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Friday, July 5, 2013

Essay on the Adverse Effects of Pornography

Essay on The Adverse Effects of Pornography
            The history of pornography dates back from the early civilizations in particular observed in several art forms. But even in the ancient times, prohibitions on pornography were clearly stated in secular laws. In the US, obscenity and pornography are focus of concern by legislators and law enforcers. Moreover, the development of the Internet has further opened the access to pornographic materials through various websites. There are several groups contending the benefits provided by pornography to society. But these groups are in the minority because most of the population in the US still maintain that pornographic materials are unnecessary. 

            There have been several studies made on the impact of pornography on the various aspects of people. As Manning (2008) attested, “pornography s influencing everything from how teens’ language and frame sexuality to how and why they pierce certain body parts to what they expect to give and receive in intimate relationships.” Based on recent studies, sexual materials are prevalent even with stringent restrictions from the government. Around 15% of adolescents aged 12-17 are exposed to X-rated materials either through websites or traditional sources. Also, 70 percent of children aged 15-17 have at least unintentionally viewed a pornographic material. From the first view, the respondents indicated that their viewing have increased to ‘very’ and ‘somewhat’ often (Ybarra, et al., 2011).

            Another study revealed that prolonged viewing of pornographic materials influences the belief of individuals on sexual activity in general. People develop an exaggerated perception of sodomy, sadomasochistic practices, and group sex (Zillman, 2000). The study stated that pornography, “creates dispositional changes including diminished trust in intimate partners, the abandonment of hopes for sexual exclusivity with partners, and the evaluation of promiscuity as the natural state. It fosters cynical attitudes about love, and sexual pleasures are considered attainable without affection toward partners.” When the viewer has difficulty in accepting the images being shown, there is evidence of distress and anger. 

            One of the harmful effects of pornography is that it contributes to sexual aggression. A study in the US conducted through the Growing up with Media Study shows that intentional showing of X-rated materials could lead to the development of aggressive sexual behaviour. This correlation has been consistent despite the introduction of various risk factors. The alarming part is that the violent tendencies are driven by the content of the X-rated materials, which are aggressive. Users who viewed violent X-rated materials are six times likely to develop aggressive sexual behaviour. Also, those who viewed non-violent X-rated are more likely to be violent sexually than those who have not been exposed to such materials (Bonino, et al., 2006). Flood (2009) stated that, “pornography is a poor sex educator. Most pornography is too explicit for younger children; most shows sex in unrealistic ways and neglects intimacy and romance; most pornography is sexist; and some is based on and eroticizes violence.”

            Some 312 juvenile offenders and non-sexual offenders were interviewed regarding their exposure to pornography. The initial results show no correlation between the age of the youth and age when the sexual abuse started including the number of victims and severity of the case. But the most important aspects of the study proved that there is a correlation between the exposure to pornography to sexual arousal (males under 12 years old), masochism (males and females from 13-18 years old), and sadism. Moreover, pornography is significantly correlated to felony assault, drug abuse, alcoholism, public disorderly conduct, and theft (Burton et al., 2012).

            The studies are only some of the proofs that pornography causes more harm than good. Despite the efforts of parents and the government to control it, pornography has remained prevalent and in fact anticipated by adolescents not just in the US but worldwide.


Bonino, S., Ciairano, S., Rabaglietti, E., and E. Cattelino. “Use of pornography and self-reported
engagement in sexual violence among adolescents.” European Journal of Developmental Psychology, vol. 3 (3), 2006: 265-288.
Burton, D., Leibowitz, G., Booxbaum, A.,and A. Howard. “Comparison by crime type of
juvenile delinquents on pornography exposure: The absence of relationships between exposure to pornography and sexual offense characteristics. The Journal of Forensic Nursing. 2012.
Flood, M. “The harms of pornography exposure among children and young people.” Child Abuse
Review, vol. 18. 2006: 384-400.
Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J., Hamburger, M., Diener-West, M.. and J. P. Leaf. “X-Rated
Material and Perpetration of Sexually Aggressive Behaviour Among Children and Adolescents: Is There a Link?” Aggressive Behaviour, vol. 37, 1-18.
Zillman, D. “Influence of unrestrained access to erotica on adolescents’ and young adults’
dispositions toward sexuality.” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 27S (2), 2006: 41-44.

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