With more and more free porn websites bombarding the internet, men are increasingly becoming more accepting of online porn but women remain more opposed to pornography, a significant study has revealed.
As a result, the gender gap in attitudes toward pornography has been widening over time, said researchers from University of Maryland.
The study, led by PhD student Lucia C Lykke, found that both men’s and women’s opposition to pornography have decreased significantly over the past 40 years, suggesting a cultural shift toward “pornographication” affecting attitudes.
“However, women remain more opposed to pornography than men and men’s opposition has declined faster, so the gender gap in opposition to pornography has widened,” said Lykke.
The researchers examined gender differences in opposition to pornography from 1975 to 2012, measured by support for legal censorship of pornography.
They analysed the “General Social Survey,” a sociological survey used to collect data on demographic characteristics and attitudes of residents of the United States.
Beyond observing the changes in opposition to pornography, the researchers sought to discover connections between trends in public opinion and the evolving trends in pornographic content.
Previous research has shown that women are especially concerned about the negative effects of pornography.
“So, as pornography has become more accessible, and more violent and degrading towards women, this remains a serious concern for many women,” said Philip N Cohen, professor of Sociology and co-author of the study.
“Pornography has become so ubiquitous that most people probably don’t realise that a large portion of Americans still favor laws against the distribution of pornography-38 percent of women and 26 percent of men in 2012,” Cohen added.
The findings may have substantial implications for cultural and legal issues pertaining to pornography – especially on the internet where it’s cheap or free availability raise new questions about the efforts to suppress its prevalence.
“The legal environment surrounding pornography may or may not shift to reflect popular opinion but researchers, however, will remain interested in its impact on our culture and the intersection of pornography and gender dynamics,” the statement said.