3 Old Myths About Porn That Have Been Scientifically Disproven

For decades, pornography has been the scapegoat for society's ills. Feminists, religious leaders and politicians alike have blamed adult entertainment in its many forms for everything from promiscuity and everyday sexism to sexual assault. Although porn's effect on people is still being studied, the fear mongering about skin flicks and dirty magazines has historically developed less from objective fact and more from our culture's pervasive sex-negative approach to pleasure and human sexuality.

Anti-porn propaganda has played a major part in the campaign against pornography, often detracting from its creator's intentions and instead increasing the intrigue of adult entertainment in ways only censorship can. Recently, the Oregon Historical Society unearthed an anti-porn PSA from the 60s that was supposedly lost forever. The Huffington Post reveals that "Pages of Death" (what a title!) was narrated by football star and sports broadcaster Tom Harmon on behalf of the Citizens for Decent Literature, a Catholic anti-porn group, and the nearly half hour video shows how one teenager's porno collection turned him into a child murderer.

Now this all may sound hilarious and outdated, but not really when you compare it to a recent Mormon ad decrying internet porn. However, plenty of progress has been made since the 1960s: here are three scary myths about porn that have been disproven by scientific research. Whether you believe it is up to you.

1. Porn Makes Men Violent

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There are a host of complex biological and behavioral factors that intersect to create a violent criminal. Porn is not in the heart of that nexus, say researchers who have reviewed dozens of studies and writing on the subject.

2. Porn Makes Men Rapists

Although certain kinds of porn might arguably normalize misogyny, there is little evidence to suggest that porn actually inspires men to rape women in real life, as some feminists have suggested in years past.

3. Porn Irrevocably Damages Children

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Watching porn at a young, impressionable age is rarely a good thing. Not only does it introduce and reinforce all kinds of gender stereotypes and bedroom behaviors that are completely unrealistic and have little to no place in reality, but it can also totally freak kids out. That said, watching porn doesn't necessarily ruin a child's life forever. Recent research suggests that pornography exposure is only linked to less than four percent of the aberrant behavior in adolescents studied. "This means that 96 percent of the reasons why these kids do the things they do have NOTHING to do with the fact that they saw pornography," explains an article in Psychology Today. Still, it's probably for the best to leave those parental controls on, and keep adult entertainment for adults only.

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