Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography  

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"Prolonged consumption of nonviolent and violent pornography increases men’s propensity for committing rape [...] The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children [...] Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again [...] 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 ..." --"Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography"

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"Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography"[1] (1986) is a study by Dolf Zillmann.

It is a review of pornography research conducted for the Surgeon General of the United States in 1986. Zillmann noted that inconsistencies in the literature on pornography exist, but overall concluded that extensive viewing of pornographic material may produce some sociological effects he argued were negative, including a decreased respect for long-term, monogamous relationships, and an attenuated desire for procreation. He describes the hypothetical basis for these conclusions stating:

The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children ... Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again ... 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 ...

Other contemporary researchers disagreed, McKay & Dolff (in "The Impact of Pornography: An Analysis of Research and Summary of Findings"'; Working Papers on Pornography and Prostitution Report No. 3. Department of Justice, Canada.) noting "neglected in work on pornography is that adults capable of functioning in contemporary society are also quite able to distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy. That such a point requires stating is indicative of the overly simplistic model of human behaviour which is reflected in this type of work."

The effects as Gail Dines summarizes Zillman's 1989 study, include "alters perceptions of sexuality; specifically, it fosters presumptions of popularity for less common sexual practices; breeds discontent with the physical appearance and the sexual performance of intimate partners; trivializes rape as a criminal offense and also trivializes sexual child abuse as a criminal offense; and promotes insensitivity toward victims of sexual violence and promotes men's beliefs that they would be capable of committing rape. In addition, habitual male consumers of common pornography appear to be at greater risk of becoming sexually callous and sexually violent toward women than occasional users."

Avedon Carol in Nudes, Prudes and Attitudes (1994) has explained of Zillmann's term "sexually callous" that he meant "a greater tolerance for homosexuality; a belief that women should be able to choose other priorities beside motherhood; less belief in marriage; a belief that women may enjoy sex and choose to participate in it for reasons other than pleasing their husbands or conceiving children - in short, the goals of most feminist groups of the time. Zillmann was unable to demonstrate any increase in misogynist or violent attitudes and desires, although he did try." and stated of the sponsor of the report "Having noted the varied interpretability of Zillmann and Bryant's findings, the [USA] Surgeon-General's report said that the only reliable findings of the research that supposedly proved men were more callous towards women after looking at pornography was this: the group that saw pornography estimated more accurately the prevalence of sexual practices in society. The control group, which did not see the material, tended to underestimate grossly how common certain sexual acts were" and commented "But even this result may be less reliable than it appears, due to methodological problems. Zillmann and Bryant had tried to include non-students in their research, but many of them left the study group when they discovered they would be asked to look at pornography. This meant that the control group contained a different population - older, perhaps more settled married men, for example - and thus any differences in the answers the groups gave to the questions might only reflect different attitudes among the different groups, and not pornography effects at all. The study was no longer controlled. In the end, the research may only mean that older, married men are less critical of their partners than young, single psychology students, and that such young, educated men have more liberal attitudes about women's roles and homosexuality, and more realistic knowledge of sexual practices in society."

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