Saturday, 14 March 2015

Which Americans think it is wrong to watch porn?

YouGov just published an interesting poll on attitudes toward pornography in the United States. One of the questions they posed was, "Do you personally consider watching porn to be morally acceptable or morally wrong?" Of those who agreed to answer the question, 39% said "morally acceptable", 38% said "morally wrong", and 23% said they were unsure. Overall then, about as many people think it is acceptable to watch porn as think it is wrong to do so. 

Yet more interesting than the overall percentages were the differences between various socio-economic groups. Unsurprisingly perhaps, as the first chart below indicates, women were more likely than men to say that watching porn is morally wrong (by 14 percentage points, to be specific). In addition, as the second chart below indicates, Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to say that watching porn is morally wrong (by a full 27 percentage points).

Looking at these differences, it occurred to me that, historically, the fiercest opposition to pornography has come from two groups with almost diametrically opposed views on the proper roles for men and women within society: the anti-pornography feminists, and the socially conservative right. Incidentally, this is not to say that all social conservatives or all feminists are opposed to pornography. Indeed, many of the so-called sex-positive feminists take a contrary position on the issue. 

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