Porn is an “outlet” or “safety valve” for those who might otherwise do Bad Things.

"The relationship between particularly sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression...is much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer."

--Researcher Edward Donnerstein

Many porn apologists have theorized that using pornography helps oversexed men get those nasty impulses out of their system safely.  Without porn, they insist, more rapes would occur. 

We at o.a.g. know this isn't true, because despite the phenomenal growth of all kinds of porn during the last few decades, reported rapes have increased 500% since 1960, according to the National Victim Center.  In New York City in 2002, for example, all crime decreased except rape, which increased.

We also know that statistics don't always tell a vivid story.  Sometimes the connection between porn and rape has a very personal connection.

Consider the 1996 murder of 27 year-old Kristen Crowley.

Crowley was murdered by two men leaving a strip club in Peabody, Massachusetts.

Timothy Dykens and John Keegan had enjoyed an evening of Harmless Fun at the "Golden Banana" when they encountered their victim at a Mobil Mini-Mart off the highway.

Observing Crowley, one of the drunken men commented that he "wanted a piece of that."  His friend responded, "You know what we've got to do."  The mini-mart clerk heard these comments, saw them leave after her, but decided not to call the police.

So the two ex-Marines followed Crowley to her condo door, dragged her into the woods, tried to rape her, dug up a 35-pound boulder, then smashed her head in with it.   Dykens is now serving a life sentence without parole for her murder, while Keegan is eligible for parole in 10 years (his lawyer established that he was too drunk to lift the boulder).

Ironically, it turned out that Kristen Crowley was a part-time stripper who worked bachelor parties and such. 

Nevertheless, she was murdered by the very sort of men whom she was paid to work her magic upon, so all their nasty impulses could be extinguished safely. For other accounts of crime directly tied to porn use, click here.

But for those of you who prefer hard research to anecdotes, o.a.g. has helpfully summarized 12 honest-to-gosh research experiments for you. 

In total, these studies show that viewing both violent and non-violent pornography can:

  • increase the acceptance of rape myths

  • increase male aggression toward females

  • decrease sensitivity to the crime of rape

  • predispose willingness to rape

  • increase the acceptance of violence against women

  • decrease support for women’s rights

  • alter perceptions of “common” sexual behavior

  • decrease sexual satisfaction with self and partner

Sources: NPR, The Standard-Times, Zillmann and Bryant’s Pornography Research Advances and Policy Considerations, Diana Russell, Internet.

1. Goldstein, Kant and Harman (1973)

2. Malamuth (1978)

3. Malamuth and Check (1980)

4. Donnerstein and Berkowitz (1981)

5. Silbert and Pines (1981)

6. Zillmann and Bryant (1982)

7. Baron and Straus (1984)

8. Donnerstein and Linz (1985)

9. Zillmann and Bryant (1986 and 1988)

10. Donnerstein

11. Violato et al (2002)

12. Cramer and McFarlane (1998)

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