Saturday 20 November 2010

Pornography: An investigation

10 articles; 1 set of conclusions; 58 pages; 22,000 words; 4 weeks of research.

I will not pretend to have exhaustively covered this topic. However, I hope to generate a rethinking of the subject and a more objective discussion of what turns out to be not about pornography but about our sexuality. There are myths; there is misinformation; there are prejudices; there are political agendas which would set out to win at any cost including hiding the truth and twisting the facts. We as a society, as a culture are very uncomfortable about sex. We are attracted by it; we are confused by it and our lack of knowledge about it means we often just try to avoid it. Nevertheless, we are not going to escape it. Not only are we surrounded by it; it is actually part of us. It is time we faced our demons head on.

My conclusions
I give my conclusions to the various issues raised during this 10 part investigation of pornography.

  • Porn causes evil? Legitimate studies have found that as the availability of porn in society goes up, the rate of sex related crimes comes down.
  • Who buys the most porn? Conservatives.
  • People tell personal stories “I know a guy…”, “I heard of a family…” and pass it off as scientific evidence. The plural of anecdote is not data.
  • What’s the real problem? We are all so hung up about sex, we can’t talk about it. Because we can’t talk about, we don’t deal with it and hide it. A sad state of affairs. The real problem isn’t so much pornography, it is our own sexuality.

  1. Statistics Laundering
    How unsubstantiated numbers are being passed around without anybody questioning their validity or verifying their authenticity.
  2. How much is there?
    How much porn is there on the Internet? People are bandying about all sorts of "estimates" without any verifiable sources so I come up with my own methodology to provide an estimate which can be recreated.
  3. Searching for what?
    How much people are searching for porn on the Internet? You can only find estimates which come without sources. I set out, using the service Google Insights to create a verifiable means of answering this question.
  4. What is it?
    An attempt to define pornography which seems to be relatively subjective.
  5. Does it lead to crime?
    Does looking at pornography lead people to commit crimes?
  6. Defended by... what!?! Feminists?
    While pornography is vilified, some people defend it.
  7. Who buys the most? Conservatives!
    One study examined the porn buying habits across the United States.
  8. Does it lead to crime? Part 2
    This emphasizes what was brought out in part 1: an increase in the availability of pornography in society is matched by a decrease in sex related crimes.
  9. Oprah? Dr. Phil? I'm confused.
    Oprah and Dr. Phil tell me pornography is bad then Oprah turns around and tells women that watching porn is okay.
  10. Is it an addiction?
    Can watching porn become an addiction? Can one be classified as a "sex addict"? Does watching porn lead to changes in brain chemistry?


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