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This site has previously dealt with the question of whether porn use reduces bad sexual behaviour, sex-crime. A recent Washington Post story, Americans aren’t getting married, and researchers think porn is part of the problem, suggests that the rise of free Internet porn may contribute to the declining rate of marriage in young adult males. In particular the story suggests:

A team of researchers ... determined that the rise of free Internet pornography is not only correlated with a pronounced decline in percentage of young adult males who are married, but might actually be contributing to the trend.

They argue:

In order to test the hypothesis, Malcolm adjusted for a number of variables, including age, income, education, religiosity, and employment, all of which have been shown to correlate with marriage. He also adjusted for the possibility marriage has an impact on pornography use, and never the other way around.

The researchers, while careful to say that their findings fall short of being conclusive, insist that the relationship between the two also "likely runs in the direction that we assert."

Is this plausible? Is the research reliable, are their stats any good and are the results compatible with other evidence (e.g. behaviour in countries other than the USA)?

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    Not good enough for an answer, but they open with "Traditionally, one of the reasons to enter into a marriage was sexual gratification", which is a completely wrong assumption. People have been having regular sex outside of marriage since the 60's. Then, the article proceeds to compare pornography and prostitution multiple times which is clearly as sign of heavy bias. They completely mix up marriage and cohabitation. That article is a total mess. – Sklivvz Dec 23 '14 at 15:14
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    Also, AFAICT, the paper is not peer-reviewed yet. – Sklivvz Dec 23 '14 at 15:17
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    @EbenezerSklivvze - it's not as simple as you make it out to be. Research shows that married people have more/better sex. So their assumption is not wholly wrong. Random link: scienceofrelationships.com/home/2011/8/18/… – user5341 Dec 23 '14 at 16:54
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    Also, pornography and prostitution aren't identical, but they do presumably have a similar effect of allowing people to obtain sexual gratification without the need of a romantic partner. (of course, so does the hookup culture of the 2000s and free sex of the 60s, so you do have a point) – user5341 Dec 23 '14 at 16:55
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    Correlation is not causation, and marriage started declining befor the Internet... – keshlam Dec 5 '15 at 9:45
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I find it highly unlikely that you can prove anything like this hypothesis by any statistical method. Even if some researchers believe it. Beeing a sceptic I find that the world is full of believers in flat earth, no visit to the moon and so on. (Or sorry, not meant to offend, religion).

Remember the old cautioning tale from statistics that: the number of drowning cases increase a lot as the sale of ice cream increase -- hence we should ban sale of ice cream.

Now, could this be more or less true historically. There is a nice little graph of marriage rate here: Usa - Marriage rate 1990-2017 It clearly shows a decline in marriage rate starting around 1990, about the time when internet porn started to appear. Hence, proved? Or not?

Look at this, slightly longer seriesMarriages in England and Wales from 1932 and onwards. Seems like the decline, at least there started around 1972 -- as far as I remember a lot earlier than internet porn ( arguably internet started around 1969 but not a lot of people had access until much later, www came around 1991 ). History of the internet

Well, even if it wasn´t true historically, it could still be a factor now, or? Well, they did adjust for quite a few factors, so maybe the figures come out. Or, perhaps, they simply adjusted the for the factors until they got the answer they were searching for? Has happened before, or?

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Sex outside of marriage has been going on since the first two people figured out how to have sex. Pornography is almost as old, it started the next day.

There has been a steady decline in marriage for decades before the internet. A better cause would be that people are waiting later to get married if at all. In past decades, with an agrarian culture, more children meant more hands to help on the farm. But now, rural lifestyle is less common, with income covering less, and a lower mortality rate for children it makes sense to have fewer children. The press to marry and procreate is decreased. Long lifespans for all makes the urge to marry and procreate less pressing. Also since WW2 we have lengthened childhood. Children no longer toil in mines and factories, nor are expected to take on adult responsibilities. All in all, the decline has many factors, trying to choose one is just someone looking to prove their theory. Even if they have to bend facts.

One chart shows the decline in marriage: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/23/144-years-of-marriage-and-divorce-in-the-united-states-in-one-chart/?utm_term=.d0eee1c7f5cc

The average age of marriage does seem to have increased over the period 1890-2010, much more sharply for women than for men.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    Please add references to your answer. – DenisS Jun 27 '17 at 13:25
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    Almost every part of this answer needs references from "steady decline in marriage" to "people are waiting later to get married" to "since WW2 we have lengthened childhood" not to mention how all this information actually answers the question. – Jamiec Jun 27 '17 at 14:11

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