back to article Smut is OK, says Montreal prof

A Canadian prof, after a great deal of painstaking research, has found that looking at porn has no measurable negative effects on men's psychology. "We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography. We couldn't find any," says Simon Louis Lajeunesse of the Université de Montréal. "The …


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  1. Andus McCoatover

    Painstaking research?

    Surely, that should read "hard research"?

    OK, gorrit.

  2. Iggle Piggle


    I just caught a glimpse of something on the internet, quite by accident, and I think I might have become a lesbian.

    "If pornography had the impact that many claim it has, you would just have to show heterosexual films to a homosexual to change his sexual orientation."

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Crap Study

    So the article starts with the Prof. saying he wanted to study men who hadn't been exposed to porn, but then immediately states he could not find any. Study over then, no? What's the point of saying "all the blokes we looked at like porn and they're all pretty normal, so it looks like porn doesn't change attitudes to women"? Might as well say my mobile protects me from metorite strikes, I always carry my phone and I've never been hit by a meteorite. Man I wish I could get paid to produce crap like this study.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can he tell?

    If he couldn't find men who hasn't/doesn't view porn how can he tell men's perceptions aren't changed? Where's the control group?

  5. Anonymous John

    "We couldn't find any,"

    Couldn't they have used Catholic priests? They aren't interested in sex.

    Oh, wait.......

    1. Oninoshiko

      jesus saves, everyone else takes 5 damage.

      you are aware that noone is born a Catholic preist, right? All that time before they decide to become one to live a life of debochery.

  6. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Next, on the news at 10...

    ("If pornography had the impact that many claim it has, you would just have to show heterosexual films to a homosexual to change his sexual orientation.")

    In Texas today, every well-groomed male* was rounded up, put into a detention centre, and forced to watch heterosexual pornography. State Governor Rick "I take my orders from the Bush family and God" Perry gave a statement that he had heard some Canuck had said this would "cure" gays, and thought it was worth a try to "clean up Texas before Je-hay-suss comes back".

    *If they're well-groomed and in Texas, let's face it - they're either gay or just visiting...

  7. Gordon is not a Moron

    Extreme prawns

    So does this study mean the Government should take the extreme pr0n laws and shove them up thier..... oh wait that's probably extreme pr0n in action

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography. We couldn't find any"

    In a related research: "we started our research seeking men in their twenties who could call themseves sore losers, we couldn't find any"...

  9. Secretgeek

    @Iggle Piggle

    We need to test this theory. I suggest you and a girlfriend come to my place so we can all watch porn together and check out the results.

    All in the interests of science of course.

    @ The actual topic

    So this basically reinforces that idea that if your mentally healthy and like to watch pr0n then it has no discernable effect on your personality?

    How about research to say that if you're not reasonably mentally healthy you probably shouldn't watch pr0n or play violent videos games or watch violent movies etc etc? Note, this is not really a statement of opinion more a request for comments.

  10. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    Now I'm not arguing that...

    pornography is bad. I'm just pointing out that this study is bullshit. Group of 20 people? No control group? Logical fallacies. I mean wtf: pornography can change a man from gay to straight? Clearly the prof has wanked himself stupid.

    Paris - in keeping with the theme.

    1. Bounty

      Indeed WTF

      "I mean wtf: pornography can change a man from gay to straight? Clearly the prof has wanked himself stupid."


      Read the doctors quote again and squint your eyes. Think... ok read it one more time. Look up the word "if" in the dictionary if you need to.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Did my own reseach

    I did my own research last night. Conclusion: I became extremely horny. Now where's my research my grant?

  12. Graham Bartlett

    @AC: Crap study

    Hardly, AC. You've got two separate axes on the graph: amount of porn watched; and amount of sexism displayed. If the two are linked, then you get some kind of regular line where the more porn you watch, the more sexist you are. If the two aren't linked, you get random dots. Similarly, if your mobile phone protects you from meteorite strikes, you'd expect a graph of meteorite strikes against density of mobile phones to come out in some kind of regular line. If it's just random dots, then again there's no link. Points for zero-porn (or zero mobile use) would be nice, but they're not essential because if there's an obvious line from the other date then it's just a case of extrapolation. And if it's obvious from the other data that there isn't any line, then those dots at zero aren't going to tell you anything new.

    Which rather explains why you're not paid to produce stuff like this. ;-)

    1. Steven Knox

      Hardly, Graham

      Very good point. But the AC had one point you ignored: sample set size. Regressing a line from 20 sample points is a bit like reconstructing a skeleton from a single bone cell -- it's very rarely enough data to produce an accurate or precise result.

      The other problem with this article, of course, is that there's no information on methodology (which would help determine if the sample set was large enough, as well as answer questions about the potential for self-reporting or distortion of results by the subjects, the measurements used to determine "normal" vs. "aggressive" sexuality, etc) or on sample source (which would answer questions regarding potential bias -- for example, if the professor was a little lazy, he might have not bothered to even leave the college grounds to get his subjects, leading to a greater potential for confounding variables.)

      This is fairly common in reporting -- scientific studies and their results are presented without the necessary backup data and documentation to allow the general public to assess the validity of the research. In many cases, the scientist themselves refuse to release their raw data or their methodology.

      But this is anathema to pure science. It leads the general public to distrust scientific findings in general, and allows (potentially well-meaning) scientists (e.g, CRU) to adjusts results and in extreme cases data to make their findings more compelling -- leading to the inevitable exposure of the fiddling and increased distrust of the findings and science in general, regardless of the accuracy of the underlying hypothesis.

      Without the supporting data and methodology, any result is no better than a personal opinion -- yet publications continually give voice to these results without even bothering to check the data and methodology, if they're even available to check.

      So yes, until they show their work, these are all crap studies.

  13. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Think of the anti-porn squad

    They must have a reason to believe that looking at an action requires people to copy the action. Perhaps it is because that is what they would do themselves. The obvious solution is to recommend these people watch some films about people who do not imitate others all the time.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Mirror Neurons

      Look up "mirror neuron" -- a concept that clearly states that a human is never truly passive when observing another human being.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC @ 12:47

    But were you gay?

    Are you still gay?

  15. Secretgeek

    @Did my own research.

    So did I and now I've got a strange urge to bonk a cuttlefish

    Although I was watching Life.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 13:49

    I am a lesbian trapped inside of a man's body.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    To be honest....

    ...anyone I've met who admits to purposely avoiding pr0n actually comes across in general as a bit weird. Pornography actually fulfils one of the most basic human desires, dating back to long before even the idea of society had been discussed.

    Men have been ogling at women since the days that we lived in caves and hit each other with clubs. The basic NEED to continue the species is one of the most fundamental of all instincts which we, as a species, have. So society has developed and demonstrated that men and women should see each other as more than just sexual objects, which is fine, but we should not deny the obvious attractions that we have to each other as a result of this.

    I would love some money to study this personally (mostly because I'd be getting paid to look at porn), but I would imagine that people who openly admit to liking a quick fap over some saucy pictures now and again probably have a more mature and balanced attitude towards sex.

    Paris, because I am sure that quite a lot of us here have seen what she has to offer...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The often-overlooked part

    Pornography is a vital step in a successful abstinence-only plan. People who try to just abstain inevitably fail whereas people who choose to use porn as a celibacy aid manage a whole lot better.

    It's about time porn was promoted as a form of safe sex.

  19. Mr Bear

    If this is a crap study...

    ... then maybe our government will pay attention to it?

    Or does it still have to have evidence to prove their whole arsed case rather than disprove it?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'Not one subject had a pathological sexuality' interesting comment if you take into account that homosexuality was a pathology for quite a long time (removed from DSM in 1973/4 in US). In UK according to wiki, parity of age of consent for gay/straight men, to age of 16, was achieved only in 2000. So prior to this equality, less than a decade ago, presumably some assumption that being gay was more 'wrong' than being straight. Societies' conventions cast a long, dark shadow. Not quite out of it still.

    On the subject of the 'need' for pornography, I suspect (no data, ok?) consider that humans evolved as small social groups and that for a long time we may have shared a larger communal living and sleeping space. The current western nuclear family with a room per (single) person being very much an outlier, evolutionarilistically. Shared sleeping spaces would mean little privacy so sex may well have been more public. People may well have even shared beds (I recall seeing a film where a reconstruction of inuit life showed a couple of families sleeping together, probably this <>, although their tough life may have required exceptional behaviour).

    I also wonder if our voyeuristic tendencies may reflect an evolutionary need for a trigger for children at a given time of the year. IFYSWIM.

  21. RW

    Anti-anti-porn dialectic

    To repeat what others have said, but in (hopefully) stronger language you can't dodge the meaning of: any male over the age of puberty who doesn't look at porn once in a while has a seriously malformed sexual nature.

    I suppose you could work up an index that takes into account serum testosterone level, megabytes of porn stored on HD, megabytes of porn actually looked at in the last month, frequency of getting laid, We can call this the "look out, he's gonna snap" index, and those with a high level (e.g. Harriet Harman) could be led away for intensive, if involuntary, sexual therapy involving lots of porn and lots of naked ladies or gents, as the preference may be.

    As for the Harriet Harmans and the Andrea "all intercourse is rape" Dworkins of the world, it's clear that they too are majorly sexually maladjusted and would probably benefit from a good screwing in the backseat of an old Oldsmobile (as a saintly retired math professor once attributed to her late husband Jack).

  22. Brett Weaver

    Hang on...

    "men don't want their partner to look like a porn star,"


    Ocasionally its fun!

  23. Peter W.

    Poll size

    Obligatory comment about small sample sizes

  24. Dave Bell
    Paris Hilton

    Porn not risk-free

    There's aspects of porn that worry me. Not the depictions of what people can do, but the way in which possible reasons are presented.

    Back before net-video was so common, it was quite easy to see sets of porn pictures, showing explicit sexual acts that were essentially ordinary, which were framed by captions presenting the idea that any woman who wanted to do such things was, somehow, broken.

    There's the idea that they're not quite people.

    OK, if you want to say that you have to be a bit of a freak to appear in a porn movie, I wouldn't disagree. Maybe that's where the taint starts from. It's there, and that is what I think can drive the anti-porn brand of feminism. But I suspect that the campaigners are too overwhelmed by their own shock to examine just why they have their feelings. The sexual display is obvious, the misogyny less so.

    Anyway, I can talk, and type, for longer than I can fuck. Which is more dangerous?

  25. Private Citizen

    Trust me - It dont work

    I can assure you I have been watching heterosexual pr0n from before I could access homosexual pr0n and it has never made me straight.

    Dunno from the small study group, the degress of possible pr0n (from victoria secret catalogues to bound bouncing flesh), the possible side affects (e.g RSI, eye injuries, bruising and mental exhaustion) I hardly consider this study conclusive.

    Add to that the starting point of some guys psychology, pr0n could actually be beneficial.

    But maybe I can get a research grant, pay selected men for a sex study ... I think I have a movie like that somewhere in my collection.

    "dont have a willy wont get the silly".

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