one of these motels that have X-rated videos constantly going on 24 hours a day…"
MIM: Can you give us a rough idea of the percentage of the people who've committed sexual crimes that you've investigated that had pornography?
RMP: Anything I could say would be an approximation, but many times I wouldn't even ask...it would just come up. My partners and I would say, "Well, there's another one, another one, that's all they seem to do... Realistically, I would say over 75 percent would resort to something like that. It quite possibly could be 100 percent.
MIM: You've mentioned to us that you had experience with research on incarcerated pedophiles and their sexual preferences. What can you tell us about such persons' exposure to porn generally, and also prior to committing an unlawful sexual act?
RMP: Let's say if we're talking about a child predator, if it's a male, attacking young boys, let's say. For many of these people - I use the word "attack," but in their mind, they're not attacking these children. In their twisted mind, they're helping these children.
I find that pornography is prominent in what these people do. What I've had to learn about them is that they may have a job, eight hours, ten hours a day, but their fantasy life is every waking moment. Every waking moment when they're working, they're fantasizing about what they're going to do; the pornography that they have that fuels that; that's obviously there also."
"As a clinical psychologist, I have treated, over many years, approximately 300 sex addicts, sex offenders, or other individuals (96% male) with sexual illnesses. This includes many types of unwanted compulsive sexual acting-out, plus such things as child molestation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadomasochism, fetishism, and rape. With only several exceptions, pornography has been a major or minor contributor or facilitator in the acquisition of their deviation or sexual addiction. However, where pornography was a contributor or facilitator, regardless of the nature of the sex deviation or addiction, I found a four-factor syndrome common to nearly all of my clients, with almost no exceptions, especially in their early involvement with pornography.
Phase 1: Addiction - Phase 2: Escalation - Phase 3: Desensitization - Phase 4: Acting Out
The fourth phase that occurred was an increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography that the porn-consumers had been repeatedly exposed to, including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex. This behavior frequently grew into a sexual addiction which they found themselves locked into and unable to change or reverse--no matter what the negative consequences were in their life.
Many examples of negative effects from pornography-use come from the private or clinical practice of psychotherapists, physicians, counselors, attorneys, and ministers. Here we come face to face with real people who are in some kind of significant trouble or pain.
If one asks if porn is responsible or causes any sex crimes, the answer is unequivocally in the affirmative, but that is only the "tip of the iceberg."
In some patients, I find that there is an almost instant addiction, while with others, it may take 5-10 years of erratic exposure to get hooked. But like a latent cancer, it almost never disappears on its own or reverses its course unless there is some therapeutic intervention."
"I believe it is safe to say that people who consume pornography, specifically violent pornography, place themselves at risk of engaging in inappropriate and unhealthy behaviors. Just as alcohol impairs one's perception of reality, likewise, pornography distorts a healthy view of human sexual intimacy. Of course, in saying this, I risk criticism from those who will argue that healthy sexual intimacy in itself is a subjective matter and that I should not impose my opinions about healthy intimacy on them. I wish these same individuals could sit in my chair as I listen to some of their spouses cry bitter tears of resentment about the various sex acts they have been subjected to in the name of their spouse's definition of healthy intimacy. These clients often report feeling manipulated and coerced into participating in sexual behavior that their spouse wanted, but they did not. These are, perhaps, some of the more subtle sex crimes that will never see prosecution, a courtroom, or an indictment. These crimes are emotionally and physically abusive but often fall on deaf ears because they happen behind bedroom doors in the context of marriage relationships.
As we consider the contribution that pornography makes in the high number of sex crimes in our society today, let us not overlook the less obvious sex crimes that are committed by individuals whose views about sexual intimacy are distorted by pornography and who, in turn, seek to have their loved ones indulge in those same unhealthy views of sex. These relationships can sometimes be more damaging than the violent rape cases perpetuated by a complete stranger. At least in the case of a rape, an individual might easier come to acknowledge that they are not to be blamed for the sex crime, although I am not suggesting this is an easy process either. In the context of the committed relationships where the less obvious sex crimes occur, an individual is often left wondering if their view of sexual intimacy was too conservative or prudish. They blame themselves for going along with what they thought was an attempt to please their spouse. Unfortunately, sometimes when they confide in those whom they trust, they are told to dress more sexy so their spouse doesn't turn to pornography, as if they are to blame for their spouse's behavior. One client even reported she would have preferred a one-time traumatic experience with sex from a stranger than have over ten years of being subjected to perverted sex from her spouse who was being influenced by pornography."
Sex criminals copy what porn depicts
"DOJ experts should read reports such as "Sex-Related Homicide and Death Investigation" (2003). Former Lt. Comdr. Vernon Geberth says today's "sex-related cases … are more frequent, vicious and despicable" than anything he experienced in decades as a homicide cop.
In "Journey Into Darkness" (1997), the FBI's premier serial-rape profiler, John Douglas wrote, "[Serial-rape murders are commonly found] with a large pornography collection, either store-bought or homemade. … our [FBI] research does show that certain types of sadomasochistic and bondage-oriented material can fuel the fantasies of those already leaning in that direction."
In "The Evil That Men Do" (1998), FBI serial-rape-murderer-mutilator profiler Roy Hazelwood quotes one sex killer who tied his victims in "a variety of positions" based on pictures he saw in sex magazines.
"Thrill Killers, a Study of America 's Most Vicious Murders," by Charles Linedecker, reports that 81 percent of these killers rated pornography as their primary sexual interest. Dr. W.L. Marshall, in "Criminal Neglect, Why Sex Offenders Go Free" (1990), says based on the evidence, pornography "feeds and legitimizes their deviant sexual tendencies."
In one study of rapists, Gene Abel of the New York Psychiatric Institute cited, "One-third reported that they had used pornography immediately prior to at least one of their crimes." In 1984, the U.S. Attorney General's Task Force on Family Violence reported, "Testimony indicates that an alarming number of rape and sexual assault offenders report that they were acting out behavior they had viewed in pornographic materials."
More pornography equals more rape of children and women. We need to ask whether Big Government is now selling out to Big Pornography as it did to Big Tobacco for half a century."
NOTE: Each of the below bolded titles is the name of a study or report on the harms of pornography, stripping, or violence against women and/or chidren, etc. The title is then followed by a brief summary of the findings of that particular study or report that address pornography, stripping or the sex industry and it's connection to abuse, violence or crime.
Effects of massive exposure to pornography
Exposure to “massive pornography” (4 hours and 48 minute) leads to changes in beliefs and attitudes. For example, reduced support for the women’s liberation movement, reduced belief that pornography needs to be restricted for minors, reduced recommended jail sentences for rapists, increased callousness toward woman, and beliefs of increased frequency of pathological sex (such as sex with animals, and sex with violence).
Zillmann, D & J. Bryant. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In Malamuth, N and Donnerstein, E. (Eds), Pornography and sexual aggression. San Diego, Academic Press.
Dissociation and abuse among multiple personality disordered patients, prostitutes and exotic dancers.
Strippers and Prostitutes
Sexual abuse -- 65%55%
Multiple personality disorder -- 35% 5%
Borderline Personality Disorder -- 55%11%
Depression -- 60%60%
Substance abuse -- 40%80%
Strippers and prostitutes suffer from a number of psychiatric disorders. Childhood abuse often precedes their entry into the sexual exploitation industry.
Ross, et al (1990). Dissociation and abuse among multiple personality disordered patients, prostitutes and exotic dancers. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 41, 3.
When words are not enough: The search for the effect of pornography on abused women.
The use of pornography (by the batterer) significantly increases a battered women’s odds of being sexually abused. Use of pornography and alcohol increases the odds of sexual abuse. Pornography alone increases the odds by a factor of almost 2 and the combination of pornography and alcohol increases the odds of sexual abuse by a factor of 3.
Shope, J. (2004). When words are not enough: The search for the effect of pornography on abused women. Violence Against Women, 10,1, 56-72.
Self-reported likelihood of sexually aggressive behavior: Attitudinal versus sexual explanations
Sixty per cent of males said that there was some likelihood that if they thought they couldn’t get caught, they would be willing to force a women to do something that she really didn’t want to do and/or rape her.
Briere, J. & Malamuth, N. (1983). Self-reported likelihood of sexually aggressive behavior: Attitudinal versus sexual explanations. Journal of Research in Personality, 17,315-323.
Focusing on the clients of street prostitutes: a creative approach to reducing violence against women.
Men who go to prostitutes are much more likely to have watched a pornographic movie over the last year (66%) than a national sample (33%). Men who go to prostitutes frequently are even more likely to have seen a pornographic movie (74%) than those who have gone to a prostitute only once (53%). The same pattern is seen with the use of pornographic magazines; men who go to prostitutes frequently are more likely to have seen a pornographic magazine in the last year (75%) than men who have gone to prostitutes only once (56%).
Monto, M. (1999). Focusing on the clients of street prostitutes: a creative approach to reducing violence against women. Final report for the National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.org.
Sex and violence a ripple effect.
In South Australia they liberalized the pornography laws and saw a 284% increase in rape. During the same time period in Queensland, Australia, they had conservative pornography laws and they experienced only a 23% increase in rape.
In Hawaii, pornography laws were liberalized and then became more restrictive and then were liberalized again. The rape curve followed the same pattern of increasing, then decreasing when the restriction on pornography occurred and then increasing again when the restrictions were lifted.
Court, J. (1984). Sex and violence a ripple effect. In Malamuth, N & Donnerstein, E (Eds), Pornography and sexual aggression. San Diego, Academic Press.
An empirical assessment of some feminist hypotheses about rape
One group of males saw a portrayal of a woman who was aroused by sexual violence. A second group saw control materials. Then both groups were exposed to pornography that involved rape. The first group who had seen a woman aroused by sexual violence was more likely than the second group who did not see that to say that the woman in the rape pornography suffered less, enjoyed it and that women in general enjoy rape.
Check, J. & Malamuth, N. (1985). An empirical assessment of some feminist hypotheses about rape. International Journal of Women’s Studies, 8, 414-423.
Pornography: Its effects on violence against women
Males were either angered or not and then either were shown a pornographic movie in which a female was distressed throughout a sexual assault or not shown a movie. The males who were angered and saw the movie gave more electric shocks to a female than the males who were not angered and didn’t see the movie.
Males were either angered or not and then either were shown a pornographic movie in which a female was portrayed as becoming sexually aroused at the end of the movie or not shown a movie. The males who saw the movie gave more electric shocks to a female whether they had been angered or not.
Donnerstein, E. (1984). Pornography: Its effects on violence against women. In N. Malamuth and E. Donnerstein (Eds) Pornography and Sexual Aggression. New York: Academic Press.
Women in Strip Clubs Speak Out
Abuse by Customers
91% -- Verbally abused
52% -- Called cunt
61% -- Called whore
85% -- Called bitch
88% -- Arm grabbed
73% -- Breast grabbed
91% -- Buttocks grabbed
27% -- Hair pulled
58% -- Pinched
24% -- Slapped
36% -- Bitten
76% -- Customers flicked cigarettes, ice, coins
70% -- Customers followed them home
42% -- Customers stalked them
Abuse by Managers or Male Staff
85% -- Verbally or physically abused
21% -- Called cunt
18% -- Called slut
33% -- Called bitch
12% -- Pinched
12% -- Slapped
Women who work in strip clubs are abused by both customers and management.
Holsopple, K. From the dressing room: Women in strip clubs speak out. Whisper, Vol 9, p 9. (Also at www.ccv.org.)
I never called it rape
Men who engaged in date rape rated as “very frequently” how often read Playboy, Penthouse, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, Genesis, Oui, or Hustler.
Warshaw, R. (1988). I never called it rape. New York, Harper and Row.
Rape fantasies as a function of exposure to violent sexual stimuli
Males were exposed to either an arousing rape slide-audio presentation or an arousing non-rape slide-audio presentation. Later they were asked to try to reach as high a level of sexual arousal they could without any direct stimulation of the penis. Those who had been exposed to the rape presentation created more sexually violent fantasies than those exposed to the non-rape presentation.
Malamuth, N. (1981). Rape fantasies as a function of exposure to violent sexual stimuli. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 10, 33-47.
Women’s attitudes and fantasies about rape as a function of early exposure to pornography
Women who were exposed to pornography as children were more likely to accept the rape myth and to have sexual fantasies that involved rape.
Corne, S., Briere, J. & Esses, L. (1992). Women’s attitudes and fantasies about rape as a function of early exposure to pornography. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol 7 No 4, pp 454-461.
Sexual stratification, pornography, and rape in the United States
The correlation between rape rates and circulation rates for eight pornographic magazines (Playboy, Hustler, Oui, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, And Genesis) in 50 States was +.64. States with higher circulation rates had higher rape rates.
Baron, L. & Straus, M. (1984). Sexual stratification, pornography, and rape in the United States. In N. Malamuth and E. Donnerstein (Eds) Pornography and Sexual Aggression. New York: Academic Press.
Deviant sexual behavior in children and young adolescents
In a sample of 30 juveniles who had committed sex offenses, exposure to pornographic material at a young age was common. The researchers reported that 29 of the 30 juveniles had been exposed to X-rated magazines or videos; the average age at exposure was about 7.5 years.
Wieckowski, E., Hartsoe, P., Mayer, A., and Shortz, J. 1998. Deviant sexual behavior in children and young adolescents: Frequency and patterns. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 10, 4, 293-304.
Is sexual erotica associated with sexual deviance in adolescent males?
Juvenile sex offenders were questioned about their use of sexually explicit material. Only 11% said they did not use sexually explicit material. Of those who used the material, 74% said it increased their sexual arousal.
Becker, J. V. & Stein, R. M. (1991). Is sexual erotica associated with sexual deviance in adolescent males? International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 14, 85-95.
Child Pornography Offenses are a Valid Diagnostic Indicator of Pedophilia
Individuals who use child pornography and have offended against children and individuals who use child pornography and have not offended against children are more likely to be pedophiles than individuals who have offended against adults or individuals who have offended against children but do not use child pornography.
Seto, M., Cantor, J. & Blanchard, R. (2006). Child Pornography Offenses are a Valid Diagnostic Indicator of Pedophilia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 3, 610-615.
Shifting Preferences in Pornography Consumption
Male and female students and non students were shown videos for one hour each week for six weeks. Half of these subjects were shown pornography which was non violent and included common sexual practices. Half of the subjects were shown videos that had no pornography, no violence and were innocuous. Two weeks after they stopped seeing the videos they were all given an opportunity to watch videos in private. Those who saw the pornography were significantly more likely to pick harder core pornography which included sex with animals and sex that included violence. Those who had seen the innocuous videos were unlikely to pick the pornographic videos to watch. They were especially unlikely to pick the hardcore pornographic videos to watch.
Watching pornographic videos increases the interest in watching pornographic videos that are more hardcore and contain unusual and/or pathological sexual behaviors.
Zillmann, D. & Bryant, J. (1986). Shifting preferences in pornography consumption. Communication Research, 13, 4, 560-578.
Linking male use of the sex industry to controlling behaviors in violent relationships
Males who are involved with interpersonal violence in their relationships and who use pornography and go to strip clubs use more controlling behaviors with their partners. These males engage in more sexual abuse, stalking and marital rape than abusers who do not use pornography and go to strip clubs.
Simmons, C. A., Lehmann, P. & Collier-Tennison, S. (2008). Linking male use of the sex industry to controlling behaviors in violent relationships: An exploratory analysis. Violence Against Women, 14, 406-417.
Exhibitionistic and voyeuristic behavior in a Swedish national population survey
In a Swedish survey, 3% reported at least one incident of exhibitionistic behavior; 8% reported at least one incident of voyeuristic behavior. Both exhibitionism and voyeurism were correlated to increased pornography use. Both exhibitionists and voyeurs had an increased likelihood of engaging in other atypical sexual behaviors such as sadomasochism or cross-dressing. Exhibitionists and voyeurs showed increased sexual fantasies that mirrored their behavior but also showed an increase in sexual fantasies in other atypical sexual behaviors as well. While exhibitionists had more exhibitionistic sexual fantasies than voyeurs or normals, they also had more voyeuristic sexual fantasies than normals. Voyeurs had more voyeuristic sexual fantasies than exhibitionists or normals but they also had more exhibitionist sexual fantasies than normals.
Langstrom, N. & Seto, M. (2006). Exhibitionistic and voyeuristic behavior in a Swedish national population survey. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35, 427-435.
Transvestic fetishism in the general population: Prevalence and correlates
In a Swedish survey, 3% reported having at least one incident of transvestic fetishism. Transvestic fetishism was found to correlate with increased pornography use. Tansvestic fetishism was strongly related to experiences of sexual arousal from using pain, spying on others having sex and exposing one’s genital to a stranger.
Langstrom, N. & Zucker, K. (2005). Transvestic fetishism in the general population: Prevalence and correlates. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 31, 87-95.
Exploring the connection between pornography and sexual violence
Subjects were 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 incident 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; 21% thought it increased the frequency of the abuse 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 sample, 12 % said the abuser imitated the pornography and 14% said someone had tried to force them to do something they had seen in pornography.
Bergen, R. & Bogle, K. (2000). Exploring the connection between pornography and sexual violence. Violence and Victims, 15, 3, 227-234.
Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police, crime and live pornography
Chiefs of Police in the state of Pennsylvania were asked if live pornography (strip clubs, pornography shops with peep shows, etc) caused an increase in crime and a decrease in the quality of life in a community.
The majority of chiefs of police felt that it did increase crime and reduced the quality of life in a community. Chiefs who had those activities in their own communities felt even more strongly that it caused crime.
"CATHARSIS THEORY" or "CATHARSIS EFFECT"
Some pornography supporters believe in and support the so-called "catharsis theory" or "catharsis effect," which proposes that the use of pornography actually reduces sexual abuse, assaults, and crimes by providing a "healthy outlet" for the violent, cruel and abusive sexual fantasies and urges of pornography users, which in turn then hypothetically keeps them from acting out those destructive urges "in real life" on others against their will. For information refuting this theory, please see below.
"Many still believe that exposure to pornography is cathartic or provides “a release of wishes, desires or drives such that they do not have to be acted on in reality” (Kelly, Wingfield, & Regan, 1995, p. 23). It is important to critique the catharsis theory before launching into Russell’s opposing theory. Similarly, it is important to review existing research on men’s propensity to sexually victimize children. This section provides a brief analysis of both topics.
Catharsis vs. Intensified Desire
According to the catharsis theory, the repeated exposure of males to pornography “leads to a steadily decreasing interest” in the material (Bart & Jozsa, 1980, p. 210). This exposure is frequently described as a “safety valve.” As applied to child pornography, this theory assumes that repeated viewing of child pornography decreases viewers’ desire for sex with children. Hence, according to this theory, viewers of child pornography should be less likely to sexually victimize children.
The very influential but poorly designed experiment of Howard, Reifler, and Liptzin is widely cited as proof of the validity of catharsis theory (Diamond, 1980; Howard, Reifler, & Liptzin, 1991). Howard et al.’s experiment was based on a small sample of 23 white college males and 9 comparable controls. The researchers exposed the subjects and controls to a pornographic movie, then tested both groups for sexual arousal. The subjects were then exposed to adult pornography for 90 minutes a day for 15 days, whereas the controls viewed two non-pornographic movies over the same period. Twenty of the 23 subjects were then shown a third pornographic movie. Howard et al. (1991) found that “all subjects reported being initially stimulated” by the pornography, followed by “a marked decrease in interest in pornography as a result of the exposure” (p. 111).
It is important to note that the “subjects’ choice of pornography was severely limited” (Zillmann, 1989, p. 130). Hence, Howard et al.’s experiment only showed that a tiny sample of males became bored when exposed over time to a limited choice of material. Despite this, many pro-pornography advocates point to Howard et al.’s conclusion that all “legal restrictions to the availability of pornography” should be removed (p. 127). Indeed, this was one of the experiments on which the 1970 Commission on Obscenity and Pornography based its identical conclusion.
Zillmann and Bryant (1986) conducted an experiment based on 160 subjects that demonstrated the invalidity of Howard et al.’s conclusion. They recruited two samples: a student sample that included an equal number of males and females randomly drawn from undergraduate directories at two midwestern universities; and a nonstudent sample of males and females “drawn via random-digit dialing, with proportional sampling within all metropolitan exchanges” (p. 563). Zillmann and Bryant’s sample consisted of 20 subjects in each experimental condition.
Zillmann and Bryant gave both their male and female subjects a greater range of pornography to view than the limited materials available to the subjects in Howard et al.’s experiment. These researchers found that the subjects’ boredom after repeatedly viewing the same pornographic material motivated them to switch to viewing different and more extreme pornography, such as material involving the infliction of pain, violent pornography, and “uncommon or unusual sexual practices,” including bondage, sadomasochism and bestiality (Zillmann & Bryant, 1986, p. 577). Howard et al. had failed to consider this possibility, resulting in their invalid conclusion.
Although masturbation is not addressed in the experiments of Howard et al. and Zillmann and Bryant, this is a major goal of pornography. The ejaculatory pleasure obtained from masturbation intensifies the association between it and the pornography viewed, a theory confirmed by considerable experimental research (Cline, 1974; Osanka & Johann, 1989). Most males consider masturbation a very inferior alternative to sex with the type of individuals they desire. Thus, viewers may desire to act out the sexual acts depicted in pornography. For this reason and others, researchers have concluded that catharsis theory is clearly not substantiated (Sommers & Check, 1987).
Research aside, common sense and rationality unequivocally challenge the catharsis theory. Very few people would likely support a proposal to solve the problem of parents physically beating their children by having them watch movies that show parents battering and torturing their children. Why is it only in the case of misogynistic pornography that so many individuals—including a handful of researchers—believe that exposure dissipates the problem? The plain inconsistency and irrationality of the catharsis theory suffice to dismiss the notion that pornography serves as a “safety valve.""
"A recent study of 101 sexually abusive children in Australia documented increased aggressiveness in boys who use pornography. Almost all had Internet access and 90 percent admitted to seeing pornography online. One-fourth said an older sibling or friend had shown them how to access pornography online, sometimes against their will; another fourth said that using pornography was their primary reason for going online. When questioned separately, nearly all of their parents said they doubted their child would access any pornography via the Internet."
Pamela Paul, "From Pornography to Porno to Porn: How Porn Became the Norm," a paper for the conference "The Social Costs of Pornography."
For videos of panel discussions with Pamela Paul, as well as links to all of her articles and her other groundbreaking work addressing the harms of pornography, including her testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, "Why the Government Should Care about Pornography,” as well as information about her best-selling book, "Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families," please see our page on this website about the work of Pamela Paul. Click here.
HOW PORN FUELS RAPE CULTURE
INTERVEW WITH TED BUNDY ON HOW HIS PORNOGRAPHY USE FUELED HIS SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND MURDER OF MANY WOMEN
For more information about the connections between pornography and sex crimes please see the sexual violence page of the extremely informative new website Pornography Harms.
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