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.

Proseminar – Dr. Erick Janssen

Dr. Erick Janssen visits Tcom

Presents The Kinsey Institute 

Dr. Janssen began T600 today with an enlightening history of The Kinsey Institute. Surprisingly, he explained that Alfred Kinsey, the institute’s namesake, was a well know researcher before his foray into sexual research. Kinsey studied evolution and had painstakingly collected and documented thousands of wasps. After being asked to take over a class on marriage, he was frustrated by the lack of research on the subject and thus, began researching marriage, couples, and sexuality full on.

Dr. Janssen began his academic career in Amsterdam, much like Telecom’s own Mark Deuze. As a student, he became interested in sexuality when he met a professor who studied the subject scientifically. Due to his research and his connections, in 1995, Janssen was invited to work in The Kinsey Institute.

Janssen explained that the institute looks less at what people do and more at why people do what they do. For example, they research sexual inhibition, sexual risk taking, and sexuality in couples. Interestingly, Janssen mentioned that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to arouse subjects with pornographic material. As a media researcher, I can’t help but wonder if it’s due to increased media fragmentation. Everyone has their niche in video games, TV shows, and (perhaps) porn.