Scientist: Porn Might be Good for You

GENERIC : XXX, Porn Industry and Internet---XXX written on side with a computer, mouse, shirtless man and silhouette of a woman. AP

This article was written by CBSNews.com contributor Chris Matyszczyk.

This is an increasingly debased world. It's one in which if you can get away with it, you will and if you don't have to pay for it, so much the better. At least that's what my friends at Goldman Sachs tell me.

May I therefore offer you some highly scientific cerebral breakfast that will leave you cogitating until your dinner dessert about whether the world is really all that bad?

A scientist at the University of Hawaii has put his head together to discover just how bad the effects of pornography are on society at large. With the advent of the Web, porn is so readily available and so conveniently free, that it's hard not to imagine that partakers' minds are becoming perverted beyond salvation.

However, in a study entitled "Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review" by Milton Diamond (scientists have porn star names, too) from the University of Hawaii, the conclusions seem strangely happy.

Diamond's study is entirely data-driven. And what interesting data they are. For example, he found that as far back as 2004, there was a study that showed 28 percent of people had downloaded porn at work. He even found a "Christianity Today" survey that showed 33 percent of clergy had visited a sexually explicit Web site. And that was in the year 2000.

Diamond looked at the relationships between porn and sex crimes in various parts of the world. He says that when police suggest that sex offenders are porn users, this is meaningless, as most men are porn users. And, having plowed through every piece of research he could find, he concluded that "What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing."

He found no data that suggested a correlation between an increase in the availability of porn and an increase in sex crimes. If anything, his research told him that "there is an inverse causal relationship between an increase in pornography and sex crimes."

He also found no correlation between the increased availability of pornography and a deterioration in attitudes towards women. Indeed, research suggests that women use pornography in far higher numbers than some might assume. Diamond points to a study from Safe Families, a Christian Internet monitoring group, that "reported that 34 percent of female readers of Today's Christian Women's online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet pornography."

Naturally, there will always be different (key)strokes for different folks. But Diamond has at least bothered to separate the facts from the fantasies. One more thing. For the (at least) 28 percent of you preparing to download some porn at work today, please be discreet. And do check your corporate IT policy.






By Chris Matyszczyk
Special to CBSNews.com
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