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“Taxi Porn” Study: Porn Fantasies Can Warp Consumers’ Expectations for Reality

By January 10, 2020 February 20th, 2020 No Comments

In our porn-saturated society, we all know the jokes about getting with the plumber or pizza delivery guy like unrealistic porn plots portray.

Like that episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler get unlimited 24/7 porn on their cable, and it starts to warp their perception of reality. After days of the guys watching porn, Chandler comes home to Joey after running errands only to say, “I was just at the bank, and there was this hot teller, and she didn’t ask me to go do it in the vault! …We have to turn off the porn.”

Here’s the clip, slight trigger warning for the implied porn on their TV screen:


The audience laughs, of course. But as much of a “joke” as it is for nonstop porn to influence the way consumers go about their daily life and interact with other people, a new study shows that this can actually happen.

Porn can actually warp consumers’ perceptions of realistic sexual situations, especially as they relate to strangers.

More specifically, taxi-driver themed porn makes men think women will be more likely to engage in unprotected, rough sex with strangers or co-workers on their commutes, the new study suggests. Sounds exactly like Joey and Chandler, right?

Don't Buy The Lie - White

Past taxi porn viewing and current pornified sexpectations

According to reports about the new study, many prior studies had examined “the association between porn use and various attitudes,” co-author on the study Daniel Miller of James Cook University in Australia told Fatherly. “However, the nature of these studies made it hard to determine causation.” Until now.

The study of 418 men was conducted online to allow for more honesty. “Coming into a lab and watching porn while a researcher is present is a very weird situation,” Miller said. “Porn watching is a private activity.”

Related: Violent Sexpectations For Virgins: What Hardcore Porn Is Teaching Our Generation

All participants were surveyed on their porn use over the past six months. While the control group watched educational videos from YouTube, the experimental group watched one of two 11-minute “taxi porn” clips from a popular porn site: either “Fake Taxi, Stranded French Tourist Earns Extra Cash,” or “Fake Taxi, Heavy Metal Grupie [sic] Likes it Hard and Rough.” In both clips, a young woman has rough, unprotected sex with her driver and appears to like it. Then, the study participants were asked to evaluate how likely a woman was to accept a sexual proposition from a taxi driver or her boss in response to two written hypothetical scenarios. The first mirrored the premise of the porn scenes, in which a taxi driver propositions a female passenger; in the second, a male boss hits on his female employee.

Sure enough, researchers found that there was a link between past porn exposure and the likelihood that a participant would think the woman in either of those hypothetical scenarios would engage in “porn-like” sex with the taxi driver or the workplace boss—but it wasn’t rooted in the videos the participants had just watched. Rather, scientists found that study participants who had watched taxi-themed or boss-themed pornography within the past six months were more likely to think that women would be interested in having unprotected, rough, porn-like sex with a stranger or manager. Interesting, right?

Related: Expectations Vs. Reality: How Porn Messes With What Consumers Find Attractive

“I was surprised by how many participants indicated that they had watched taxi-themed porn in the past,” Miller said.

He also recommends follow up research look at the effects porn has on the propensity to have one-night stands, and how it influences how men interpret women’s willingness to have sex. “If you are a porn user—and according to surveys, very large segments of the population are—it might be worth considering if porn has had an influence over your thinking, even at a very basic level,” Miller said to Fatherly.

“The study provides some evidence that pornography can influence consumers’ judgments of social reality, by affecting consumers’ perceptions of the likelihood of women enthusiastically engaging in the kinds of sexual practices commonly depicted in pornography,” the team writes.

Fighter/Lover Card Front And Back

Not the only study of its kind

In other types of porn influence research, concrete studies have shown that men who watch porn in which condom usage is not depicted are less likely to use condoms themselves.

Not only that, researchers have repeatedly found that people who have seen a significant amount of porn are more likely to start having sex sooner and with more partners; and to engage in riskier kinds of sex, putting them at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

Related: Iowa Man Admits Porn Inspired Him To Expose Himself To A Woman In A Grocery Store

In short, what are all of these studies showing? They show that porn can and does influence a consumer’s expectations for sexual scenarios, whether they realize it or not.

Sociologist Dr. Michael Kimmel has found that, specifically, men’s sexual fantasies have become heavily influenced by porn [1] which gets awfully tricky when their partners don’t want to act out the degrading or dangerous acts porn shows. [2] As a result, individuals who consume pornography have been shown to be more likely to go to prostitutes, [3] often looking for a chance to live out what they’ve seen in porn. [4] In one survey of former prostitutes, 80% said that customers had shown them images of porn to illustrate what they wanted to do. [5]

Bottom line is that whether you’re Joey, Chandler, or a regular person watching porn online like the dudes in the above study, porn can and does warp expectations of reality. Don’t buy the lies.

Citations

[1] Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 27.
[2] Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). “Without Porn…I Wouldn’t Know Half The Things I Know Now”: A Qualitative Study Of Pornography Use Among A Sample Of Urban, Low-Income, Black And Hispanic Youth. Journal Of Sex Research, 52(7), 736-746. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.960908; MacKinnon, C. A. (2005). Pornography As Trafficking. Michigan Journal Of International Law 26(4), 999–1000. Retrieved From Http://Repository.Law.Umich.Edu/Mjil/Vol26/Iss4/1; Raymond, J. (2004). Public Hearing On The Impact Of The Sex Industry In The EU, Committee On Women’s Rights And Equal Opportunities Public Hearing At The European Parliament. New York: Coalition Against Trafficking In Women.
[3] Monto, M. A. (1999). Focusing On The Clients Of Street Prostitutes: A Creative Approach To Reducing Violence Against Women. Paper Submitted To The U.S. Department Of Justice.
[4] Malarek, V. (2009). Johns: Sex For Sale And The Men Who Buy It. New York: Arcade, 193–96;MacKinnon, C. A. (2005). Pornography As Trafficking. Michigan Journal Of International Law 26(4), 999–1000. Retrieved From Http://Repository.Law.Umich.Edu/Mjil/Vol26/Iss4/1; Raymond, J. (2004). Public Hearing On The Impact Of The Sex Industry In The EU, Committee On Women’s Rights And Equal Opportunities Public Hearing At The European Parliament. New York: Coalition Against Trafficking In Women.
[5] Globbe, E., Harrigan, M., And Ryan, J. (1990). A Facilitator’s Guide To Prostitution: A Matter Of Violence Against Women. Minneapolis, Minn.: WHISPER.

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