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Does watching porn have a negative effect in shaping a person’s sexual behavior, or do other factors come into play?
Researchers from the Netherlands have determined using pornography does not drive teens and young adults to engage in riskier sexual behavior.
The study consisted of 4,600 15- to 25-year-old respondents who were asked about their attitudes on sex, their personal sexual history and the type and amount of pornography they consumed.
Published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study was authored by Gert Martin Hald, a clinical psychologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“Porn doesn’t drive teens and young
adults to engage in riskier sexual behavior.”
Participants were also asked about risky behaviors, such as multiple partners, anonymous encounters, or even paying for sex. Questions were answered online to encourage honest responses.
The study attributed between 0.3% and 4% of sexual behaviors to pornography use. Researchers found other factors are likely more influential, including personality, sexual assertiveness, and self-esteem.
A person’s upbringing and genetics are also cited as likely having a greater impact on behavior.
“There has been a sort of moral panic – sometimes in Britain and in the U.S. – about the influence of pornography on sexual behaviors,” Hald said. “And although this study can’t claim to investigate cause and effect, it can still say that there are a lot of other factors that determine sexual behaviors, so maybe we should put the debate into a larger perspective instead of being just one-sided.”
Critics of the study have pointed out that teens and young adults who agreed to take an online sex survey may have a bias, which may have skewed the results. So take this with a grain of salt.