Sat, Sep 04, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Pornography is good for you, say Australian users

DPA , Sydney

Pornography has few defenders among those not busy making money out of it.

Morals campaigners say it corrupts the young; computer buffs complain it clogs up the Internet.

But researchers in Australia have put a different view in a landmark government-funded study.

The Understanding Pornography in Australia study came out on the side of liberality, arguing that pornography was not a monster devouring all before it but a friendly giant that gave simple pleasures to many people.

"When you look at people who are using it in everyday life, over 90 percent report it has had a very positive effect," author Alan McKee said.

Of the 1,025 respondents to his survey, only 7 percent said pornography had had a negative impact on their lives. In contrast, 58 per cent said pornography had improved their attitudes towards their sexuality. McKee, who conducted the study with fellow academics Catherine Lumby and Kath Albury, warned that "the more we try and turn porn into something that's seen to be bad and has to be kept away from families the more problems we might be causing for ourselves."

Some respondents said pornography added spice to a jaded sex life. Others said it smoothed a rocky marriage by soaking up the excess sexual demands of one partner. Still others credited porn with making them more attuned to their partner's pleasure and more accommodating of bodily imperfections.

The research findings were immediately attacked by Clive Hamilton, the director of private-sector think tank The Australia Institute, who was quite categorical in denying any social benefit accrued from the multi-billion dollar industry.

"No man who regularly uses pornography can have a healthy sexual relationship with a woman," he stated bluntly.

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