For this discussion, I am going to take the position that viewing pornography on the Internet increases sexual assaults. This is somewhat of a broad topic that can be broken down into different types of pornography and whether the person is an adolescent or an adult when determining the effects of viewing pornography as it relates to sexual assaults on children or adults.
The ability to view pornography in modern society is greatly enhanced due to the use of computers and more specifically the Internet. The Internet is ". . . the world's largest computer network . . ." (Schmalleger, 2018, p. 290) which creates an enormous avenue to countless pornography sites, both legal and illegal. With a multitude of pornography content available on the Internet, comes the ease of wanted as well as unwanted exposure to all types of pornography. With all of this exposure to pornography, how does it impact a person's sexual behavior? There have been studies conducted that specifically address this question as it relates to both adults and juveniles.
Beginning with the correlation between viewing pornography and an adult's sexual deviance, studies have indicated ". . . adult sex offender populations have yielded no consistent relationship between history of consuming pornography and engaging in sexual offenses" (DasGupta, 2017, p. 371, as cited in Bauserman, 1996; Ferguson & Hartley, 2009; Kerinel & Linders, 1996; Kingston, Fedoroff, Firestone, Curry & Bradford, 2008; Seto, Marc & Barbaree, 2001). Although the adult studies have shown an inconsistency in the relationship of viewing pornography and sex assaults, the studies concerning juveniles are more harmonious.
Studies have indicated more consistency in the relationship of viewing pornography and sexual deviance when juveniles are the focal point. This could be a good argument for the theory of social learning where ". . . all behavior is learned in much the same way and that crime, like other forms of behavior, is also learned" (Schmalleger, 2018, p. 122). A good example of how an adolescent may learn that rape is an acceptable offense is by watching a pornographic film where the female actor has expressed her unwillingness to engage in sex with male actor, but later in the film she is shown to be participating in sexual acts with that male actor. Here, the message conveyed seems to be that of ". . . sex with a non-consenting adult is alright" (DasGupta, 2017, p. 374). It is easy to conceive how a juvenile's perception of rape could become morally distorted the more he or she views this type of pornography.
I think it is important to mention one more aspect concerning the relationship between viewing pornography and the heightened effect on sexual assaults - child sexual assaults. The effects of viewing child pornography on the Internet, either by an adult or by a juvenile, seem to resemble those of juveniles as mentioned earlier. Studies have shown that juveniles who view child pornography are ". . . consistent with the idea that adverse early sexual experiences somehow affect psychosexual development and increases the likelihood of sexual interest or behavior involving children" (Seto, et al., 2015, p. 77 ). Studies have not only shown a link between juveniles viewing of pornography and increased child sex assaults, but in adults as well.
Even though studies have shown a direct connection between viewing pornography and increased sexual deviance, the issue is still a complex matter with many other variables that could also contribute to the propensity of why a person engages in sexual assaults. Unfortunately, most pornography is legal and acceptable in our society with very little limitation on its distribution methods, including the Internet. The Bible takes a different stance on pornography, which is of the world, and states "For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:16-17, English Standard Version).
DasGupta, B. (2017). Effect of pornography on sexual beliefs and behaviors. North American Journal of Psychology, 19(2), 371-385. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1907800123/fulltextPDF/ECD333C9F76E434APQ/1?accountid=12085
Schmalleger, F. (2018). Criminology (4th ed.). Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780134548814/cfi/6/148!/4/2/2/[email protected]:0
Seto, M C., Hermann, C. A., Kjellgren, C., Priebe, G., Svedin, C. G., & Langstrom, N. (2015). Viewing child pornography: Prevalence and correlates in a representative community sample of young Swedish men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 67-79. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1 &sid=97caf857-8506-4ee0-8aae-3066b717ec8a%40sessionmgr4010
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