In writing this article, it is not our intention to prove scientifically, or otherwise, that behind every violent sex crime there is a pornography problem.

Clearly, violent sexual crimes existed long before pornographic magazines and porn sites came into the picture. The purpose of this article is to address the concerning misinformation that many pro-porn defenders promote by saying that pornography is totally harmless, or by saying that we lack the necessary  “conclusive scientific data” that pornography helps to fuel sex crimes. (We have heard countless people even argue that pornography is helpful because it allows people to view their deviant sexual fantasies, rather than practicing them on another person.) These pro-porn people contend that pornography actually decreases instances of rape and sexual assault because it is an acceptable sexual outlet. However, there is already enough evidence of a causal link between porn and sex crimes to make the claim that pornography is extremely harmful.

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For example, a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Communication is showing concrete evidence that viewing pornography increases the likelihood of physical and verbal sexual aggression.

The researchers sought out to answer one question: Is pornography consumption correlated with committing actual acts of sexual aggression? They performed a meta-analysis (collecting data from numerous studies done by different researchers to show one particular finding) of 22 studies from 7 different countries. Their findings?

“[Porn] consumption was indeed associated with sexual aggression in the United States and internationally, among males and females, and in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Associations were stronger for verbal than physical sexual aggression, although both were significant. The general pattern of results suggested that violent content may be an exacerbating factor.”

The unfortunate thing is that this is not a completely shocking discovery. For those who have studied the link between pornography and sexual violence, these findings only make the case more concrete. Science and research have proven that it is difficult for even non-violent porn viewers to be uninfluenced by what they watch.

Study after study has found that even watching “regular,” non-violent correlates with the viewer being more likely to use verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to push women into sex. These studies also show that those who consistently watch non-violent porn are more likely to support statements that promote abuse and sexual aggression towards both women and girls because porn portrays an unequal power difference between partners where men are dominant and women are submissive. Finally, an analysis of 33 different studies found that exposure to non-violent porn measurably increased aggressive behavior, and that viewing violent porn increased even further. These effects include having violent sexual fantasies which can lead to actually committing violent assaults. Not surprisingly, the more violent the porn, the more likely the viewer is to support and act out in violence.

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Of course, not every porn watcher is automatically going to turn into an abuser, while that doesn’t mean pornography consumption isn’t still associated with a wave of violence on a massive scale. The vast majority of the porn viewed by millions of people every day is teaching that humiliation and violence are a normal part of what sex is supposed to be—and that education is changing what happens in bedrooms around the world. It’s making it harder for many viewers to feel aroused unless they can do the things they’ve seen in porn, and it’s leaving their partners feeling like they have to play along. The more porn teaches us that aggression is a part of sex, the more that violence is being made invisible.

We fight because we can’t ignore what research is telling us about how porn is harming relationships and fueling domestic violence. Join us in speaking out about the real harms of porn and fighting for real love.

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What YOU Can Do

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