How do adult movies affect our lives?

Despite gaining no legal or religious sanction, the adult movie industry is one of the biggest and thriving contributors to culture and economy.  Here, adult movie is defined as that whose content is majorly comprised of implicit or explicit sexual acts (of various orientations) and action movies that are adult certified due to excessive violence or profanity.  In other words, the term ‘adult movie’ is interpreted in this essay to include hardcore and soft-core pornography, as well as those that are legally permitted but contain sexual content, violence or profanity.   In polite societies and in family environments mere mention of pornography can elicit embarrassment, shock or disgust from people.  But interestingly, such reactions are not pronounced in response to violence and profanity, although these are equally harmful influences.  Nevertheless, while people hesitate to talk about indulgence in pornography in the public space, it continues to be a part of their private lives. (Nutt, 2010, p.91)  This is not a universal rule, of course, but applies to a majority of adult male population.  The degree of patronage of adult women is lesser compared to that of men.  Also, adolescents of both genders watch pornography on a regular basis.  Uncontested as these facts may be, they are not openly acknowledged or discussed.  This essay will argue that despite muted mention of adult movies in public lives of people, it does affect them deeply in many aspects.

One of the problems thrown open by the Internet is the increased chances of inadvertent exposure to pornography.  Peer-to-peer networking software, which facilitates easy and quick transfer of movie files among Internet users, is proving to be the chief mode of pornography consumption among adolescents and adults alike.  But the issue arises when pre-teens get accidental exposure to advertisements and landing sites for pornographic material.  Considering that pornography accounts for a majority of Internet traffic, it is near impossible for a regular user of the Internet to evade this deluge.  In unfortunate cases where children get exposed to it, they can become adversely affected both psychologically and physiologically, leading to problems in their family, social and academic lives. (Nutt, 2010, p.91)  Psychologist Patricia Greenfield has done extensive research on the influence of adult movies on the behavior and attitudes of children and adolescents. Her findings are consistent with the stated thesis of this essay, as there is hardly anything benign about this influence.  For example, in her testimony to the Congressional Committee on Government Reform, she notes that inadvertent exposure to pornography when children and adolescents utilize peer-to-peer file sharing networks on the Internet, can lead to a range of adverse consequences.

In her assessment, pornography and related sexual media such as music videos and R-rated movies available in the Internet does influence “sexual violence, sexual attitudes, moral values, and sexual activity of children and youth.” (Greenfield, 2004, p.743)  For example, “A number of surveys, from junior high to college, indicate that exposure to MTV (MTV-style music video files are very common on peer-to-peer networks) and R-rated films are correlated with premarital sexual permissiveness. Experimental studies confirm that exposure to music videos such as those seen on MTV can actually liberalize attitudes toward premarital sex, and this is particularly true for girls.” (Greenfield, 2004, p.743)

Further, a field experiment study revealed that those adolescents (males) who viewed adult movies that hinted at positive effects of sexual aggression such as the sexual arousal of the woman, made them more accepting of aggression in sexual and non-sexual contexts.    Similarly, video depictions of

“sexual relations between unmarried partners – in all-pervasive characteristic of pornography—affected 13- and 14-year-olds’ moral judgments concerning premarital and extramarital sex: Their judgments became more accepting after viewing video portrayals of sexual relations between unmarried partners. In contrast, video portrayals of sex between married individuals had no effect on moral judgments. There was, however, no spillover effect of viewing sexual relations between unmarried partners into nonsexual areas of moral judgment, such as judgments concerning criminal or antisocial behavior.” (Greenfield, 2005, p.745)

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