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Link found between porn use and supporting same-sex marriage

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 7:11 p.m. MST

Our take: Could adult men's support for redefining marriage be a byproduct of regular exposure to pornography? Mark Regnerus, in a recent column on Public Discourse, shares some interesting research about this emotionally charged and controversial question. He concludes that "contrary to what we might wish to think, young adult men's support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and a noble commitment to fairness. It may be, at least in part, a byproduct of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts."

Recently I read the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy article by Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, titled "What Is Marriage?" (The article, I am told, has been extensively revised and expanded, and has just been released as a book.) Their explanation of marriage's distinctiveness as a one man-one woman union includes the following claim:

Marriage has its characteristic structure largely because of its orientation to procreation; it involves developing and sharing one's body and whole self in the way best suited for honorable parenthood — among other things, permanently and exclusively.

Given that I study the sexual and relationship lives of emerging adults, I couldn't help but note the contrast between this description of marital sexuality and how sex is portrayed in modern pornography. Indeed, the latter redirects sex — by graphic depiction of it — away from any sense of it as a baby-making activity. Porn also undermines the concept that in the act of sexual intercourse, we share our "body and whole self ... permanently and exclusively." On the contrary, it reinforces the idea that people can share their bodies but not their inmost selves, and that they can do so temporarily and (definitely) not exclusively without harm.

Read more about porn use and supporting same-sex marriage on The Public Discourse.

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