Proseminar – Paul Wright & Bill Yarber

Paul Wright

U.S. males and pornography, 1973-2010:

Consumption, predictors, correlates 

Today’s T600 featured IU Telecom’s new professor, Paul Wright. His research focused on how the consumption of male pornography has changed overtime and what specific individual differences increase or decrease said consumption. Additionally, he observed how the consumption pornographic materials correlate with certain behaviors.

Using a popular existing data set, the General Social Survey (GSS), Paul analyzed the survey responses of over 14 thousand males. He found that, across time, there has been a minuscule  increase in consumption of pornographic material (about a 0.3 percent annual increase).

Regarding individual differences, age and religiosity were negatively correlated with consumption while education was not correlated with consumption (at least more recently). Lastly, demographics showed that non-whites tended to consume more material than whites.

In terms of correlates of consumption, Paul found that exposure to pornographic materials was positively correlated with number of sexual partners, monetizing sex, approval of premarital and extramarital sex, approval teenage sex, and the act of engaging in extramarital sex. Surprisingly, consumption was also negatively correlated to lack of condom use.

William Yarber

On Obscenity

and the difficult case of definitions

The Kinsey Institute’s Bill Yarber visited T600 to briefly discuss the difficulties in defining and creating policy surrounding obscenity. Bill was full of amazing quotes related to obscenity such as:

A dirty book is seldom a dusty one. 

Obscenity is hard to describe but I know it when I see it.

The second quote, by former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, was the primary theme of the talk. The definition of obscenity has changed greatly overtime and even varies wildly from person to person. Because of this, legislation surrounding it was (and still is) problematic at best.