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In Religious Men’s Battle Between Their Conservative Views and Porn, Porn Wins

When you think of porn, its power as a tool for social change probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. More likely, it’s visions of the “step mom” video you probably jerked off to last night.

But a new study suggests that porn, in all its lubed up, squirtastic glory, is, in fact, changing the devoutly-held beliefs of a certain strata of people: Church-going men.

Researchers from Mt. Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, set out to uncover how, if at all, pornography affects attitudes towards women among men who regularly attend church. Their expectation was that porn would encourage guys to be more sexist and to objectify women. In reality, what they found was almost the opposite — men were more likely to express “egalitarian attitudes” towards women, including their role in the workplace, and in their rights to abortion. And, the more religious services a porn-consumer attended, the stronger their conviction was.

While this might seem to fly in the face of convention, there’s actually reason behind it. And that reason, as the study’s authors suggest, is the theory of cognitive dissonance. The theory describes how humans get stressed out when they hold two opposing beliefs, and thus strive to resolve any conflict between the two. When the conflict is between a belief and a behavior — such as the beliefs espoused in church, versus the behavior of watching porn — it’s typically the belief that changes, not the behavior. And so, church-going porn watchers becoming more egalitarian in their views towards women makes sense.

Conclusion: Porn should be required viewing at Bob Jones University.

A few other things we learned about our bodies today: