A Danish “sexology” professor, Christian Graugaard, has had what I would call a very Danish idea – to show pornography in sex education classes in order to help students become more critical of what they watch online. The Danes, it has to be said, have a very different approach towards sex and since their age of first sexual intercourse hasn’t gone up for 50 years (although their divorce rate has) – I sometimes think they must be doing something right.

After all only a Dane could think up ‘Blachman‘ – a programme aimed at “repositivising the woman’s view of the man’s view of the woman”,  which involved two men sitting and discussing a naked woman standing before them. And only the Danes could have a sufficient level of trust between the sexes to allow the programme to be aired. Only a Danish travel agent could come up with ‘Do it for Denmark’ –  where holidays become a form of patriotic duty because you are more likely to conceive because you have more sex.

The Danish approach towards sex sometimes seems so wholesome and frank that to a prudish half-Brit such as myself (the other half is Danish) it almost seems enough to blast the eroticism away. And so I approached Christian Graugaard’s idea with an open mind.

However,  if I might be so bold as to pretend to advise the Danish government, as they think about Christian’s proposal, this is what I would say: Firstly 14 per cent of Danish teenage girls and one per cent  of  the  boys have not seen pornography and if pornography is really as prevalent as we are told (I don’t  believe it) this is probably  because they didn’t want to. Also, just because someone has seen pornography, this does not mean that they wanted to.  So before you start showing pornography to teenagers in schools you have to find a watertight way of making sure they actually want to see it. For unlike maths and literacy, which I think should be compulsory, no one could claim pornography is good for the soul.

Next you have to remember that pornography is actually addictive, just like any other drug. If used as a sex substitute it produces dopamine, as do addictive drugs like heroin. Unmediated by the natural hormonal and chemical changes that occur during sexual intercourse, the body develops a tolerance to it.  So the next time you seek out the pornography for your dopamine high, you are going to want just a little bit more. The path that may seem like a little bit of fun at the beginning is, if you travel far enough along it, the same path that will eventually lead to violence, children and fur.

I might at this point mention to the Danish government that our attempts to warn children about the dangers of drugs  seem only to have encouraged them. I don’t think  the Danes can solve the problem by giving them the drug first.

The other consequence of this drug, which might be particularly devastating for teenagers, is that the use of pornography actually  leads to less excitement during sex with a partner and increasing difficulty getting aroused. Evidence suggests that men  (I’m afraid most of the research has been done about men – quick get the feminists on board)  who have watched a lot of porn might still find their partners attractive but they lose the ability to respond to them. In fact, in order to maintain an erection and climax  during intercourse,  they need to imagine themselves in a porn scene.  All that sounds like an awful lot to lose.

Meanwhile, here in England, we have been teaching pupils that “porn  can be great” and that you simply need to separate fantasy from reality. We haven’t explained to them that fantasy destroys the reality. Perhaps this is the real reason why teenage pregnancies have gone down.

While I still have the Danish government’s ear, I would tell them about research which shows that pornography has a detrimental effect on relationship commitment. Those  men who consumed higher levels of pornography were likely to show decreased commitment to their partners.  This experiment was supported by other studies which showed that females whose partners regularly consume pornography perceived their partners to be a threat to the stability of their relationship. The use of pornography also increases the likelihood of separation or divorce.  With the fourth highest divorce rate in Europe this last point might hit home.

As a parting shot, I would mention that men who consume pornography become more dominating and less attentive to their partners. There is an increased likelihood that they will treat women as though they lack the capacity for complex thinking.  There is also evidence to show that it encourages aggressive behaviour.

There is, however, still a great deal of research to be done on the impact of pornography. We don’t know what the equivalent impact is on women, nor how it affects same sex relationships ; we don’t know how a person’s attitude towards sexuality affects the impact that pornography has on them, nor do we know what factors will increase the likelihood that a person will be affected by viewing pornography.

Perhaps the Danish government might like to fund some of this research and share their findings with the hopelessly ideological British government. But I really don’t think teenagers are a good place to start.


  1. I must admit to reading all these articles Belinda, but I’m left, never really knowing what to say in reply, or indeed able to add anything to what you have said. You see I have no experience of these situations that the youngsters of today seem to encounter.

    Things were very different in the 1950’s, as I was getting to realise what my ‘Wedding tackle’ was really for. I needed no artificial or pretend stimulus in those days. We got on just fine.

    I can remember a friend of mine once asking me “Do you tell your wife you love her when you are making love?“
    “Well,” I replied, “It all depends on whether there is a phone handy!”

    Today I feel, too many people trying to analyse ’doing what comes naturally‘.

  2. Dear ‘Conservative Woman’.
    Every Friday I receive an email from you inviting me to come here, read your articles and comment on them if I wish.
    Everytime I comment I am told “Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Conservative Woman”.
    Is this just aimed at me, at men, or does it apply equally to everyone?
    Just asking. 😉

    • It applies to me too, no matter how anodyne my comment, so am guessing it applies to everyone.

      • It applies to me too. It is just the way the website is set up. I think it is quite protective. For example I once foolishly espoused very well reasoned views questioning feminism on the forum for the area I live in. I got such horrible, vitriolic responses it was quite upsetting and I just stopped saying things. If anything could get through I think there are quite a few views which could be very violently attacked – well anything anti-feminist certainly would be.

  3. Without commenting on the view put forth in this article, the use of evidence is truly dire.

    1. “Perhaps this is the real reason why teenage pregnancies have gone down.” Any actual evidence to suggest this is the case?

    2. “…men who consumed higher levels of pornography were likely to show decreased commitment to their partners.” That’s a correlation; there’s no suggestion of causation.

    3. “…females whose partners regularly consume pornography perceived their partners to be a threat to the stability of their relationship.” Ditto.

    4. “The use of pornography also increases the likelihood of separation or divorce.” And again.

    Evidence doesn’t work like opinion. If you don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation, I suggest you stop writing about public policy.

    • Rob I was being a bit facetious when I suggested that might be why teenage pregnancies have gone down – I would have thought that would be obvious. As regards to the other data if you click on the link ‘pornography is actually addictive’ you will find a link to a paper which has references to all the other papers which contain the data on which my comments were based, you can establish degrees of causation there. There was one piece of research for which the reference isn’t in the paper and that was the one about porn and aggression – it was a meta-analysis, and I can find it if you like. This is an opinion piece and it is not making any attempt to masquerade as an academic paper. The main point is that I have never in any discussion on sex education and porn seen any references to the harmful effects on pornography at there does appear to be sufficient data out there for this to be considered.

  4. Any views on women’s use of divorce porn (“Eat, Pray, Love” and “How Stella blah blah”) affects society? After all, divorce is contagious amongst female circles. The risk of divorce and the devastation it can cause in a man’s life (ref Fathers4Justice) is a major demotivating factor for men looking at marriage. Marriage being a central part of a stable society, is it not?
    I notice that 50 shades, so female porn, fetishises rich men and drama within relationships (as do soaps, obviously). Are we concerned that such emo-porn for women is also damaging to relationships?
    Then we have the effects of social media on women. The new found phenomenon of ‘choice addiction’, where women feeling they have so many apparent options (because everything they do on facebook gets hundreds of ‘likes’) keep rejecting real life men because they want the perfect ‘one’ (never settle! because you’re worth it!). Hypergamy gone wild due to women constantly being bombarded by images of women who did ‘better’ with their richer/taller/darker/whatever men. These effects damage women’s ability to operate effectively in the mating market. All this is internet related too, so I’m not even off topic.
    You’re right that there’s much scope for turning the spotlight on female sexuality, perhaps you could do your next article on that?
    I suspect porn use allows men to de-prioritise finding a woman, getting married and all that dangerous stuff. So, porn does have positive effects for men too.

    • All the evidence shows “real life” sex crime goes down the more easily “erotica” (porn is too loaded a word for my liking) is available. However, its certain opinions, rather than evidence which is used to justify government policies in this area – whether from Vichy Dave ( pandering to Dacre’s obsessive porn block hysterics at the “Daily Mail”/extending Labour’s ridiculous adult “extreme” porn law) or femifanatic grovelling Labour.

  5. Hmm. The games the thing. Part of the delight of women is that men need to ‘seduce’, or be seen to be successful at seduction. This may be a power thing or it may not. I personally think it’s just part of the game. And games are good. Apropos of that would it not be better to give teenagers lessons in flirting?

    Mind you I am no expert on women. They remain a delightful mystery to me. And I am more qualified than most as I have a wife and just the four daughters.

  6. ditto my comment above. The first paragraph is not personal opinion – it is based on data which can be found in the article under the link “porn is very addictive”. It is actually a very interesting article with lots of references and if you are interested in the topic well worth a read.

    • People can make data say whatever they want it to. An article with title “porn is very addictive” gives away its bias in the very title.

  7. So what is the definition of pornography? Plain nudity certainly isn’t. Violence, coercion and use of protagonists who shouldn’t be there in the first place, certainly is. Somewhere in between lies what is probably a huge gamut of willing participants engaging in consensual sexual activity possibly for money while they are photographed or filmed, possibly not, which the observer may like or not, depending on their personal tastes and whether they (the observers) prefer to conform to societal norms or not. Those norms vary enormously across societies and through time.

    The pseudo medical prognostications seemed like a load of bogus psychobabble to me of the Victorian masturbation makes you go blind sort – which seemed to me unkind to blind people, and to be manifestly untrue, otherwise boys would never be sighted after their teenage years.

    • Ex academic have a look at the article by clicking on ‘porn is actually addictive’ and the articles it has references for – I can’t capture the content in a few words but it deals with some of these questions and is interesting.

      • As I said, psychobabble, Belinda. precisely the sort of nonsense that the web is noted for. There’s a difference between real science and this sort of twaddle: most of social science and psychology is bogus.

        • Read Anthony D’Amato’s report: Porn Up, Rape Down. It’s heresy, but backed by scientific research.

  8. Porn use permanently alters the structure of the brain. They’ll have erectile problems well before old age and become addicted to harder subjects (if they break the habit, natural disgust at tran porn re-emerges).

  9. Lots of research has been done. There are many interesting facts to be discovered.

    1: Women view the same types of porn as men, if in smaller numbers.

    2: Women, tested with retina mapping, focus more on genitals than faces than men do.

    3: Men use porn more and rape less.

    It’s not what people want to hear, us having been nannied by the state rulers (who acts as moral gatekeepers but commit most of the crime) since the late 1800s, but truth is truth no matter how few people wish to believe it. Sexual imagery has been part of human culture forever. Now that “porn” is easier to access, male-perpetrated rape continues to plummet. Men not getting married or “dropping out” of relationships has nothing to do with porn and everything to do with their decimated human rights.

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