Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography on Family Values; Women's Desire to Have Daughters Plummets
In 1988, Dolf Zillman (Indiana University) and Jennings Bryant (University of Alabama) published the following study in Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 9, No. 4, 518-544.
Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography on Family Values
Male and female students and nonstudents were exposed to videotapes featuring common, nonviolent pornography or innocuous content. Exposure was in hourly sessions in six consecutive weeks. In the seventh week, subjects participated in an ostensibly unrelated study on societal institutions and personal gratifications. Marriage, cohabitational relationships, and related issues were judged on an especially created Value-of-Marriage questionnaire. The findings showed a consistent impact of pornography consumption. Exposure prompted, among other things, greater acceptance of pre- and extramarital sex and greater tolerance of nonexclusive sexual access to intimate partners. It enhanced the belief that male and female promiscuity are natural and that the repression of sexual inclinations poses a health risk. Exposure lowered the evaluation of marriage, making this institution appear less significant and less viable in the future. Exposure also reduced the desire to have children and promoted the acceptance of male dominance and female servitude...
Details of these findings are available in a "Paper prepared for the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health", Arlington, VA, June 22-24, 1986 (PDF). Some excerpts:
Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to one another, and who will part shortly, never to meet again. Not by accident, the parties involved accept no curtailing rules for their social and sexual conduct, enjoy sexual stimulation for what it is, and do so at no social or emotional expense. Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring, and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments, and costs. Irrespective of the merits or demerits of the projection that much gratification is accessible from sexual activities involving unattached others, the projection is diametrically opposed to the values that promote enduring social aggregations, especially those that are to serve reproduction. Enduring intimate relationships curtail personal freedoms to some degree. Relationships that provide economic and emotional security are based on responsibility, if not on sacrifice. And where, in such a relationship, sexuality is vital and valued, partners tend to lay claim to exclusive sexual access. Finally, the decision to have a child or children, whether by a married couple or by persons otherwise aggregated, is probably the greatest responsibility that human beings accept. It amounts to restricted freedom, servitude, and to enormous expenditures for a good portion of adult life. If sexuality is considered part and parcel of such enduring relationships, there can be no question that it comes at a forbidding price. In terms of sheer recreational sexual joy, then, these relationships compare poorly with the short-lived ones that are continually exhibited in pornography--those that invariably show that great pleasures can be had at next to no cost. Prolonged consumption of entertainment with clear messages of this kind thus must be expected to impact profoundly the perception and evaluation of sexuality and its social institutions and arrangements.
Strong perceptual and attitudinal changes were indeed observed. The perception of the very nature of sexuality changed... [P]romiscuity in both men and women was deemed more natural after prolonged consumption of pornography than without such consumption. The effect was uniform for male and female respondents and for students and nonstudents. Beliefs in the faithfulness of sexual partners predictably declined with the greater acceptance of promiscuity...
Prolonged consumption of pornography fostered greater acceptance of pre- and extramarital sexual relations for self and intimate partners. Along with that, it fostered acceptance of sexually nonexclusive relations with parters. Prolonged consumption also led to greater acceptance of the myth of health risks from sexual repression. Pornography apparently manages to convey the idea that unrestrained sexuality is wholesome and healthy, and that any restraint poses risks... Additionally, prolonged consumption of pornography was found to counteract gender equality. For intimate relationships, male dominance was favored over egalitarianism...
Pornography consumption had a most powerful effect on evaluations of the desirability and viability of marriage. Endorsement of marriage as an essential institution dropped from 60.0% in the control groups to 38.8% in the treatment groups...
The most astonishing effect of prolonged pornography consumption on family values, however, concerns the desire to have children... [E]xposure to pornography reduced the desire to have children, and it did so in a uniform fashion. Male and female respondents, students and nonstudents alike, wanted fewer children on the average. The desire to have male offspring dropped 31%. The desire for female offspring, being lower overall, dropped by about twice that margin: 61%. This reduction proved specific to gender. Male respondents expressed little desire for female offspring altogether. It's the desire of females for offspring of their own kind that, after consumption of pornography, shrank to one third of its normal strength...
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Jenna Jameson's Tragic Backstory; Seeking Virgins with Paris Hilton
COOPER: ...[I]f you had a daughter, if she came to you and said that she wanted to get into that industry?
JAMESON: I'd tie her in the closet. Only because this is such a hard industry for a woman to get ahead and get the respect that she deserves. I fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, and it's not something that I would want my daughter to go through. It's not something that any parent would choose for their child.
Dan Quayle Was Right
The social-science evidence is in: though it may benefit the adults involved, the dissolution of intact two-parent families is harmful to large numbers of children. Moreover, the author argues, family diversity in the form of increasing numbers of single-parent and stepparent families does not strengthen the social fabric but, rather, dramatically weakens and undermines society. First published in The Atlantic Monthly, 1993.