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A short thread on some #porn research (could be longer but I'm sick and trying to finish a PhD on porn also). We have seen a lot of media talk lately in #Ireland, for obvious reasons. I want to share some recent studies in an effort to add some research into the discussion
Im not defending porn (my personal opinion is the idea of porn is fine, however I recognise the industry has some issues- like any industry). But I am concerned with how we use porn as a lazy scapegoat, especially in the media.The last time we had a national conversation on porn,
it was a lot of fearmongering rather than science, and soundbites rather than funding for sex education. See my analysis of this here: dcu.ie/news/news/2018…
I, like many sex educators in Ireland have called for funding for modern, objective, inclusive sex education for years, and we are still waiting. @LeoVaradkar today stated he was concerned about kids learning about sex form porn, yet he blocked the sex ed bill from @solidarityie
You can read my thoughts on this here:thejournal.ie/readme/opinion…
There's no point in glib soundbites while refusing to provide modern sex education- its spin and PR, not action. The government is saying its looking at following the UK porn ban. Which is ridiculous, as it will not work for any kid who knows what a VPN is.
See the explainer with the @journal.ie here on why this wont work: thejournal.ie/uk-porn-block-…
Porn research is relatively new, and is outdated fast. Research from the 80s and pre-internet research does not hold up now, and we have a serious lack of rigorous, ethical and methodologically sound research that is free from bias.
For example, we have studies on porn and violent content- Some studies say 88% of porn is violent, others say 2% of porn is violent. These studies all have methodological issues, and are subject to bias and issues around material chosen.
Other studies such as Hesse et al (2019) looked at 357 adults and found no evidence to show porn affecting relationships, either negatively or positively. Kohut et al (2016) found 25k porn viewers had more egalitarian views on women, abortion and women working.
Another study looked at young people in Croatia over 23 months and found that the more sex ed kids had, the more they view porn as unrealistic. Everywhere that has decent sex ed has lower rates of STIs' lower age of first sexual encounters, and lower rates of teenage pregnancy.
But this is not just about adult porn. One of those kids had over 16,000 images on two devices. As a porn researcher, I wouldnt even have that many. Most people wouldn't have anywhere near that amount.
The content was also mixed between filmed child sexual abuse and animal porn, and adults in porn- but we don't know the breakdown of the percentages. We also don't know how he reacted to those images.
We don't have a large body of data on how Irish kids use porn. We mainly have anecdotes, and a lot of those anecdotes come from people who would be happy to ban porn already. What we do know is that in Ireland, we have a history of misogyny, and of burying our heads in the sand.
We need to ask what messages about women were present in the home, what other content was consumed (because nobody consumes porn and no other media). Indeed, he was watching YouTube videos with links to the far right, and their views on women would not be described as positive.
What level of sex education was there, what impact did how we describe the murder of women in the media have? We still remember how the media spoke about the Hawes family. We also don't talk enough about narcissism and objectification, and how this leads to domestic violence.
We could all benefit from open, honest, healthy conversations about domestic violence, misogyny, sex, porn, bullying, gender, society, violence, narcissism, consent, healthy relationships, the far right, etc. Rather than sticking to glib soundbites and a lack of action.
We can choose to refuse to continue burying our heads in the sand or we can actively work to protect each other and build a better society with effective measures, not knee jerk, uninformed responses.
Also, to get access to some studies on porn, check out @BrainOnPorn for some good research
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