Boys Who Watch Porn At Young Age More Likely To Hold Sexist Views

Gone are the days when countless adolescents had their first experience of sexuality by stumbling across an old Playboy magazine stuffed under the couch. Pornography, even in its most graphic and extreme forms, is now just a few clicks away from anybody with a smartphone or a laptop.

New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has taken a look into this problem and found that the younger a boy is when they are first exposed to porn, the more likely he is to believe that men should dominate women.

“We expected that the younger the boys were when first exposed to pornography, the more likely they were to adopt playboy norms as well as norms of masculine power over women,” researcher Alyssa Bischmann said in a statement.

Weirdly that was not the case. The older the boy was, the more likely he was to have playboy attitudes of heightened sexuality and interest in multiple sexual partners, or what the researchers call “playboy norms”.

“There’s not been a lot research into masculinity and pornography,” said co-author Chrissy Richardson. “We don’t have a lot of theories that would explain this unexpected inverse relationship between pornography use and playboy norms.”

The team revealed their findings this week at the American Psychological Association conference in Washington, DC. Their study surveyed 330 men, aged 17 to 54, about their views on women, sexuality, and their personal experiences with pornography.

On average, the people in the survey first experienced porn when they were 13. The youngest was just 5 years old and the oldest was 26. For around 43 percent, the first time they saw it was by accident, while 33 percent said they sought it out and 17 percent said they were forced into viewing it by someone else. The remaining 6 percent did not answer.

During their presentation, the psychologists said previous studies have shown that up to 87 percent of young adult men watch pornography, around half of which watch it at least once a week.

So what’s the solution to all this? Few would argue they know the answer. The UK recently passed the Digital Economy Bill that imposes stricter age verifications for online pornography and pay-per-view TV porn. The politicians behind the bill claimed it was “to make the Internet safer,” although some commentators believe this harks back to a “draconian era of prohibition.”

Whatever your personal opinion is on the matter, many researchers argue that more study is crucial if we want to understand the numerous problems regarding public health and society. After all, porn has been around for thousands of years and it certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

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