Early exposure to porn develops sexist attitudes – study

Guys who are exposed to porn at a young age are more likely to hold sexist views, according to a new study

Researchers from the University of Nebraska have found that the earlier a man is exposed to pornography, the more likely he is to hold sexist attitudes.

“We found that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women,” said Alyssa Bischmann, one of the researchers and a doctoral student at the university.

The study, Age of First Exposure to Pornography Shapes Men’s Attitudes Toward Womenwas presented at this year’s American Psychological Association Conference.

“The older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behaviour,” the researchers also found.

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The researchers asked 330 men between the ages of 17-54 when their exposure occurred and whether they sought it out consensually or came by it by accident.

“Among the group, the average age of first exposure was 13,37 years of age with the youngest as early as five and the latest older than 26. More men indicated their first exposure was accidental (43,5%) than intentional (33,4%) or forced (17,2%). Six percent did not indicate the nature of the exposure,”  the study found.

South Africans have shown a large appetite for pornography, making it to the top 20 in Porn Hub’s 2016  insights rankings. Misogyny is believed to be one of the factors behind the country’s high incidence of gender-based violence and rape.

In an interview with DESTINY, former Sonke Gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha said society needed to change the message sent to boys and men about what they’re “entitled” to.

READ MORE: What to do if you catch your child watching porn

“There needs to be a change in gender norms that say that women’s bodies are objects to be abused and controlled. We need to inculcate a different sexual culture for boys and men. Men are not animals, they have an ability to distinguish between right and wrong. This includes no longer telling women what they should do in terms of how they dress, how they walk or where they work.”

In view of the prevalence of pornography on the Internet, researchers are constantly looking at its effects on society. Another study presented at the 111th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association  last year found that  married people who watched porn at the start of their marriage were more likely to get divorced.

Source: American Psychological Association