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Pan copulating with a goat, a statue from Pompeii, Italy (c. 70 CE). Pornography has been around for a long time.
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We have a constitutional guarantee of homosexuals, lesbians, masochists, sadists, misfits, complete nudity, pornographic literature, abnormal sex, crime and violence, moral decay, mail order obscenity, hardcore pornography, bestiality, wild, flagrant abuses, abnormal sex practises of every kind...
—George Putnam, Things I'm Into[1]

Pornography, or porn, is media of sexy consenting adults doing sexy things, usually to other sexy consenting adults.[note 1]

Fundamentalists don't like it because it makes their pants fit funny and makes them forget that they're nasty, rotten, pathetic little slime that deserve nothing better than to be tied up and forced to lick God's boots in a men's room... naked. Giddyup!

Pornography is the subject of much legislation; it is illegal to produce, sell, or possess pornography in a great number of countries around the worldWikipedia (for example, most nations in Africa and Asia have such legislation).

Almost all of the far right and some of the far left hate porn, mostly for silly, ideological reasons (despite the little-known fact that wingnuts actually consume surprising amounts of porn in secret).

So far, some argue that RationalWiki is not really part of the Internet, because it contains no porn.[note 2]

Rule 34[edit]

Beware of Rule 34 when "researching" pornography.

Of course, porn is not limited to the conventional.[2][3] According to Rule 34, for anything that exists, porn of that thing also exists.[4] This is most commonly seen in the hilarious titles that are available for (ahem) consumption. Although these are usually just mainstream porn with funny themes and titles so aren't really Rule 34 in action, they are pretty damn funny. Examples include:

  • Womb/Nude Raider
  • Star Whores
  • In Diana Jones and the Temple of Poon
  • E3 The Extra Testicle
  • Romancing the Bone
  • Super Hornio Bros.
  • Porn on the 4th of July
  • Independence Gay
  • Schindler's Fist[note 3]
  • Lord of the G-strings
  • Poonemon
  • The Flintbones
  • Spongeknob Squarenuts
  • Fortnut

The list is almost endless.[5]

Strictly, Rule 34 is about the explicit content rather than the superficial differences — and there are no exceptions to Rule 34 (per Rule 41: "No matter what it is, it is somebody's fetish. No exceptions"). Imagine the possibilities: if your sexual fantasy involves ketchup, mailboxes, potato chips, barnyard animals, plaster casts, bananas, and floppy discs all at the same time, you will find pr0n involving all those things if you but look on the Internet. A good place to start would be either Encyclopædia Dramatica or the restricted "adult content" section of DeviantArt or FurAffinity. There are also multiple websites dedicated to it, some focusing on just standard hentai, and others that actually deal entirely with characters from cartoons, or Orthodox Jews looking for "frum porn" starring other Orthodox Jews[6], et cetera. Remember, there are no exceptions. Attempting to invoke an exception will lead to Rule 35: If there's no porn of it, porn will be made of it.

Not to be confused with[edit]

  • Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #34: War is good for business.
  • Gibbs' Rule #34 (from NCIS, yet to be revealed)
  • Wolfram's Rule 34, which moves one cell to the left every generation.
  • Maxim #34 of Schlock Mercenary; if you are leaving scorch marks, you need a bigger gun
  • (With respect to Rule #35) [United States] Federal Criminal Rule 35


See the main article on this topic: NoFap

Some people feel that porn has taken over too much of their lives and believe the best thing for them is to cut back on consumption. And, as with any other real or supposed addiction, programs pop up to "cure" your addiction.[7] These programs[8][9] rarely have any data to support their efficacy and have been subject to serious scientific critiques.[10]

A 2019 review of pornography consumption and sexual dysfunctions was restricted to observational studies because there were no longitudinal studies (i.e. studies across time and changing pornography-usage patterns); the lack of longitudinal studies hampered the ability to draw firm conclusions.[11] The study concluded that "[t]here is little if no evidence that pornography use may induce delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction", but that pornography use may decrease sexual satisfaction under some circumstances.[11]

Anecdotal evidence of something called "pornography-induced erectile dysfunction" (PIED) abounds on websites like Reddit, but this alleged condition would be very difficult to scientifically substantiate since ED is notoriously susceptible to the placebo effect (except for Peyronie's diseaseWikipedia). A 2019 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine which examined this issue found "no evidence that mere pornography use is associated with changes in erection function."[12][13] Intense masturbation can cause a condition known as "delayed ejaculation", a form of ED, but this is not from porn itself.[14] You probably shouldn't sit on your ass watching porn for hours every day, but the same could be said for football, sitcoms, professional wrestling, and Bible study.

Pornography addiction is a highly debated and controversial topic.[15] There currently is no classification for "pornography addiction" within the American Psychological Association'sWikipedia DSM-5.Wikipedia[16] On the other hand, a diagnosis of compulsive issues with pornography is currently included within the World Health Organization'sWikipedia International Classification of Diseases,Wikipedia as a portion of a diagnosis called compulsive sexual behaviour disorder.Wikipedia[17] However, the ICD-11 classifies CSBD under "impulsive disorders, not the group of addictive and substance use disorders. Whether these behaviors can or should be described as an addiction is far from supported or accepted."[18]

Accurate diagnosis of compulsive pornography issues is complicated by the fact that that people who morally disapprove of pornography, notably those who are religious, may believe that they are addicted to pornography, even when their porn use is low or average.[15] In some cases, the anguish experienced by this moral conflict, along with the conflation of religious morality with pornography viewership and the usage of scientifically unproven evangelical "treatment" for supposed "sex addiction" (a term popularized by Patrick Carnes, a man with "no training in human sexuality"),[19] may in itself cause significant mental health issues, or much worse.[20]

Crime, violence, and abuse[edit]

As with movies, video games, heavy metal, rock and roll, comic books, and Dungeons & Dragons, porn has been blamed for corrupting the youth and influencing people to commit crimes.[21] However, numerous studies have demonstrated that "there is no connection between pornography consumption and sexual violence."[22] In fact, "[i]t has been found everywhere it was scientifically investigated that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased."[23]

It has also been suggested that porn is becoming more violent. According to a study cited by anti-pornography "activists" such as Gail Dines and Julie Bindel, "90% of the most-watched porn scenes contain violence against women".[24] However, the definition of violence in this particular study, which was published in 2010, was fantastically broad, and included "spanking"[25] and "name-calling".[25] Other studies conducted between 1986 and 2005, all of which used varying definitions of violence, produced numbers which ranged from as high as 36% to as low as 2%; however, only one of these studies took into account acts of consensual BDSM, and thus the others may have "vastly overestimated the extent to which porn depicts violence against women."[26] Interestingly enough, even allowing for the authors overlooking issues like consent, these studies demonstrate a consistent decrease in violent pornography over time. A more recent study, which was published in 2018 in The Journal of Sex Research,[27] concluded that "mainstream pornography is not becoming increasingly violent",[28] although their analysis was confined to the website Pornhub.

Another study from the same journal, which sampled the mental health of 177 porn actresses,[29] also "found no evidence to support the "damaged goods hypothesis" that actresses involved in the porn industry come from desperate backgrounds and are less psychologically healthy compared with typical women."[30]

Do Mormons and right wingers really hate porn as much as they claim?[edit]

In October 2000, Larry W. Peterman, the owner of a chain of video stores, went on trial in Provo, Utah — home of Brigham Young University — for selling hardcore videos. The prosecution used the "community standards" argument against Mr. Peterman, which turned out to be the case's undoing. Peterman's lawyer, Randy Spencer, noticed that a local Marriott[note 4] Hotel sat across the street from the courthouse. He sent an assistant to the hotel to find out which pornographic films were available on its pay-per-view system. He then sent the assistant to the local cable and satellite companies to gather statistics on how many people in the Provo area viewed porn on a pay-per-view basis.

Guess what? The God-fearing locals, who claimed to live in the most conservative county in the United States, absolutely love to watch other people screw. In fact, their viewership was disproportionately large compared to the rest of the country. Based on this information, the court found Mr. Peterman not guilty.[31]

In the Winter, 2009 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives,[32] Harvard Business School associate professor Benjamin Edelman surveyed credit-card records of Internet porn-sites. He found that Utah had the nation's highest percentage of porn-site subscribers in all four of the categories that he studied: per capita (1.69 per 1000 residents), per number of Internet users (2.49 per 1000 users), per broadband Internet connections (5.47 subscribers per 1000 connections), and number of users relative to subscription rates predicted based on demographics[note 5] (1.89 per thousand users). In the category regarding percentage of broadband subscribers (the one that got the most attention), the top ten states were as follows:

  1. Utah: 5.47 subscribers per 1000 connections. (They get 70 virgins in heaven or something.)
  2. Alaska: 5.03 (There really isn't much else to do here — confirmed by an Alaskan.)
  3. Mississippi: 4.30 (The nation's poorest state can still afford enough porn to fill the Mississippi River.)
  4. Hawaii: 3.61 (To be fair, people in this tropical paradise are all gorgeous and awesome, so are likely watching it while they do the deed for real.)
  5. Oklahoma: 3.21 (The sooner state… where everyone comes sooner.)
  6. Arkansas: 3.12 (Almost exclusively by the Walton family, Wal-Mart is sick in more ways than one.)
  7. North Dakota: 3.05 (Now we know where all that oil goes…)
  8. Louisiana: 3.01 (Britney Spears' home state… need we say more?)
  9. Florida: 3.01 (What better way to take your mind off the fact that your state will be the ocean floor in 20 years thanks to your ignorant legislators?)
  10. West Virginia: 2.94 (When the coal boom ended, Republicans could no longer fuck black rocks all day.)

Of course, the Utah media begs to differ with Edelman's findings.[33]

In fairness, the data gathered technically only indicates an increased tendency to pay for porn, not necessarily to consume it — thus it may well indicate that Utah residents do not consume more porn per capita than the rest of the country, only that a greater proportion of them than average are stupid enough to subscribe to porn pay-sites, rather than just making use of the Internet's ever-growing reserves of free porn, which already are large and diverse enough to cater to just about any preference or kink generous enough to support the pornographic industry.[note 6]

In 2013, Pornhub compiled[34] information on the most commonly used terms that Americans enter into search engines. They then sorted out the top three porn-related search-terms by state, and the average amount of time that each user stayed on one site.[34] (The difference between shortest average duration and longest by state was a mere one minute and fifty-nine seconds.) When these average durations by state were then grouped by 20-second increments into six groups, Utah was actually in the second-lowest group. But most of the rest of Jesusland sure did try to make up for it.[35] And it also seems that certain regions, and even a few individual states, have some very specific sexual appetites.[36]

Porn from the Cave Man era[edit]

Archaeologists have recently found what is the oldest known engraving in Abri Castanet, a shallow cave in southern France's Vezere valley. The engraving in question? An item with "vulvar" representations.[37] At around 37,000 years old, it's quite an... interesting piece of evidence against the Young Earth theory. Sex toys are actually quite common finds,[38] though there's always a debate as to whether these were actually used as sex toys or were just some primitive trinkets.

Porn and feminism[edit]

Madame François Buron is horrified by such filth.
If you enjoy porn, but do not respect the labor or the workers that create it, get that shitty cognitive dissonance worked out right now.
—Eric Sprankle, assistant professor of clinical psychology[39][40]

Pornography was a primary catalyst for a massive schism in the feminist movement in the 1970s and 1980s, called the Feminist Sex Wars (even though pornography and sex are not the same thing), a split which eventually ended second-wave feminism and launched the third wave.

One side, the "old guard" of feminism, took the sex-negative position, holding that sex in general (as currently conceptualized in society), and pornography in particular, objectifies women, turning their bodies into vessels for male domination, rape, and capitalist exploitation. The most extreme or doctrinaire position in this camp was perhaps that of Andrea Dworkin, who held that "violation is a synonym for intercourse."[41]

The other side are the sex-positive feminists. They are also called "fun-feminists," presumably because their opponents apparently don't know the meaning of that adjective. Sex-positive feminists hold that "sexism, not sex, degrades women",[42] that the stifling of sex is the fault of patriarchy, and that women can use sex as a tool to liberate themselves (some use the portmanteau "sexpression" to describe this process), with which radical feminists counter that liberation from male domination happens for women as a whole, not for individual women.[citation needed] Liberal feminists also believe that women should be allowed to decide for themselves what does and does not degrade them. One well-known sex-positive feminist is Betty Dodson,Wikipedia a sex educator who would be the last person brought in to teach the abstinence-only curriculum.

This divide within the feminist community succeeded in making a mark on the real world, mainly due to the attempts of the "sex-negative" camp to institute censorship of pornography. A favorite tactic of this lot was to cite rape statistics, then claim a correlation between these statistics and the viewing of pornography, conveniently not mentioning that said correlation was based on their own dogma rather than any credible research.[42] This gave them a fig leaf for accusing anyone opposing their position of being an "apologist for rape" or something similar. Later research on availability of internet porn indicated that it actually reduced the incidence of rape.[43]

Dworkin, along with her fellow radical feminist Catharine MacKinnon, began to push for an "Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance" that would allow anybody to make class-action lawsuits "on behalf of all women"[citation needed] against any publisher who dealt in "media in which women are subordinated in a sexually explicit fashion, by pictures and/or words". The idea is, if you get sexually assaulted, and the way in which you were assaulted reproduces forms of body punishment that appears in pornography, you can sue the pornographer for broadcasting that form of body punishment.[44] The only reason anyone else noticed this was that right-wingers were slobbering at the mouth at the thought of using this to get around that pesky First Amendment.[citation needed] Their ordinance was written into law in Indianapolis, but was quickly found to be unconstitutional.

After the Meese Commission,Wikipedia instituted by Saint Reagan for the express purpose of finding that pornography was nasty and harmful and exploitative and whatever else could be thrown at it, disregarded this mandate and delivered a tepid (if at times hilarious) report stating that arguments against pornography would have to be philosophical rather than empirical,[45] this controversy slowly drained away. As third-wave and sex-positive feminism grew in popularity through the next decade, the body of feminists opposing it grew smaller (ha, see what we did there?). However, with the rise of internet pornography, anti-porn feminism is gradually (and very unfortunately) re-entering the feminist mainstream. In fact, some of the third wave's most respected figures, like Naomi Wolf and Feministing, have voiced strong opposition to pornography and porn culture; although Wolf does not claim that porn causes rape and other sexual crimes, she does argue that it desensitizes people and promotes sexism and objectification.

Buy-in from the industry[edit]

Criticizing porn by saying "real people don't look like that" is like criticizing Finding Nemo by saying "real fish can't talk."
—Eric Sprankle, assistant professor of clinical psychology[46][40]

Some production companies are responding to the desires of its audiences, in order to promote informed consent and mitigate rape culture. There are companies dedicated to "porn for women" (which we at RationalWiki applaud: it's only fair that women should have porn tailored to their inclinations, providing they want it). Many movies include (what are claimed to be) candid interviews with the cast members before and/or after the main action, dispelling the illusion that one actor might be harming another without their consent or engaging in incest, for example.

One porn actor, James Deen, has this disclaimer at the beginning of all of his movies:

ATTENTION: The performance you are about to watch is meant for entertainment purposes only. It should not be seen as a model for real-life, sexual encounters. We recommend honest, clear and ongoing communication with your partner(s) to ensure that all sex is consensual. All actors in this film have consented to participate in the acts you see. Have fun, respect each other, and practice safer sex.

However, Deen has been accused of off-set rape, so make of that what you will.[47]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Being sexy is not exactly a requirement; being adult and consenting is. See Rule 34.
  2. Well, not much, but so little that it's actually hard to find. And maybe a few things you'd rather not find.
  3. What? Too soon?
  4. While not directly owned by the Mormon church, the Marriott chain is owned by a Mormon family who make it a point to show that they support family values.
  5. Those demographic variables being income, age, education, and marital status.
  6. Or they have already watched all there is to be watched for free and started paying to see whether there is anything new.


  1. George Putnam: Things I'm Into (parody, NSFW), YouTube.
  2. Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices by Brenda Love (ISBN 1569800111).
  3. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex by Katharine Gates (ISBN 1890451037)
  4. xkcd 305, Randall Munroe (And while it may not have been a thing when "xkcd 305" was posted, if you Google "wetriffs" now... well...)
  5. A slightly longer list
  7. For Pornography Addicts Relativity.
  8. Pornography: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Candeo Healthy Sexuality.
  9. Help Porn Addiction (archived from July 30, 2014).
  10. The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the 'Pornography Addiction' Model by David Ley et al. (2014) Current Sexual Health Reports 6:94–105.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Potential Associations of Pornography Use with Sexual Dysfunctions: An Integrative Literature Review of Observational Studies by Aleksandra Diana Dwulit & Piotr Rzymski (2019) J. Clin. Med. 8(7):914. doi: 0.3390/jcm8070914.
  12. Joshua B Grubbs, Mateusz Gola "Is Pornography Use Related to Erectile Functioning? Results From Cross-Sectional and Latent Growth Curve Analyses", The Journal of Sexual Medicine
  14. Overcoming ejaculation problems, WebMD
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Religious, Moral Beliefs May Exacerbate Concerns About Porn Addiction" by Joshua B. Grubbs, American Psychological Association, 2020 February 6
  16. "Are Sex Addiction and Pornography Addiction The Same Thing?" by Michael LoRe,
  17. Briken, P. An integrated model to assess and treat compulsive sexual behaviour disorder. Nat Rev Urol 17, 391–406 (2020).]
  20. "Sexual Anguish of Atlanta Suspect Is Familiar Thorn for Evangelicals" by Ruth Graham, New York Times, 2021 March 20
  21. Nicola Davis, Is pornography to blame for rise in 'rape culture'? The Guardian, 29 March 2021.
  22. Sandar Carr, Study: Pornography does not cause violent sex crimes. UTSA Today, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 5 August 2020.
  23. Milton Diamond, Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 32:5, September–October 2009, Pages 304-314.
  24. Julie Bindell, How to talk to your kids about porn (before the pornographers do). The Guardian, 25 October 2018.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Ana J Bridges, Robert Wosnitzer, Erica Scharrer, Chyng Sun, Rachael Liberman, "Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: a content analysis update", Violence Against Women
  26. Ekua Hagan, How Much of Porn Depicts Violence Against Women? Psychology Today, 15 June 2016.
  27. Eran Shor & Kimberly Seida, "“Harder and Harder”? Is Mainstream Pornography Becoming Increasingly Violent and Do Viewers Prefer Violent Content?", The Journal of Sex Research
  28. Eric W. Dolan, Study finds pornography is not becoming increasingly violent., 12 May 2018.
  29. James D Griffith, Sharon Mitchell, Christian L Hart, Lea T Adams, Lucy L Gu, "Pornography actresses: an assessment of the damaged goods hypothesis", The Journal of Sex Research
  30. Roger Dobson, Porn stars and the naked truth. The Independent, 25 November 2012.
  31. "Wall Street Meets Pornography", New York Times website, posted 23 October 2000, accessed 21 May 2010.
  32. Edelman, Benjamin. "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?", Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2009, 23:1, pp 209-220.
  33. Hollenhorst, John. "Utah not necessarily No. 1 in porn consumption", KSL-TV website, posted 3 March 2009, accessed 6 June 2010. - "[...] Utah's more repressive culture pushes some people to the Internet. 'It's because we don't have the adult movie stores as much as they do in other states. [...]' [...] 'There is more consumption in areas where there's a concentration of 15- to 24-year-olds, and just last spring it was reported that Utah has the youngest population in the nation.' [...] state-to-state variance is actually rather small, and the paid-subscription data may not be truly representative. 'Approximately 80 to 90 percent of pornography use online is free, where people are not paying a subscription to use that. So, I think that just focusing on one provider is very misleading and does not give us a sense of the larger issue [...]' [...]."
  34. 34.0 34.1 Pornhub's US Top 3 Search Terms by State and Top 3 Search Terms by State.
  35. This Is How Much Time America Spends On Porn - from HuffPo, with infographics
  36. The 7 Most Baffling Porn Trends Across the United States — from Cracked.
  37. Randall White, et. al., Context and dating of Aurignacian vulvar representations from Abri Castanet, France., 14 May 2012.
  38. 28,000 year old dildo, The Register
  40. 40.0 40.1
  41. Dworkin, Andrea. Intercourse: Occupation/Collaberation. 1987. The Andrea Dworkin Online Library.
  42. 42.0 42.1
  43. Porn and Rape: The Debate Continues
  44. Pornography and Civil Rights. Dworkin, Andrea and MacKinnon, Catherine A. 1988.
  45. David M. Edwards, Politics and Pornography: A Comparison of the Findings of the President's Commission and the Meese Commission and the Resulting Response, 1992. Archived from the original at