Out of all of the effects of watching porn that our culture talks about, this is one that I hadn't thought of. A new study shows that when porn features sex using condoms, the people watching it are more likely to have safe sex. Really. A recent study in the PLOS One Journal by Dr, Eric Schrimshaw from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Dr Martin J. Downing, Jr. from the Public Health Solution, found a link between the levels of safe sex in porn and in real life. They looked at 265 men who have sex with men and surveyed them on porn and sexual habits.
As condom use in porn has recently become an area of legislation and debate, research showing the link between condoms in porn and real life sexual encounters is pertinent and helpful. Scrimshaw found that men who watched more porn with condom use engaged in fewer condomless anal sex encounters. Which is great news. But 48 percent of participants said explicitly that seeing condomless anal sex "contributed to them engaging in riskier sex".
And although the study was only on men having sex with men, Scrimshaw tells Bustle he imagined it would be applicable in a wider context. "Although our research focused on gay and bisexual men, there is no reason to think that our findings about viewing pornography with or without condoms would not be similar for heterosexual or lesbian couples," says Scrimshaw. "We suspect, and our findings suggest, that viewing condoms in pornography leads viewers to have fantasies where condoms are used and reinforces condom use as normative behavior. So if heterosexual couples view condom use in the pornography they watch, we would expect that these same fantasies and norms would be promoted for them as well."
It's important to remember that porn isn't just a fantasy world, it's an influence. It would be interesting to see research done on straight or lesbian couples as well. In the meantime, here's what else we know about porn and real world behaviors. But first, check out our video on sex positions for small penises:
1. People Who Watch Porn May Be Less Likely To Cheat
I know, right? A survey by IllicitEncounters looked at how many cheating men and non-cheating men watched porn, and while 72 percent of men watched porn, the number dropped to 34 percent after they started having an affair. So if he's watching porn, it's actually less likely that he's cheating.
2. ...And More Likely To View Women As Equals
Another surprise, but a study in The Journal Of Sexual Research looked at 28,000 survey responses between 1975 and 2011 and found porn viewers were more likely to view and treat women as equals. They were also more likely to be for women's right and just as likely to identify as feminist. Who would have thunk?
3. But It Can Make You Less Appreciative Of Your Partner
So it's not all good news. Research in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology from Florida State University found that porn watching was linked to lower satisfaction with and appreciation of your partner's attractiveness level and sexual performance. So the unrealistic expectations thing may be true — be careful.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle;Giphy (3)