Generation XXX?

A new study says young women are more accepting of porn than their parents are.


Tracy Clark-Flory
December 15, 2007 1:20AM (UTC)

It's time to lock yourselves in your bunkers, folks, and prepare for the sexual apocalypse. Behold the findings of a new study out of Brigham Young University: Young women today are far more accepting of pornography than their parents are, thanks in part to the advent of the Internets! (Cue clap of thunder.)

In a study titled "Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults," researchers polled 813 students at six colleges nationwide, along with 623 of their parents. Nearly half of the women polled said watching pornography is a legitimate sexual behavior, compared with 37 percent of fathers and 20 percent of mothers. (Young men's views were curiously omitted from the news reports I found.) Study coauthor Laura Walker, a professor in the School of Family Life at BYU, says the "three A's" (anonymous, accessible and affordable) have made pornography more socially acceptable among today's youth. "It's something you can do by yourself, right at the touch of your fingers, and you don't have to pay for it anymore," she said.

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Don't be mistaken, though: The study found that on the whole, young women aren't making a habit of X-rated, er, mouse-clicking -- they just don't think doing so is such a terrible thing. Only 3 percent of female students said they viewed porn at least once a week, compared with 48 percent of male students. Despite a lack of evidence that young women are joining young men in depraved porn addiction, the researchers return to a familiar argument: Porn destroys families! The gender gap on views of pornography could "create an area of tension when it comes to couple formation," says Jason Carroll, an associate professor at BYU.

I wouldn't argue that porn is all good or all bad; same goes for the implications of this (clearly agenda-driven) study's findings. But it seems, well, completely backward to declare that the finding that 48 percent of young men view porn regularly and 49 percent of young women approve of porn use is evidence that tensions lie ahead for heterosexual couples.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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