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The question of whether pornography viewing relates to sexual aggression is perhaps one of the most discussed topics in criminology. What motivates us to watch pornography at the first place? Is it for pleasure and entertainment? What happens when pornography was never created? Would we behave the same? Would there be sexual aggression stimulated by erotic media? Criminologist and psychologist have been trying to find out the answer to all those questions yet there are still many flaws and indecisive results.

In an attempt to figure out more facts about this interesting topic, the following write-up would examine the different aspect related to pornography and sexual aggression. The following information would be examined in order to get a better understanding of the relationship between pornography and the effects it has on sexual aggression: an analysis of the definition of pornography, the possible effect prolong consumption of pornography may bring, the relationship between pornography and sex offenders, and the mixed theories and analysis from different scholars.

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By the end of this research, there would be a better overview of how pornography may or not may not bring sexual aggression. First of all, let us understand this: what is the definition of pornography? Numerous efforts have been made to universally define the meaning of pornography and distinguishing it from the likes of erotica. Though there are really no consensus as to what pornography can be defined, Stuart Potter of the Supreme Court Justice implied he cannot define the meanings of pornography, but “he knew it when he saw it” (Malamuth, 2000).

However, there are also definitions of pornography as something that causes an arousal in sexual behavior can be recognized as pornographic (Brown and Bryant, 1989). According to Malamuth, formulations of perspectives have been formed in order to interpret the meaning of pornography. The first perspective, Conservative, suggests that he influence pornography has is negative to our social and traditional values. Unlike the Conservative approach, the Liberal position looks at pornography being something that is negligible negative, but perhaps also bringing beneficial effects to the audiences.

This perspective is interested in whether pro-long viewing of explicit sexual materials may lead evidence of ‘direct harm’or criminal matters. The final perspective is the Radical Feminist where they focus on the role-dominance of men and the attitudes they have towards women. Radical Feminist also analyze the evidence of violence against women or signs of sexism resulting from consumption of pornography (Malamuth, 2000). In another article of Malamuth’s, he describes pornography with two models: Sexual Communications and the Feminist models.

The Sexual Communications model work similar to that of the Liberal approach mentioned above in that in supports pornography for having no negative effects. The sexual interest of the communication model suggests that “consumers are attracted to pornography in a desire to fulfill their sexual curiosities and needs ( Malamuth, 1996)”. The Artistic version of the communication model, on the other hand, suggests that there is a need to express sexuality. Malamuth argues that in this model, pornography is “the imaginative record of man’s sexual will (Malamuth, 1996)”.

The Feminist Model looks at the portrayal of women in pornography. The key point feminist theorist argues for is the ideology of anti-female and that women serves as an object for pleasuring men. A question that had psychologist, criminologist as well as normal people have been wondering about this question: would prolong consumption of pornography affect a human being’s aggression. Would the behavior change with an increase of sexual aggression and violence?

The study of Malamuth and Ceniti examined the long-term effects of repeated exposure to violent and nonviolent pornography and the laboratory aggression with women. According to Malamuth and Ceniti, feminist advocates believe pornography leads to male aggression on women due to the overwhelming emphasis of male dominance. The study looked for three measures: attitude, sexual arousal, and aggressive behavior (Malamuth, 1986). Malamuth claims that violent pornography may change male’s attitudes and they are more likely to believe in male dominance and violence against women.

A research done before Malamuths, (Zillmann and Bryant, 1984) concluded that some nonviolent pornography had similar negative effects (Malamuth, 1986). Forty two men participated from a group of recruited 69 men who saw ads from University newspaper (Malamuth and Ceniti, 1986). The study consisted of 3 phases: Likelihood to Rape, Exposure Phase, Aggression Assessment. The first phase consist of questionnaires of whether one would self report their likelihood to commit rape, before and after the exposures of pornography. They were given scores of LR(lower rate to rape) or HR(Higher rate to rape).

Secondly, the exposure phase contains 3 sub-phases -pre-exposure, exposure, post-exposure. During the exposure phase, participants are randomly assigned to be exposed of SV (sexual violence), SNV (sexually non-violence), and C (Control) groups after the pre-exposure phase in which all participants were told pictorial stories in which a woman masturbates, and portrayals of women being raped and non-raped. In the post exposure phases, sexual arousal were measured when stories similar to those in the pre-exposure stage were told.

Finally, in the last of three phases, aggression is measured after a series of evaluation ( refer to Malamuth, Ceniti, 1986 for further information). An analysis indicates that the result of the test showed some suggestions that violent behavior is caused by pornography. However, the numbers did not result in a significant matter. The ‘likelihood to rape’ data showed little evidence in supporting the relationship with violent behaviors. Likewise, the exposure effect showed minimal correlation between pornography and aggression.

That being said, the results of this experiment contradicts with studies done by Donnerstein and Berkowitz, according to Malamuth (the results also contradicted with Malamuth’s own studies in 1978). Malamuth explained a possible reason would be the fact that this experiments were monitored in a long-term bases, whereas other studies were analysis of immediate sexual aggression. Another explanation was that pornography, especially those of violent themes, had immediate impact on aggressive behavior but was to fade over time.

This conclusion proved to be rather consistent with one of Berkowitz’s study done in 1984 on media effects. Berkowitz, in his study, claimed exposures to mass media are short-lived because “its influence stems largely from the temporary activation in audiences’ minds of ideas that may intensify the viewers’ existing behavioral tendencies (Malamuth, Ceniti, 1986). ” From the analysis of Malamuth’s study, it indicates there is correlations between pornography and sexual aggression, but not to the extent many perceived it to be. So how does pornography and sexual aggression relate?

What cohesive factors can we draw out of the two? In getting a broader and better understanding of criminal sexual aggression caused by pornography, Vega and Malamuth claims the psychopathy checklist created by Hare might be a useful factor. A study has shown that 35. 9% of rapist and 64% of rapist/child molester scored high on the PCL-R scale of psychopathy (Vega, Malamuth, 2007). Predictors including the confluence model (consisting the HM, IS),pornography, psychopathy are used in a model called HMC (Hierarchical-Mediational Confluence) are used to determine sexual behaviors in criminals.

The key factor of the confluence model, as described by malamuth, is that the both HM and IS factors emphasizes the importance of examining different variables in determining the results of sexual aggression. HM, or hostile masculinity, looks at the personality profile with 2 different components. According to Malamuth, someone who is HM can be insecure, defensive, hypersensitive and distrustful towards women. However, a HM person can also get sexual gratification by dominating or controlling women. The IS, or impersonal sex, is characterized by game-playing and non-committal behaviors toward women.

Therefore, Vega and Malamuth conducted a new study in which it determines whether exposure of pornography relates to sexual aggression with the use of the confluence model (Vega, Malamuth, 2007). This time around, the study mainly looks at the HM and IS models in which the researchers take a more detail look of the different variables in which arouses sexual aggression. Self-consumption of pornography were recorded and analyzed as well, as Malamuth wanted to know whether his studies before contradicts each other (Vega, Malamuth, 2007).

The results of the study showed a more significant correlation than the long-term study Malamuth did in 1986. Most predictors correlate with the outcome of sexual aggression. However, the IS factored little correlation with sexual aggression, which Malamuth predicted would happen from his previous studies in 1998. Pornography consumption was then examined and indicated that the participants with lower risk factors, showed no difference in sexual aggression according to their pornography consumption.

However, those with a high HSM score combined with high pornography consumption, resulted in an increased risk of sexual aggression. What Versa and Malamuth had to say was this: the risk factor of sexual aggression caused by pornography consumption is there; However, those with good hostility are less sexual aggressive with those with bad hostility maybe classified to have increase sexual aggression. Therefore, According to Malamuth, sexual aggression is correlated with pornography-but only to the extent of where different predictor variables indicates this as well.

A different study, done by John Biere and Marsha Runtz, indicates sexual aggression and interest towards children. Pornography was also given out during this study in which subjects of the experiments were ask to rate the extent of their masturbation to pornography. Other factors include the subject’s child abuse history in which they were to state the history of their abuse as well as the subject’s interest of children. The sample size consisted of 193 people in which there showed a correlation between aggression towards child, and pornography, though it was not frequent (Bieres, Runtz, 1989).

The relationship between pornography and sexual aggression leading to violence has seen some mixed results in various studies. Like the results found by Malamuth, a study was conducted to determine whether males would get aggressive after watching different erotic films. However, the subject were to be angered by either a male or female confederate prior to exposure to film. The film consisted neural (controlled), or one of three erotic movies (in which two were aggressive and one non-aggressive).

Afterwards, male subjects were to aggress on confederates which includes both male and female. Results from Donnerstein’s studies indicated that there were no aggression towards male in general. However, males showed aggression towards female for those who watched both types of erotic films. This study is well supported as Donnerstein conducted another experiment in which all confederates were female. In this particular study, there was an increase in aggression shown from the male subjects.

This, therefore, correlates the fact that pornography increases aggressive behaviors (Donnerstein, 1981). “Examining how people use pornography is complicated by the sensitivity felt by consumers and the problems of defining terms (Bryant and Brown, 1989). ” To define a definite correlation between pornography use and sexual violence is a very complicate analysis. Though we can say based on studies (Vega & Malamuth, 2007; Malamuth, 1996; Malamuth & Ceniti, 1986; Biere & Runtz, 1989; Donnerstein, 1981), we can conclude that there is a elative correlation between pornography and sexual violence. However, as Malamuth pointed out on his studies in 2007, we need to take a look at different variables of the different individuals in order to determine whether or not one is sexually aroused to commit aggression and or violence. That being said, we can lean towards the theory that larger consumption amount of pornography will lead to the likelihood of acting sexually aggressive (Vega, Malamuth, 2007). But in reality, everybody acts differently, there will always be exceptions.

One can consume unlimited amount of violent pornography yet no sexual aggression is to be provoked. Yet, one can consume the slightest amount of pornography and be sexually aggressive. In the word to studies, numbers indicated are too mixed. Some claim significant numbers yet some claim minimal correlations. Theories put aside, one can definitely argue that nether less large pornography consumption will lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, whether or not one would show sexual aggression depends on the individual.

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