Flashback Friday: Does watching porn make people less religious?

By Seriously Science | April 6, 2018 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/teofilo

Photo: flickr/teofilo

If you had to guess, you’d probably say that people who watch a lot of pornography are less likely to be religious. And you’d be right — to a point. But according to this study, which looked at the connection between porn viewing and later religiosity, there actually appeared to be a more complicated relationship between porn and religious sentiments. More specifically, people who watched no porn were likely to be religious, and religious levels declined with more frequent porn use up to “once a week.” But as viewing got more frequent — up to “once a day or more” — religiosity actually went back up. This just might be the best use of our “Holy correlation, Batman!” blog post category to date!

Does Viewing Pornography Diminish Religiosity Over Time? Evidence From Two-Wave Panel Data.

“Research consistently shows a negative association between religiosity and viewing pornography. While scholars typically assume that greater religiosity leads to less frequent pornography use, none have empirically examined whether the reverse could be true: that greater pornography use may lead to lower levels of religiosity over time. I tested for this possibility using two waves of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study (PALS). Persons who viewed pornography at all at Wave 1 reported more religious doubt, lower religious salience, and lower prayer frequency at Wave 2 compared to those who never viewed porn. Considering the effect of porn-viewing frequency, viewing porn more often at Wave 1 corresponded to increases in religious doubt and declining religious salience at Wave 2. However, the effect of earlier pornography use on later religious service attendance and prayer was curvilinear: Religious service attendance and prayer decline to a point and then increase at higher levels of pornography viewing. Testing for interactions revealed that all effects appear to hold regardless of gender. Findings suggest that viewing pornography may lead to declines in some dimensions of religiosity but at more extreme levels may actually stimulate, or at least be conducive to, greater religiosity along other dimensions.”

Related content:
Flashback Friday: Google search patterns reveal human mating season.
How to spot Christians and Atheists on Twitter.
Do different kinds of porn portray women differently?

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  • OWilson

    The Vatican is reported to hold the world’s largest collection of erotic art!

    Presumably to see what it is they are condemning? :)

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    Pornography offers rewards in the here and now. After that, what the Hell.

  • stargene

    What seems clear is that while self-righteous believers have racked up an impressive rap-sheet of sex crimes over these many decades, they are
    practically orgasmic in pushing legislation, using precisely the same ‘hell-spawn’ government machineries they insist on despising, to censor and control everybody else’s sexuality.

    • OWilson

      Elitists are in the business of telling others how to live, while living obscenely wealthy lifestyles!

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    The Dreadful Sins are piety, sobriety, chastity, mandated charity, faith, religiosity, forgiveness; stupidity, insanity, fetish,malice, irresponsibility, and Socialism.

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