Is pornography educational?

I thought that this article was interesting. Here are a couple of excerpts to “tease” you with:

“Wait until you see how angry the American people get when they discover . . . NIH [has] been using federal tax dollars to study ‘lot lizards,’” coalition director Andrea Lafferty declared in an open letter. “What plausible defense can be constructed for ‘investigating’ the sexual practices of prostitutes who service truckers?”

Many, though not all, of the grants on the hit list involved research into human sexuality. Each had been funded after rigorous peer review. But Lafferty raised a provocative question: Why do we study truck-stop prostitutes? Or American Indians who consider themselves both male and female? Why survey the sexual practices of Mexican immigrants? Or hook women to monitors to quantify how their genitals respond to erotic movies? In short, what is the scientific value of delving into the forbidden?”


“The first involves probing the brain to understand the nature of sexuality. At Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for instance, psychologist J. Michael Bailey and his former graduate student, Meredith Chivers, have discovered that men and women are fundamentally different in their arousal patterns. Bailey and Chivers fitted their research subjects with instruments designed to measure blood flow to their genitals, then showed them explicit two-minute video clips. The male participants responded predictably: Heterosexuals were aroused when they watched women having sex with women; gay men responded to watching men having sex with men. But women had a different reaction: All the film clips aroused them equally. “Their sexual arousal doesn’t seem to map onto their stated sexual preference,” says Chivers, who is now a fellow at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.”

People are so interesting to me, I never grow tired of learning about how and why we do things.

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