back to article The freakonomics of smut: Does it actually cause rape?

Does porn cause rape? It could do: rape fantasies causing porn is a certainty. While there are many who would argue that porn causes rape, what we would really like to know is whether it is true. There's not much actual evidence that it does, that seeing graphic representations of sex, even violent sex, increases the acting …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    The UN really should stop dropping DVDs full of smut on the Congo. That's for sure. I mean, whom do they think they are helping with this? All it leads is to region-wide rapidemics, which then have to be tearfully discussed in liberal-interventionist newspapers, boring people senseless.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong statistic

    >T)here were 2.7 rapes for every 1,000 people in 1980; by 2004, the same survey found the rate had decreased to 0.4 per 1,000 people, a decline of 85 per cent."

    Surely the correct number to be looking at is number of rapists per whatever of the population.

    The drop in the number of rapes could be due to many reasons from lack of opportunity on the part of the rapist to the victim being afraid of not being taken seriously so not reporting the crime.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Surely the correct number"...

      In multivariate systems there is rarely, if ever, anything that can be agreed-upon as the "correct" variable for a given relationship. One is also constrained with what types of data are available - the variable you're looking for might not exist today and would require a study all on its own to produce.

      I don't disagree that looking at things from a different angle - as you suggest - is useful, in fact I think it would be useful... the more the better right? ...but the end result of your proposed analysis, IMHO would be about the same (quality wise) result as the analysis here. Someone else could just as easily come along and say, for example, "What about the average age of the victims and offenders?" It's an iterative process, so if you can find a a variable for per capita rapists rates then by all means go for it - I'd be curious to see it at least.

      Welcome to the world of Economics-style analysis :) Everything is fuzzy and it's these types of exercises that establish - at least from a statistical and empirical standpoint - the "correctness" of a given relationship. We plug the variables in, turn the crank and make the sausage... rinse/repeat with new variables... compare and contrast the results... and so on.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I don't think people tend to put that as an occupation or hobby on census forms.

      (sorry to belittle an important discussion - couldn't help it)

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Comprehension difficulties?

      I'm not sure what the difference is between the number of rapists and the number of rapes, except for the length of time it takes to catch the rapist, during which they may have committed one or more further rapes.

      It's assumed, and broadly justifiably I think, that victims were less likely to report a rape or to have it recorded at the earlier time; society has improved in this respect, although I was alive in 1980 and it didn't seem to be particularly bad then, except that rape by a legal spouse not being counted, in unhappy relationships, is a pretty serious omission.

      Opportunity, you could have a point; probably more people go out in cars in the evening nowadays instead of on foot, and that presumably makes rape more difficult, although from time to time there's a prosecution of a taxi or minicab driver - genuine or fake - for it.

      And I suppose that if people are drinking more nowadays, then they may wake up in the morning not sure whether they consented to sexual intercourse or didn't.

      But do any of these factors correlate to geographical internet penetration, which is what is being compared by proper researchers to the other kind?

    4. Neil Stansbury


      No.. because you don't know how many rapes an individual rapist has committed. So a small number of prolific rapists would mask in increase in rape victims.

      So reported incidents per head of population is correct, it also allows for simple(r) correlation between other statistics - violent crime per head, drug use per head etc etc.

      The drop in the number of incidents could have many causes anyway, from education, to acceptance of women's rights

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No

        If you are looking to tie porn into the number of rapes you have to look at the people who commit the rapes. If porn leads to an increase in the number of rapes is it because it creates more rapists or increases the number of attacks from current ones. Either way the number of victims would increase but you are not validating any perceived correlation of viewing porn to number of rapists you are merely assuming that the increase is due to porn creating more rapists.

        The other figures you mention should not be used neither. I recall not too long ago that an area had it's crime rate cut in half by the convicton of a single crime family. All very good for the sort of figures you mention but the number of criminals didn't really go down.

        Whether the anlysis of the figure is valid or worthwhile is another matter but they should be looking at perps per capita not victims.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          @ Chris W

          I think you're confusing the issue. The number of people committing any crime is not really relevant, the key figure is how many crimes have been committed. That is, after all, what governs the likelihood of someone being the victim of a crime.

          If crime rates decrease through, for example, catching just a handful of the most prolific offenders, then who really cares that the number of criminals remains almost the same, as long as many fewer people become victims? Nobody, that's who. Except for the real hardcore law & order types, who can't sleep for the thought that someone, somewhere might have possibly got away with something. And really, screw them because who wants to be such a sad grey prick?

    5. Brangdon

      Overall rate is what matters

      We don't care whether porn halves the number of rapists (with each committing the same number of crimes), or halves the number of rapes per rapist (leaving the number of rapists the same). Either way porn is having a positive effect.

  3. John G Imrie Silver badge

    What about the children harmed in production?

    With sufficient camera angles and body doubles no children need be harmed in production.

    Of course in these enlightened times where having a nude photograph of you wife, who happens to look under age, gets you on the kiddy fiddling register there is no hope for a rational debate,

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Freakonomics... in my Register?

    I like it!

    Following a train of thought, without emotion, using empirical evidence to its logical conclusion is always a worthy and admirable exercise... no matter how offensive or, at first glance, un-intuitive the result might be. That's not to say that the result always makes sense once you add the political and moral realities of a subject back into the mix... but it is still worth doing even as just a thought experiment.

    As a former student of Economics... looking forward to more of this on the Reg if we can get it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am mostly with John G Imrie on this

      The difference between child porn and "normal" porn, even the stuff depicting the weirdest, most violent / humiliating porn is that adults in porn are giving consent and effectively acting out the scenario, whereas by definition anything stronger than children just getting naked involves an act for which the child cannot give consent and is accepted to have been inflicted harm.

      I suppose there are possible arguments that as long as there can be no harm done to a child then there should be no problem - indeed if you take a picture of your 10 year old daughter in her bathing gear at a beach you are a normal parent and no-one rational would infer any harm has befallen said child, whereas if you take a picture of someone else's child in the same way for private gratification purposes we are inclined to accept harm has occurred even though the actual interaction with the child is exactly the same in both cases.

      However, without any evidence one-way or another it would be pretty impossible to make any predictions on the availability of non-damaging child porn versus incidents of child abuse.

      You would have, as I see it, 3 classes of people to collect data from: convicted child abusers, those convicted of possession of child porn but no direct offenses against children and those who actively possess child porn but have not been caught for it yet.

      Now, in the first case we know convicted people are not that reliable, especially those who commit highly stigmatised offenses - equally though we cannot make any sensible deduction based on child abusers who possess child porn and those that do not - why have the piccies if you are getting it for real on one hand and why not have pictures if you are already committing a much worse offense on the other.

      Then we have the possessors who have not been convicted of direct abuse - firstly they are hardly going to fess up to any uncaught offenses (and it is unlikely any prosecuting body would be permitted to grant them immunity for any 'fessed offenses) and secondly they are hardly going to confess that without child porn they would be likely to be a child rapist, even if they thought it was true.

      Finally we have those who actively collect child porn but have not been caught - how do you track them down? put an advert in the local papers?

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      The Govt by now should have such a repository of child porn that there will be no need to produce more. All they need to do is to allow access to it, perhaps on registered, confidential basis. The society should reward paedophiles with immunity if they come out of the closet and abstain from physically enacting their desires in exchange for it.

      As it stands now the "Think of the childrenz" philosophy only brushes the problem under the carpet, endangering children and causing huge collateral damage to the rest of the society - because every control freak dreaming of control over information and censorship of the 'net jumps on the "Childrenz" argument and uses it to cover their real motives.

      1. Captain Underpants


        The problem with providing access to the material they've confiscated so far is that in a certain sense it will be seen to condone the creation of the original pictures. The last thing any abuse victim would want to find out is that the government is actively circulating the images of their abuse.

        The registered & confidential access idea is probably not a bad one, but we'll need a better class of human before that happens - imagine how fast you'd have murderous lynchmobs on the prowl if it emerged that there was a confidential govt. register of paedophiles who regularly viewed material created by abusing children. Especially since the register would probably be an Excel spreadsheet stored on a pendrive that'd then get left on a train and find its way onto $TORRENT_REPOSITORY_OF_CHOICE...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Vladimir

        What you suggest, whilst coldly logically plausible, would be viewed by most right minded people as morally reprehensible and therefore political suicide for anyone who tried to implement it.

        logically speaking there must be a number of people who are sexually attracted to children who do nothing about it - no kiddie porn and no child abuse - they take this stance because they know it is both morally and legally wrong - we then "reward" these people by not putting them in prison and making them sign any registers.

        Personally I like having sex with women, and there are a number of women I would like to have sex with who are well out of my league (or have politely declined to partake in any bumping of uglies based Ugandan diplomacy with my good self), however I don't then go around raping them and I don't think I should be given access to a bank of hot whores as a reward for not committing a serious and damaging crime.

        And, at the end of your rant you kind of completely lose it - only the most fucktardiest fucktard would think that protection of children through criminalising child porn is some kind of government-based control-freak conspiracy.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @ "what about the children harmed in production?"

          There is already a solution to that problem, or, at least, there was until the last Government in their final desperate attempts to grab votes in their "Won't Someone Think Of The Children" campaign put the kybosh on it by introducing the "Dangerous Drawings" Act whereby a complete fictitious drawing (ie not taken from life or a photograph of actual abuse) or even a 3d rendering of something that looks like a child became illegal.

          Of course this was just another stupid and unenforceable law (like the Dangerous Pictures Act outlawing so-called Extreme Porn) but it made for good headlines in the tabloids.

          The "Porn Causes Rape" arguments have long been shown to be fallacious, but they keep getting repeated by those whose real position is "I don't like this, so *you* shouldn't be allowed to see it", indeed some campaigners are still trying to cite Donnerstein who thought he'd shown a link between porn and violence towards women but then subsequently withdrew his findings when he found that the same results could be achieved by getting subjects to ride an exercise bike for 10 minutes (should be ban exercise bikes, then?!)

          It is good to see that Anthony D'Amato's results back up the findings of Milton Diamond PhD of the University of Hawai'i who also found that an increase in the availability of pornography lead to a reduction in sexual offences (including those with children as victims):

          "It is certainly clear from the data reviewed, and the new data and analysis presented, that a massive increase in available pornography in Japan, the United States and elsewhere has been correlated with a dramatic decrease in sexual crimes and most so among youngsters as perpetrators or victims."

          Of course this will be most unlikely to persuade the current administration to reverse the Dangerous Drawings Act in the near future because the Tabloids would love to jump up and shout "Coalition Promotes Kiddy Porn" so because of the wilful ignorance of a vocal minority, there will actually be a *greater* risk to children.

          Bravo to them.

          1. Nigel Whitfield.

            I broadly agree ...

            ... but the restrictions on pseudo photographs and manipulated photographs actually came in well before 1997.

            I can't remember the date of the Act, but I do recall that that was one of the points we specifically addressed in our evidence. So, while the Labour governments certainly had their own nasty draconian tendencies, especially with the 'Extreme Porn' legislation, this sort of thing is not solely the preserve of one party.

        2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


          "don't then go around raping them and I don't think I should be given access to a bank of hot whores as a reward for not committing a serious and damaging crime"

          Your comparison is not valid - you have a legal way of satisfying your sexual interest. If you can't get laid you have a legal (for the time being) substitute in pornography. For pedos, none of these legal options exist. When you put somebody into a corner he becomes desperate. Also, in for a penny, in for a pound - if the penalty for watching is as hard as for actually committing the act - where is the incentive for him to limit himself to the lesser action?

          As far as the end of the "rant" is concerned - I believe it it you who lost one's cool. a) Did I say anything about conspiracy? and b) when I talk about "think of the children" it's not about criminalising child porn - it's about the idea that you can justify any intrusion and imposition from the Govt into our private lives by appealing to human child-protecting instincts.

      3. A J Stiles

        Are you daring to suggest .....

        ..... that for one more person to look at a picture of a stranger, possibly taken so long ago that the subject depicted is now an adult, will *not* somehow cause any additional harm (assuming any was ever done in the first place -- a kid having fun in a paddling pool probably is not being abused) to the subject depicted?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Following a train of thought, without emotion, using empirical evidence to its logical conclusion"

      Must be a refreshing change after studying economics!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        "Must be a refreshing change"

        Believe it or not... and it is hard to believe sometimes when you see the economists that make the TV circles (the Freakonomics guys being a notable exception)... analysis without emotional or political bias is not *completely* unheard of in the world of Economics.

        Of course, then there's this guy -

        : /

  5. Captain Underpants

    Eeesh, that's going to be a really awkward debate

    If that Czech paper is reliable in its conclusions, and the claim that child molestation decreases with increased availability of material depicting molestation, surely this just re-opens the pseudoporn debate? It's going to be much easier to sell the idea of eg CGI'd abuse material than the idea of existing or (even worse) new material.

    Icon because, well, that's the reaction you're going to get, isn't it...

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Ian Yates


      I think the article could have changed the wording on "increase, not ban, the production of child pornography".

      Surely just not banning it would have the same effect? Increasing circulation, maybe, but production surely is abuse, no?

      Good article, though

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @bad people

      >It isn't the lack of opportunity

      Let me assume you are referring to my comment above. Good people given the opportunity won't commit crimes. Bad people who do commit crime still need opportunity.

      Maybe I should have been more specific and spelled it out more clearly in order to avoid confusion. Oh wait, I've just re-read my comment and it definitely states "lack of opportunity on the part of the rapist" not "lack of opportunity on the part of your normal well adjusted commentard"

  7. Anonymous Coward

    What the fuck?

    "... arguably the best method of reducing the harm done to children is to increase, not ban, the production of child pornography."

    Wow. That is a seriously worrying conclusion, almost entirely unsupported by the facts presented in the article. Well done.

    Here's an idea - why don't we execute paedophiles instead? I'm quite certain the statistics will show that this reduces the rate of re-offence, and therefore results in an overall reduction in child abuse. What's wrong with my conclusion?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      It runs into the pitfall of Capital Punishment.

      That pitfall being that execution acts as a deterrent to crime. The obvious counterargument is that punishment does not figure into the criminal psyche...because they operate on the assumption that they won't get caught in the first place.

    2. Greg J Preece


      "Here's an idea - why don't we execute paedophiles instead? I'm quite certain the statistics will show that this reduces the rate of re-offence, and therefore results in an overall reduction in child abuse. What's wrong with my conclusion?"

      Has the execution of murderers in America done anything to the murder rate? Personally, I find anyone calling for the murder of another human being as the simple solution to a problem far more tasteless, offensive and disturbing than a calmly written article asking questions.

      I don't agree with everything in the article, and I dislike its implication that people who watch porn objectify women, not least because it assumes everyone watching porn is male, but your comment is simply vile.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        I'm no fan of capital punishment,

        but I would have to agree that it would drop the re-offending rate.

    3. Richard IV

      @AC 13:35: Here's what's wrong...

      When the birth rate is greater than the death rate, populations go up. This is despite the probability of death being at a rather stubborn 1 (so far in human history, at least).

      You might like to note that states without the death penalty typically have lower murder rates than those with it. Could the same hold true for paedophilia if we applied your brilliantly argued idea?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Richard IV

        "You might like to note that states without the death penalty typically have lower murder rates than those with it. Could the same hold true for paedophilia"

        That would depend on the correlation between murder and the death penalty - if, for example, the death penalty was applied to say, rape, then it is no worse to murder your victim after raping them from a punishment point if view and certainly better from a chance of getting caught one. Equally if you fry for one murder then why not go out in mad, spree-killer stylee? They can't leccycute you twice. Or three times, or a whole schoolbus full of times, now can they? In these case it is arguably the death penalty itself that contributes to the murder rate, remember that in many places with the death penalty the non-death penalties as harsh enough to preclude re-offending (650 years in gaol don't leave much time for parole)

        Conversely in societies that come from a base of a high murder rate and no or ineffectual , it may be that introducing a death penalty will reduce the murder rate, even if it is only through removing the more prolific killers.

        I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying I don't see any basis for your statement to be true, or indeed false. Daily-Mailesque commentards aside, this is really about data collection, statistical analysis, correlation / causation and ethics after all

        1. Richard IV

          @ Lee

          "I don't see any basis for your statement to be true, or indeed false"

          That would be why I used a question mark. They're useful for that sort of thing.

          1. Steven Roper

            If the penalty for the crime is death

            then the criminal will kill to escape.

            Is that really the situation you want to put molested children in? Make it so that child abusers will murder their victims in order to escape detection?

    4. James Micallef Silver badge

      For starters...

      ... one thing wrong about your conclusion is that it's based on the wrong assumption that child molesters and paedophiles are incurable recidivists. A recent US study showed that recidivism rates for sex crimes was considerably less than recidivism for other violent offences (about 2% vs 8%, can't remember more exact details, though).

      Some common sense is required here. On one hand, harsh (10+ years) for possession of child porn, life for production. On the other hand, a clear definition that child nudity is not child porn (little kids photographed in the bathtub or at the beach etc). Cartoons are most definitely not children, whatever age they look like, and are unlikely to have been caused any harm while they were being drawn. Teenagers should be allowed to do what teenagers do within a couple of years of their own age, without being branded statutory rapists because the guy/girl they were experimenting with were a few months younger. And pissing in public is NOT a sexual crime

      1. Jean-Luc Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @For starters...

        Generally agree with your points, except for the length of the possession sentence. 10 yrs? What's the point of a sentence that approaches those handed for murder?

        Let's take your recidivism argument. If a child porn possessor is unlikely to re-offend with child porn, or to directly harm children upon his release, what is society's interest in applying, and paying for, that level of punishment?

        Better a one or two year sentence, actually served, not paroled. Followed by a mandatory spell of counseling and supervision. For recidivist child molesters , I'm for the "throwing away the key" approach.

        Far as the article goes, I find it fascinating, but I am unsure about making child porn available, even if it did reduce molestations, which I find debatable. Certain actions intended to lower criminal behavior are a stain on the soul of the society that applies them (sorry, don't mean to get all preachy with this, not finding the appropriate ethical vocabulary to use). The death penalty in the US is one of them. Distributing child porn would be another.

    5. Naughtyhorse


      well for a start it's bollocks!


      images of carts and horses come to mind. why not execute _everyone_ as this will prevent any children getting abused in the first place (not to mention a host of other crimes).

      Speaking as an adult survivor of an abusive childhood I can assure you that most of the damage I suffered came about as a result of the social disconnect i felt from those around me, when i was supposed to be growing up. Learning how human interactions at all levels worked. The cause of which was 'the secret'. I grew up unable to trust anyone, un able to be myself.. ever, at all. Always different, and not in a good way.

      This leads to a perverse logic; I felt responsible, ergo I was the guilty one, and I was also unhappy, but guilty people deserve to be un happy, so thats ok then...

      Because i was told of the dire consequenses of discovery (I was a young boy, critical thinking didnt really come into it {see the previous para!})

      So the damage to me, and the overwhelming majority of my co-survivors was a direct result of keeping 'the secret', being on guard all of the time.

      you dont have to think about that too hard to work out that

      a) I should not have been abused - it's a given - it could have been worse i could have landed on this planet in the sudan for eg. even so it was pretty shitty... luck for want of a better word.

      b) The massive stigma attached to the crimes that I was a victim of created the 'hard place' that complemented the 'rock' provided by my abuser.

      it's as close to impossible as makes no difference to intercept an abuser prior to an offence. (never mind the legal difficulties - thought crime? no thanks!)

      Abusers are EVERYWHERE. Statistically there are at least a couple on your street right now.

      The stigma generated forces these individuals to evolve complex strategies to protect themselves.

      think of the comments you hear when someone is caught.. what Dave, No Never!, he's a good bloke, always having a laught down the pup etc etc..

      one of the significant effects of these stratigies place a huge burden on the victim.

      Thats what makes us grow up broken.

      If we cant catch the blackhats until it's too late, if we could at least remove some of the pressure, then that would reduce the damage to the child.

      A most un-palatable conclusion. But the more society accepts that these individuals are diseased as poopes to evil then the better chances there will be for their victims.

      that said, I was _very_ happy the day i heard my abuser had died, so what do i know :D

      Oh BTW! sorry AC 13:35 for taking the piss :-) didnt know i was going to write this.

      and BBTW - I did ok in the end. took years of bawling my eyes out in a room ful of strangers, but got there in the end.


    6. JohnG Silver badge

      Why don't we execute paedophiles instead?

      Probably because Social Services has a record of false accusations and coaching children for "evidence". If we followed your idea, a load of innocent people in South Ronaldsay and Rochdale could have been executed.

    7. nyelvmark
      Thumb Down


      I'm not a Christian, but they claim that there was this guy who said "OK. Whoever is without sin shall cast the first stone". Are you ready to do that, AC?

    8. tapanit

      Death penalty

      One somewhat counter-intuitive effect of death penalty (and to a lesser degree, harsher punishments in general) is that it reduces the likelyhood of getting caught and convicted, and (even more surprisingly) increases false convictions. So while DP obviously reduces recidivism in those convicted and executed, it might have the opposite effect in total.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "what about the children harmed in production?"

    Depends on the age rage being depicted, but using young looking actors would be a start. Legal production would be preferable to illegal production for most producers. Illegal producers are presumable already producing so can be discounted.

  9. Diskcrash

    Rape is rape and porn is porn

    Unless one is a psychopath and there are actually very few of those harming or hurting someone regardless of why you are doing it is a pretty obvious action (i.e. the crying and bleeding and death) and can not be justified by anything other than self interest.

    Pornography no more causes rape than a woman who dresses in shorts and a halter top. The potential rapist that reaches the point where they actually commit the crime knows they are doing wrong but have decided to go ahead anyway.

    Does legal prostitution help or hurt the rate of sexual assaults in a country? Pornography is pretty much part and parcel of the same ideology. The people who are against sex for religious, moral, or personal reasons tend to lump it all together. Sex is bad hence any depiction or sexual activity is bad. The reality of course is much murkier because there are always people willing to take things to one extreme or the another either for personal pleasure or to make some money.

    But there are fortunately a few absolutes such as No means NO.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      But attitudes are attitudes...

      The problem is that even if you don't consider porn "art", it certainly falls into the category of "cultural artefact", and as such can transmit attitudes.

      The problem is, it's not just "porn" that objectifies women, but even the "porn lite" in mainstream cinema. Most films play their rape scenes for titillation, and all too often the women make rather pleasant squealy noises. Compare with the French film "Irreversible", which has (by design) the most distressing rape scene ever to get a general cinema release, where Monica Belluci is screaming and wailing in a very upsetting manner.

      So it's hard to make a conclusion from the figures. They don't say conclusively that "porn is good" -- it could simply be that once porn is allowed, you need to saturate the market; it could be that porn moulds the fantasies and desires that lead to sexual violent, and that once this genie is out of the bottle, you've got to keep feeding the beast to make sure it doesn't dine on the villagers....

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Cause and effect

        "it could be that porn moulds the fantasies and desires that lead to sexual violent"

        I believe it couldn't - because it's the other way round. Violent porn is only there because there are people who get turned on by the idea of sexual violence. These people don't need porn to be violent - they can have their fantasies in their heads just as easily. However, having an unfulfilled fantasy in one's head is likely to stimulate that person to act it out in the real life, whereas watching a picture matching his/her fantasy is in itself acting out and will reduce the likeliness of that person going beyond just watching.

        On the other hand, if someone is not into violent sex then no amount of violent porn by itself will "convert" him or her and make them like it.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cause and effect

          I agree with your point, but have you seen the average Japanese pron movie? Its all pretty much the same - and all very weird. I make a fair assumption that the average Japanese guy isn't doing that stuff with his missus.

      2. Graham Marsden

        @The Indomitable Gall

        "Most films play their rape scenes for titillation"

        Really? Care to cite some examples? I doubt you'll be able to because the BBFC guidelines state:

        "A strict policy on sexual violence and rape is applied. Content which might eroticise or endorse sexual violence may require cuts at any classification level. This is more likely with video works than film because of the potential for replaying scenes out of context. Any association of sex with

        non-consensual restraint, pain or humiliation may be cut."

        As for "it could be that porn moulds the fantasies and desires that lead to sexual violent, and that once this genie is out of the bottle, you've got to keep feeding the beast to make sure it doesn't dine on the villagers...."

        Ignoring the woefully mixed metaphor, you're just arguing for the Nanny State "Precautionary Principle" that "well, we don't *know* that this is bad, but we'll ban it anyway, just to be on the safe side".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      I watch too much porn

      Quite a large proportion of legal porn involves "young looking" actors. You only have to be 18 to be in a porn movie, and in the same way that some 18 yo can look far older, the opposite is also true. Also a great many films involve schoolgirl/young girls bedroom scenarios - all completely legal.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @using young looking actors would be a start

      Wow, what a clever idea!

      We can call it "Barely Legal" and trademark it.

      AC, obviously.

  10. Nigel Whitfield.

    Interesting, but won't make any difference

    No politician is likely to be brave enough to go with this, no matter how much "evidence based policy" is talked about. Don't like the evidence? Ignore it or sack your advisors.

    As far as I recall, evidence regarding porn and sexual crime has always been a bit sketchy; back in the 1990s, I was one of a group of people who put together submission to a parliamentary committee on the topic (even got to debate with a ghastly Tory on Radio 4!)

    We pointed out then that there was no clear link, and there was also a good argument that porn might serve to sate some desires, rather than enhance them. And, if that were true, then you can make a subsequent case for allowing pseudo-porn, as an outlet for certain tendencies. If someone is going to look at images of children (and I don't think anyone's really found a way to actually stop that), then far better that they are created images, where no children have been abused.

    But, of course, many have in the past, and always will, decided for themselves that there MUST be a link between porn and sex crime, and so therefore porn is bad. They feel this is "self evident" and it's hard to get them to pay any attention to real evidence as a result.

    I must try and dig out the evidence we submitted back then; last time I found a copy, it was in WP 5.1 format.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      There MUST be a link

      Some years ago there was an anti porn group handing out "information" that was saying that violent criminals in jail use more porn then the general population, proof that porn caused violent crime.

      Thanks to a story in that days paper I pointed out that smoking in prison (before they banned it) was much higher then the general population, around 2.5 times greater then the difference they were reporting for porn use. So by their logic smoking must be causing all the violent crime...

      But that was just silly, no one thinks smoking causes violent crime... but it's obvious that porn is bad.

  11. Lamont Cranston

    I'm glad you got there in the end!

    I had a horrible feeling that this was going to end in some utilitatian arguement, such that the rape of one child would be a good thing, if distributing footage of the act would prevent more such crimes being committed.

    As to the wider content of the article, I think rape is the wrong subject, and women's wider sexual experience should be considered. In normalising the treatment of women as they are in porn, women may well come to have a considerably less satisfying time in the bedroom, and expectations of men may well be such that the treatment of their sexual partners comes to border on abuse (without necessarily straying over into rape).


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