April 11, 2017

Fox News Tried to Normalize Pornography, Now It’s Being Called Out

Fox News published a slanted article claiming pornography can make you a better romantic partner.

This is, of course, contrary to reliable research.

As a side note: in addition to recently discussing the “benefits” of pornography, Fox News has a long history of profiting from hyper-sexualized ads placed along the side bars, and elsewhere, on its website and in its app. These ads not only distract from the content on Fox News, but they also normalize the sexual objectification of women as mere “sex objects” instead of human beings.

Below is a letter to the editor that calls out Fox News for choosing to promote “click bait” material, instead of addressing the real harms of pornography.

Letter To The Editor:

The Fox News “Lifestyle” segment recently published an article from Glamour entitled “5 ways watching porn can make you a better partner” not only contain gross inaccuracies but was a blatant example of “click bait” material.

It included claims like: It makes you a better date, porn viewers are often more feminist, it can improve your sex life, it’s a stress-reliever, and it can strengthen your relationship when you enjoy it with your partner.

This article ignored the vast body of research indicating pornography is detrimental to relationships and personal health, in favor of cherry-picked studies that stand in contrast to the overwhelming consensus of data on the issue.

For example, how can porn viewers be “more feminist” when pornography teaches that women enjoy sexual assault? For instance, a study found that 88% of popular porn scenes contained physical violence, overwhelmingly against women and that 95% of the women in pornography respond as if they like sexual violence. It isn’t surprising then that a 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries (one of the most reliable forms of research possible) found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.

Is Fox News redefining feminism to mean accepting male sexual violence against women?

This article also claimed pornography can strengthen your relationships or improve your sex life. But another meta-analysis research shows that pornography is linked to significant “lower sexual and relational satisfaction” among male viewers.

Further, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, world-renowned researchers and clinical psychologists, wrote an Open Letter on Porn to discuss the corroding effect of pornography for romantic couples. In their letter, the Gottmans stated: “We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”

Is Fox News redefining relationship and sexual success to mean decreased satisfaction and intimacy?

Lastly, this article asserts that pornography can decrease stress, and make you more relaxed on dates.

Once again, this claim falls flat when compared to the wealth of research that reveals pornography actually increases insecurity. A 2015 study found that men’s frequency of pornography use is linked to body image insecurity regarding muscularity and body fat, and to increased anxiety in romantic relationships. There are rising concerns about porn-induced erectile dysfunction. In another study, women watching pornography reported lowered body image, criticism from their partners regarding their bodies, increased pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films, and less actual sex, while men reported being more critical of their partners’ body and less interested in actual sex.

Increased romantic anxiety, pressure to push boundaries, and lowered body image are the opposite of relaxed, successful dating experiences.

It’s time to stop producing pro-pornography puff pieces that ignore the scholarly evidence of pornography’s harms. A generation of relationships built in the shadow of pornography deserves real journalism not pornography industry propaganda.


Dawn Hawkins

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Dawn Hawkins

Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Hawkins is CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the leading organization exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and child sexual abuse. Dawn’s energy, creativity and mobilization skills are deployed to build a world free from sexual violence, with freedom and human dignity for all.

Dawn is deeply committed to bipartisan political solutions at the federal and state level. Her issue expertise, visionary initiatives, and innovative strategy have led to groundbreaking change in the legislative arena and in multimillion-dollar corporate policies.

Dawn has been instrumental in re-imaging the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She has centered the need to address buyer demand for commercial sex, called out corporate entities facilitating exploitation through the annual Dirty Dozen List, fostered an international movement, and constantly: advocates for survivors. Her work has sparked change at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, the Department of Defense, Instagram, TikTok, and other influential firms. Dawn has appeared on many television programs, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.

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