Doth Thou Protesteth Too Much?

There was an interesting study recently released that measures the appetite for pornography based on scales of religious and social conservatism. The results of this survey are not surprising when compared to other results released years ago.

In the old report, arousal was measured in men, who self-identified from very anti-LGBT to liberal, when they watched “gay porn.” Not surprisingly, those who had the most negative attitude about GLBT had more erectile arousal than those who had less. The results of the survey showed that homophobia is as or more likely to be caused by shame and suppression of innate homosexual tendencies as any other cause.

This recent survey, and the summary article in New Scientist, seems to show a similar pattern with regard to subscription rates to online pornography. While the range is less than impressive, the correlation is that the more conservative and religious states – those that are most vocally against pornography and other sexual liberties – are likely to experience higher subscription rates to pay-for-porn websites. Is this another case of “protesting too much?”

While I am inclined to think that a puritanical worldview does give rise to more prurient interests that, in turn, cause internalized shame and outward outrage, this study seems to fall short of proving it. It is entirely plausible that the correlation is exactly as it appears – that “some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by.” But, there is another palusible explanation, as well – one which the study does not negate.

The fact that higher subscription rates are visible in conservative or religious states does not immediately mean that the most conservative or religious are the actual customers of porn. While it might be a hard sell, from the point of view of statistics, could not a localized tendency to using porn cause an equally local, but vociferous outcry against it? That could explain the highest incidence of porn subscriptions also being found in the areas with the most shrill voices crying out against it. It would, admittedly, not explain the relationship between the incidence of religiosity or conservatism with porn subscriptions, however.

Perhaps I’m just a little too eager to give my conservative sisters and brothers some breathing room with regard to this survey.

4 Responses to “Doth Thou Protesteth Too Much?”

  1. March 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM

    I have been called conservative,at least by liberals, and while I do not wish to volunteer for such a study, I can assure you that I am just as subject to arousal as any liberal.
    There has been many years between me and my last research and design statistics class, but I would really need to examine the test groups on that one, conservatives, who agree to watch same sex porn with instruments on their implements must be a rare group indeed.

  2. March 3, 2009 at 7:58 PM

    I’ll see if I can find the original source for you on that one. It goes back a few years and I think it involved college students.

    I had to chuckle at your response, though. Just how did they get the volunteers – were they volunteers? Ooooh.

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... or, preaching from both ends


That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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