Hardcore pornography is significantly harmful to society
WARNING! This debate may contain explicit content. Reader discretion is highly advised.
Hardcore pornography: "still photography or video footage that contains explicit and intensive forms of pornography, most commonly including depictions of sexual acts such as vaginal, anal, and/ororal intercourse, etc. etc."
Significantly: "In a sufficiently great or important way as to be worthy of attention" http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
By "harmful" I mean having what is generally considered to be negative effects upon society.
The debate shall focus upon modern society. Also, it will be assumed that the most common form of pornography distribution is the internet (duh), so the debate will focus upon pornography distributed online.
No semantics allowed. No new arguments or rebuttals from Con in round 4. Also no new arguments from Pro in round 4. Sources may be posted as a link to a google doc or cancelled debate containing the sources, in order to cut down on characters.
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Pro's opening argument/Con's rebuttal
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Conclusion
I accept and look forward to an arousing debate.
Thanks to Bennet91 for accepting. Let's jump right in!
Why is there a significant relationship between pornography and sexual aggression? Because pornographic material frequently depicts such scenarios. A 2010 study selected 50 random pornographic films from the most rented adult films (As rated by the Adult Video Network) and found that 88% of the scenes involved physical violence, anywhere from slapping and spanking to rape .
Considering all this, it is no wonder that the Attorney General claimed, “When clinical and experimental research has focused particularly on sexually violent material, the conclusions have been virtually unanimous. In both clinical and experimental settings, exposure to sexually violent materials has indicated an increase in the likelihood of aggression.” 
Furthermore, as Dr. Jensen from the University of Texas states,
“no lab experiment can replicate the common male practice of masturbating to pornography…Orgasm is a powerful physical and emotional experience that is central to the pornographic experience…most critics of the experimental research caution that such studies may overstate the effects, for these reasons it is just as likely that the research underestimates pornography's role in promoting misogynistic attitudes and behavior.”
In yet another study, sexually abused women were asked: “Has your partner ever upset you by trying to get you to do what he'd seen in pornographic pictures, movies, or books?”. 39% responded yes. 
In another study , 198 abused women were asked if their partner used pornography. Of the 198 sexually abused women, 40.9% claimed their partners frequently used pornography.
Roughly 300,000 women are raped annually 
Another point to make is that pornography is harmful to relationships. Roughly 40-50% of marriages in the US end in divorce . According to divorce attorneys, the use of pornography is a contributing factor to 56% of divorces . 26.2% of women consider pornography use unacceptable while in a relationship . Yet another study has shown that male pornography use causes negative sexual quality in a relationship . Another study shows that 30% of women thought that their partner had failed them for using pornography . It also found that 24% of women felt weak or stupid for not taking a stronger stance against their partner’s pornography use. Finally, it found that 25% of women thought their partner’s pornography use meant he cared about them less. 33% felt replaced by the women in the pornography. For these reasons, pornography is harmful to relationships, which are the backbone of society.
Pornography causes arousal, which causes a surge in dopamine, a chemical in the brain which causes pleasure . I don’t think anyone disputes men find pornography and the accompanying masturbation pleasurable. However, the problem is that this becomes habit forming. The reason is that pornography is very similar to internet addiction . The way this addiction works is that there is always something new to click on. When something becomes old and boring, and the dopamine levels in the brain decrease, there is some new novelty to look at, which causes a new surge in dopamine. Pornography is the same way. A medical study found that repeated exposure to the same erotic literature was correlated with a decrease in arousal . The more the subjects saw the same porno over and over again, the less arousing it became. Here is a graph which illustrates the arousal of the subject:
Do you see the massive jump in the penile circumference and subjective arousal around 19-20? Guess what happened there. They changed it to a new erotic clip of a different woman.
This means since pornography is similar to internet addiction, and since people get bored of the same porn, one would expect to see a decreased sensitivity to pornography.
In a survey of online pornography users, when asked if their tastes in pornography had changed 
This is exactly what we expected. 64% of these users claimed they developed a taste for more extreme porn.
I’m sure most readers either know of a person who finds pornography very habit forming, or perhaps you are one of them. Remember, that in order for something to be considered significantly habit forming, it doesn’t have to hook everyone immediately. 80% of people who try cocaine do not become addicted . Thus, while not everyone who looks at porn may develop a porn habit, pornography is still habit forming.
I’m going to be blunt and politically incorrect here. Pornography is a lie. With all the evidence I’ve weighed so far, I believe the readers will be lenient if I don’t source the hell out of this argument. Pornography depicts sexual fantasies which are almost non-existent in the real world. It completely ignores the relationship aspect, and focuses on mere sexual intercourse. In fact, I’m sure any pornography user knows very well that the focus is on the penetration or the sexual act itself . Average pornography users find porn at a very young age (usually sometime during puberty. When an impressionable young mind is shown hardcore intercourse which completely ignores any sort of chivalry, this can form the way a young boy views sex and cause sexual promiscuity . There are also studies which correlate higher genital and sexual insecurity as well as loneliness with the use of pornography . In fact, 45% of men think they are sexually incapable of pleasing their female partner due to having a small penis . However, 85% of women are satisfied with their partner. Furthermore, 28% of internet users age 10-17 stumble upon pornography unintentionally . This means that porn will affect many people who do not want to be. Thus, for all the reasons outlined above, pornography causes warped views of sex and sexuality and is harmful to society.
Yet another point is that porn causes an increase in STDs.
Porn is everywhere. 70% of men watch porn. Also, porn sites get more hits per month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined . Over 2 billion people use the internet . Every second there are about 30,000 people watching porn on the internet . Thus, since I have shown that pornography causes sexual aggression, harms relationships, is habit forming, warps views of sex, and causes an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, it is significantly harmful to society. Even if pornography has only a small amount of negative impact upon the society in direct proximity to it, since so many people watch porn, the effects are significant, and ought to be taken seriously. Thus, I have upheld my burden, and have shown that pornography is significantly harmful to society.
Finally, porn may be harmful simply because it divorces sex from love. All humans seek to love and to be loved. Porn takes the greatest expression of this and reduces it to a dirty movie.
“If you wanna lose yourself, you have to lose yourself to another person…And she has to lose herself to you…It's a two-way thing” .
Pornography and Aggression
My opponent asserts using various studies that pornography and misogynistic aggression are correlated, I would say he even tries to create a causal link. Regardless, there has been no conclusive link between porn and aggression and results concerning the subject are dubious at best [A]. The work by Vega [Pro 3] notes that a societal link between porn and violence is spurious. In her paper she writes “Follow up analyses indicated that the reason pornography contributed significantly to the overall equation is because of its importance in the context of men who are at a relatively high risk for sexual aggression. It was found that among men who scored high on both general and specific risk characteristics, frequent pornography consumption increased the risk for sexual aggression. In contrast, amount of pornography consumption had little predictive value among men considered to be at relatively low risk for sexual aggression” (pg . 114). In other words, porn only promotes misogyny in those who are already misogynists; thus making the connection to spousal abuse irrelevant, because it’s pre-existing attitudes that cause abuse, not porn. Even my opponent tacitly acknowledges the lack of a conclusive societal link when quoting Dr. Jensen, who to paraphrase says, ‘Because we don’t know for sure either way, opponents caution we may over state the link, but it’s just as likely we are understating it.’ It’s just as likely; as in it’s 50/50. Can we really trust the conclusion that porn and aggression are linked based on a coin toss? Even the chart shown in Pro’s initial argument has wildly varying correlation results; taking the average of a crapshoot does not qualify as a reliable average.
There is just as much evidence to suggest a null hypothesis [D][E][F][G][H]. Obviously the Attorney General did not examine all of the science before reaching his conclusion in 1986. For example a 37 year study in India on the connection “suggests that easy access to pornography did not have a significant impact on rape rates and crime rate against women. [B]” There is even evidence to suggest pornography lowers sex crime rates [G]. In the United States, Pro does a wonderful job at pointing out the ubiquity of porn; yet since 1993 “Rape is down 72 percent and other sexual assaults have fallen by 68 percent. [C]” If porn is correlated with increased violence, then why since the introduction of the internet pornography have sex crimes gone down so dramatically?
As a quick aside, it would follow that those who watch violent porn can’t be nearly as affected as those who actually participate in violent sex. BDSM is a subculture that is entirely based on sexual domination and violence, yet when studied it appears their mental health is better than the average population [J]; how does my opponent explain a lack of misogynistic violence in a group that practices violence as a form of sexual arousal?
Pornography Harms Relationships
This will come in two parts, first a refutation of Pro’s claim then evidence to suggest how porn can help relationships.
In regards to its conflation with divorce there are 2 important quotes to be taken from [Pro 14], first, of the causes for divorce “met new love interest over the internet” ranks higher than porn at 68%. It should be noted that while porn may be a contributing factor, compared to other more common reasons for divorce, like cheating and financial troubles, porn is not a major contributor. And the second quote, “While I don't think you can say that the Internet is causing more divorces, it does make it easier to engage in the sorts of behaviors that traditionally lead to divorce,” according to Short.” Even a divorce lawyer in the source my opponent cites does not believe there is a correlation between internet porn and divorce.
In regards to [Pro 17], the insecurity of wives does not constitute as harm done by porn. As said in the abstract this group is not representative of women in general. A possible reason these women feel insecure in their relationship is due to a lack of communication or intimacy in the relationship; porn use being a symptom rather than a cause. Feeling stupid or like a failure for not challenging the husband for his porn use shows how culture can influence people to have unfounded thoughts that porn is necessarily taboo and that somehow women are in competition with porn. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, instead of having porn be a solo act, a study has shown that when both couples participate in viewing it can have positive effects, opening the couple up for sexual exploration and lessening the perceived taboo of sex. In fact Maddox et al. [I] in response to the study cited as [Pro 17] says “These results imply that women may not view their partners SEM (sexually explicit material) viewing as unhealthy as long as they do not perceive that viewing as excessive. In fact, some women may even view their partners' pornography use as enhancing their sexual relationship” and they finally noted that couples that only viewed porn together had higher quality relationships and “… we cannot know from our results whether viewing SEM alone leads to poorer relationship quality or vice versa …”.
Porn is Habit Forming
As interested as I am in the penile circumference of anonymous men, all Pro has shown is that repetitive sources of entertainment go stale over time. Anything can be habit forming and made into a routine. Unless Pro is willing to make the claim porn is addictive I see no reason to address this point. However it should be said that anything taken to an excess can be problematic, this does not define the product, but the lack of responsibility in the user.
Porn Warps Views of Sex
If we are going to criticize porn for being an inaccurate depiction of reality then we must also indict all non-educational TV, movies, entertainment radio, music, video games, and fictional literature. Of course porn is a fantasy. To blame porn for warping our views of sex leaves out one very important part of the equation; who is teaching our children about sex? Pornography does not exist in a vacuum; without context yes a young person can misunderstand what s/he is seeing and come to false conclusions. Just as they come to false conclusions about other unrealistic depictions in the media. However this does not constitute a failure of pornography, it shows a failure of parents and school administrations that fail to adequately teach sex ed. and how to understand porn in context. To make porn out to be the source of dissatisfaction ignores all the other non-pornographic sources that compound the issue. To say that porn is significant while other more palatable yet just as unrealistic media is consumed is a red herring.
As for 28% of kids being accidentally exposed to porn, this again highlights my point. Parents need to take responsibility and set up parental controls and talk to their children about how to understand the adult world. However many parents choose to have their kids remain woefully uneducated when it comes to sex despite its detrimental effects [U]. If anything, the lack of education is what warps the minds of children, as they are taught that sex is taboo and should be avoided.
Porn causes STDs
To begin with the health of porn stars, Pro says that they are more prone to STD’s while this may be true, if “significance” is going to play a factor in this debate higher rates of STD’s can be chalked up to occupational hazard. Porn stars are aware of this hazard, and are tested regularly [K] and test results are circulated around the industry. However any perceived harm can be mitigated through the use of condoms, so we can still have porn and be safe. In regards to the mental health of the actors my opponent is playing into the “damaged goods” trope, as a one study reports “The analysis found no evidence to support the "damaged goods hypothesis" that actresses involved in the porn industry come from desperate backgrounds. Rather, the researchers found the women have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and are more positive, with greater levels of spirituality. [L]” To further debunk the damaged goods myth, porn stars were not molested as children [M], and not all porn stars are highschool dropouts, some are actually very intelligent [N], and one women even uses porn to pay for her college education [O]!
Again Pro brings up how young folks will imitate porn and become more sexually active, again as I said in the previous section this is a matter of education. If kids are taught to have safe sex, they will not transmit STD’s as much [T].
I have shown that Pro’s claim of a societal link between misogynistic violence and porn is nonexistent. Porn can help relationships when taken holistically and without stigma [V]. Claims about porn being habit forming is irrelevant; and any problems with the warping of peoples view of sex and STD transmission can be solved with comprehensive sex education. However given the erroneous nature of the US’s taboo on talking about sex candidly [P][R] (the reality of sex, not media depictions) with the large scale teaching of abstinence only education [Q][S] the problems that Pro associates with young people are magnified and spuriously conflated with porn. Overall my main point illustrated throughout this rebuttal is that porn is not the problem, but it is how our culture deals with the subject of sex. Porn is not a significant problem in our society. Thank you.
I’d like to get a few preliminary things out of the way. First, I do not have to show that pornography is extremely harmful to society. All I have to do is show that pornography is significantly harmful to society.
First, my opponent quotes my source , but this actually supports my case! It shows that pornography is a significant contributor to sexual aggression in those who are sexually aggressive.
Furthermore, merely because one study does not find that pornography is a significant contribution to the sexual aggression of the average Joe, this does not mean other studies do not. Immediately after admitting that pornography causes more sexual aggression in sexually aggressive individuals, my opponent claims that this means it doesn’t affect or increase abuse. However, I’m not sure how he makes this jump in his logic. If pornography makes sexually violent people even more violent, wouldn’t that increase the likelihood of them being violent towards their spouse, instead of not affecting it at all?
One of my opponent’s studies even claims, “The testimonies of women who have been harmed in the production and consumption of pornography demonstrate a strong link between pornography and violence.” [Con, A].
Another interesting study exposed college students to pornographic forms of rape. The students were first given a score determining how aggressive they were. After they were exposed to the rape, their self-described sexual fantasies were much more violent, for both the students who had been considered aggressive in the first place and those who had not, as compared to the control group .
Yet another study shows that child molesters use pornography more frequently .
Furthermore, serial killer Ted Bundy, who murdered and raped over 30 women and girls claims that he was a normal person from a good home, yet had a disposition to sexual violence. He turned to pornography, and eventually the pornography was not exciting enough. It seems that the reason Bundy’s sexual aggression progressed to the stage it did is at least partly due to pornography .
My opponent goes on to cite other studies which show no connection between pornography and aggression. Both my opponent and I have cited studies to prove our case, but who is right? While I will admit such studies exist, we have to take studies as a collective whole to determine whether pornography correlates to aggression.
In a massive meta-analyses of 161 studies (das right one hundred sixty one studies), it was found that there was a significant connection between pornography and sexual aggression, in particularly among men who were predisposed towards sexual aggression .
My opponent also claims that as pornography has become more popular in the US and in India, rape has decreased. However, India’s rape rates over the past decade have in fact been steadily increasing. Sexual harassment has increased by 9%. See the graph below :
As you can see, all these graphs look strikingly similar. In fact, the correlation between rape and aggravated assault rape is 96%! This indicates that rape is not primarily a sexual crime, but is rather a violent crime. So if my opponent will say that the decrease in rape rate is due to an increase in porn, he must also say that the decrease in aggravated assault, robbery, etc. is also due to porn. The decrease in rape as porn increases is merely coincidental.
Furthermore, our current rape rate is roughly 3x higher than it was in the 60s when pornography was far less widespread as it is now . If porn causes less rape, then why is our rape rate three times worse than it was when hardcore internet porn literally did not exist?
My opponent’s source also claims that rape is the lowest it’s been since the 60s [D]. This is simply false. The rape rate was lower in the 70s than either the 60s or the current rate. (1960s: 12.3 per 100,000 population; 1970s: 26.0; 2000s: 32.2) .
This is mostly mitigation by Con.
To begin with, he claims that porn is not a major contributor to divorce. I’m not sure how he gets this. According to the source I cited, pornography contributes to 56% of divorces. My opponent claims that one of the attorneys says that divorce would happen anyways, and that pornography is just another means. However, this doesn’t change the fact that pornography causes divorce. Whether or not it causes an increase in divorce is not what is asked here.
We say that extra-marital affairs are harmful to relationships, since they contribute to divorce.
We also say that financial troubles are harmful to relationships, since they contribute to divorce.
Why can’t we say that pornography is also harmful to relationships since it too contributes to divorce?
Yes, divorce will happen regardless of internet pornography. However, that alone does not mean that pornography is harmless to relationships.
My opponent also makes an embarrassing blunder in regards to women’s feelings towards porn. He claims that the abstract of my study states that most women do not feel this way. However, it states the exact opposite. The study claims that other surveys have been from an incorrect sampling of distressed women, but that this study is the opposite.
“In this report, we will (a) briefly review the only two previous studies on this topic, both of which were undertaken with highly distressed populations, and (b) present the results of a survey designed to assess the attitudes of a broader, more diverse population of women” .
Furthermore, he ignores the study that shows that 26% of women find pornography use unacceptable because their special other is in a relationship with them  (hey, stop looking at that woman online, you’re in a relationship with me!). This also explains why pornography causes insecurity in a significant amount of relationships . It also explains why pornography contributes to divorce rates. Thus, my opponent’s dismissal of the women’s insecurity is refuted.
Finally, even if pornography can have positive effects on the sex of a relationship, this doesn’t change the fact that it harms a significant amount of others. Remember, I don’t have to show that pornography is a net negative, only that it’s significantly negative.
My opponent dismisses this argument. As I have shown, pornography is structurally similar to internet addiction. It is habit forming. Considering all the negative effects I’ve illustrated thus far, this only adds to the negative impact of pornography. This argument essentially goes uncontested.
My opponent seems to admit that pornography warps views of sex. However, he claims that sex ed from their parents or elsewhere should be where children learn about sex and not porn. I agree. However, quite clearly, pornography is teaching kids dangerous sex. When teenagers admit to acting out what they see in pornos, girls who watch pornos are 400% more likely to have had anal sex, it doesn’t take much to realize that porn is warping views of sex.
He also ignores the fact that pornography causes genital insecurity, and as such causes adolescents to believe lies about themselves.
My opponent’s claim that we should educate children better implicitly concedes this argument. He seemingly admits that porn warps views of sex, but says that we should remedy this with better sex education. However, according to the CDC, 96% of teenagers undergo formal sex education before they turn 18 . Apparently the sex education my opponent proposes hasn’t been working.
Either we should teach more sex education to combat warped views of sex, or we shouldn’t.
In either case, pornography warps views of sex, and as such, is harmful to society.
My opponent spends lots of time discussing the mental health of porn stars. The only reason I mentioned this is because I found it interesting.
Nonetheless, the facts regarding STDs stand. The reason we cannot simply say that STDs are an occupational hazard is because 75% of porn stars have at least 1 sex partner outside work . 90% of them do not use condoms. This means that the STDs will most likely be transmitted to unsuspecting victims outside the porn industry.
My opponent also seems to admit that adolescents will have more frequent and dangerous sex due to seeing pornos, but that education should mask these negative effects. The argument above also refutes this. Just because better sex education might cause less STDs, this does not refute the argument. Porn still causes an increase in STDs among the porn stars, those they come into contact with outside of work, and the adolescents who form a habit watching porn and imitate what they see.
I don’t need to win every single one of these arguments to win the debate. Every single one of these arguments serves to show that pornography’s harm upon society is significant and worthy of our attention. Nonetheless, I have upheld every single one of these arguments, showing that pornography contributes to sexual aggression, harms relationships, warps views of sex, causes an increase in STDs and in addition to all this, is extremely habit forming. Therefore, the resolution has been upheld.
It appears my opponent wishes to set a low bar for himself. He asks the reader to assess whether or not porn is a net positive or negative, yet given the structure there are no opportunities to give a positive argument; this debate is without context. This is exactly what Pro wants, a one sided narrative without context. This can be seen with his use of sources, statistics without context or fair interpretation, and his quote “In fact, my purpose of this debate is merely to raise attention regarding the negative effects of pornography upon our society.” He is not interested in the science or the possible positives of porn. Like moral crusaders before him he wishes to rail against porn based on his own morals. Pro says all he must do is prove porn is harmful to some degree, this is not hard given that anything from cars, to sugar, to homosexuality can be portrayed as harmful. But the question is; are the harms being claimed actually caused by porn? If we were to eliminate porn, would any of the problems attributed to it cease? Is porn a signifigant contribution/cause of the problems he claims?
My argument is simple, I argue that porn is a null factor in general society. There is evidence to back this up [Round 2 D – H] and reason to believe the sources used by Pro, especially when it comes to porn and violence, are methodologically flawed [A]. My opponent conflates correlation with causation, and I hope by the end of this round the reader understands this and other misrepresentations he commits.
Porn and Aggression
This section is a perfect example of my opponent conflating causation with correlation in an effort to make the argument that porn is the cause of sexual violence. Source [Pro 1], and all of his sources claiming a link is a perfect example of the methodological flaw. The studies can be summed up as ‘What do sexually aggressive men have in common? Porn. Therefore porn must be the reason for their sexual aggression.’ This is clearly putting the cart before the horse: Quote “To explain the problem of violence in society, researchers should begin with that social violence and seek to explain it with reference, quite obviously, to those who engage in it: their identity, background, character and so on. The ‘media effects’ approach, in this sense, comes at the problem backwards, by starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around . . . the ‘backwards’ approach involves the mistake of looking at individuals, rather than society, in relation to the mass media. [A]” Furthermore other problems with these studies include loose definition of what is porn, participants not being fully informed of what is being tested, and what even constitutes violent porn making testability difficult [A]. As you may recall in round 2, one of Pro’s sources listed spanking and rape as violent; but are they really equal? But what I find most interesting is my opponent has ignored his own source, Dr. Jensen, who acknowledges the untestable nature of the work and says that both the null and positive hypothesis are ‘just as likely’.
In regards to the quote he takes from [A], he quotes a part claiming anecdotal evidence of harm, yet he is happy to ignore the purpose of the paper, to thoroughly show how the statistical correlations Pro is using are methodologically unsound when concluding a link between porn and violence. It doesn’t matter how many studies he cites, they all suffer the same flaws.
In regards to the findings dealing with already sexually aggressive men, my opponent claims this makes them more violent. Yet how do we define what a sexually aggressive man is if we wasn’t already aggressive? If we were to erase porn from the internet would these men be less of a problem despite already being labeled aggressive? Is porn what causes wife beaters to beat their wives? Porn may be used at as tool, but it is not the problem. Making porn as the scapegoat does not solve the problem of spousal abuse or sexual violence in any significant way.
Next my opponent cites [R3, Pro 2], but what he doesn’t mention is if these raised violent fantasies are permanent or if they lead to increased likelihood of assault. Among other problems, the study was only conducted on 29 students, hardly a representative sample. My opponent wishes to conflate fantasy with action. When in fact fantasy is a natural part of human sexuality [Con1]; and just because a person has a more violent (however this word is subjectively defined) fantasy, being the victim or perpetrator, fantasy does not necessarily equate to action. Furthermore “violent” sex can be consensual and healthy, BDSM is a perfect example.
Next Pro mentions child molesters and Ted Bundy. What does this have to do with porn other than conflating those who look at porn with child molesters and serial killers? Did Ted Bundy kill because he looked at porn? Perhaps looking at porn is what held him back, and without porn he would have began his kill spree earlier. As for child molesters, there’s evidence to suggest that if child porn were legalized, there would be less sexual abuse towards children [Con2]. In fact just to contradict Pro, there’s evidence that regular porn reduces sexual assault too [G][Con3]! I am not committed to the porn reduces rape argument, all I am showing that given these conflicting studies presented by Pro and I, can we really be sure about his claim?
In regards to India, Pro blatantly misrepresents me. I did not claim that rape had decreased, quote “For example a 37 year study in India on the connection ‘suggests that easy access to pornography did not have a significant impact on rape rates and crime rate against women. [B]” This is consistent with the null hypothesis.
In regard to rape rates in the US, my opponent asks “If porn causes less rape, then why is our rape rate three times worse than it was when hardcore internet porn literally did not exist?” Without context this might be a tough question to answer. But if we look at the chart rape went dramatically up from 1960-1980 then peaked in the early 90’s, before the internet became widely used and has gone down since then. So how can Pro explain the increase in rape before internet porn existed?
Porn Harms Relationships
My opponent conflates correlation with causation again. He claims porn CAUSES divorce, not just contributes, but CAUSES it quote “However, this doesn’t change the fact that pornography causes divorce.” Just because porn is mentioned as a problem does not mean it is the source. The question before you is porn significant in divorce rates even though it has not contributed to an increase in divorce?
Pro continues to argue with a lack of context. I already addressed this in Round 2, but a study that cited  commented on their results: “These results imply that women may not view their partners' SEM viewing as unhealthy as long as they do not perceive that viewing as excessive. In fact, some women may even view their partners' pornography use as enhancing their sexual relationship.” Even from the study itself, and alternative copy with fuller abstract says “Results suggest that highly negative evaluations of a partner's pornography use are not representative of women in general [Con4]”. To reverse his stats, 74% of women don’t have a problem with men looking at porn! Again a criticism of methodology is given “One of the limitations of the literature on SEM and romantic relationships is that most studies assess individuals' attitudes toward the opposite gender or toward relationships after being exposed to SEM in an experimental context, which does not necessarily reflect real-life experiences. [I]”
Porn is Habit Forming
It should be noted that the DSM does not recognize internet addiction [Con5] as a mental disorder. Habit forming is an irrelevant argument given that habits are not necessarily bad. And as shown this habit does not show evidence of increasing divorce or violence among the population. Furthermore the internet is so widely used for so many functions; we spend countless hours on it already, how does one distinguish our already constant internet use from addiction?
Sex & STD’s
Low on characters, must be brief.
If porn is ones only source for sex info, then yes it can warp, just like if alcohol is your only drink you’ll get drunk. Porn is not to blame, lack of information is what causes young people to misunderstand porn. Pro cites the CDC saying 96% of young kids have a “formal sex education”. So many flaws. First, it was a regional study, done with face to face interviews, 2nd the study’s definition only included ‘did you ever learn how to say no to sex?’, there’s no way to tell the quality of education from that. However “AGI research, based on a nationwide survey of school superintendents, found that local policies overwhelmingly encourage abstinence. … Only 14% have a truly comprehensive policy that teaches about both abstinence and contraception as part of a broader program designed to prepare adolescents to become sexually healthy adults. [Con6]”. The majority of kids are not properly learning about sex. Porn is a scapegoat.
As for STD’s the question is significance, yes it causes STD’s among porn stars, but again occupational hazard, all jobs have them, some bigger than others. But Pro saying that porn stars risk infecting those outside of porn, again risk is evident, but not deeming societal action. Porn is not responsible for the significant transfer of STD’s in the world. Also portraying youth as helpless but to imitate porn over simplifies the matter. Quote [Pro 28] “The notion that people should be able to choose to consume pornography if they wish is strong. We see this clearly among the young people in our study.” How can this opinion be if porn is a significant harm to society?Sources:
Ted Bundy clearly states that porn caused him to become more aggressive.
In porn studies, there are two divisions: those on the individual level and those on the aggregate level (looking at the rape rate over the country as a whole)
There are two subcategories here. Experimental and non-experimental. Experimental studies deal with control groups and groups exposed to porn and then use a scientific model to determine attitudes towards women. Non-experimental studies are simply surveys and show correlations within the data.
Experimental studies show causation
Non-experimental studies show correlation
For studies on the individual level, the answer is inevitable. I cite several meta-analyses[1|2|3|6|23] which each examine vast amounts of both experimental and non-experimental studies, and they all come to the conclusion that exposure to hardcore pornography causes increased aggression/negative attitudes towards women, including acceptance of the rape myth (the view that only bad/sexually promiscuous women get raped).
I also cite individual studies [4|5|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|24]
In an experimental study  control groups were compared to those exposed to porn over a period of time, and showed the group exposed to porn developed a more negative view of women, believing that women were naturally more sexually promiscuous, and expected less faithfulness between partners.
Rape proclivity was also higher in the porn group:
As expected, those with higher levels of psychosis were more influenced by exposure to porn:
Also, the group exposed to porn thought the punishment for rape should be significantly less than the control
Another study also found that those exposed to porn thought rapists should receive 300-350 less months in prison as compared to the control group 
Thus, the studies on the individual level show porn increases negative attitudes and sexual aggression towards women, including trivialization of rape.
As my opponent points out, there are several studies which correlate porn availability with decreased sex crimes, however experts have criticized these studies as over simplifying a complex issue .
Second, studies at the aggregate level are notorious for misleading mistakes. Dr Robinson illustrates this in a famous example  where he used stats at the aggregate level and showed that as the amount of immigrants increased in America, the literacy also increased. This is absurd! We know that immigrants are less literate, since statistics show this on the individual level. This is an example of an ecological fallacy, and it is a huge problem with my opponent’s studies.
Dr. Robinson concludes
“The relation between ecological and individual correlations…provides a definite answer as to whether ecological correlations can validly be used as substitutes for individual correlations. They cannot”
Thus, the very methodology of my opponent’s studies aren’t reliable when applied to interpersonal behaviors, especially since they contradict what the studies on the individual levels show.
Thirdly, my opponent’s studies rely upon reported rape values, but only 15% of rapes are reported to authorities .
Some of the main reasons why women do not report rape is because they don’t want others to know (63%) and fear shame/mistreatment (44%).
But wait…according to the individual research, pornography increases the rape acceptance myth, and thus fosters the social atmosphere in which women would not report rape. Thus, as pornography use increases, women will be less likely to report rape.
So an increase in pornography would make it seem as if there is less rape, since less women will be open about their abuse.
My opponent’s study takes place in the Czech republic during the middle of a rebellion, a change from communism to capitalism, the national Separation of Slovakia  and many other social and political changes. There’s so many factors here, it’s ridiculous to say porn caused the reduced rape rate.
In addition to this, immediately after the change from communism to democracy (when pornography became available, the year 1989) the amount of rape actually increased at first .
In addition to this, the lesser sex-related crimes and child abuse had already began decreasing before the legalization of porn. Furthermore, they did not continue declining.
Also, while the overall crime rate increased, the sexual crime rate remained the same despite women being less likely to report their abuse 
Furthermore, in the Denmark study, the police admitted that they would sometimes not report rape cases, and in a public survey, it was found that the people were less likely to report physical violence against women  after the availability of porn, to such a degree it could significantly alter the rape rate.
Historians and sociologists attribute the declining crime rate in the 1990s to various cultural causes including immigration, improved housing for low income, anti-drug campaigns etc.
My opponent is using shaky methodology, oversimplifying complicated historical time periods, and contradicting all the evidence on the individual level. Thus, the studies that porn causes lower sex crime rates are inconclusive and do not prove the null hypothesis.
My opponent’s logic simply doesn’t work. Through his logic, we could come to the conclusion that infidelity doesn’t cause divorce, and that it’s just an outlet. While there may be a more fundamental and underlying problem with that relationship, the unfaithfulness of a spouse can obviously contribute to and thus cause a divorce.
So why can’t we say that pornography (which is habit forming, and women don’t like when their spouse use it) also causes divorces? Especially considering it contributes to about half of divorces .
Also, the marriage rate has been declining dangerously :
While the divorce rate has sky-rocketed.
This is an important issue. Some recent studies suggest that porn may even be used as a substitute for marriage .
There are also many studies that claim the hurt due to porn can be even worse [31|32|33|34].
Therefore, since a significant amount of women (30%) think their partner has failed them by using porn, the effects of porn upon relationships are significant . 23% of them claim their partner lies to them about his porn use. Trust is the basis of every relationship.
Furthermore, my opponent accuses this study of methodological problems, but the study clearly does not use experimental exposure to porn.
My opponent doesn’t do much. I’ve provided numerous sources which show that internet addiction and pornography are seriously habit forming (See the big list above). All he does is point out that internet addiction is not listed in the DSM. However, considering how new the internet is, this isn’t surprising.
Let’s say I go mudding in my truck. I screw up my suspension. But don’t worry, I know how to work on front end suspension pretty well, and I change the ball joints in no time.
This means that mudding must not be bad for my truck, right?
But this is what my opponent is saying. His entire argument in response to mine is that we should teach more sex ed (fix the ball joints). This implicitly admits that pornography warps views of sex (is bad for my truck’s suspension).
If porn isn’t harmful to children, why does Con say parents should set up safety nets to keep their children from finding it?
Porn is a poor sex educator and causes people to think that sexual promiscuity is more widespread :
Considering porn is now affecting children, it will change the way they perceive sexuality in the world and in themselves.
Con has ignored this. The quality of sexual education is irrelevant. Regardless of whether or not I am a good mechanic, mudding is bad for my truck’s suspension. Likewise, porn warps views of sex.
Also, considering how porn is discovered at the age of 11 , it seems difficult to educate them before damage has already occurred.
My opponent still ignores the argument that pornography contributes to genital insecurity.
Ask yourself: do you want your impressionable 11 year old wondering “What’s sex?” so he jumps on Google, and his first exposure… double penetration?
cool truck btw
My opponent admits that porn-stars get STDs. This is due to the sex they have. Likewise, if porn causes adolescents to engage in the same sort of sex (shown above) it will cause an increase of STDs in the world. Therefore, my opponent has conceded one premise and not refuted the other and the argument stands.
The point is simple. Porn causes people to be more acceptant of promiscuity :
It also causes them to be more sexually promiscuous (I showed this in earlier rounds).
And being sexually promiscuous causes more STDs.
So watching porn causes more STDs.
Furthermore, considering how every second you spend reading this, there are 30,000 people watching porn  and 40,000,000 Americans regularly view porn, I believe the effects will be significant.
In conclusion, I have upheld every one of my arguments. I’ve shown that porn causes negative attitudes and sexual aggression, that it is habit forming, warps views of sex, harms relationships, and causes an increase in deadly STDs. Therefore the resolution is upheld, and I urge you to vote Pro!
I’d like to end this debate with a final quote.
“the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.” 
Thanks to Bennett for this great debate!
My objective in this debate is simple, to show that my opponents claims are not based on sound science and that his claims are no more than a conflation between correlation and causation. My claim is the null hypothesis, that porn is not connected to reducing or increasing the social ills Pro claims. But what is most important is even if you believe porn causes harm, are those claimed harms significant at a societal level to prompt action? If porn was erased tomorrow would the society change in a demonstrable way?
In regards to his videos, he makes a bizarre appeal to celebrity. He takes the opinion of the faux spiritualist Russell Brand [Con7;8;9] in commenting on porn in which he casually suggests the now debunked ‘damaged goods myth’[Con10] as a reason women get into porn. Like my opponent Brand makes moral judgments and speculation based on the conflation between causation and correlation. Ted Bundy is an even more bizarre case; to save characters I’m going to put this bluntly, it is very stupid to trust the word of a sociopathic serial rapist, especially when interviewed by a described “evangelical psychologist and crusader against pornography” [Con11]
Porn and Aggression
My opponent claims that experimental data proves causation; I suppose this means he no longer values his own quoted expert Dr. Jenson who says “no lab experiment can replicate the common male practice of masturbating to pornography.” As I noted earlier in this debate there are many reasons to distrust the experimental side of the anti porn debate. Lab work is artificial, and bears little resemblance to actual conditions; participants are often not fully informed of the nature of the study, leaving ethical questions; the model is backwards with no indication if for example, if porn causes loneliness or if loneliness causes porn use (conflation of correlation/causation); the media effects model sees porn in isolation, without greater context of society; definitions such as erotic, violent, porn, obscene, sexually arousing etc are not uniform making replication difficult, furthermore these definitions are used interchangeably to refer to a whole host of sexual activities; in survey studies the ones taking the survey may not agree with the ones conducting the study in regards to definitions; in experiments the subjects do not choose how to express themselves, they are simply subjectively judged by how they perform an arbitrary task; by claiming causation it strips the individual of responsibility; and finally these types of studies are usually male centric [A].
My opponent cites study after study yet they all suffer the same methodological flaws listed above at one point or another. For example [Pro 17], this work was published in 1986 by a member of the Reagan administration (talk about bias). However what I find remarkably contradictory and consistent with my opponent taking thinks out of context, when looking at figures 12 & 13 the reports says: “The investigation by Check has obvious implications for public health. It shows that on the whole, common nonviolent porn has the strongest influences on men’s willingness to force intimate partners into forms of sexuality that are not necessarily to their partners’ liking and on the propensity for forcing sexual access altogether. Violent porn apparently has the same power to increase rape proclivity, but its influence on the coercion of specific sexual acts is limited, if not negligible. (pg 25)” This is a complete contradiction, how can non violent porn be more influential than violent porn? Pro’s entire argument is based on monkey see monkey do.
In regards to studies showing porn reduces sex crimes, as I said before I’m not committed to this argument; his dismissal of my evidence is hypocritical. First I did not fully rely on aggregate data, survey data was taken as well. But regardless, the to quoque fallacy does not makes his sources more credible, especially when it comes to the aggregate sources that he himself cites that he now discredits. If my opponent is going to say that my sources over simplify the issue, I say the same of his sources. And in the end I’m happy to accept that the science on both sides is not credible. And as such can we trust Pro’s argument over admitting the truth that the science is not yet in?
By its very definition it is impossible to truly know how much rape is unreported. However rates at which women report rape are on the rise [Con12]! If we acknowledge that overall rape rates are going down as Pro shows in round 3, and see that women are less afraid to report assault, Pro can’t logically conclude that porn is responsible, especially given his own source does not even mention porn. This is biased speculation on his part.
In regards to sexually aggressive men and porn, this is a non issue. Again it puts the cart before the horse, aggressive men may like porn at higher rates but that does not mean that porn is responsible for their aggressive behavior. To say otherwise oversimplifies the matter. Honestly have you ever seen a wife beater and thought “Yea, it must be the porn that makes him an a$$hole.”?
Furthermore when it comes to hardcore porn on the internet violent porn isn’t even the most popular! It’s actually more focused on older ladies, MILFs, step moms etc. [Con 15-16] So on a societal level, how is violent porn prevalent enough to have violent influence?
On a final note, other medias have also shown no link between media and real world violence, video games being a perfect example [Con13]. And in regards to BDSM Pro has completely ignored how this group, literally steeped in hardcore sexual activity, is not rampant with psychos and misogynists.
Porn & Relationships
Continuing with the theme of conflation, wants to say the porn is the cause for plummeting marriage rates. Yet notice the decline on his chart, it begins in the early 70’s, long before internet porn existed. I could easily correlate 2nd wave feminism with the decline in marriage than with porn, but that would be the same fallacy my opponent is making. With divorce, same issue. Pro’s own source says higher rates of divorce are not the fault of the internet, despite its facilitation. My opponent wishes to claim that porn use is the cause of divorce, when it is more likely that it is a symptom of an already failing marriage. As noted in round 3, porn is only a problem if you make it one, instead of a woman succumbing to the patriarchal demand that women abstain from the sexually taboo, women could just as easily join their men and explore their sexuality together! In fact Dr. Malamuth, a man Pro has cited several times against porn found in a study “respondents construed the viewing of hardcore pornography as beneficial to their sex lives, their attitudes towards sex, their perceptions and attitudes towards members of the opposite sex, toward life in general, and over all. The obtained beneficial effects were statistically significant for all but one measure across both sexes. … A positive correlation was obtained between the amount of hardcore pornography that was viewed and the impact of the benefits reaped. [Con18]” Talk about contradictions huh?
Porn & Habit
Pro underestimates me in this section. Like with violence and porn, the connection between porn and addiction is not conclusive. The DSM rejects porn addiction on this ground, and if they do not accept it why should you? Pro has not bothered to address my concerns about given the ubiquity and constant use of the internet how can we determine what is addictive behavior compared regular use?
Furthermore “although people may partake excessively in certain activities and sometimes suffer detrimental life consequences, they rarely develop tolerance or obvious withdrawal symptoms—two hallmarks of addiction. [Con14]” In other words porn, like everything else, is harmful when taken to the extreme (this is not a reflection on porn, but a truism of life). However you will not find 1 source by my opponent that says how wide spread true addiction is among the porn using population. Given this lack of information can we say that habit formation is a significant problem when not only do we not have societal data, but experts disagree that such addiction is even real and is not comparable to substance addiction [Con14; 17]?
Warped View & STD’s
Few characters must be brief.
His truck analogy is a false equivalence. The necessity of sex education is separate from porn. When we see a failure in sex ed as I have demonstrated with the lack of national comprehensive sex ed, we can expect people to be ignorant of sex. Porn will be consumed either way, but due to the societal failure of education porn is made to be the scapegoat for causing misunderstanding when there was little understanding to begin with. Pro says kids start looking at porn by 11, that’s when they hit puberty, so that’s to be expected. Shall we absolve parents of responsibility then? Genital insecurity? Like before, Malamuth says otherwise [con18]. Not to mention other societal factors could be at play, Con oversimplifies.
In regards to STD’s porn is again the scapegoat, a spurious leap in logic that says people give each other STD’s on a global level because porn. People are just helpless aren’t they? I bet all the AIDs in Africa has to do with internet porn and not education, just kidding, it’s lack of education [con19]. To say quality of education does not matter is a dangerous joke. Again use the alcohol metaphor, if boose is all you got you're gonna get drunk. Do we blame alcohol for our lack of water?
Thanks Mike for the debate.
Remember folks before you whack it, Vote Con!
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