A Canadian researcher has maintained after a two-year study that all men watch pornographic videos, but it does not impact on their sexual habits or their relationships with women.
Montreal University associate professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse said his research had refuted views that pornography enthusiasts seek out in life what they see in X-rated videos, leading to sexual abuse or denigration of women.
"It would be like saying that vodka ads lead to alcoholism," the sociologist said.
The majority watches X-rated movies to satisfy a "fringe fantasy," according to his research, and it would be unfair to extrapolate from that that it leads to criminal behavior.
Lajeunesse said he had difficulty setting up the study, as adult video stores and sex shops refused to allow him to post notices inviting men to participate.
A handful of universities permitted him to address their campuses, and after appealing to some 2,000 mostly women students to take part, 20 heterosexual men agreed to discuss their sex lives in depth.
His first discovery: all the respondents watched adult videos online. Singles viewed twice the amount of pornography as others with an average of three 42-minute sessions weekly, versus 1.7 27-minute sessions for those in a committed relationship.
Second: almost all searched alone for online erotica, whether in a committed relationship or not. Respondents explained they just did not feel comfortable sharing such moments with others, even with a spouse or girlfriend.
Some fit it into their leisure routine, as one respondent put it: "a good meal, a good movie and masturbation."
The study also revealed that men tend to fast-forward through scenes that do not interest them, often involving sexual violence or group ejaculation which they found "disgusting."
According to his research, said Lajeunesse, men search out pornography that relates to their earliest sexual fantasies, generally conceived at age 12 at the onset of puberty. They are not looking for new tricks to show off.
One student who participated in the study confided that he used to fantasize about orgies, but when presented such an opportunity he found himself unable to perform sexually.
Lajeunesse also dismissed suggestions that avid pornography enthusiasts seek to imitate in life what they see on screens, or that they watch X-rated videos in an attempt to purge vile sexual impulses.
"Both arguments are worthless," he said. "Men make a distinction between their real lives and sexual fantasies," he argued.
One respondent, who claimed to dream of seducing a porn star, explained why he would never date one, saying simply: "I couldn't introduce her to my parents."