Will the use of Porn by teens lead to sexual assault?

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Porn is a powerful teacher of sexual beliefs, specific sexual behaviors and attitudes toward women and children. I found some interesting statistics on porn, not the least of which is that 70% of men ages 18-24 visit a porn site at least once a month. A study done by Psychology Today indicates that porn has the following effects on relationships. One, porn-free relationships are stronger, with a lower rate of infidelity. Two, watching porn diminishes relationship commitment. And three, the fantasy alternative leads to real-world cheating. So does that mean if you’re a woman and dating a man 18-24 that you have only a 30 percent chance of being in a committed relationship? Probably.

An interesting study on VAWnet.org defines pornography as material depicting sex in a context of domination or degradation. It points out that child pornography, which is made to appear like it uses children but doesn’t, is currently legal. That just seems wrong to me. The article goes on to say that porn does not cause rape as some men who use porn don’t rape and some rapists don’t use porn. Yet it quotes a view by one researcher that, “if a person has relatively aggressive sexual inclinations resulting from various personal and/or cultural factors, some pornography exposure may activate and reinforce associated coercive tendencies and behaviors.” But, that “high pornography use is not necessarily indicative of high risk for sexual aggression.”

One researcher drew the following conclusions: pornography can: (1) be an important factor in shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality; (2) be used to initiate victims and break down their resistance to unwanted sexual activity; (3) contribute to a user’s difficulty in separating sexual fantasy and reality; and (4) provide a training manual for abusers.

Statistics found on Enough is Enough indicate that searches for “Teen Porn” have more than tripled between 2005-2013. Of the 304 scenes analyzed perpetrators of aggression were usually male, whereas targets of aggression were overwhelmingly female. Youth who look at violent x-rated material are six times more likely to report forcing someone to do something sexual versus youth not exposed to x-rated material. A study in the southeastern U.S. found that 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls (ages 12-15) reported use of sexually explicit media.

My answer to the question “ Will the use of Porn by teens lead to sexual assault?” is: it sure looks that way.

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