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**** Good for Society, Study Reveals
Scientific examination of the subject has found that as the use of **** increases, the rate of sex crimes goes down.
****ography. Most people have seen it, and have a strong opinion about it. Many of those opinions are negative—some people argue that ready access to ****ography disrupts social order, encouraging people to commit rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And even if ****ography doesn’t trigger a crime, they say, it contributes to the degradation of women. It harms the women who are depicted by ****ography, and harms those who do not participate but are encouraged to perform the acts depicted in it by men who are acculturated by it. Many even adamantly believe that ****ography should become illegal.
Alternatively, others argue that ****ography is an expression of fantasies that can actually inhibit sexual activity, and act as a positive displacement for sexual aggression. ****ography offers a readily available means of satisfying sexual arousal (masturbation), they say, which serves as a substitute for dangerous, harmful, and illegal activities.
Some feminists even claim that ****ography can empower women by loosening them from the shackles of social prudery and restrictions.
But what do the data say? Over the years, many scientists have investigated the link between ****ography (considered legal under the First Amendment in the United States unless judged “obscene”) and sex crimes and attitudes towards women. And in every region investigated, researchers have found that as ****ography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased.
It’s not hard to find a study population, given how widespread ****ography has become. The United States alone produces 10,000 ****ographic movies each year. The Free Speech Coalition, a **** industry–lobbying group, estimates that adult video/DVD sales and rentals amount to at least $4 billion per year. The Internet is a rich source, with 40 million adults regularly visiting **** Web sites, and more than one-quarter of regular users downloading **** at work. And it’s not just men who are interested: Nelsen/Net reports that 9.4 million women in the United States accessed online ****ography Web sites in the month of September 2003. According to the conservative media watchdog group Family Safe Media, the **** industry makes more money than the top technology companies combined, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon.
To examine the effect this widespread use of **** may be having on society, researchers have often exposed people to **** and measured some variable such as changes in attitude or predicted hypothetical behaviors, interviewed sex offenders about their experience with ****ography, and interviewed victims of sex abuse to evaluate if ****ography was involved in the assault. Surprisingly few studies have linked the availability of **** in any society with antisocial behaviors or sex crimes. Among those studies none have found a causal relationship and very few have even found one positive correlation.
Despite the widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, according to national FBI Department of Justice statistics, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the Internet. The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. He showed that for the years from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of ****ography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last 2 decades, and in those countries that allowed for the possession of child ****ography, child sex abuse has declined. Significantly, no community in the United States has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers.
In terms of the use of ****ography by sex offenders, the police sometimes suggest that a high percentage of sex offenders are found to have used ****ography. This is meaningless, since most men have at some time used ****ography. Looking closer, Michael Goldstein and Harold Kant found that rapists were more likely than nonrapists in the prison population to have been punished for looking at ****ography while a youngster, while other research has shown that incarcerated nonrapists had seen more ****ography, and seen it at an earlier age, than rapists. What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing. Richard Green too has reported that both rapists and child molesters use less ****ography than a control group of “normal” males.
Now let’s look at attitudes towards women. Studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators—female as well as male—essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to ****ography and any measure of misogynist attitudes. No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to ****ography—by any definition—has had a cause-and-effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to **** and calloused attitudes toward women.
There is no doubt that some people have claimed to suffer adverse effects from exposure to ****ography—just look at testimony from women’s shelters, divorce courts and other venues. But there is no evidence it was the cause of the claimed abuse or harm.
Ultimately, there is no freedom that can’t be and isn’t misused. This can range from the freedom to bear arms to the freedom to bear children (just look at “Octomom”). But it doesn’t mean that the freedom of the majority should be restricted to prevent the abuses of the few. When people transgress into illegal behavior, there are laws to punish them, and those act as a deterrent. In the United States, where one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated, just imagine if ****ography were illegal—there’d be more people in prison than out.
Adapted from “****ography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review,” Int J Law Psychiatry, 32:304–14, 2009.