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Study: Watching porn boosts support for same-sex marriage

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Gay Marriage

There is no delicate way to say this: Exposure to pornography softens opposition to same-sex marriage among the largest group of naysayers, heterosexual men.

A new scholarly analysis suggests that the more straight guys, especially those who are less educated, watch pornographic videos, the more they warm to same-sex marriage. The reason: Porn opens their mind up to accepting non-traditional sexual situations, like gay sex.

"Our study suggests that the more heterosexual men, especially less educated heterosexual men, watch pornography, the more supportive they become of same-sex marriage," Indiana University Assistant Professor Paul Wright told Secrets.

Explaining the findings of the analysis published in the authoritative Communication Research journal, Wright said, "Pornography adopts an individualistic, nonjudgmental stance on all kinds of nontraditional sexual behaviors and same-sex marriage attitudes are strongly linked to attitudes about same-sex sex. If people think individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to have same-sex sex, they will also think that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to get married to a partner of the same-sex."

He added: "Since a portion of individuals' sexual attitudes come from the media they consume, it makes sense that pornography viewers would have more positive attitudes towards same-sex marriage."

Consequently, the results of the study co-authored by Ashley Randall of the University of Arizona, could be interpreted as suggesting that backers of same-sex marriage should encourage men to watch more porn.

The authors tapped into National Science Foundation-funded studies of some 500 heterosexual men over the past six years. "Pornography consumption did predict over-time increases in support for same-sex marriage," the duo found.

Of note, the authors suggested that since lesbian porn "is quite popular among males," the change seen in the men toward same-sex marriage suggests "a change in males' attitude regarding male-male marriage."