Looking For a Few Porn-Free Men … and Failing Miserably

 

Say you’re a social science researcher — a really, really good one. Smart and all. And say you want to engage in one of those highfalutin studies, wherein you examine the effects of a particular influence or behavior on a carefully selected demographic group.

For instance, perhaps you want to study how playing violent video games affects women over the age of 70. As with all matters scientific, one of the first things you do is identify what’s called a “control group”; in this case, a statistically significant number of grandmothers who’ve never played Halo or Call of Duty.

Shouldn’t be too hard to find, right?

Now, let’s say you’re a university professor in Montreal, and your study is being funded by some highfalutin-sounding organization with a name like the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women. And let’s say your goal is to examine the effects of pornography on men. So your control group should consist of guys who — you guessed it — don’t look at porn.

But what happens when your control group doesn’t seem to exist?

“We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography,” said Simon Louis Lajeunesse, a postdoctoral student and professor at the Universite de Montreal School of Social Work.

“We couldn’t find any.”

Lajeunesse didn’t mention religious faith as a factor, but there is enough research out there to suggest that Christian males don’t fare a whole lot better than non-believers when it comes to accessing porn, at least in its online form.

The researcher apparently had little trouble tracking down male university students who do consume pornography. Lajeunesse found that, on average, single men watch pornography three times a week for 40 minutes. Those who are in committed relationship watch it on average 1.7 times a week for 20 minutes.

Like many secular researchers, Lajeunesse concluded that porn has negligible detrimental effects on male consumers. Far more concerning was his inability to find any non-consumers.

Indeed, are there any men in their twenties who haven’t looked at pornography? I’m sure there are a few out there, but do they exist mostly in faraway lands without Internet access? And what does this mean for young women in search of a potential husband — young women who, incidently, are also reportedly viewing porn in growing numbers?

UPDATE: It seems that there is some confusion about the study in question. Based on what I’ve read, I don’t think the purpose of the study was to have the non-porn-consumers actually view porn for the first time, but rather to compare their perceptions about women and sexuality to the perceptions held by typical porn-consuming males.

 

About the Author

Thomas Jeffries

Thomas Jeffries is a journalist, editor and recreational basketball player. He was born on the east coast, grew up in the Midwest and now resides with his wife and kids in Colorado. Thomas has written for several magazines, newspapers and websites, but his greatest passion as a writer is long-form narrative nonfiction. His journalistic adventures have taken him from Washington, D.C., to inner-city Chicago to Florida’s death row. In his spare time, Thomas does a lot of mundane things — none of them worth describing in detail.

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