The Problem With Porn Research

In the last few years, scientists have become increasingly interested in studying the potential effects of pornography on viewers. Several studies have been published, but many of them have yielded conflicting results. Some have found that porn use is linked to negative outcomes, others to positive outcomes, and yet others have found no effects at all. What accounts for this? It may have to do with the way that “porn use” is typically measured in research.

In a recent article over at Playboy, I discuss the results of a new study from the Journal of Sex Research, which suggests some of the most commonly used measures of porn use (e.g., "How often do you watch pornography?") are problematic.  The issue is that “porn” means different things to different people. Consequently, when you measure porn use in such a generic way, you don’t really know what it is that you’re capturing. Check out the full article for a closer look at this study. I think you’ll find the incredible variability in what people consider to be “pornographic” fascinating. 

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: 

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (facebook.com/psychologyofsex), Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit (reddit.com/r/psychologyofsex) to receive updates.

Image Source: 123RF.com/Agata Gladykowska