Porn Users and their Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Young adult men’s support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and a noble commitment to fairness. It may be, at least in part, a byproduct of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts.

This is the conclusion reported on in the Witherspoon Institute: Public Discourse by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships – Findings from the Family Structures Study,” published in the July 2012 issue of Social Science Research.

Data from the New Family Structures Study reveal that when young adult Americans (ages 23-39) are asked about their level of agreement with the statement “It should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry in America,” the gender difference emerges, just as expected: 42 percent of men agreed or strongly agreed, compared with 47 percent of women of the same age. More men than women disagreed or strongly disagreed (37 versus 30 percent), while comparable levels (21-23 percent) said they were “unsure.”

But of the men who view pornographic material “every day or almost every day,” 54 percent “strongly agreed” that gay and lesbian marriage should be legal, compared with around 13 percent of those whose porn-use patterns were either monthly or less often than that. Statistical tests confirmed that porn use is a (very) significant predictor of men’s support for same-sex marriage, even after controlling for other obvious factors that might influence one’s perspective, such as political affiliation, religiosity, marital status, age, education, and sexual orientation.

The same pattern emerges for the statement, “Gay and lesbian couples do just as good a job raising children as heterosexual couples.” Only 26 percent of the lightest porn users concurred, compared to 63 percent of the heaviest consumers. It’s a linear association for men: the more porn they consume, the more they affirm this statement. More rigorous statistical tests confirmed that this association too is a very robust one.

Theoretically, the same pattern should hold when considering support for marriage in general. And it does, though not quite as distinctively. The less time spent viewing porn, the less critical men are of the institution of marriage. Forty-nine (49) percent of the lightest porn users “strongly disagreed” with a statement suggesting that “marriage is an outdated institution” (and an additional 26 percent simply “disagreed” with it), compared with 14 percent of the heaviest porn users.

Why?

Porn also undermines the concept that in the act of sexual intercourse, we share our “body and whole self … permanently and exclusively.” On the contrary, it reinforces the idea that people can share their bodies but not their inmost selves, and that they can do so temporarily and (definitely) not exclusively without harm.

Moreover, the web’s most popular pornographic sites do little to discriminate one sex act—or category of such—from another. Gazers are treated to a veritable fire-hose dousing of sex-act diversity. (These are not your grandfather’s Playboy.) So, add to the sharing of bodies temporarily and nonexclusively a significant dose of alternative forms of sexual activity—positions, roles, genders, and numbers—and that’s basically where porn presses its consumers today: away from sex as having anything approaching a “marital meaning” or structure of the sort outlined in the article cited above

Source: See “Porn Use and Supporting Same-Sex Marriage”  by Mark Regnerus, The Witherspoon Institute: Public Discourse 20th December 2012. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/12/7048/

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