Does Pornography Promote Risky Sex?

When it comes to pornography, many have argued that we have a tendency to imitate the sexual behaviors that we observe on screen. In other words, we take a "monkey see, monkey do" approach to porn. This belief has led to widespread concern that viewers might mimic the risky sexual acts that they see porn stars doing (e.g., having unprotected sex with multiple partners), thereby creating a public health risk. However, is this concern really warranted?

In a recent article over at Playboy, I discuss the results of a new study published in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, which finds that porn use is indeed related to sexual behavior--just not risky sexual behavior. Specifically, the more porn people watch, the more varied and diverse their sex lives tend to be; however, they don't necessarily appear to engage in behaviors that put them at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. So, there's certainly a link between porn use and sexual behavior, but it's not the link that many would have expected. 

While you're over at Playboy, check out my Hard Science column to learn more about the science of sex. Some of my other articles include: 

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