Religion shown to steer adolescents away from pornography

July 5, 2016

A new study authored by University of Calgary researchers in the Journal of Adolescence examines the pornography viewing habits of adolescents and observes the way in which religious attendance significantly tempers such actions.

The study, conducted between 2003 and 2008, which surveys on their pornography usage into young adulthood (between the ages of 13 to 24) shows that pornography consumption` increases sharply with age, especially among males (although there is some increase with females too). However, these age-based increases in pornography viewing are decidedly lesser among those who attend religious services.

"We were able determine that there is a barrier effect at play wherein religious social control encourages adolescents to view less pornography over time," says Kyler Rasmussen, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the University of Calgary's Department of Psychology. "This increase in pornography consumption as adolescents get older isn't as drastic among those who attend religious services. We can see that religious attendance is a factor in shaping the trajectories of pornography viewing in adolescents."

Rasmussen adds: "Some might see it as a vindication of the role of religion, in that it can shape the behavior of in a positive way."

The data collected for this project was obtained from the National Study of Youth and Religion, a research project spearheaded by sociology professors at the University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A nationally representative telephone survey of 3,290 English and Spanish speaking teenagers and their parents, it was designed to investigate the influence of religion and spirituality on American youth.

Rasmussen came across this publically available data and was drawn to the one question in the survey, which, to his knowledge, had never been properly explored, focusing on the pornography viewing habits of adolescents. At the time Rasmussen was taking a course on social statistics with Alex Bierman, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and he asked Bierman to be his co-author on the study, applying the methodology of social statistics to the available data on adolescent porn usage.

A study of pornography consumption among adolescents is one of crucial importance, says Bierman, because this age bracket represents a critical time in a person's social and sexual development. While educated opinions may vary on the potentially harmful effects of pornography consumption among adults, with adolescents certain red flags must be raised.

"At this stage in life, when individuals are learning about sexuality and sexual relationships, do we want them learning these things from a source that has been known to often reinforce detrimental and misogynistic stereotypes?" asks Bierman. "That may not be healthy."

"Therefore, trying to understand the influences that shape porn usage and its trajectory with age is an important question for our society."

So what is it about attending that would help steer adolescents away from viewing pornography? "People in religious communities learn that there are expected patterns of behavior," says Bierman. "It may be the notion of a divine significant other who watches over them and there may also be a social support component. When you become integrated within a moral community where pornography is used less often and is, in fact, discouraged, this may shape and deter pornography usage. There's a kind of social control function at play."

Bierman notes that the data collected for this study was gathered between 2003 and 2008 and since that time pornography has only become more prevalent in our society of social media and smart phones. "There's more free access to pornography online than ever before," he says. "We probably underestimate the extent to which pornography is available to adolescents."

While the research would seem to be a testament to the positive influence of religion on adolescents, Rasmussen feels that the study's ramifications might reach beyond that. "I think it's important to try and figure out what it is about religiosity that steers these adolescents away from pornography," he says. "Let's see if we can figure that out and apply it outside of a religious context. Clearly there are people who aren't religious who still don't want their children watching and being influenced by it. So if we can take those aspects of religion that are working and apply them in a family setting or a secular setting, that might be really worthwhile."

Explore further: Sexting and pornography or music video viewing among adolescents: Is there a link?

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mooregerald
5 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2016
Telephone survey? Really? There is quite a difference between looking at telephone polling results and doing actual scientific studies. For example, it is a fact that people lie on surveys about church attendance. Actual data shows 23% attend "regularly," while surveys conclude that they attend 35% to 45%. In questions that reflect on self image like church attendance or "happiness," people tend to hear the question pragmatically and inflate their answer according to self image or what should be their answer. It's known human psychology.

Could this study simply be examining how religions condition people to lie, both to themselves and to others?
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (8) Jul 05, 2016
They are probably just so ashamed they even have a sexuality that they wont /cant be honest.
RobertKarlStonjek
5 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2016
Self reporting is most probably unsafe for such conditions as the religious will tend to give answers that they think they are supposed to give as a good (for instance) Christian rather than reporting their actual pornography usage.

At 13~15, I would have tended toward the answer expected of me rather than telling the truth as this is what one usually did around adults. Anonymous surveys invite exaggeration (I recall doing one such survey in school wherein I said what I wanted to be, that is, I greatly exaggerated all the answers).
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (2) Jul 09, 2016
The religions we are left with today survived because they were better at outgrowing and overrunning their extinct forebears. Deeming any form of nonprocreative sex a heinous sin is one factor. Forcing women to do nothing other than making babies until it kills them, is another.

People by and large prefer procreational sex. That is after all what sex is for. It is difficult to separate the sex act from the intended result of it, and all sorts of undesirable consequences often result if it is.

But the human tropical urge to comingle is persistent enough that sex will happen whether a baby results or not. And birthing large-headed human babies is always dangerous and painful, and becomes more so the older a woman becomes. Women are intrinsically aware of this and will voluntarily seek to avoid pregnancy as they age.

Religions have learned both how to overcome a woman's reluctance, and channel the sex urge to its most productive form, by punishing the non-compliant most severely.
julianpenrod
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 10, 2016
Among other things, those polled who respect religion enough that they are not comfortable using pornography also respect religion enough that they wouldn't lie about it. And if an individual refuses to attend Mass because they feel there is nothing in religion, why won't they admit that they don't attend? Aren't they proud of their choice?
And, consider, pornography, which those who use it often don't realize, is characterized by a sense more even of violence, anger, hatred than sensual desire. Reducing others to nonentities, there only to provide sex. This is not the case with the erotic or "sexy". Pictures only of sex organs, common in sexting messages, demonstrate the emphasis only on the sex act.
But religion, or, rather, the higher forms of the accepting of the presence of God, can be said to have a more calming quality, inspiring in many an importance in being noble, promoting depth of being, enhancing facets other than just the visceral.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2016
Among other things, those polled who respect religion enough that they are not comfortable using pornography also respect religion enough that they wouldn't lie about it
Your book is all about people who never existed and things that never happened. The people who wrote it were liars. Archeology tells us this.
And, consider, pornography, which those who use it often don't realize, is characterized by a sense more even of violence, anger, hatred than sensual desire
That's another lie. Most people are not aroused by violence.

But do consider that the 2 central stories of your book - the ethnic cleansing of the Holy Land and the torture death of your scapegoat god - are depictions of unspeakable violence.

So just who is profiting from violence here?
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2016
But religion, or, rather, the higher forms of the accepting of the presence of God, can be said to have a more calming quality
Except when violence is necessary to defend the faith. Then the books are all very explicit on who the enemy is and what must be done to him or her.

'Unto death' includes unbelievers (and the entire town in which they live), apostates, insolent children, wayward women, and even members of one's own family when they threaten your immortal soul.

Jesus came to bring not peace but a sword so that you can kill your own blasphemous father with it.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2016
They say that as if pornography would be a bad thing. Religion also temper sexual education and access to birth control.

More generally, we know that religion *promotes* web pornography, since its usage is correlated with religiosity over US states. Instead what happens is that religious claim they are not watching, in the face of statistical fact.

"Yet studies of internet use across the U.S. have found that a higher percentage of people subscribe to pornography services or search for sexual content online in states where a greater percentage of residents describe themselves as religious."

""It would not be surprising for religious individuals to deny or underreport viewing of sexual content, given that this violates their core values," MacInnis said. Moreover, "psychoanalytic theories suggest that those advocating against a particular behavior are at some level drawn to that behavior.""

[tbctd]
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
3 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2016
[ctd]

[ http://www.huffin...43c1bfbe ]

So, what mooregerald said.

@julianpenrod: "those polled who respect religion enough that they are not comfortable using pornography also respect religion enough that they wouldn't lie about it."

Psychologists don't see that happening. First off, we don't know that any of the polled religious are uncomfortable with using pornography, and the statistics of religious US states says religious aren't as much as seculars are.

Second, while they can't be sure, see the article I linked to, the simplest explanation is that religious people lie about their religious behavior. As TGO notes, their religious texts are lying about reality, so why would anybody be surprised if they conform?
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2016
Reducing others to nonentities, there only to provide sex. This is not the case with the erotic or "sexy". Pictures only of sex organs, common in sexting messages, demonstrate the emphasis only on the sex act
Many species have biological responses to perceived overcrowding. Rabbit does will absorb their fetuses. Chicks will shove weaklings out of the nest. Dominant female chimps will cannibalize babies born to mothers of lower standing, as Jane Goodall described.

It is reasonable to find such behavior among humans. Infanticide was common throughout the pleistocene. Cannibalism was common among the neanderthal.

One would expect to see alternatives to procreative sex expressed more frequently in cities. Jerusalemites used to give unwanted children to moloch in the gehenna trashdump outside the city. When the angel came to visit Lot in the city, the crowd outside wanted him for sex.
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2016
Modern religions vilify all alternatives because outgrowing and overrunning is how they survive. Those that didn't are no longer with us. Augustus had to issue a decree forcing Romans to conceive, while at the same time Judaism was spreading around the Mediterranean by immigration and proliferation, as described by Augustine.

Rome had no choice but to invent their own form of monotheism that made Jews public enemy #1 while at the same time adopting their formula for maximum growth as described in the old testament.

The war on israel, begun during the bar kochva era and continuing until the 20th century, can be found expressed in such public decrees as the magna carta and the works of Martin Luther. It was central, not peripheral, to the structure of both Christianity and islam, both of which had to include the tactics of monotheism in order to effectively counter it.

This demonstrates just how dangerous this formula for outgrowing and overrunning is.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2016
Sorry I got my Roman history mangled.

"The 300 years between the beginning of Maccabean resistance against Seleucid rule and the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt"
Psychologists don't see that happening. First off, we don't know that any of the polled religious are uncomfortable with using pornography, and the statistics of religious US states says religious aren't as much as seculars are
Naw they just turn to song of Solomon or fantasize about being a member of Jesus' all-male entourage. You know, the long-haired, soft-spoken, robe-wearing, anglo love guru who roamed the countryside with the guys, his mum, and the token harlot, and slept pretty much anywhere he wanted to?

And his mum, the only woman until recent times ever to give birth without having been sullied by the touch of a man?

Imagine the throngs of cloistered priests, nuns, and monks who were inspired by that scenario.

Celibacy is after all only relative yes?

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