Research & Insights

You Didn’t Ask, But Here’s What We Can Tell You About Porn and Same-Sex Marriage Attitudes

After the Supreme Court in June 2013 struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and a California law banning same-sex marriages, victors credited a large part of their judicial success to the role of the popular media in helping change public attitudes.

It’s unlikely though that when they talked about favorable media coverage they were referring to the role of pornography in making same sex marriage seem more acceptable, especially to heterosexual men.

Yet, according to a study in the July 2014 issue of Communication Research, the more that straight men consume pornography, the more open they are to same sex marriage.

According to researchers Paul J. Wright of Indiana University and Ashley K. Randall of the University of Arizona, the reason for their acceptance is that porn opens men’s minds up to all forms of sexual behavior.

“There is evidence that pornography activates a sexually ‘liberal’ mind-set…that embraces nonjudgment towards and even approval of nontraditional sexual behavior,” Wright and Randall write.

The study, however, comes with cautions. Wright and Randall also say that increased consumption of porn by men tends to emphasize traditional masculinity, which in turn may encourage aggression and violence against women.

“Pornography portrays men as sexually powerful, controlling, aggressive, and dominant,” they write, and hardly a message that will warm the hearts of champions of equal rights.

Communications Research July 2014

Researchers:
Paul J. Wright, Indiana University
Ashley K. Randall, University of Arizona

Posted: August 18, 2014
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