Porn: Marriage equality's secret weapon

A new study links heterosexual men's porn consumption habits to the likelihood that they'll support gay marriage

By Katie McDonough

Published February 7, 2013 4:47PM (EST)

       (AP/Michael Schmelling)
(AP/Michael Schmelling)

New research published in the academic journal Communication Research found that, at least when it comes to straight men, watching porn makes you more likely to support gay marriage.

"Our study suggests that the more heterosexual men, especially less educated heterosexual men, watch pornography, the more supportive they become of same-sex marriage," Indiana University assistant professor and study co-author Paul Wright told the Washington Examiner.

According to recent polls, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing gay marriage, but straight men are still less likely to support it than straight women.

So what does porn do to change their minds?

Researchers believe that regular exposure to the wild, wacky world of porn may cause straight men to be more accepting of a range of sexual preferences and situations. If these men think "individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to have same-sex sex, they will also think that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to get married to a partner of the same-sex," Wright told the Examiner. Adding, "Pornography adopts an individualistic, non-judgmental stance on all kinds of non-traditional sexual behaviours and same-sex marriage attitudes are strongly linked to attitudes about same-sex sex."





Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Gay Marriage Porn Pornography Same-sex Marriage