Thursday, August 19, 2004

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I'd like some porn to go with my glass of red wine

The following is a public health posting from

The Australian reports that a dash of pornography can be good for you (link via Joe Gandelman -- he's the one who originally linked to this, blame him!!):

Pornography is good for people, the academic leading a taxpayer-funded study of the subject said yesterday, as the Coalition and Labor traded jibes about an Opposition push to stop online porn reaching home computers.

Alan McKee, who with academics Catharine Lumby and Kath Albury is conducting the Understanding Pornography in Australia study, said that a survey of more than 1000 porn-users must be taken into account as Labor considers forcing all internet service providers to automatically filter hardcore porn to protect children.

"The surprising finding was that pornography is actually good for you in many ways," Dr McKee said.

"When you look at people who are using it in everyday life, over 90 per cent report it has had a very positive effect."

Dr McKee said porn users reported it had taught them "to be more relaxed about their sexuality" and marriages were healthier, while porn made people think about another person's pleasure and made them less judgmental about body shapes.

"The more we try and turn porn into something that's seen to be bad and has to be kept away from families, the more problems we might be causing for ourselves."

Much as I would like to say that it's scientifically sound to use porn, the social scientist in me has to observe two whopping caveats to this report:

1) This conclusion appears to be based on self-reporting and reaction by porn users -- which is like asking people in a bar whether they're more sociable after a drink or two;

2) "Appears" is italicized is the last point because it's possible that other metrics were used -- but damned if I know. The Understanding Pornography in Australia web site does not have any research results posted. For a .info website, in fact, there's precious little information. That's not a good sign.

[That analysis was so robust, so powerful!!--ed. Oh, shut up.]

posted by Dan on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM


It might be prudent not to over-generalize one's conclusions from the findings. Australian society is somewhat different from ours. Traditionally, it's been more male-oriented.

posted by: Dave Schuler on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

Wine and porn don't mix. The one is enjoyed slowly and reveals its essence only gradually; the other is best devoured and discarded as rapidly as a a bag of doritos or a bacon cheeseburger. The former leaves one with a sense of balance, well-being and mental clarity; the other provides quick satiety and then nausea or acid reflux.

posted by: lex on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

"the other is best devoured and discarded as rapidly as a a bag of doritos or a bacon cheeseburger"

Not if you get good wine!

posted by: Jim Dandy on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

sure, like Ripple or Mad Dog, right?

posted by: lex on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

Isn't life just getting better all the time! Guiness, Red Wine, Porn...all good for you. Next they will come out with some crazy diet where you can eat all the fatty meat you want...oh wait...

posted by: Dave Justus on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

"sure, like Ripple or Mad Dog, right?"

I was actually thinking Boone's, but Mad Dog works.

posted by: Jim Dandy on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

I read an article in Scientific American a while back that said that every society used alcohol (wine, mead, beer, whisky) or boiled water drinks (tea) to avoid germs in the water supply and as a method of food preservation before the era of water purification and refrigeration. Temperance movements only triumphed in the presence of some form of water purification. Thus, the “miracle” of turning water into wine can be said to be making it safe to drink.

PS There is also an empirical study somewhere that the “goal” of porn is a good thing in a urological sense. Just sayin.

posted by: TexasToast on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

Pornography has driven the consumer demand for faster modems.

posted by: David Chesler on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

"...marriages were healthier, while porn made people think about another person's pleasure and made them less judgmental about body shapes."

I can see how this could be true in some circumstances. When you look at all the corporations selling sex on TV, they always use beautiful people, promoting a false sense of what the average person should look like. It leaves men with a desire for someone else. On the other hand, porn sites don't always use the best looking women, and may promote less judgmental attitudes.

posted by: entertainment news on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

I remember a study that found that rapists will never admit that they masturbate. Arguably porn users masturbate more than those who do not seek out such inspiration. Ergo, porn fans are not likely to be rapists, while porn abolitionists are more likely to be perverts. That is why they seek to brand porn fans as perverts: misery loves company.

The underpinnings of laws that regulate private behavior seem to be based on the agenda of those who are uncomfortable with their own behavior. I can not imagine an anti-porn crusader who is good in bed, although I can easily imagine that someone who has never seen any porn might be a caring considerate and giving lover.

posted by: Michael Gersh on 08.19.04 at 12:10 AM [permalink]

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