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Study Suggests Social Benefits of Access to Online Porn
By: Michael Hayes (Courtesy of
Posted: 11/2/2006

Clemson, S.C. — An academic paper written by a Clemson University Economics professor suggests that there is a causal link between access to online adult entertainment and the instances of sexual assault. His conclusion: Increased Internet access is a factor in lowering the rape rate.

Professor Todd Kendall, who recently delivered his 56-page paper at a Stanford Law School seminar, said he began his work to address the question of whether exposure to sexually explicit media increases an individual’s propensity to commit rape.

“Understanding the nature of this relationship is clearly crucial to effective policymaking and judicial decision-making with respect to free speech and obscenity issues,” Kendall said.

Using the U.S. as his sample laboratory, Kendall compared crime statistics with data on the growth of Internet use in each state.

According to the study, a 10 percent increase in Internet access resulted in a seven percent decrease in reported rapes.

By comparing data on a state-by-state basis, Kendall found that those states that were quick to adopt Internet access were also the ones that saw a more dramatic decrease in rape.

While Kendall concedes that the decline in rapes may only be coincidental to the rise in Internet access, he offers several observations in support of his claim.

Chief among Kendall’s evidentiary points is the observation that the rise in Internet access coincides with a historic drop-off in the number arrests for rape among males ages 15-19, a group which had been restricted from using pornography until the advent of online media.

To further support his claim, Kendall used studies that show the affects of Internet use on teen birth rates, prostitution arrests, marriage and divorce rates and HIV transmission.

“The results generally imply that Internet usage has had significant effects on sexual behavior more generally, and thus they lend credibility to the claim that the Internet may impact sexual assault to the degree claimed,” he said.

To read the full study, click here.



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