Could Porn Help Prevent Rape?

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A new study, cleverly branded "The Sunny Side of Smut," says porn could deter sexual violence.

A new report released by Scientific American suggests that pornography could deter sexual violence

The question of whether porn is dangerous or harmless is one that society has had trouble answering for some time. A recent article in Newsweek suggests that men who buy sex, including pornography, are more likely to engage in violent sexual behavior. But the Scientific American says the opposite: porn could actually lower the amount of sexual violence. Men Who Buy Sex Are More Likely To Be Criminals

According to the report, "some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires." 

The report also cites assertions from Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, who says that although porn is more available now than it has ever been, "rates of rapes and sexual assault in the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the 1960s."

Hm — could there perhaps be a confounding variable there? Like the fact that our society has gotten more progressive in general? Or maybe better policing?

Another study, published in 2004 in the Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, supports the pro-porn claims: Researchers at Texas Tech University found that male and female college students who watched porn didn't necessarily display a more negative attitude toward women, but were actually more likely than other respondents to believe that women should be protected from harm.

What do you think? Does porn encourage violent acts like rape? Does it encourage negative thoughts toward women? Or is it just a safe, fun outlet for sexual desire? Sound off in the comments.

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