Are porn-loving men more sexist?

A new Danish study claims that straight men who watch a lot of porn may have "higher levels of sexism" than men who watch less.

Researchers asked 200 Danish men and women, aged 18-30, about their past porn consumption and administered a battery of personality tests. While the women who watched a lot of porn didn’t seem affected in terms of their sexist attitudes, men who were heavy consumers of porn had increased negative attitudes, even hostility, toward the opposite sex.

Yet, when the researchers brought in the subjects to view porn in a lab setting and then complete a personality test afterward, only those subjects who had already rated low in agreeableness on previous tests showed an increase in sexist views toward women immediately after watching the X-rated flick.

"The study is important because it may help nuance the view of effects of porn and enable us to better understand for whom adverse effects of porn are most likely and the mechanisms by which such effects occur," said lead author Gert Martin Hald of the University of Copenhagen. 

Findings, announced September 6, appear online in the Journal of Communication.

However, a separate 2007 Australian study found that porn consumption didn’t predict whether or not someone would hold negative views toward women. Researchers from Queensland University of Technology distributed questionnaires assessing porn consumption and sexist attitudes to more than 1,023 people, finding that those with sexist views tended to be older men who were less educated and more politically conservative.

While some studies suggest that porn can be damaging because it can lead to unrealistic expectations toward sex, Canadian researcher Simon Louis Lajeunesse of Montreal University argues that most men watch porn and most men have a healthy relationship with it. His 2009 research refuted views that pornography enthusiasts seek out in life what they see in X-rated videos, leading to sexual abuse or denigration of women.

In 2007, researchers at the University of Zagreb in Croatia surveyed 650 young men about their pornography use and sex lives. Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the findings showed that men who opted for mainstream X-rated flicks were neither more nor less sexually satisfied than nonusers and felt the same degree of intimacy in their current or recent relationships as their nonusing peers. Yet consumers of more violent and fetish-style porn masturbated more frequently, had more sexual partners over the course of their lifetime, and said that they experienced less relationship intimacy than those who watched nonviolent porn.

Access the study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12037/abstract

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