Is the pornographic singularity real?

Gene Expression
By Razib Khan
May 11, 2013 11:55 PMNov 20, 2019 1:39 AM


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Cite: :10.1080/00224499.2011.628132 The above figure displays results from males in the General Social Survey who answer yes to the proposition that they've watched a pornographic film over the past year. This fact was cited in my postPorn, rape, and a ‘natural experiment’, to disabuse people of the notion that porn consumption has increased radically the past generation. I was aware of this finding, and so generally am careful to focus on the quantity of porn consumed, rather than the social penetration of porn consumption. No matter what the "survey says," the IT sector is quite aware of the fact that pornographic material is a very high fraction of internet traffic (e.g., more people check Pornhub than BBC). But I am not sure sure we should trust the GSS results any more at this point. I did some cursory poking around and last month there was a large sample size survey of Dutch youth to investigate the effects of porn consumption, Does Viewing Explain Doing? Assessing the Association Between Sexually Explicit Materials Use and Sexual Behaviors in a Large Sample of Dutch Adolescents and Young Adults:

The study found that 88% of men and 45% of women had consumed SEM ["sexually explicit material"] in the past 12 months. Using hierarchical multiple regression analyses to control for other factors, the association between SEM consumption and a variety of sexual behaviors was found to be significant, accounting for between 0.3% and 4% of the total explained variance in investigated sexual behaviors.

How the sample was collected is important for generalization, so I want to reproduce that part of the method in case you don't have access:

Data were collected as part of the “Speak up now!” survey, a comprehensive online sexuality study among a large and diverse, self-referred sample of adolescents and young adults in The Netherlands...To be eligible for participation, individuals had to be between 15 and 25 years of age and have had any sexual experience as self-defined, with sex indicated to encompass a broad range of behaviors other than sexual intercourse, including having kissed someone or having engaged in any other type of sexual behavior. Participants were recruited between November 2008 and June 2009 through advertisements in various online and offline youth media and on electronic blackboards at schools. Ads were strategically published to promote the inclusion of lower educated, ethnic minority, and same-sex-attracted young people. The ads invited young people to express their views about sexuality and share their sexual experiences by completing a series of online questionnaires and routed them to the study website that also provided further participant information research details, and referral information for participants wanting to seek counseling.

I'll put the study's demographics below. The key for me is that 30% of young male Dutch nationals looked at porn less than once a month, or never. Feel free to find other citations and drop them in the comments. If you don't have access I'll check out the descriptive results.  SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL CONSUMPTION OF DUTCH YOUTH

Men %Women %

Gender30.5 (1,402)69.5 (3,198)

Age (years)

15–1729.9 (419)46.9 (1,501)

18–20390 (547)36.0 (1,152)

21–2322.2 (311)12.6 (404)

24–258.9 (125)4.4 (141)

Lower education level65.7 (921)60.1 (1,922)

Higher educational level33.6 (467)38.9 (1,226)


Western ethnicity77.2 (1,082)80.7 (2,581)

Non-Western ethnicity22.8 (320)19.3 (617)


Religion not important in life85.5 (1,199)85.8 (2,743)

Religion important in life14.5 (203)14.2 (455)

Current relationship status

Not in a relationship50.4 (706)38.6 (1,233)

In a relationship49.6 (696)61.4 (1,965)

Used SEM in the past 12 months

No11.8 (166)55.2 (1,766)

Yes88.2 (1,236)44.8 (1,432)

Frequency of SEM use in the past 12 months

Never11.8 (166)55.2 (1,766)

Less than once a month19.1 (268)27.3 (872)

Few times a month30.4 (426)12.7 (406)

Few times a week25.6 (359)3.3 (107)

Daily13.1 (183)1.5 (47)

Applies only to those who used SEM

Types of SEM used in the past 12 months

Soft34.5 (426)44.4 (636)

Hardcore84.3 (1,042)69.6 (997)

Violent/forced8.1 (100)8.1 (116)

SM/bondage/fetish9.3 (115)10.4 (149)

Other6.6 (81)5.9 (85)

Types of outlets in past 12 months

Online89.1 (1,101)69.6 (997)

Magazine/book12.7 (157)9.1 (131)

DVD/video24.3 (300)19.8 (283)

TV31.1 (387)42.4 (607)

Other2.7 (33)2.2 (31)

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