Porn May Deter Sexual Violence: Report

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The latest issue of Scientific American has a surprising report asserting that pornography could actually lower the rates of sexual violence.

Digg spotted the report which, among other noteworthy assertions, finds that:

... 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 cites several pieces of evidence to support its claim, including assertions from Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University.

Though pornography is perhaps more available now than ever, Ferguson contends that, “rates of rapes and sexual assault in the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the 1960s."

The report backs up a Reason Magazine article published in 2007. Reason pointed out that, in 2006, Clemson University economist Todd Kendall presented findings suggesting that states where Internet access expanded the fastest saw rape decline the most.

This more favorable view of pornography has its detractors, though, such as Morality in Media, which insists there's actually a link between pornography and violence against women.

The group points to a study featured on The Daily Beast with the subhead: A new study reveals how the burgeoning demand for porn and prostitutes is warping personal relationships and endangering women and girls."

The study, conducted by the non-profit Prostitution Research and Education, categorized two groups of 100 men as "sex buyers" and "non-sex buyers." Non-sex buyers were described as those who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.

The study found that:

All of the crimes known to be associated with violence against women were reported by sex buyers; none were reported by non-sex buyers.

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