Research on Pornography and the Sexualization of Culture

Kevin MacDonald

Lasha Darkmoon’s current TOO article provides case studies illustrating the sexual deviance of some of the main promoters of pornography. The question here is whether the availability of pornography is bad for Whites or, indeed, for any group.

Historically, explicit sexuality was a taboo in all Western societies. Growing up Catholic in the 1950s, one was aware that sexually explicit material was far underground and that it was eminently disreputable. Implicitly and perhaps explicitly in some circles, pornography was seen as incompatible with the social utility of creating social supports for marriage based on love and affection between partners; marriage thus conceived encourages fertility and provides an ideal environment for children.

Implicitly at least, there was a recognition that sex is a strong biological urge, an attitude that no evolutionary psychologist would question. The basic findings of research on pornography fit well with the evolutionary theory of sex: males are naturally more attracted to pornography than females because males benefit from relatively indiscriminate mating, multiple mates, and depersonalized and even coercive sexual encounters.

Females, on the other hand, are expected to place a greater value on relationships of intimacy and love as signals of male investment in them and their children. Females generally suffer huge costs from indiscriminate mating and from sexual coercion (no paternal investment; bad genes). Because of the demands of pregnancy and lactation, they do not benefit from multiple mates with the result that polyandry is vanishingly rare in human societies.

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Pornography thus fundamentally plugs into male fantasies that are quite incompatible with monogamous relationships based on love and affection toward wives and children. It is thus not surprising that societies generally have had strong social controls on sexuality that channeled male sexuality into family and children.

Western social mores were a prime target of psychoanalysis—the topic of a chapter in The Culture of Critique and touched on in Darkmoon’s article. In the West, the controls were embedded in Christianity of all stripes and thus seen as part of the alien, anti-Semitic culture to be overcome by intellectually and morally superior Jews.

The crusade against Western controls on sexuality broke through with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Since then, all of the markers of family stability have headed south — including divorce rates,  single parenting, and births out of wedlock for all races and ethnic groups. (Nevertheless, there are very large differences between races and ethnic groups in conformity with Rushton’s lifespan theory of race differences.)

Traditional sexual mores were overturned virtually overnight,  and the legalization and proliferation of pornography was a rather direct consequence of this revolution.

The centrality of psychoanalysis among leftist intellectuals of the period leading up to the cultural revolution of the 1960s has meant that the attack on Western sexual mores has been centered on the left, despite a fairly strong (and sensible)  opposition to porn among some feminists. The very prominent role of Jews in producing pornography is well-established (see here; see also below).

There is now substantial research showing that people who consume porn are indeed inclined to attitudes and behavior incompatible with strong family relationships based on affection and care for children. Frequent consumption of pornography is associated with:

  • sexually aggressive behavior toward women, particularly for men who are prone to sexual aggression and particularly for the use of violent pornography (see, e.g., here, here, here, here). Men who are sexually aggressive—men like Thomas Schiro and Ted Bundy who are mentioned in Darkmoon’s article— may well process sexually violent pornography differently from non-aggressive men. For these men, pornography likely results in fantasies that they are only too likely to act out;
  • reports by sex offenders that they were influenced to sexually offend as a result of viewing pornography (here);
  • non-sexual delinquency, e.g., felony assault and theft, drug and alcohol use among teenagers (here);
  • callousness (lack of affection and concern for partner) (here) and suppression of intimacy (here) among teenagers;
  • sexual harassment (here) among teenagers;
  • attitudes supporting violence against women, especially if  the pornography is violent (here);
  • attitudes among young adults that sex is recreational (here)—attitudes likely to lead to less involvement with marriage and children and thus lower fertility
  • engagement in more casual sex, less relationship satisfaction, and copying the types of behaviors they see in the porn (see here).
  • multiple sex partners, using drugs or alcohol during sex (suggesting recreational sex), and anal intercourse (presumably the result of imitation of porn scenes) among teenagers who use Internet porn sites (see here).

There is thus not any reasonable doubt that extensive use of pornography is associated with a number of socially undesirable attitudes and behaviors. There remains a legitimate debate on the importance of self-selection factors: People with certain traits (in particular aggression, callousness and low intelligence) are more likely to seek out pornography and are more likely to be influenced by its images and messages (A. F. Bogaert, “Personality, Individual Differences, and Preferences for the Sexual Media”; Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30, 29–53, 2001). Think of it this way, if one already tends toward callousness and aggression, it is not surprising that images of brutal, coercive sex would be appealing and sought after.

This does not mean that pornography has no independent effect, as indicated, for example, by self-reports of sex offenders themselves and by reports that teenagers imitate what they see in pornography. According to the cognitive/social learning model used by most researchers, the effects of different types of pornography would be to strengthen brain networks linking sexuality with violence; pornography may also strengthen brain networks linking sexuality with beliefs that females enjoy rape and sexual promiscuity (e.g., Drew A. Kingston et al., 2009, “The Importance of Individual Differences in Pornography Use: Theoretical Perspectives and Implications for Treating Sexual Offenders”; Journal of Sex Research, 46, 216–232).

From an evolutionary psychology perspective, pornography feeds into and activates systems related to sexual gratification and, in some types of pornography, aggression; activation of these systems inhibits systems underlying affection and concern for partner’s well-being. The long term effect, especially among teenagers whose brains are still developing, would be to strengthen systems related to depersonalized sexuality (including coercive sexuality) and to weaken systems related to affection and love. The ready availability of Internet pornography is thus likely be have very large negative consequences for teenagers.

Embedded Sexual Content

Besides pornography, there has been considerable research on “embedded sexual content” in popular movies, television shows, and music videos, especially on teenagers. This content is not pornographic, but it has positive depictions of teenage sex as normal and “cool.” Sumner Redstone’s MTV comes to mind as an egregious example of promoting teenage sexuality.

Content analyses have generally shown dramatic increases in sexual content in the last 2 decades in popular media (e.g., television, movies), with only a small fraction emphasizing any risks or advantages of birth control or abstinence (Kingston et al, 2009, Ibid.).


Such embedded sexual content in media like MTV videos or TV shows like Two and a Half Men  (produced by Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn) is likely to be at least as damaging as pornography because it is an aspect of the mainstream media and hence is very  likely to be socially acceptable. Teenagers are very prone to conforming to media images of what is socially acceptable, especially among their peers, so it is not surprising that the data show that teenagers feel pressure to be sexually active. The predominance of Jews in mainstream television and movies is a repeated theme of TOO, especially in the work of Edmund Connelly (see also here, p. 48 ff).

The review by Kingston et al. notes the following:

  • Teenagers report that “such media exerts considerable pressure on them to become sexually active.”
  • The more teenagers watch media with sexual content, the more likely they are to be sexually active.
  • “Greater exposure to sexually oriented media genres [e.g., soap operas, music videos] is associated with adolescent perceptions that ‘everybody is doing it,’ referring not only to perceptions about sex, but also affairs, abortions, divorce, and having children out of wedlock.”
  • “Participants [in lab experiments] exposed to highly sexual media genres become more accepting of casual and stereotypical attitudes about sex and relationships, and that their real-world perceptions come to reflect such media exposure. For example, students exposed to particular types of music videos are subsequently more accepting of sexual harassment than are students exposed to neutral media content.”
  • For both sexes, frequent viewing of sexually charged television (e.g., music videos) is associated with more sexual experience and more sexual partners.

As in the case of pornography, the effect of the sexualization of the media culture is likely to affect some children more than others depending on traits like IQ and personality traits like impulse control. Quite a few people have trouble controlling pleasure seeking, especially during adolescence when there is a developmental gap between the relatively immature control centers and the more fully developed pleasure centers; the data show that ability to control these desires is influenced genetically.

A well-known study in behavior genetics shows that the heritability of age of first sexual intercourse increased dramatically after the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In other words, after the social supports for traditional sexuality disappeared as a result of the onslaught of the intellectual movements discussed in The Culture of Critique, genetic influences became more important. Before the sexual revolution, traditional sexual mores applied to everyone, and pretty much everyone lived by them. In my high school, it was unheard of to be having sex and, needless to say, there were no pregnancies. It really didn’t matter what side of the Bell Curve you were on. The rules applied to everyone.

After the revolution, genes mattered more. People with higher IQ were able to produce stable families and marriages, but lower-IQ people were less prone to doing so, and these trends have been exacerbated by economic conditions that have fallen disproportionately on the White working class (exporting jobs, affirmative action, massive non-White immigration, destruction of unions in the private sector). The result has been an ever increasing gap between the White working class and well-educated Whites in terms of marriage, out-of-wedlock births, single-parenting and divorce noted in books like Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 (see Roger Devlin’s TOQ review), and Red Families v. Blue Families, by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. (Murray ignores the ethnic origins of the cultural shift producing these disparities; Cahn and Carbone make an outrageous attempt to put a liberal spin on the disparities.)

A theme of Chapter 4 of The Culture of Critique is that the psychoanalytic assault on traditional Western sexual culture as well as the assault on Christian religious belief (which had a major role in supporting traditional Western sexual culture) had a disparate impact on different IQ groups and benefited Jews:

Jews suffer to a lesser extent than [non-Jews] from the erosion of cultural supports for high-investment parenting, and Jews benefit by the decline in religious belief among [non-Jews]. As [Norman] Podhoretz (1995, 30) notes, it is in fact the case that Jewish intellectuals, Jewish organizations like the AJCongress, and Jewish-dominated organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have ridiculed Christian religious beliefs, attempted to undermine the public strength of Christianity, and have led the fight for unrestricted pornography. The evidence of this chapter indicates that psychoanalysis as a Jewish-dominated intellectual movement is a central component of this war on [non-Jewish] cultural supports for high-investment parenting.

Although other factors are undoubtedly involved, it is remarkable that the increasing trend toward low-investment parenting in the United States largely coincides with the triumph of the psychoanalytic and radical critiques of American culture represented by the political and cultural success of the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s.

The chapter (especially the conclusion) provides an academic version of the ideas presented here, especially the greater importance of social controls and traditional religious beliefs for people on the left side of the Bell Curve.

The take-home message is that the sexualization of culture must be seen as an aspect of conflicts of interest over the construction of culture with huge negative effects for White Americans. As noted elsewhere,

the whole point of The Culture of Critique is that human evolution is now being fought out in the realm of ideas and that the Jewish intellectual movements of the left—particularly the promotion of the ideals of cultural pluralism (now called “multiculturalism”), the decline of evolutionary thinking in the social sciences, and the general loss of cultural confidence by the West—have been major components of the huge unfolding evolutionary disaster for Europeans.

I left out the sexualization of Western culture in this list. Quite clearly, the sexualization of Western culture should be included as a very major component of the  Jewish assault on Western peoples and their culture.

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