Society

Study Reveals Pornography Might Not be as Bad for Teens as Previously Thought

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Though parents and researchers have been saying for years that watching pornography during teenage years has a negative effect, some are now saying that they greatly exaggerated its influence.

People have argued against pornography because it gives unrealistic depictions of men, women and sex acts, and they say these depictions put a negative effect on a teenager's sexual development.

There is one study, though, that argues against these long-held beliefs.

The new study included 4,600 young people between the ages of 15 and 25 in The Netherlands. They were asked about their sex lives and their use of pornography. Questions included how many sexual partners they had, whether they had one-night stands or exchanged money for sex.

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The study's lead author, Gert Martin Hald, said other studies focused too much on the spreading of STDs and pornography consumption. Because of this focus, he says, researchers were prompted to overestimate the link between porn and sexual behavior.

This study focused instead on sexual self-esteem, sexual assertiveness, "sensation seeking," and the extent to which the subjects sought out sexual excitement and physical pleasure.

They found that there was a "statistically significant relationship between the subjects' pornography use and their sexual behavior, [but] that link turned out to be a modest one."

Hald said there needs to be more attention paid to other types of influences other than porn.

"There has been a sort of moral panic - sometimes in Britain and in the U.S. especially - about the influence of pornography on sexual behaviors," he said. 

"And although this study can't claim to investigate cause and effect, it can still say that there are a lot of other factors that determine sexual behaviors, so maybe we should put the debate into a larger perspective instead of being just one-sided."

This study comes on the heels of one poll which found that the public is increasingly tolerating sexually explicit material. In 2011, a Gallup poll found more than 40% of people ages 18 to 34 believed pornography was morally acceptable.

Sources: Time, Inquisitr