Pornography is still a taboo in most communities, especially in religious ones. Almost without exception, religious people will deem it as deviant and sinful behaviour, and even viewing it is simply unacceptable. But data shows that they’re almost certainly lying.
A study published June 2 in Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention wanted to see how religious people deal with dirty movies. From a biological and social point of view, the occasional dirty movie is considered harmless; only excessive watching is believed to be harmful and dangerous. But from a religious standpoint, the situation is much stricter.
“Watching porn excessively to the point that it disrupts an individual’s daily life is generally considered problematic,” said study co-author Cara MacInnis of the University of Calgary. “But some highly religious individuals might view the most minimal of pornography use that is likely not problematic to represent an addiction.”
It’s extremely difficult to figure out whether a porn viewer is or not religious, but previous studies have indicated that people subscribe to pornography services or search for sexual content online in states where a greater percentage of residents describe themselves as religious. This might indicate that religious communities are bigger consumers of the industry, but it gets even more interesting.
In this new study, MacInnis and co-author Gordon Hodson, of Brock University in Ontario presented these studies to religious people, and these people simply refused to believe them. They rejected them as untrue, believing they were carried out by researchers with political interests.
“These participants responded negatively to these findings and were less willing to accept them as true,” MacInnis said. “This is consistent with a general tendency for people to reject research findings that are contrary to their personal opinions.”
It’s completely understandable that they would feel unhappy when presented these results. Most participants said they found the information to be upsetting, surprising, worrisome and threatening and most of them just rejected it.
The good thing about science is that it doesn’t really care about people’s opinions. Research is conducted objectively, without a care for what humans want or believe. The bad thing about science is that it’s only as good as the people who understand it. If people just reject scientific information because it differs with their own predefined beliefs, then that’s a big problem.
As for this particular case, it’s probably a case of misreporting. There is a possibility that the data is skewed by undetermined factors, but that seems unlikely at this point.
“It would not be surprising for religious individuals to deny or underreport viewing of sexual content, given that this violates their core values,” MacInnis said. Moreover, “psychoanalytic theories suggest that those advocating against a particular behavior are at some level drawn to that behavior.”